Use Hard-Boiled Egg Yolks For An Easier, More Foolproof Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise sauce has a reputation for being fussy. Because it's an emulsion of egg and butter, if the sauce gets too hot, the butter can melt away into oily pools, ruining the beauty of the sauce. The egg yolks need to be whisked over low heat to get the desired final texture in the sauce and to reduce salmonella risk, but overheating can lead to bits of scrambled egg marring the result. Finding the right balance takes a bit of experience, but who has extra butter and eggs to experiment with these days?

We owe some applause to Chef Allie Chanthorn Reinmann, who has hacked the sauce-making process by using fully cooked egg yolk to avoid all of the problems. Reinmann suggests using hard-boiled egg yolks blended with butter and lemon juice to make a Hollandaise that is very hard to ruin. The technique can be used with your favorite Hollandaise recipe — just switch up your hot, whisked yolks for the hard-cooked ones.

Hollandaise made easier

The hard-boiled egg yolk version of Hollandaise works because the proteins that cause a warm yolk to grab onto the butter and create the emulsion are still there in the hard-cooked yolk, but also because the high speed of the food processor or blender forces the two ingredients into a mixture. When the yolk and butter are processed together with lemon juice, the result is a texture similar to batter with a flavor reminiscent of an egg-flavored compound butter.

The thick mixture can be warmed up to use right away (Reinmann recommends a few spoonfuls of boiling water to do the trick), or you can hold onto it to use later. This is one of the best features of the technique, allowing you to make the sauce ahead and simply warm it up when you want to serve it. Although Reinmann says this Hollandaise won't break, in our testing, we found that keeping the sauce warm over a double boiler did eventually result in butter separating out, but that's natural as a sauce evaporates. The sauce stayed together quite well until that point, making this a great technique to have in your repertoire for a less-stress Hollandaise-sauce-making experience.