Julia Child's Beurre Blanc (White Butter Sauce)

December 16, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Beurre blanc may sound like a cheffy sauce you'll only find on restaurant menus, but it isn't so snooty after all. "However marvelous its flavor," wrote Julia Child in Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, "it is a butter sauce."

White wine is reduced with white wine vinegar and shallots (and some chefs add cream for a stable, smooth sauce), then a whole lot of butter is whisked in slowly, piece by piece, and the mixture is seasoned with lemon juice.

Use anywhere you'd like to drizzle a food with (or drown it in) better-tasting butter: on roasted or steamed vegetables, on shrimp or fish, on chicken, or, if you really are cheffy, on lobster or truffles.

Sarah Jampel

Makes: 1 1/2 cups
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min


  • 3 sticks cold unsalted butter (24 tablespoons), cut into tablespoon-sized chunks
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
In This Recipe


  1. Have the butter ready (cut and in a small bowl).
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring wine and vinegar to a boil. Add shallots, salt, and pepper. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. (There should be about 1 1/2 tablespoons of liquid left. If you reduced it too far, add 1 tablespoon of water to remoisten.)
  3. Remove pan from heat. Whisk 2 pieces of butter into the reduction.
  4. Set pan over low heat and continue whisking butter into sauce a chunk at a time, allowing each piece to melt before adding more. Remember to maintain low heat and never let the sauce come to a boil once the butter is added, or the sauce will separate.
  5. Remove sauce from heat and whisk in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning, then strain through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  6. Serve with fish, poultry, or vegetables.

More Great Recipes:
Sauce|Condiment/Spread|French|Vinegar|Shallot|Butter|Lemon Juice|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Dinner|Side|Entree

Reviews (5) Questions (0)

5 Reviews

tillthen May 10, 2017
I made this recipe(from Julia's red book) 45 years and as I recall there was an option to add mushrooms which I did. It was used on filet of sole. Absolutely outstanding. I'v used on white fish, shell fish, and chicken......always a hit!
tillthen May 10, 2017
.....that should read "45 years ago".
Francesca D. December 21, 2015
What do yo duo with all this beurre blanc? Can you re-heat it without it breaking?
Author Comment
Sarah J. December 21, 2015
You can easily halve the recipe. BUT if you do end up with lots leftover... you can reheat the sauce very slowly (some use a double boiler) and whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons of warm liquid like cream, water, or broth. It does have a tendency to separate when rewarmed.<br />
Haris O. December 29, 2015
Thank you for the amazing recipe Sarah