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15-Minute Stovetop Hollandaise Sauce 

4.5 stars (10 ratings)

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This recipe for classic hollandaise sauce is so straightforward and takes just 15 minutes to make! It’s prepared on the stovetop and relies on two simple rules: keep the flame (or burner) as low as it will go, and don’t stop whisking! Let’s make it. 

A jug of Hollandaise sauce with asparagus and a napkin.

Classic Hollandaise Sauce

When it comes to a brunch menu, a classic eggs benedict gets my vote every time. The salty ham, runny poached eggs, and lightly toasted English muffin are all important, but they are nothing compared to the creamy hollandaise sauce on top.

A good hollandaise sauce is one of my favorite from-scratch dressings and sauces. It is thick, creamy, and buttery with a light, lemony essence and a hint of spice. It’s one of the five “mother sauces” that make up the foundation of French cooking, and in addition to the classic eggs benedict, it tastes great on vegetables, steak, seafood and many egg-based easy breakfast recipes

The latest take on hollandaise is to make it in a blender, which may be easier for some, but this recipe is for the classic way: in a pot on the stovetop. It can be easy to mess up, but once you understand how it works, you will get it right every time.

A bowl of asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce.

What You’ll Need

This quick hollandaise sauce is made from seven ingredients, many of which you will find on hand in a well-stocked pantry. I refer to a “pinch” and “smidgen” as amounts in this recipe. Yes, they are real measurements, although uncommon, and some measuring spoon sets do come with these sizes.

A pinch is 1/16th of a teaspoon, while a smidgen is 1/32nd of a teaspoon. In other words, use just as much as you can pinch between your finger and thumb for a pinch and about half of that for a smidgen. This sauce is delicate, and while the spices are necessary, they can easily overwhelm the flavors, especially at this volume.

Hollandaise Sauce ingredients with labels.

Featured Ingredient: Creamy Melted Butter

For this sauce, the butter must be melted to a creamy consistency, not solid but not liquid, and definitely not melted to the point where the milk solids separate from the fat. Starting with butter in this creamy consistency makes it easier to get the right consistency in your hollandaise sauce at the end.

The easiest way to achieve this consistency is to let butter sit on a hot stovetop for about six hours. While that’s all well and good for a commercial home kitchen, where someone is actively running the stove all day long, no home cook I know has time for that. Instead, we are going to use the microwave.

First, chop the butter into tablespoon-sized chunks, then microwave on defrost (or about 30% power) for 30-second bursts, stirring between bursts until the right consistency is achieved. It should still have the same color as cold butter and be slightly softer than “spreadable” butter, as you can see in the ingredients picture above. Let the butter sit on the counter until you are ready for it.

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  • Three or four-quart saucepan with lid. – You will want a heavy pan with a wider bottom that heats as evenly as possible. One with rounded corners is ideal for whisking together sauces without ingredients getting stuck in the corners.
  • Measuring spoons.
  • 4-cup measuring cup – I prefer glass in the microwave. A small bowl works here, too.
  • Balloon whisk.

How to Make Stovetop Hollandaise Sauce

There are two rules for making a great hollandaise. 1. Keep the flame as low as it will go. 2. Don’t stop whisking. Note I said rules. A lot of what I do and say in my kitchen are guidelines, which I outline in hopes of inspiring you to try something new. These, however, are hard and fast rules. If you don’t follow them, you will end up with an unpleasant version of scrambled eggs.

The Two Rules of Stovetop Hollandaise

1. Keep the flame low.
2. Don’t stop whisking.

  • Prepare the butter. Melt to a creamy consistency using the microwave on 30 second bursts.
  • Whisk together the sauce. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, white wine, and salt to a cold saucepan and whisk thoroughly. The cold pan allows the eggs to temper as the pan heats up instead of instantly cooking on contact.
  • Cook the sauce. Place the pan over a burner on the lowest heat setting possible. If you have multiple burner sizes on your stove, make sure to use a smaller burner as well. Start whisking and don’t stop until it’s done. The sauce will get foamy and lighten in color.
  • Keep whisking – don’t forget to scrape every surface of the pan! The foam will start to dissipate, and the sauce will turn creamy. Don’t stop whisking! Next, the sauce will start to thicken. Keep on whisking! When the sauce is thick enough that you can clearly see the bottom of the pan for a second or two after the whisk has scraped it, you’ll know it’s done.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. For a gas stove, this can be as simple as turning it off, but for electric, you will need to transfer it to a cool burner.
  • Add the butter. Continue whisking and immediately begin adding the butter in three additions, about two tablespoons at a time. Keep whisking and adding butter until no more remains in the cup. Once the butter is all incorporated, you can stop continually whisking. You made it!!
  • Season the sauce. Scrape any remaining butter from the sides of the cup into the sauce, add a pinch of white pepper or paprika, and a smidgen (which is half of a pinch) of cayenne pepper. Give it one last whisk for good measure, and then give it a taste. If it tastes too buttery, try adding 1/2 tsp of wine or lemon juice. If it needs more spice, try another dash of cayenne, white pepper, or paprika. If it tastes slightly bland, add an extra pinch of salt.

Stovetop Hollandaise Video

As you can see in the video, I don’t use the double boiler method when making my hollandaise sauce. I find that it’s just as easy to do it straight in the pan. If anything, it takes less time but still cooks consistently.

The video is a time-lapse video and is the easiest way to show how the sauce comes together as it cooks. I have also included a full written description below the video.

French Mother Sauces

Congratulations! You have successfully mastered one of the five mother sauces! If you are new to the term, French Mother sauces are the foundation for French cooking. There are five of them: béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise, and tomato. They are called mother sauces because they are the basis for many other child sauces that can be made by adapting the mother.

This easy hollandaise sauce can easily be turned into a classic bearnaise sauce by adding shallots, chervil, and tarragon, while replacing the white pepper with black or multi-colored peppercorns. It tastes amazing on roast rack of lamb. Simply adding Dijon mustard to hollandaise turns it into a Sause Dijon, which pairs nicely with beef tenderloin.

A pitcher of hollandaise sauce with asparagus and lemons, drizzled with Hollandaise Sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Cover the sauce with a lid to keep it warm, or pour it into an insulated thermos or mini crockpot. If it starts to cool off, you can reheat it over a low flame while whisking constantly. The recipe makes about six servings but can be sized up or down depending on your needs.

The most iconic dishes for hollandaise sauce are eggs benedict, poached salmon, or oven asparagus. In my home, I like to serve it over a simple vegetable omelet or with pork chop surf n turf.

How to Store and Reheat

The sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated, but be careful when reheating. Just like when we originally made the sauce, it must be whisked constantly or it is prone to break.

While hollandaise can be frozen for longer storage, thawing it out and reheating while whisking constantly to maintain the proper texture can be more work than making it fresh. Personally, I don’t recommend it.

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A jug of Hollandaise sauce with asparagus and a napkin.

15-Minute Stovetop Hollandaise Sauce

This recipe for classic hollandaise sauce is so straightforward and takes just 15 minutes to make! It’s prepared on the stovetop and relies on two simple rules: keep the flame (or burner) as low as it will go, and don’t stop whisking! Let’s make it. 
4.5 stars (10 ratings)
prep: 3 minutes
cook: 12 minutes
total: 15 minutes
servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine
  • pinch salt
  • pinch white pepper or paprika
  • smidgen cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Start by softening the butter. Chop the butter into tablespoon-sized chunks and place them all into a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave it for 30 seconds on defrost (30% power). Pull it out and stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds on defrost, pull it out and stir. The butter should be soft but not melted to a liquid form or separated.
  • Add the egg yolks into a cold pan. Add the lemon juice, white wine, and salt to the eggs and whisk thoroughly.
  • Place the pan over a burner on the lowest heat setting possible. Start whisking and don’t stop until it’s done.
  • The sauce will get foamy and lighten in color, turning creamy and then thickening. Keep whisking! Once it is thick enough that you can clearly see the bottom of the pan for a second or two after the whisk has scraped it, you'll know it's done.
  • Remove the pan from the heat by turning off the gas burner or moving the pan to a cool burner if cooking on an electric stove.
  • Continue whisking and immediately begin adding the butter in three parts, about 2 tablespoons at a time.
  • Keep whisking until all the butter has been added.
  • Add a pinch of paprika or white pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper, then taste and adjust as necessary.
  • Keep the sauce covered and warm until ready to serve. If it cools off, reheat over a low flame while whisking constantly.

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Nutrition

Calories: 234kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.

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About Renee N Gardner

I'm the recipe developer, food photographer, and mastermind behind Renee Nicole's Kitchen, where I help create kitchen confidence to inspire home cooks to become home chefs. No fancy fads here, just high-quality, homemade recipes featuring seasonal ingredients.

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3 Comments on “15-Minute Stovetop Hollandaise Sauce ”

  1. 3 stars
    I made eggs Benedict. Very tasty, but too thin. Thank goodness I was making for myself. I will find another recipe for my dinner party this weekend for my asparagus.

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    I didn’t know that I could make hollandaise sauce in just 15 minutes. What made me like this recipe is the authenticity of the sauce’s taste. This is really amazing!

    Reply
4.50 from 10 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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