How to Make Hollandaise Sauce

This hollandaise sauce is as light as it is rich and luxurious — bright, lemony, and full of butter, yes, and yet wonderfully airy. It makes everything it touches taste glorious: Pour it over your eggs Benedict at breakfast, tender spring asparagus at lunch, and scallops at dinner. We’ve even been known to serve it with a pile of well-salted pommes frites. (Take that, béarnaise!)

If hollandaise sounds delicate and hard to pull off, fear not! All you really need is a whisk and a little attentiveness. And if you’re feeling nervous, do a practice run — the worst thing that can happen is you end up with a little extra hollandaise sauce. Oh no, now you’ll have to practice the fries too!

Our tips: Pay lots of attention to your butter. You want it to be melted and warm, but not so hot it will scramble the eggs. Add it slowly rather than all at once, and keep the whisk moving the whole time, so that the butter doesn’t have the opportunity to break the sauce.

Yields: 1 cup

Ingredients for the Hollandaise Sauce

4 pasteurized egg yolks
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cold water
½ cup unsalted butter
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

How to Make the Hollandaise Sauce

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and keep it warm — but not hot.

In a small stainless steel or heatproof glass bowl, beat together the egg yolks, lemon juice, and water with a wire whisk until they begin to froth.

Bring a small pot of water to a gentle simmer, set the bowl on top of it, and continue to whisk.

Slowly pour the melted butter into your egg mixture, whisking continuously so that the eggs do not scramble.

Continue whisking until the butter is thoroughly blended and the sauce is about the consistency of mayonnaise, and take the bowl off the heat.

Whisk in the cayenne and season with salt and pepper.

If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of lemon juice or water, whisk again to combine and keep at room temperature until ready to use, up to 2 hours.