I already have a wonderful no fail Blender Hollandaise Sauce on my site, but when I made my Eggs Benedict Breakfast Casserole the other day I wanted to make an Easy Hollandaise Sauce that used cooked rather than raw eggs. (Just a note on the color – the eggs I used were organic and made a very deep, bright Hollandaise; the color can vary depending on the color of the yolks you use.)
Really, I’m not that freaked about raw eggs, but I know it can be a nagging concern for some, others are just a little off-put by the idea and in our uncertain times, when we may be keeping eggs around longer. Since safety is a priority, it seemed like the right time to post this recipe.
About Easy Hollandaise Sauce:
I know the idea of making Hollandaise Sauce can be a little intimidating! And I only have to see all the packets at the store to get that. If you’ve never made Hollandaise, know that it’s pretty easy. Really it’s just a handful of ingredients, egg yolks and butter are the primary ones, but a little lemon can make it bright and tangy and balance all the richness, a touch of mustard can help it easily thicken up and just a little pinch of cayenne adds no heat but gives your hollandaise just a little sumpin’ sumpin’ on the flavor scale.
I don’t think there’s anything that this rich creamy sauce can’t make better! And if you’re stuck at home and can’t get out to your fave restaurant, think about upping your brunch game with a little Hollandaise sauce. I use Hollandaise on a couple of recipes on my site, my Classic Eggs Benedict and more recently, that Eggs Benedict Breakfast Casserole, but it’s a fave, too on my Smoked Salmon & Asparagus Hash.
Hollandaise is marvelous with almost any recipe that has poached eggs, great with crab or salmon cakes, and you just can’t beat it for transforming asparagus into an elegant side.
Making Easy Hollandaise Sauce:
In this recipe the egg yolks are whisked with the lemon to lighten them up and then cooked, whisking almost constantly to a safe temp of 160 degrees F. over a double boiler. It takes about two minutes to bring those eggs up to temperature. It’s fast! Once you remove the eggs from the heat keep in mind that bowl is hot and will continue to cook the eggs, so work fast or transfer them to something else (more on that below) quickly.
I’ve never had a double boiler, but I just sub in one of my heavy glass bowls (I like to use a heavy bowl so it doesn’t spin as I whisk) over a saucepan of simmering, not boiling water. We don’t want scrambled eggs, after all! Keep in mind that when you add the pan, the steam in the water below can change the water from simmering to boiling in about three seconds flat. Watch it and turn down the burner as needed.
As the eggs are cooking, melt the butter in the microwave, Cut it in pieces and put it in a container just a bit larger than you think you’ll need; one with a spout is great, like a two cup Pyrex measuring cup. Butter can expand easily and sputter and foam over. In my microwave, it takes about a minute to melt.
What’s interesting about Hollandaise is that it almost always follows a set proportion of 4 egg yolks to a stick of butter. What makes it thick or thin is one of two things, below, not necessarily the recipe. It’s all in your hands, but If you need any more trouble-shooting tips, check out my post on Blender Hollandaise Sauce.
- Technique can factor in, how well the mixture is whisked or blended. That’s what makes the Hollandaise “emulsify” and gives it the beautiful texture. Drizzle slowly! Whisk constantly or if using a machine, drizzle while blending.
- The temperature is a huge part of how thick or thin your hollandaise is. The butter in the recipe is thinner when it’s really hot, thereby making the Hollandaise thinner. As the butter drops in temperature, it thickens up as does the Hollandaise. You will want to serve your Hollandaise at about 140 degrees. When your Hollandaise is finished, put it in a thermos or wrap the container it’s in with a kitchen towel and put it in a warm place if you need to hold it.
- If you do feel the sauce is too thick, add a few drops of hot water. Hollandaise is tricky to reheat because the butter can easily get too hot and turn liquidy, breaking and curdling the sauce (it can be down in the microwave stirring about every 15 seconds or placed back on the double boiler) so it’s best to keep it warm until serving.
There are really three ways you can finish your Hollandaise sauce after the eggs are properly heated. In any of the methods, drizzle slowly. If you see melted butter starting to accumulate around the edges, stop drizzling and whisk or blend like mad, then once it’s all incorporated, start drizzling again.
- You can whisk by hand (place your bowl on a kitchen towel to help hold it in place) after you add the mustard and cayenne, which is going to take you quite a while. Drizzle the melted butter as you whisk. It’s going to take about six to eight minutes.
- You can add the eggs, mustard, and cayenne to a heavy jar or other tall, narrow container and use a hand blender. It’s fast and easy.
- You can add the eggs and the lemon, mustard, and cayenne to a standard blender and basically make the blender hollandaise, drizzling in the melted butter through the top. If your sauce does not mix together and emulsify, it is very likely the blades in the blender are not catching the few eggs in there. Add another yolk if necessary but do not keep adding the butter if it’s not coming together; that’s throwing good after bad.
Flavorings in the Hollandaise Sauce:
This sauce has a nice, bright, lemony flavor with a tablespoon of lemon juice and it’s balanced by the cayenne and the mustard. Change one thing and the balance changes. For instance, if you don’t use the mustard and cayenne that lemon flavor can really stand out.
If you’d like less lemon, try a little less. Consider, too, what you will be pouring your hollandaise over and consider the dish as a whole. For instance, with the Eggs Benedict Breakfast Casserole, the bright lemony Hollandaise just makes it! Maybe over asparagus, you might like less lemon.
Unless you’re using unsalted butter, hold off on any salt until the Hollandaise is finished, then taste and adjust by adding in a little if needed.
If you’d like to add other flavorings, go for it. Tarragon is classic but there’s no reason you can’t change things up to suit your taste, for instance, by adding other herbs or making it spicy. Me? If I’m not making it just as is, I might use tarragon but I like the classic flavors best. 🙂
Saving Money on Easy Hollandaise Sauce:
Eggs are often on sale around just about every holiday. Both your Buyers Club & Aldi will have great everyday prices on eggs but don’t usually approach a great grocery sales price. Depending on your fridge space, stock up when they’re at a low. Eggs keep well for a good five to six weeks after the “buy by” date and are best stored in the original container on the bottom shelf, not the door.
If in doubt about an egg’s age, gently place it in a container of water. If it lays flat it’s very fresh, if it starts to tilt up, it’s getting a little age on it. If it floats to the top, it’s probably past it’s prime. If an egg floats, that doesn’t mean an egg is “bad” (that’s a myth) it just means that over time the egg inside the shell gets denser and shrinks and since nature abhors a vacuum, the air inside increases. That makes the egg lighter. It has its own little life preserver built-in and that makes it float. Under “normal” circumstances I discard floating eggs. These days, it’s more of a judgment call. Check out the American Egg Board, the folks known for their “Incredible Edible Eggs” ads for more information.
It’s rare you’ll see me use anything but butter in a recipe (shortening for just a few) and never substitutes, both for taste and health. I try hard to avoid the trans fats in margarine. Know that if for any reason you do decide to use margarine in this recipe, it will still work. Look for butter, just like eggs to be on sale around any holiday, but unlike eggs, the prices at your Buyers club and Aldi will usually beat out even the best grocery store sale price.
To use just a small amount of lemon, “fork” it by stabbing the tines of a clean fork into it. Then as you squeeze the juice will come out and the lemon will keep better, wrapped of course, in the fridge. Try keeping it in the door where the eggs usually go so you’ll remember to use it promptly. When buying lemons, always choose the heaviest for the size, not the prettiest one; it will have the most juice.
Easy Hollandaise Sauce
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 3/4 cup 1x
- Category: Breakfast or Brunch
- Cuisine: French
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 stick (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder or 1/4 teaspoon Dijon
- pinch cayenne
- pinch of salt as needed
Whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a heavy bowl until lightened. In the meantime, bring a saucepan of water to barely simmering. Put the bowl on top (bowl should not touch water) and continue whisking until eggs reach 160 degrees F. Remove from heat, but do not let the eggs sit. Working quickly, add the mustard and either:
- Whisk by hand: Whisk in the butter, drizzling slowly until sauce is thickened and doubled in volume, six to eight minutes.
- Use a stick blender: Add yolks to a mason jar or other sturdy tall container and use a stick blender as the butter is drizzled in, blending until doubled in volume.
- Use a standard blender: Add the yolks to a blender and with blender running, drizzle the butter, continuing to blend until doubled in volume.
When finished, blend in the pinch of cayenne and taste for salt, adding a pinch if needed.
Keep warm until serving.
Keywords: Breakfast or Brunch Dish, Hollandaise Sauce, Lemon, Sauce