Sauce Hollandaise recipe



- 4.5 ounces (125 g) butter

- 1 egg

- 1 lemon

- Salt and pepper (small amount, according to taste)






Preparation Time: 5 Minutes

Cooking Time: 10 Minutes





  • Separate the egg yolk from the egg white.

  • Squeeze the juice from half a lemon or a whole lemon (depending on taste)

  • Mix the egg yolk, lemon juice, a tablespoon of water, salt and pepper

  • Heat the mixture over low to medium heat. Add the butter a small slice at time, constantly stirring it in. As each slice melts, add another slice until all the butter is melted and mixed in.


  • Sauce Hollandaise is used as a sauce for asparagus (it can also be used for other vegetables), fish and is used in Eggs Benedict.

  • An authentic Sauce Hollandaise has a somewhat sour taste from the lemon. This offsets the richness of the butter. For a milder version, use half a lemon instead of a whole lemon.

  • One can replace part of the butter by crème fraîche (soured cream) to produce a sauce which is lower in fat and less rich to the palate. Half the amount of butter and use an equal quantity of crème fraîche. The crème fraîche should be mixed in with the other ingredients and heated before adding the butter.

  • For the history behind this recipe, click on Sauce Hollandaise History.


  • Use only a moderate heat. If a high heat is used, the egg yolk will set (similar to scrabbled egg).

  • The butter must be added a small piece at a time, with constant stirring. Otherwise the sauce will not be smooth and even.

  • Sauce Hollandaise does not keep. It loses it's taste and if kept too long will go off (one must be careful with any food made from eggs).



Most historians agree that the original Sauce Hollandaise recipe originated in Normandy (a region famous for its butter and use of butter in cooking) and was first known as Sauce Isigny, after the town of Isigny in Normandy. The recipe can be found in recipe books dating from the 1800s.


There are also claims that the recipe exists in recipe books from the 17th and 18th century, but closer examination of the ingredients and preparation calls this into question. For example, there is a recipe for "sauce a la hollandoise" in the 1758 edition of Marin's Dons de Comus. However, as this recipe includes flour, bouillon and herbs and does not include egg yolks, it can be argued that it is not the same recipe at all, merely sharing the same name. Likewise the recipe by Francois Pierre de La Varenne in Le Cuisinier Francois appears similar to Sauce Hollandaise but cannot be said to be the same.


At some point the recipe was renamed to Sauce Hollandaise (meaning either from Holland or Holland-style), although historians have different explanations for the recipe being renamed. One explanation is that during World War 1 little butter was produced in France and so it had to be imported from Holland, with the result that the recipe was renamed to reflect the source of the butter. Another is that Holland is well known for the quality of its butter, so the name is based on this. Unfortunately, despite general agreement that this is a French recipe, there does not seem to be a definitive answer for the reference to Holland.


There are a number of variations on the Sauce Hollandaise recipe, differing mainly in the ratio of ingredients (how much butter to how much egg yolks, etc.). There are also a number of recipes similar to Sauce Hollandaise but including additional ingredients (e.g. spices).


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