Béarnaise sauce

Bearnaise sauce
A French classic, béarnaise sauce is a common accompaniment to steak or grilled meat, and is made of clarified butter emulsified in egg yolks and flavored with herbs. Béarnaise sauce differs from Hollandaise sauce as it has tarragon added.
Patience is key here; as with most sauces avoid cooking at too high a heat.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine French
Servings 4


  • 300 g butter
  • 60 ml white wine vinegar
  • 60 ml dry white wine
  • 4 shallots (chopped)
  • a handful of fresh tarragon
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt & white pepper


  • Pull the leaves from the tarragon and set to one side.
  • Put the tarragon stalks in a small saucepan with the vinegar, wine, white pepper, and shallots. Bring the liquid to the boil and then simmer until a third of the liquid remains.
  • Strain the liquid reduction through a sieve into a bowl and allow to cool.
  • Place a bowl over a pan of just-boiled water. Add the eggs yolks to the reduction, and whisk to a pale cream for 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan. When the butter starts to foam, take it off the heat and leave it to stand for a few minutes so that the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan. Strain off the now clarified butter as you don't need the solids.
  • Pour in the butter a little at a time and mix, repeat until all the butter is mixed in – increase your pouring speed once the mixture has emulsified and started to thicken. Keep a little hot water to hand and should the mixture become too thick and look as if it is about to split, a tiny splash of hot water will save the day.
  • When this is done, chop the tarragon leaves and stir them into the sauce along with a seasoning of salt and pepper.
  • Béarnaise sauce should be served warm not hot.
The sauce's name refers to the Béarn region, in southwestern France and was created chef Collinet in 1836.