Cairns Recipe Blog Cooking in Cairns, an amateur cook with an emphasis on baking


Another Hollandaise Sauce

I am discovering that people are scared of attempting to make Hollandaise Sauce, they see it as some sort of voodoo which is prone to disaster if looked at in even the remotest wrong way. Well, I can assure you the Hollandaise is a very quick and simple sauce to make if you adhere to the "ratio" and ensure that one step is achieved before continuing. Even more frightening, whilst shopping I had a glance at the ingredients in a commercial jar of Hollandaise, and I was horrified that there was more than about 15 different ingredients on the list, for something that can be made with as little as 4 ingredients (commonly 6 including spices).

Now, the beauty of this recipe is that it can be adapted in many ways, it is very low carb (only carbs come from egg yolks, which is tenths of grams per serve. Secondly, the fats and acids can be modified any number of ways to produce some pretty amazing variations, my favourite being using coconut oil and lime juice for fish dishes. Hopefully after this, nobody should need to buy a store Hollandaise ever again.

So where do we begin?


  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon warm water
  • 150g Ghee (the fat) warmed a bit to about 50C.
  • Juice of 1 lemon (the acid)
  • Salt and white pepper to taste.


Step 1: Bring a pot of water to the gentlest of simmers, you don't want the surface of the water to break with bubbles, you just want to see whisps of steam float away from the pot. This will be used to "cook" the eggs, which is simply raising their temperature enough to kill off any potential salmonella, I wouldn't advise skipping this step.

Step 2: In a steel mixing bowl, get ready to whisk. Add the 2 egg yolks, the water, and the salt and pepper (if using them) and begin whisking (and don't stop for more than a few seconds) over the simmering water double boiler style. Now, its critical to ensure 2 things happen here, and its this step that is absolutely critical to a successful hollandaise.


First thing is "don't scramble the eggs", to ensure this keep lifting the bowl off the steam, you only want to sit it on the pot to warm a bit, then whisk, warm, whisk and keep doing this until its just a little bit too hot to hold your finger on the bottom of the bowl. Hotter than this and your eggs will scramble, and if they scramble (go lumpy) its time to start again throw it out.

Second thing, you are trying to reach "Sabayon Stage" at this point you don't even care about the ghee and lemon juice. Until your eggs are whisked until sufficiently creamy, adding the ghee too soon will result in a thin and disappointing "soup" consisting of fat and lemon juice. The sabayon stage is characterised by lifting the whisk from the bowl about 30cm and observing the stream, if its thin and broken, keep whisking. You will know its right when the egg mixture is pale, and when you lift the whisk it produces a thick unbroken creamy stream from whisk to bowl. So keep whisking till you hit this stage.

Step 3: Now, to emulsify the egg mixture with the ghee. Now, a word about ghee. You can use whole butter, but ghee works better (in my opinion), its personal preference but I now make sure I use ghee instead of butter, it doesn't burn when frying, and it just seems to work better. Now, whisking hasn't stopped yet, you add a tablespoon of the ghee to the egg mixture, and whisk until its incorporated, this shouldn't take long, less than a minute.

Step 4: Now, you begin adding the ghee tablespoon at a time whisking to incorporate each time until about half is gone, at which point you can add about half of whats left, whisk, then add the last bit. If you add too much ghee too soon, it will not mix, it will turn to an oily soup and there is little chance of saving it. So take it easy, don't rush and you should be fine.

Step 5: As you mix in the ghee, it will look like it isn't working (looks like its split) just keep whisking, trust me, it will be fine as long as you keep whisking. At the end, when all the ghee is added, it will be a very thick "butter" mixture, don't panic this is how it should be.

Step 6: Now to add the lemon juice, this part is "to taste" so don't add it all or it will be too sour and unpalatable. Firstly, taste the mixture without any juice in it (just do it), and then add about 1/2 a tablespoon (or a little more if you're sure you want it lemony) of juice and begin whisking (carefully so you don't splash everywhere) the first thing you will notice is that the thick buttery mixture thins out and goes wonderfully creamy like whipped cream, it also lightens in colour considerably. Now, taste the mixture and add another 1/2 tablespoon at a time until your preferred taste is reached. Some like a fatty tasting sauce, others like a lemony sauce, the preference is yours. However the end sauce should be light and have the finish of a whipped cream holding its peaks and when poured over your food it will leave a thick velvety layer.


Thats all there is to it. Don't bother making big batches and trying to store it, fresh hollandaise needs to be made each time, trying to reheat it will spit the mixture and it will be quite nasty, however once you are proficient it shouldn't take more than 10 minutes from start to finish, so there should be no excuse.

If you remember the "fat" and "acid" part you can begin to make some interesting sauces, for instance my favourite is coconut oil and lime juice, but you can also go with olive oil and a rich balsamic for something a little different and more special than an ordinary mayonnaise.

No nutrition panel, this is 90% fat, deal with it.

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