Lemony Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

Hollandaise sauce is something that many home cooks are reluctant to attempt as, although it's a simple sauce, it can be tricky to get the texture just right. While there are numerous tweaks and hacks for easy hollandaise, those don't always yield the expected results, so here recipe developer Jennine Rye says, "I've gone with quite a classic recipe to make sure the butter and egg mixture emulsified correctly."

Rye describes this sauce as "really rich, thick and velvety ... [with] a beautiful lemony tang" and also notes that "it's quick to whip up with kitchen cupboard essentials," so you won't need any unusual or hard-to-source ingredients. One thing about hollandaise, though, is it's not the kind of thing you can prepare in advance. As Rye cautions, "It is best to consume hollandaise sauce straight away, as it is best fresh and isn't easily reheated." Luckily, it only takes about 20 minutes to prepare.

Assemble the ingredients for the lemony hollandaise sauce

For the sauce, you'll be using butter, egg yolks (no whites), lemon juice, water, and cayenne pepper, plus you may also want a little salt in there. The salt is optional, though, in case you're watching your sodium intake. In fact, if you make this hollandaise with unsalted butter and don't add any salt, it'll be very low sodium, indeed.

Melt the butter and whisk the eggs

Melt the butter, then beat the eggs with the lemon juice and water. While Rye says to beat the eggs until they double in volume, she admits, "It doesn't have to be an exact doubling." All you really need to do, she says, is to eyeball it until the volume has roughly doubled. As to why you're doing all this beating, she explains that "incorporating air into the sauce at this stage helps to create the finished velvet-like texture."

Make the hollandaise sauce

The egg mixture will now need to be cooked, either in a double boiler or a bain marie that you create by placing a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Over, not in — Rye notes that the container with the eggs needs to be separated from the hot water as this will allow for more control over the heat. Cook the egg mixture for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly until it thickens. Take the eggs off the heat, then stir in the butter a bit at a time. Once the butter's stirred in, add the cayenne and the salt (if using).

If you cook the eggs over too high a heat, you may wind up with them scrambling rather than turning into a sauce, at which point Rye says "it would be best to try again." if the sauce is just a bit lumpy, though, you don't need to toss it out. Should your sauce turn out too runny and refuse to thicken up, it needs to be heated some more, even if you've already added the butter. The texture might suffer a bit, but it'll still be edible.

Use the hollandaise sauce right away

Once your hollandaise is done, you'll need to be ready to use it right away. As Rye tells us, "Hollandaise is traditionally served alongside vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, and spinach" and also notes that it can be served with seafood and certain meat dishes. It's also great with poached eggs and is an integral part of eggs benedict.

Should you find yourself with leftover hollandaise, you can refrigerate it, but Rye cautions "reheating must be done very slowly so the sauce doesn't split or scramble."

Lemony Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
5 from 30 ratings
No eggs Benedict is complete without hollandaise sauce — make this easy and quick version right at home.
Prep Time
Cook Time
hollandaise sauce in bowl
Total time: 20 minutes
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
Optional Ingredients
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Melt the butter then set it aside.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks with the lemon juice and water for a few minutes, until doubled in volume.
  3. Heat the egg mixture for 2-3 minutes in a bowl placed over simmering water, whisking constantly.
  4. Once the egg mixture has thickened slightly, take it off the heat and stir in the butter a bit at a time.
  5. Once the sauce is thick and creamy and all the butter has been stirred in, add the cayenne and the salt, if desired.
  6. Serve the sauce right away.
Calories per Serving 144
Total Fat 15.7 g
Saturated Fat 9.6 g
Trans Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 92.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 0.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Total Sugars 0.1 g
Sodium 4.5 mg
Protein 1.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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