A Cook's Diary

Hollandaise sauce

What sauce? Hollandaise. It’s an emulsion. Like mayo. You know. Oil and some acidic liquid like vinegar or lemon juice mixed with egg yolks to thicken the mixture to the consistency of cream. But with Hollandaise, instead of oil, butter is used. What is it for? Well, I found some English muffins in the supermarket last weekend and decided I’d make Eggs Benedict for breakfast the following day. So, I did.

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The thing is, I fell in love with Hollandaise sauce so badly that I decided it is worth a separate entry because I will be making more dishes using Hollandaise sauce and I’d be referring to the how-to-make-Hollandaise part all the time.


  • 1/3 c. butter, at room temperature, cut into three portions
    2 egg yolks
    juice of half a lemon
    cayenne pepper


  1. If you don’t have a double boiler like me, just place a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Barely simmering. Meaning, the water should be hot but not boiling. For best results, the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Mine did and I had a difficult time keeping the sauce smooth because the egg yolks were forever threatening to cook and curdle.

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    Place one portion of butter into the bowl.

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    Add the egg yolks.

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    Working fast, whisk until the butter is melted.

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    Add another piece of butter.

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    Whisk again.

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    Then, the last piece of butter.

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    And whisk again.

    Now here’s the part where I have to explain why the next two photos are over-exposed. The camera was on a tripod and I was operating it with a timer. The sun decided to show itself from behind the clouds, I couldn’t leave the sauce in the pan to change the camera’s settings, so, never mind that all the photos from that point were overexposed.

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    So, add the lemon juice, whisking as you do.

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    Finally, the cayenne pepper.

    The entire process shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. If the sauce is exposed to heat for too long, the egg will cook and separate from the butter. So, remove the bowl from the pan and cover the sauce while you prepare the dish you’ll be needing it for. I don’t know if Hollandaise sauce will keep in the fridge. When I get to try that, I’ll let you know.

Cooking time (duration): 10 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 1/2 c. of Hollandaise sauce

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