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Hollandaise Sauce: A Guide for Beginners

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Combine Egg Yolks and Cold Water
Combine egg yolks and cold water

Combine egg yolks and cold water.

Photo © Danilo Alfaro

Hollandaise sauce is rich, lemony emulsified sauce made with clarified butter and egg yolks. It's important to use clarified butter, because it'll help stabilize your Hollandaise so that it won't separate later.

Here's what you're going to need:

  • 1 cup clarified butter (about 2½ sticks before clarifying). The butter should be warm but not hot.
  • 4 egg yolks (see how to separate eggs).
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (the juice from 1 small lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp cold water
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce), to taste
In addition to what's listed above, you'll also need a saucepan with an inch or two of simmering water, a whisk and a bowl — either glass or stainless steel, but not aluminum.

To begin, combine the egg yolks and the cold water in your bowl. A tablespoon of water will get cold in just a couple of minutes in the freezer.
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