While the concepts are simple, the execution of a classic bearnaise sauce can be intimidating. After doing it once, though, you’ll be an old pro and start making this velvety topping for nearly everything.
A close cousin to hollandaise, one of the French mother sauces, bearnaise is a delicious sauce with a creamy texture. It’s an emulsification of egg yolks, seasoned vinegar, and butter. There are 3 steps to ensure you get a rich, thick, and velvety sauce with loads of incredible flavor.
- Infuse vinegar – build the flavor profile with shallots, white wine, and tarragon.
- Emulsify– Vigorously combine the eggs, vinegar, and butter. The emulsion of egg yolks is what makes this traditional sauce incredibly rich and flavorful.
- Thicken – Whisk over a double boiler to thicken.
While this is arguably the best steak sauce, whether drizzled over beef tenderloin, filet, or ribeye, you can use this creamy white sauce to elevate so many dishes from morning meals to evening meats and veggies.
What Is Bearnaise Sauce
Bearnaise sauce is a sort of spinoff on hollandaise. Instead of getting its acidity from lemon juice, it’s balanced by white wine vinegar.
You can use this rich and creamy sauce in lots of ways. Make it a dipping sauce, drizzle it over proteins or veggies, or spread it on sandwiches.
Why You’ll Love Bearnaise Sauce
How can you not fall head over heels for a classic French sauce that’s rich and creamy? This easy bearnaise sauce recipe will have you wanting to make this almost every day of the week.
- Foolproof – This recipe is so easy you’ll want to make bearnaise all the time. Plus, we’ve given all of the reasons why you’re using specific ingredients and techniques.
- Accessible Ingredients – We’ve opted to omit chervil from our recipe because it’s not always easy to find. Instead, we’ve included plenty of tarragon to impart a similar flavor.
- So Many Uses – This versatile sauce can be used to dress up so many dishes, from a fancy filet mignon or morning omelets to burgers or roasted vegetables.
Keep these simple ingredients on hand so you can make this easy sauce any time.
- White Wine – Use any white wine that you like as long as it isn’t too sweet. Any dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are both good choices.
- White Wine Vinegar – This delicate vinegar balances the sauce with its acidity.
- Fresh Tarragon Sprigs – Be sure to chop up one sprig before you start so that it’s ready when you finish the sauce.
- Shallot – Finely chopping the shallot will make it easier to evenly disperse in the sauce.
- Egg Yolks – Yolks give the sauce its incredible creaminess.
- Coarse Kosher Salt – Salt helps to enhance the flavors of the tarragon, wine, and vinegar.
- Ground White Pepper – Using white pepper makes it easy to maintain the light color of the sauce.
- Unsalted Butter – Melt butter on the stovetop or in intervals in the microwave.
What To Serve With Bearnaise Sauce
There’s nearly no end to the ways you can use this savory sauce. Substitute it for hollandaise on eggs Benedict, drizzle it over a perfectly grilled steak or roasted chicken, on microwave eggs or fancy up your baked salmon with it.
How to Make Bearnaise Sauce
This simple sauce is easy to make once you conquer making your double boiler.
- Add white wine, white wine vinegar, shallots, and sprigs of tarragon to a small saucepan and simmer.
- Remove the white wine mixture from the stove and set aside.
- Pour the eggs into a cup that will accommodate an immersion blender and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Blend the egg yolks, salt, and pepper together.
- Cover the top of the cup with a fine-mesh strainer and pour the wine reduction through it into the egg mixture.
- Use the immersion blender to combine the mixture.
- Pour the melted butter in a steady stream into the mixture while continuing to blend.
- Create a double boiler by simmering water in a pot and placing another pot or large bowl over top.
- Pour the sauce into the top bowl and whisk as it warms.
- Once the mixture has thickened, remove it from the stove, gently stir the chopped tarragon into the sauce, and serve.
You probably don’t want to make too many changes if you want this to taste like the classic sauce, but you can switch up in a few ways.
- Vinegar – Instead of white wine vinegar you can use a different variety like distilled white or champagne vinegar.
- Pepper – If you’re not worried about the appearance of the sauce, you can use ground black pepper instead of white pepper.
- Herbs – Add in the traditional chervil, or fold in other fresh herbs.
- Spice – For a sauce with a little heat, shake in a little cayenne pepper.
While we absolutely recommend using bearnaise sauce immediately, you can store it and use it later.
Refrigerator: Once it has cooled to room temperature, store bearnaise sauce for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag.
Freezer: Freeze bearnaise sauce in a resealable freezer bag. Allow it to thaw before reheating.
Common Questions About Bearnaise Sauce
Bearnaise sauce is made from white wine and white wine vinegar and is stabilized by the emulsification of egg yolks and butter. It is often seasoned with both tarragon and chervil.
Bearnaise sauce is a thick, creamy sauce that has a subtle liquorice flavor from tarragon and chervil.
While bearnaise sauce is a variation of hollandaise sauce, the main difference is that bearnaise is slightly more complex than hollandaise. Hollandaise is a traditional French sauce (one of the mother sauces of French cuisine) that is primarily flavored from lemon juice, as well as salt and pepper and other possible additions. Bearnaise not only has acidity from white wine vinegar — it also has the addition of chervil and tarragon.
More Creamy Savory Sauces
Sauces elevate every meal! Here are a few more you might enjoy.
Bearnaise Sauce Recipe
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 4 sprigs tarragon divided
- 1 shallot coarsely chopped
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted (1 1/2 sticks)
- Mince the leaves of one of the sprigs of tarragon. Set aside and discard the stem.
- In small saucepan, combine the white wine, white wine vinegar, 3 full sprigs of the tarragon and shallot. Bring to a low simmer for about 15 minutes, remove from the heat.
- Place the eggs, salt and white pepper in tall, but small cup or bowl that is just a tad wider that the head of an immersion blender. Blend.
- Place a fine mesh sieve over the cup with the egg mixture and pour the vinegar mixture through, pressing out liquids from solids. Discard solids. Blend the egg yolks and vinegar mixture well.
- While blending, slowly pour the melted butter into the egg mixture.
- Simmer water in the bottom pot of a double boiler, place the bearnaise sauce in the top bowl and whisk constantly until it thickens, approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and fold in the reserved minced tarragon.
- Serve hot.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.