Craig Claiborne's Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise sauce, that staple of brunch, is a classic accompaniment to eggs benedict and steamed asparagus. It is a “mother sauce,” one of the five classic French sauces that provide the base for so many others. Master it and you’ve added a versatile weapon and technique to your culinary arsenal. As with bearnaise sauce and beurre blanc, keep an eye on your heat, and serve the sauce warm, not hot.


  • ½ pound butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed
  • lemon juice

    About 3/4 cup


    1. Put the butter inside a heatproof bowl or glass measuring cup and set it in a basin of simmering water. Let it heat until the butter is melted.
    2. Carefully spoon off the white residue on top of the clear yellow liquid in the center. Carefully pour off and reserve the yellow liquid. Discard the milky bottom portion.
    3. Combine the egg yolks and water, beating rapidly with a wire whisk. Place the saucepan in a larger basin of simmering water, beating constantly. Gradually add the clear yellow liquid, beating constantly while heating the mixture in the simmering water. Do not overheat. Beat and heat until the sauce has the consistency of a thin mayonnaise.
    4. Add the salt, cayenne pepper and lemon juice and blend thoroughly.

    10 minutes

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