Hollandaise Sauce

This is a simple entry level Hollandaise Sauce.  To be used for Eggs Benedict, omelettes, or as a base for creamy lemon sauce for seafood dishes, this sauce is extremely versatile, while a little tricky to get right.

Course Breakfast, Sauces and Gravies
Cuisine North American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Author John Winslow


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter cut a small cube of butter and put aside (1 tsp)
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 pinch Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 pinch Salt


  1. Melt butter in pourable container.  Do not allow to boil or get too hot.  Just melt it.

  2. Using a small saucepan, bring about 3" of water to a boil.  Once at a boil, turn the heat down so the water is just at the boil.

  3. Separate eggs into a metal or glass mixing bowl (not too large or it will hard to whisk).  Add lemon juice and ice cold water.  Whisk until frothy.  Put aside for a few minutes to allow the water and lemon to become infused in the egg.  Continue whisking until the mixture is creamy and sticking to the whisk a little.

  4. Move the bowl on top of the saucepan of water.  Whisk continuously until the mixture is just about to scramble.  Don't allow it to scramble.  Immediately whisk the 1 tsp cube of butter into the sauce to stop it from scrambling

  5. While constantly whisking the egg mixture, slowly add the melted butter.  Do not stop whisking, and do not add the butter too quickly.  If you stop whisking or add the butter too quickly the sauce will break.

  6. Keep adding butter until you get the smooth creamy consistency that Hollandaise is known for.  If you don't use all the butter, don't fret.

  7. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper, a pinch of pepper, and a pinch of salt to the sauce.  If the sauce has cooled too much, at this point, simply place it back over the steaming water and gently whisk it as it heats up.

Recipe Notes

The trick to keeping the sauce from breaking is all in the temperature of the butter and the constant whisking of the eggs.

Melt the butter as the first step and set it aside to cool.  

This sauce can be heated up over the steaming water after it is prepared, without fear of it breaking.

Some Hollandaise recipes tell you to add the Cayenne Pepper, black pepper, and salt at the mixing stage, with the water and lemon.  Okay, that's fine if you want to cook the cayenne a little bit.  But whatever you do, do not EVER add the salt before the egg mixture has been combined with the butter.  Without getting into the science of eggs, let's just say, salt makes eggs get runny and they won't combine nicely with other liquids.  Always add the salt last.

If the sauce gets to the right consistency and you have butter left over, no problem.  It is better to throw out a teaspoon or two of butter than it is to make your Hollandaise sauce too runny.