Classic Bearnaise Sauce
Classic Bearnaise Sauce

The classic Béarnaise is a creamy, rich and buttery sauce flavored with fresh tarragon. A sauce like this can easily transform a weekday steak or chicken into a dish worthy of a dinner party.

Irresistibly creamy, buttery and rich, Béarnaise combines a tangy, slightly tart reduction of white wine, vinegar, shallots, fresh tarragon and lemon juice with hollandaise for a delicious sauce that you can spoon over grilled steak, chicken, fish or vegetables.

It is a side sauce or “daughter” sauce of hollandaise, one of the five French mother sauces, with a herbal flavoring that complements its mother sauce.

Tips for making Béarnaise sauce

If you’re new to Béarnaise sauce, it helps to know the entire game plan from start to finish. Here are some of the niceties.

  • Be sure to finely chop the shallots as they will remain in the sauce.
  • You should cook the reduction until it’s almost, but not quite, dry – there should be a little liquid at the bottom of the pan, but the shallots shouldn’t be swimming in it.
  • Allow to cool until at least lukewarm before stirring into the hollandaise.
  • Clarifying butter strips the butter of its milky solids, making it nearly 100 percent butterfat. With no liquid in the butter, the sauce will be thick and rich.
  • The butter is heated in a microwave, rested for 5 minutes and then microwaved again. At this point the milky solids are at the bottom and the clarified butter can be carefully poured into a clean container, leaving the milky residue behind. You can also do this on the stove. I provide both methods below.

How do you use Béarnaise sauce?

Steak Béarnaise is probably the best-known use of Béarnaise sauce, a dish you might order at a restaurant but certainly not out of the reach of the home cook for a fancy date night chezvous. Steak isn’t the only game in town. Consider spooning it over poached eggs, salmon, chicken, or veggies.

Variations on Bearnaise sauce

  • Tarragon is the Béarnaise’s trademark, but you can add more herbs like chopped parsley, chives, or dill if you want a greener, more herbaceous sauce.
  • For grilled meat or fish, stir in tomato puree to make choron sauce.
  • Add demi-glace and the sauce becomes Sauce Foyot to serve with grilled fish or meat.
  • For a lamb sauce, make Sauce Paloise by substituting mint for tarragon.

Reserve the Bearnaise sauce

Béarnaise sauce is best used immediately. If need be, you can refrigerate and reconstitute for up to 2 days. It will solidify in the fridge.

Break it into chunks and reheat, whisking constantly and vigorously over low heat and removing the saucepan from the stovetop if it seems to be melting too quickly. Place a glass of ice water near the stove and when the sauce looks like it’s starting to separate, add a few drops of cold water.

If it separates, try whipping it into one yolk in a thin stream in a separate bowl. Place in a clean saucepan and gently reheat before serving.

Classic bearnaise sauce

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
15 minutes

total time
25 minutes

up to 8 servings

1 cup sauce


For the tarragon base

  • 1/4 Cup dry White wine

  • 3 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1/4 Cup shallotsvery finely chopped

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh tarragonchopped, shared

for the sauce

  • 8th ounces unsalted butterto dice

  • 3 egg yolk

  • 3 tablespoon water

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juiceor more as needed

  • prize Salttaste


  1. Prepare the tarragon base:

    In a small skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer the wine, vinegar, shallots, black pepper, and 1/2 tablespoon tarragon until most of the liquid has evaporated but the pan is not completely dry. There should still be a tablespoon or two of liquid at the bottom of the pan. Set aside and let cool to lukewarm.

  2. Clarifying and straining butter:

    To clarify in the microwave: In a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup, partially covered with a paper towel, heat the butter on high for 1 minute or until melted. Leave to rest for 5 minutes. Return the melted butter to the microwave and reheat for 1 minute.

    At this point, the butter’s milky solids should have settled to the bottom of the cup. If there is still foam on top, skim it off with a spoon. Place a fine mesh strainer over a clean measuring cup or small bowl. Carefully pour the butter into the cup or bowl, leaving the residue behind. The strainer should catch any bits of cooked milky solids that get into the cup.

    To clarify on top of the stove: In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the foam subsides, the water in the butter has evaporated and the milk solids at the bottom are lightly brown. Gently scoop the pure melted butterfat into a separate container, leaving the milk solids behind. You can also pass it through several layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter. The resulting clarified butter has a slightly nutty flavor.

  3. Boil eggs for the sauce:

    In a small saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, water, and lemon juice for 3 to 4 minutes, or until pale and thick, about the consistency of soft mayonnaise.

    Place the pan over low heat, whisking constantly until the sauce increases in volume, is fluffy, and then thickens until you can see the bottom of the pan through the streaks created by the whisk.

    As you stir, be sure to reach into the bottom corners of the pan where the eggs may cook too quickly. Remove the pan from the stove.

  4. Add butter:

    Stir the warm, clarified butter into the thickened egg yolks, a few tablespoons at a time, until the sauce thickens further and the butter is incorporated, forming an emulsion. This can take between 5 and 8 minutes.

    The final thickness should be soft, light and velvety; not runny or as thick as mayonnaise. You should be able to pour it off the spoon.

  5. Add the tarragon base:

    Stir the tarragon base into the sauce and stir in the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly chopped tarragon. Taste and add a pinch of salt or a little more lemon juice to taste.

nutritional information (per serving)
248 calories
25g Fat
2g carbohydrates
3g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!