Easy Hollandaise Sauce

$0.72 recipe / $0.36 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.60 from 32 votes
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I recently polled my Facebook followers to see what recipes they’ve been too intimidated to try, and hollandaise sauce was a popular answer. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s a lot easier than you think! This super quick and easy hollandaise sauce recipe will get you rich, creamy, lemony hollandaise sauce in just a few minutes and with nothing more than just a sauce pot and a whisk. So you can have this dreamy sauce whenever you want and without breaking a sweat. Let me show you how it’s done.

P.S. if you’ve ever made my Luscious Homemade Lemon Curd, this hollandaise sauce is basically the same thing, but savory!

two eggs on English muffins drizzled with hollandaise sauce

What is Hollandaise Sauce?

If you’ve never experienced the magic of hollandaise sauce, let me attempt to describe it to you. It’s a very simple savory sauce made with butter, egg yolk, lemon, and salt. It has a smooth, velvety texture with just the right amount of bright lemon flavor to keep it from being too heavy. If you’ve ever had Eggs Benedict, this is the dreamy yellow sauce that is drizzled over top. But it’s great on a lot more than just Eggs Benedict…

How to Use Hollandaise Sauce

As mentioned above, hollandaise sauce is often served over poached eggs, like in Eggs Benedict, but it’s also great over steamed or roasted vegetables, like asparagus, potatoes, or broccoli. The buttery lemon flavor is also great on salmon, crab, or even steak. Hollandaise sauce is practically all butter and I think we can all agree that butter tastes great on everything!

Small Batch for No Leftovers

Hollandaise sauce is very rich, so you don’t need a lot. And since reheating leftovers of emulsified sauces can be tricky, I decided to make this a small batch recipe so you can avoid the trouble of trying to use up your leftovers. The recipe below makes about ⅓ cup, or just enough for two people (about 3 Tbsp each).

If you want to make a larger batch, it’s just as easy. Simply adjust the number in the “servings” box in the recipe below and the ingredient quantities will adjust for you. The method will be exactly the same, but it may take a few minutes longer for the sauce to heat as you whisk.

hollandaise sauce dripping off a spoon into a bowl in front of a plate of asparagus
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Easy Hollandaise Sauce

4.60 from 32 votes
An easy, no-fail method for making homemade hollandaise sauce in just minutes. Anyone can make this rich and creamy lemon butter sauce!
hollandaise sauce dripping off a spoon into a bowl in front of a plate of asparagus
Servings 2 3 Tbsp each
Prep 2 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 7 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg, separated ($0.23)
  • 1 Tbsp water ($0.00)
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.02)
  • 4 Tbsp butter* ($0.44)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)

Instructions 

  • Separate the egg and place the egg yolk in a small saucepot. The whites can be saved for a different recipe.
  • Add the water and lemon juice to the pot with the yolk and whisk until smooth (no heat yet).
  • Cut the butter into small pieces (about ¼ Tbsp size) , then add them to the saucepot with the egg yolk, lemon, and water.
  • Place the pot over medium-low heat. Continuously whisk as the mixture heats. First the butter will melt, then the mixture will begin to get a bit frothy. Finally, as the egg yolk begins to cook, the sauce will thicken. Make sure you're whisking the entire time to achieve a light, smooth sauce. Once it thickens to the consistency of gravy, remove the pot from the heat.
  • Season the sauce with salt and cayenne, then drizzle the sauce over your favorite food!

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Equipment

Video

Notes

*I use salted butter, but if you have unsalted butter simply add a pinch more salt to your sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 3TbspCalories: 238kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 3gFat: 25gSodium: 381mgFiber: 1g
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hollandaise sauce being drizzled over two eggs on English Muffins

How to Make Hollandaise Sauce – Step by Step Photos

a raw egg yolk in a small saucepot

Separate one large egg and place the egg yolk in a small saucepot (this is a 1 qt. saucepot)

egg yolk whisked with water and lemon juice

Add 1 Tbsp water and ½ Tbsp lemon juice to the pot with the egg yolk, then whisk the yolk and lemon juice until smooth (do not heat the mixture at this point).

small butter cubes added to the saucepot

Cut 4 Tbsp butter into small pieces (about ¼ Tbsp sized pieces). Add them to the pot with the yolk, water, and lemon juice.

half melted butter in the sauce pot with a whisk

Place the pot over medium-low heat and continuously whisk while the butter begins to melt.

frothy egg mixture in the saucepot with the whisk

Continue to whisk as the mixture begins to heat. You’ll notice it begin to get frothy…

thickened sauce in the sauce pot with a whisk

And then when the egg yolk begins to actually cook, it will thicken the sauce to a consistency similar to gravy. Make sure you’re whisking throughout this entire process. It should only take 3-5 minutes for the sauce to thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat once thickened.

cayenne pepper and salt added to the hollandaise sauce

Season the sauce with about ⅛ tsp cayenne and ⅛ tsp salt (or to taste).

hollandaise sauce dripping off a spoon into a saucepot

And now your rich and dreamy lemony sauce is ready to eat! You did that!

Hollandaise sauce being drizzled over asparagus and salmon

Drizzle that heavenly sauce over all your favorite foods!

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Comments

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  1. Should this sauce thicken the longer its cooked or does it reach a point and stop? Made the recipie at 8x. I may have just had the tempature too low but it stayed pretty runny. So added a cornstarch & water mix that caused everything to seperate. Should i just have cooked longer/hotter ir used less water?

    1. It sounds like it didn’t get hot enough. If you’re making a batch that’s 8x larger, you’ll likely need a bit more heat to get it up to the right temp. What’s happening is that when it gets hot enough the proteins in the eggs become firm, which thickens the sauce. :)

  2. I made this sauce because I’m a fan of sauces and lemon. Anything creamy and custard like. I haven’t had this sauce before. I served it over a toasted piece of gluten free sprouted sourdough, spread with smashed black beans, with a poached egg, seasoned with s/p and kinders buttery steakhouse, with a generous handful of parsley and cilantro sprinkled with sea kelp.

    Never having any real cooking or culinary training or even an actual decent home cook to look up to/ not sure if the flavors weren’t balanced – after 2tsp lemon it was bright!

    Anyhow, for me I think the recipe is a win for a sauce that is considered hard to make – but for me I don’t think the heavy/thick basically pure fat addition is worth it.

    I feel like I achieve better flavor squeezing a lemon and drizzling olive oil .

    It did feel satisfying making a sauce though!

    Thanks for the recipe

  3. This didn’t work for me. After I turned on low heat, I stepped away from the stove for about 30 seconds, and when I turned back, things had separated. So I had tiny yellow clumps and watery liquid. I whisked like crazy, and even put it in the blender as a last resort, hoping it would blend, but no. Did the egg really cook that fast, or could this be from something else?

    1. Clumps sound like an overheated egg. Hollandaise is a fickle beast, even for experienced chefs like me. If your stove is hard to control (I feel you, so is mine) try taking it off the heat while whisking to prevent it from coming up to a temperature that will scramble the eggs.

    2. Super easy and tasted great. Just need to take it slow and wisk continuously. Great recipe.

  4. Love this recipe. I did not use salt or cayenne pepper. I use salted butter and extra lemon. Simple and delicious.

  5. I finally made this and it was perfect! I love hollandaise sauce but was always too lazy with traditional recipes with the bain marie to cook the sauce. This is so much easier. And being small batch is also fantastic to avoid leftovers. I will be making this recipe very often now. Thank you!

    1. Hollandaise has a tendency to separate, so storing it can be a let down. But if you’re going to do it- put it in an air-tight container and place plastic wrap directly on the surface. Cover and refrigerate for up to two days. XOXO -Monti

  6. Made it, LOVE IT! TASTY! I just love hollandaise sauce, it was so easy to make, all my life I could have been having this yummyness but from now on I will! Thanks for the easy recipe and easy directions!

  7. First time trying this on the stovetop. Two trials and don’t know what I did wrong. It was beautiful until that salt went in. First trial it sat in the pan off the stove while I poached my eggs. Figured it got too warm for too long so tried again since everything else was cooked and ready to go.  Sauce was perfect but again separated and went runny immediately upon salt going in. Will try another time with no added salt. I used fine Redmond Real Salt in my two trials today. 

  8. This is my first time making cooked hollandaise (usually l make it off the stovetop with hot butter and a immersion blender) and it was great! It’s very lemony, I may dial that down to 1 tsp in future. It makes just enough for heavily sauced eggs Benedict for one! Super fast and easy to make. I wouldn’t necessarily call this no-fail though, if you turn the heat too high you would get scrambled eggs. Err on the side of low heat just in case! 😁

  9. 🙂 Hi, on your Hollandaise recipe, can I place water in my pot heat up & then place a glass bowl on top of pot & make Hollandaise sauce by whisking in glass bowl? Bought expen-
    sive stainless steel pots & pans.
    Had to replace 😬 a few from using plastic coated whisk. Love the ease in making your recipes. Enjoy the versatiity & all the flavor. Thank you, Rainee

    1. I mean you can try it, but the bowl needs to be at the same temp as the water and the water needs to remain at a simmer. Simmering is important because the egg yolk needs to reach at least 149ºF (65ºC) to help destroy any harmful bacteria present. XOXO -Monti

  10. My husband and I live this sauce! It is soooo good. I did reduce the lemon a little after the first time we made it (we used a bottle not fresh squeezed) but otherwise really like it. My husband asks me to make it for special occasions. It feels fancy but is really easy!!!

  11. This recipe was fantastic. I used it over rice and sliced turkey breast. It has to be whipped or it won’t thicken. Lemon juice was just right amount.