Basic recipes: Hollandaise
September 6, 2007, 11:55 pm
Filed under: Basics, Opinion, Recipes

Hollandaise header

Excuse the rant, but why do so many cooks find hollandaise so difficult? How many times have I sat down to a Sunday brunch in some new eatery to find some semi-transparent goo dribbling off of my eggs benedict? Well, the answer is too many! So now, I feel I must do my part in combating this perilous plague of horrendous hollis by presenting you with mine own way… The truth about hollandaise!

This recipe was initially shown to me by a wonderful cook I worked under many moons ago (it may even have been my first hospo. job!) and, to this very day, I still use this recipe with very little variation in my own cafe. Now you may say, “sacre bleu! hollandaise must be hand whisked over heat to be “proper” (oh poo poo!) well, my answer is: show me a cook who has time to use the traditional method, and I will show you a cook with too much time on his hands! No, my (by proxy) recipe uses that all time favourite kitchen implement: the stick blender!


  • 5 egg yolks (organic eggs produce a thicker darker yolk which helps to avoid this catastrophe)
  • 1/2 a block (that’s stick for the Americans) of full fat butter (it’s hollandaise, not exactly prime dieting material!)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 1 tsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 1 whole lemon (extracted lemon juice is an option, if you must)

So, pretty simple really. Start melting your butter (re: zap it) and whilst this is going on, place all your ingredients into a cylindrical container. Now, the shape of this container is all important, you need something that will keep all of the ingredients close together whilst blending, but it must also be wide enough to allow your stick blender to get all the way to the bottom. I find a medium sized milk jug seems to do the trick best. So, once your butter has become fully liquid, take your stick blender and start to blend the contents of your container, once combined, pour just a slight drop of the melted butter into your container whilst continuing to blend.

You should hear a slight gurgle as the contents combine, this is good, pour just a little bit more butter into the mix. When you hear this begin to gurgle you should start to pour the butter in in a small but steady dribble. Continue to increase the flow (slowly) until just before you have reached your desired consistency (somewhere around the consistency of p.v.a glue, not a nice thought) but it must be stressed, stop pouring before you reach the solids in the bottom of your butter container (that’s the little white bits of fat), if this goes into your mix; it’s all over!

So there we go, just a few notes though to finish off:

  1. Whole-grain mustard is not 100% necessary (I simply like the taste) and could be substituted for any other ingredient of choice (parsley is quite good, or maybe you could go the opposite route and add fresh garlic?).
  2. Make sure you use your hollis reasonably soon after making it, firstly, it will taste better but, you probably also want to avoid the possible food poisoning that can come with leaving raw eggs out in the open.
  3. Do not refrigerate your hollis! Its melted butter remember? You want it to stay melted.
  4. This is, most obviously, one of the least healthy components to food you could ever hope to come across so, no it doesn’t have the heart foundation tick and no it probably wont help that heart condition either.

As always: practice makes perfect so keep giving this a go until you get it right. At that point it’s just like riding a bike, it will stay with you for the rest of your life!

Till next time…


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

great photo! Great explanations too!

Comment by bea at La tartine gourmande

I’m not exactly sure what a stick blender is but I use a blender [the Waring kind] for a quick version of Hollandaise. My ingredients are basically the same as yours – but everything is done in the blender. I guess my method leaves you open to salmonella risks and I have heard of putting in a bit of hot water with the egg yolks but I don’t worry about it and usually omit the hot water (I’m not alarmed about the raw eggs in my Caesar dressing either…)

Nice site by the way!

Comment by Robert Leedy

@ Bea
Thankyou for your praise. I absolutely love your site also, great photography and who doesn’t love franglish? yours sounds far nicer than some of the French chefs i’ve worked with over the years (you lot are a “passioante” bunch!). Anyway thanks again for the comment – James

@Robert Leedy
I’ve added a link to a stick blender example, they’re pretty useful little gadgets for any quick blending that needs doing. In regards to hot water, I have used hot water before to “revive” a hollandaise that has become too thick whilst blending (poaching water does wonders!) but i’m not sure i’ve heard of it reducing your chances of salmonella poisoning. Water needs to be at least 65 degrees celsius (not sure of imperial measurement) to kill bacteria, the water that comes out of any standard tap will only really reach 40-50 deg. Interesting all the same, Thanks kindly for your comment.

Comment by James

I have been wanting to make some crab cakes but can’t decide what sauce to go with it, but this is great! Thanks for the recipe and the how-to’s.


Comment by Rasa Malaysia

The Real Thing. Thanks.

Comment by DG

Wonderful photo ,and a very explained recipe.I usually use with asparagus.This is my first visit to your blog, but certainly not the last.

Comment by Sylvia

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