One of the best things in the world is hollandaise sauce. I’m not even kidding. On asparagus, for dipping artichoke leaves, over eggs benedict, or as a sauce for fish (or chicken, or veggies, or whatever). You will lick the plate. Unless there’s company over… in which case you’ll lick the plate in the kitchen as you “do the dishes.” If you’re my husband.

And for such a creamy, tangy, impressive sauce, it’s sure easy to make. But you’d never know it unless someone like me unlocked “the secret” for you. (Or if you’re me, someone like my little sister.) That’s because the people who make it tend to say things like, “Well, it’s really tricky, so…” or, “You have to be so careful because if you blink you’ll get lumps in the sauce.” But they’re lying to you to keep you down.

I promise. It’s easy. Don’t get me started on the “packets” though… that stuff is nasty and gross and gets lumpy if you blink. That is the truth. Real hollandaise is easy and delicious and worth the 2 minutes it takes to make (after your water is simmering).

Is that a long enough intro for something with three ingredients? Thought so.

You’ll need:

  • 3ish tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • a double boiler or a metal or glass bowl over a pot of simmering water
  • a whisk
  • a bowl (not the same one that’s over your pot)

Start with your butter in your double boiler.
How to make hollandaise sauce

Add lemon juice.

How to make hollandaise sauce


How to make hollandaise sauce


How to make hollandaise sauce

Now in another small bowl, you have your egg yolks.

How to make hollandaise sauce

When the butter is melted, you need to pour it very slowly into the egg yolks while whisking. You don’t want to just dump it in and then stir otherwise it WILL get lumpy. This isn’t hard to do, but you can’t do it and simultaneously take a picture. So this picture is of everything whisked together.

How to make hollandaise sauce

Now dump that into the double boiler again.

How to make hollandaise sauce

And whisk for a couple minutes until the sauce thickens and gets glossy.

How to make hollandaise sauce

If it gets a little too thick before you take it off of the heat, you can add a tablespoon or two of the simmering water to the sauce and whisk it in to thin it, or add some more lemon juice.

There you go! Watch for a simple meal idea that uses hollandaise sauce here on Joyful Abode in the next couple days.

Or check out these hollandaise-inclusive meal ideas.

Turkey Burgers and Asparagus with Hollandaise

A Salmon and French Bread Version of Eggs Benedict

Crab Cakes with Poached Eggs, Pico de Gallo, and Hollandaise

Lobster, Mashed Potatoes, and Hollandaise

22 Comments on How to Make Hollandaise Sauce

  1. Chris says:

    Just tried your hollandaise sauce – it’s atrocious. It was way too ‘lemony’.

  2. […] chicken, lemon broccoli salad, lemon olive oil dressing on my salads, lemon pepper on baby carrots, hollandaise sauce on ANYthing. So lemon potato chips sounded blissful to me. And I added pepper for a bit of zing and […]

  3. […] hollandaise was delicious, but he took a super long time to make it!  I love Joyful Abode’s recipe for this, and I make it very often.  His hollandaise sauce was a bit silkier due to the […]

  4. Barefoot and Pregnant in the Kitchen– Week 11 | Joyful Abode says:

    […] going with the lemony stuff. On my menu this week — more lemony potatoes, another artichoke with hollandaise sauce, sauted green beans with olive oil and lemon juice. But I’m starting to be able to eat more dairy […]

  5. Barefoot and Pregnant in the Kitchen–Week 9-10 | Joyful Abode says:

    […] it would be. I want more. Lemon is still good. Maybe I’ll get an artichoke to make this week w/hollandaise. The thing about hollandaise is it’s really packed with good stuff and […]

  6. Barefoot and Pregnant in the Kitchen–Week 8+ | Joyful Abode says:

    […] done that yet. And In n Out. Which I still haven’t gotten. And salmon with lemon juice (or hollandaise sauce!). I’m loving the lemon potatoes I’ve made the last couple of nights. This morning I made fried […]

  7. Clare Roberts says:

    Sorry about the comment before I realized that I didn’t follow the recipe and put in to much lemon juice. I am truly sorry for blaming you I am just under a lot of stress. I redid the recipe with the correct amounts and it was delicious. Thank you so much for your help and again I am truly sorry.

  8. Clare Roberts says:

    I tried making this sauce for my mother’s birthday. This is the last birthday I can celebrate with her before I go off to college. Not only did this sauce taste horrible from the lemon juice, but it made me sick. Other’s should not use this recipe unless they want to ruin someones day.

  9. Jane says:


    I followed this recipe for Fathers Day and it was horrible. The lemon juice completely over powered the sauce. Is your measurement calculations wrong3 3ish Tblsp of butter to two tblsp of lemon? I made it, didn’t taste it first because it looked right and gave it to husband then had myself a taste. OHHH uck. Back to Joy of Cooking for the right recipe.

  10. Chris says:

    I like your recipe….thank you. I have been using it for about 6 months now…slightly modified though.

    I added a pinch of cayenne pepper; which gives it a little snappy twang when mixed with the lemon juice.

    I have also been heating the egg mixture in the double boiler first, and then slowly adding the melted butter from the microwave. Not sure which is easier. Is this like the chicken and the egg sort of thing?

    Thanks again!

  11. […] which is what I made today. Basically hollandaise with minced shallot and garlic and tarragon. How to Make Hollandaise Sauce | Joyful Abode She breaks it down awesomely. Try this NOW! At your earliest convinience. When you taste it, it […]

  12. BigJeff says:

    For those who have trouble tempering the eggs, or just want a stupid simple way to do Hollandaise sauce, there is a trick for making this in a blender I learned from Martha Stewart of all people.

    First, melt the butter in a sauce pan as usual. While it’s melting add the eggs and lemon juice to your blender. When the butter is fully melted, set the blender to low and pour in the melted butter, slowly at first to temper the eggs, then all at once. Blend until it reaches the proper thickness (20-30 seconds).

    You can even melt the butter in the microwave with this technique, but I find a saucepan is usually easier to pour.

    Hollandaise is awesome.

  13. lil_earthmomma says:

    This technique never fails me! Thanks for deconstructing such a seemingly tricky sauce!

  14. lil_earthmomma says:

    This technique never fails me! Thanks for deconstructing such a seemingly tricky sauce!

  15. Amy says:

    This sounds really good, and so simple! But since I'm not eating dairy right now, do you think coconut oil would work as a substitute for butter?

  16. […] in a bowl on the counter. They are amazing for squeezing over chicken or fish, or using to make hollandaise sauce or just sprucing up a glass of water… Putting a splash into some soup gives it a little zip […]

  17. Joyful Abode says:

    Katie, it only looks easy because it IS… enjoy it!

    Tiffany, glad you’re back! 🙂

    Lisa, you’re so welcome. I don’t know how long it will keep because we always eat it all, but I’m sure you could just thin it with some hot water if it gets too thick in the fridge.

    Hannah, isn’t it a shame that hollandaise is such a well-guarded secret? It’s super-easy and that’s why I felt it was imperative for me to make a post on it. 🙂

  18. Hannah says:

    I had NO idea hollandaise was so easy! I’d have started making it a long time ago! I used to use the packets, don’t laugh at me, which also use milk. I made mayo this past week too (mostly just egg and olive oil!), and now I know I can use hollandaise 🙂 Primal eating just keeps getting better! Thanks for the awesome pictures to guide me through.

  19. Lisa says:

    thanks for this! I just happen to have 2 egg yolks left over from making banana bread! How long will this keep?

  20. Tiffany says:

    YUM! Thanks for sharing!

    So sorry I’ve been so absent in visiting 🙂 Catching up on all your yummy recipes!

  21. Katie says:

    Oooh, thanks for this recipe! You make it look so easy. Hollandaise sauce is my favourite food. I could eat it with every meal.
    xx Katie

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