This silky beurre blanc sauce is easily at the top of my list of favorites. It’s thick and creamy and works well drizzled over anything from steak or salmon to veggies or potatoes.
When translated, beurre blanc literally means white butter. Made with butter, cream, shallots, wine, and an acid like lemon or white wine vinegar, the sauce is lightly simmered before being strained and served.
What is Beurre Blanc Sauce?
Beurre blanc is not one of the original five French “mother sauces,” but some have referred to this simple sauce as the sixth mother sauce.
It is a hot butter sauce made from butter, wine, lemon juice, shallots, and cream and is the base for many other sauces and customizations.
Why You’ll Love Beurre Blanc Sauce
This classic, buttery sauce is so easy to love.
- Simplicity – While it’s a luscious and silky sauce that will elevate any meal, it’s made with simple ingredients and is incredibly easy to make.
- It’s A Great Base – Once you know how to make this “mother sauce” you can easily customize it or use it to make tons of other sauces.
- Elegant – This luxurious sauce is a great way to turn a potentially mediocre meal into a fancy affair.
Keep these easy ingredients around on the regular so you can whip up this sauce whenever you like!
- Dry White Wine – Pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc are both great options in terms of both flavor and affordability. Avoid chardonnay which can be too oaky, and sometimes turns bitter when heated.
- Lemon Juice – Since there are so few ingredients, to get the best results you’ll want to use fresh and high-quality ingredients. Freshly juice the lemons for the best citrus flavor.
- Shallot – Because they are mild, shallots impart only a subtle amount of onion flavor. Avoid using sweet or more pungent varieties so that the onions don’t overpower the delicate sauce.
- Sea Salt – Sea salt offers the cleanest flavor — using other varieties can sometimes result in a metallic aftertaste.
- Ground White Pepper – Using this mild pepper helps to retain the light color of the sauce, rather than dotting it with specks of black.
- Heavy cream – Cream gives the sauce its velvety texture and helps to build the right consistency.
- Unsalted butter – Be sure to use cubed, cold butter. Aim for the best butter you can find, keeping in mind that the quality will definitely affect the flavor.
What To Serve Beurre Blanc Sauce With
Beurre blanc is one of my favorites, so it would probably be easier to give a list of what I wouldn’t put on it! That said, it’s a versatile sauce that pairs well with anything from chicken and seafood (especially white fish) to beef, pasta, and vegetables.
How to Make Beurre Blanc Sauce
The trick to making a good beurre blanc is paying close attention to temperature. Keep it on low to medium heat and continuously stir to prevent the sauce from separating.
Shallots and seasoning add flavor and are filtered out for a silky smooth sauce. If you prefer, you can use an immersion blender to smooth it out. I don’t prefer the texture that the method creates, but you can choose the way that you like best to make it.
- Simmer & Infuse. Add the white wine, lemon juice, and shallot to a small saucepan and bring it to a low simmer, just barely bubbling.
- Season. Add the fine sea salt, white pepper, and cream, keeping it at a super low temperature. Whisk until combined.
- Emulsify. To create an emulsification, you’ll need to slowly combine the butter and blend it with the wine mixture. Slowly whisk in a few of the cubes of butter at a time until fully melted. The sauce will start to thicken and as soon as it does, remove from the pan from the heat.
- Strain. Pour the sauce through a fine sieve to remove large pieces of seasoning or shallot.
- Enjoy. Serve immediately.
If you wind up with a broken sauce (meaning it has separated), whisk vigorously to recombine. This is normal and it will taste the same.
This simple sauce can be modified or dressed up in a bunch of ways.
- Vinegar – While I prefer the light citrusy flavor that lemon imparts, you can substitute white wine vinegar as the acid in the sauce.
- Salt – If using coarse salt, double the amount. If you use salted butter, omit it altogether.
- Herbs – Minced fresh herbs (like tarragon or chives), spices, or bay leaves can be added for extra flavor.
- Red Wine Vinegar – Swap out lemon juice for red wine vinegar and make a beurre rouge (red butter sauce), another classic sauce.
- Compound Butters– Instead of using standard butter, try a flavored butter like truffle butter.
Storage and Freezing
You can easily make this beurre blanc sauce in advance and store it to use when you’re ready.
Make Ahead: Make beurre blanc and store it for up to 24 hours until ready to reheat.
Refrigerator: Store leftover beurre blanc in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Freezer: Freeze beurre blanc for up to 6 months in an airtight container or a resealable freezer bag. To reheat, just return it to the stovetop and warm over low heat.
Common Questions About Beurre Blanc Sauce
If you want a really thick creamy sauce, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch or arrowroot to a small amount of the sauce and then whisk. Add this to the rest of the sauce and whisk again. Beurre blanc isn’t meant to be a super thick sauce.
To make a thicker beurre blanc, gradually add small amounts of additional cream until it reaches the desired consistency.
Beurre blanc does not contain egg yolks which are a core ingredient in hollandaise sauce.
Yes, there is white wine (typically a dry white like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc) in beurre blanc).
Other Savory Sauces
Here are a few more delicious savory sauces to elevate your next meal.
Beurre Blanc Sauce Recipe
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 medium shallot minced
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups unsalted butter cold and cut into cubes
- In a medium saucepan, bring the white wine, lemon juice and shallot to a low simmer.
- Whisk in the fine sea salt, white pepper and cream.
- When barely bubbling, slowly whisk in a few butter cubes at a time until all are added and fully melted. The sauce will thicken. If you don’t keep the temperature low and whisk continuously, the sauce will separate.
- Pour the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove large pieces of seasoning or shallot. Serve immediately.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.