Easier Béarnaise Sauce

August 14, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: In culinary school, béarnaise was one of the classical French sauces that I often had trouble with, despite my many spirited attempts. It’s classically made with egg yolks whisked over a double boiler, while drizzling in a steady stream of clarified butter. (A lot more difficult than it sounds.)

But then I found this radical béarnaise technique in a video featuring Chef Peter Goossens of Hof van Cleve restaurant. It takes a fraction of the time and effort to make, and my weekday dinners have never been the same since.
Yi Jun Loh

Makes: approximately 1 cup of sauce
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min


  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 sprigs tarragon, roughly chopped
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened at room temperature
In This Recipe


  1. Place the white wine vinegar, minced shallot, and half of the chopped tarragon in a saucepan. Heat this on a medium-low flame for 5-10 minutes, until the shallots are sweated and the liquid has reduced by about half. Strain out the solids, and replace the concentrated liquid back into the saucepan and let it cool to room temperature.
  2. Add the egg yolks, water, vegetable oil, and salt into the saucepan with the concentrated vinegar, and heat over a medium-low flame while whisking vigorously. The goal here is to whisk the eggs to a fluffy, custard-like consistency, which should take around 3-5 minutes. Once you see it start to steam, be extra vigilant as you don’t want to overcook the sauce, lest it’ll turn into scrambled eggs! You can take your pan off and on the heat to better control the cooking.
  3. When the sauce thickens and reaches the desired consistency, add in the tablespoon of butter and the rest of the chopped tarragon, and whisk until the butter dissolves.
  4. The sauce is best served immediately, but can hold well for 30 minutes to an hour. It’s classically paired with steak, but can go well with fish or even grilled vegetables!

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Reviews (7) Questions (0)

7 Reviews

Jody A. September 2, 2018
Okay, Yi Jun Loh, I had to come back here to tell you my results. Bar none! This turned out to be so easy and superb. <br />I made the sauce by prepping the macerated shallots and vinegar strained and set aside until I was ready to use it.<br />I decided to recreate the entire meal you have pictured above by sous-viding two Prime N.Y. Strips, hand-cut frites fried in peanut oil and duck fat, seasoned with a simple de Camargue fleur de sel, and a salad of mixed greens, arugula and baby spinach tossed in a champagne vinaigrette with goat cheese crumbles.<br />Before the searing of the steaks in my homemade ghee and some French butter and after the first fry of the potatoes, I finished assembling the sauce. Wow, so easy and it whisked together seamlessly. Also, I must note that surprisingly the sauce held together better than the traditional method, absolutely no separation at all. <br />Thanks to you this will be the only way I make Bearnaise from now on, the Bain-Marie is now vanquished for chocolate only! LOL<br />I have a question for you... Do you think I use your method here to make a simple Hollandaise, of course by eliminating the shallots and vinegar?<br />IE:<br />2 egg yolks<br />3 tablespoons water<br />1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice<br />1 tablespoon vegetable oil<br />1/8 teaspoon salt<br />1 dash of cayenne<br />1 tablespoon butter, softened at room temperature
Author Comment
Yi J. September 7, 2018
Hi Jody and Eddie, thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked the recipe. I was floored the first time I tested it too!! Haha. And your meal sounds absolutely delish. (Steaks seared in ghee?! I gotta try that!)<br /><br />Also yes, you could definitely whip up a hollandaise with this method too!
Jody A. August 30, 2018
Thank you, Yi.<br />Definitely going to be making this tomorrow to accompany my steak frites dinner!
isw August 30, 2018
Been making it with a stick blender for years (just like mayonnaise). Why is this way better? Does it produce a better result?
Author Comment
Yi J. August 30, 2018
Yup the results are quite different! If you do it mayo-style, very little air gets trapped in the sauce. But if you whisk it while heating it gently, the yolks get a bit cooked and holds its structure better, thereby allowing some air to be trapped in it. So it yields a fluffy, aerated sauce (which does deflate slowly over time, so serve it quick!), as opposed to a flat emulsification like a mayonnaise.
Eric K. August 29, 2018
This was life-changing for me, Jun. Always thought I hated Béarnaise until I tasted your version, which is rich yet lighter and less nauseatingly claggy. Coated the steak (and my tongue!) beautifully.
Author Comment
Yi J. August 30, 2018
Thanks Eric!!! Haha I feel the same about hollandaise! But ya the traditional French version is supposed to have a fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth texture, which is often lost in more commercial adaptations. I was so excited when I saw this version!