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How to Make Hollandaise Sauce Three Ways: In a Pan, In a Blender and Using a Microwave (includes Videos)

Updated on August 21, 2011
A glass of Hollandaise sauce by alist.
A glass of Hollandaise sauce by alist.

Hollandaise sauce is the traditional partner for asparagus, artichokes, eggs Benedict and fish. The sauce is best made in a heavy-based pan set over a very gentle heat. If the direct heat from the stove is too fierce, you can also cook it in a bowl set over a pan of hot, but not boiling, water or in the top of a double-boiler or saucepan, but the heat is usually more difficult to control.

Hollandaise sauce made in a blender or food processor is not quite as smooth as when made in a pan, but it is very good nonetheless. Because the eggs are not cooked over heat, it is important that the melted butter should be very hot.

Instructions for making and reheating Hollandaise sauce in the microwave are also given below. If you should decide to use this method, just be sure to stir the sauce frequently to ensure even cooking.

You will need - makes about 3/4 cup

  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 8 white peppercorns (optional)
  • Pinch of mace or nutmeg (optional)
  • Small bay leaf (optional)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 ½ ounces (105 g) butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice

How to make using traditional method

Put the white wine vinegar, peppercorns, mace and bay leaf into a heavy-based pan. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer over a moderate heat until reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Keep an eye on it - it reduces surprisingly quickly.

Remove from the heat and lift out the peppercorns and bay leaf (if using) with a slotted spoon. Leave until lukewarm. If the vinegar is too hot the eggs will start to scramble.

Gradually beat in the egg yolks and continue beating until they have the consistency of thin cream.

Place the pan over a very gentle heat. Add the cubes of butter a few at a time, beating continuously with a balloon whisk. Make sure that each addition of butter has been thoroughly beaten in before adding the next, otherwise the emulsion will not form.

Continue beating until the sauce is light and smooth with the consistency of mayonnaise but still pourable.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. The sauce can be kept warm for a short while in a covered warmed jug, set in a pan of warm water.

If Hollandaise sauce begins to separate

If the sauce begins to look slightly granular, it is becoming too hot and about to separate. If the sauce is left on the heat when it starts to separate, it will form into separate flakes like scrambled eggs and the sauce will be impossible to save.

1. Remove the pan from the heat immediately.

2. Beat in 1 tablespoon of cold water or add an ice cube and beat it in as it melts. It is also a good idea to have a bowl of iced water by you when you make Hollandaise sauce. If the sauce begins to separate you can plunge the base of the pan in the water as well as adding the cold water or ice cube.

How to make using a blender

Pour the reduced vinegar into the blender or food processor and add the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Blend together briefly with the machine at its highest speed.

Melt the butter in a small pan and bring it just to boiling point.

With the machine at high speed, pour the melted butter onto the eggs in a thin, steady stream.

Continue blending for a few seconds until the sauce is light and smooth.

How to make using a microwave

Whisk reduced vinegar, egg yolks and lemon juice together in a small microwave safe jug.

Gradually whisk melted butter into egg yolk mixture. Cook using 50 per cent power (Medium) until sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Stir every 30 seconds to prevent curdling. Season with salt and pepper.

Reheating Hollandaise sauce

To reheat Hollandaise sauce, melt 1-2 tablespoons butter and whisk into cold sauce. Cook using 50 per cent power (Medium) for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

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