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Hollandaise sauce, do you use whole or clarified butter?

There was a time in my life when I made Hollandaise sauce every working day for about five years. In commercial French kitchens we always used clarified butter but at home I cant be bothered to melt the butter and just use whole butter that I've left out to soften.That being said I'm never thrilled with the results of my small batch (1-2 yolks) product.You would think that whole butter would produce a less greasy sauce than straight butterfat. I use sweet butter, lemon juice, water and a dash of Tobasco. Am I missing something?

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  1. Do you do it manually or in a blender? If the latter, you need hot melted butter to cook the yolks. Doesn't matter if whole or clarified as long as it's hot (~212)

    3 Replies
    1. re: rjbh20

      No, I make it in a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.Does the blender Hollandaise get thick enough? I like thick almost like mayonnaise. Do you use whole melted butter or just the butterfat?

      1. re: zackly

        On a blender (mine anyway) it gets very thick -- sometimes barely pourable it it sits a few min. I use whole butter melted int the micro until boiling. Works every time & takes no time or technique

        1. re: rjbh20

          Easter Sunday I decided to make blender Hollandaise .. I thought I'd made it before (success) but now I'm thinking it was mayo that worked well in blender. Anyway, I melted 2 sticks of butter in pan on stove, into blender I put 3 egg yolks. It never thickened. Maybe butter was not hot enough or maybe I poured in too fast. I poured slowly at first but it was spattering out at me.

          I threw it all out. Maybe I'll try again, but the old fashioned way.

    2. I whisk over direct heat in a saucier with 2 yolks and use about 3/4 stick of cold butter (not clarified) a bit at a time into the pan, with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt near the end.

      To get the thickness you want, you might try experimenting with the ratio of yolk to butter.

      1. I use melted butter and the Vitamix.
        Yolks, lemon juice, butter, salt, pepper and maybe cayenne or tarragon.

        4 Replies
        1. re: monavano

          I don't have a Vitamix and do mine over a double-boiler but thumbs up to all ingredients.

          1. re: monavano

            you can't really call it a hollandaise though if you add tarragon , it is really more of a béarnaise at that point.

            1. re: ChefDominick

              I sit corrected. I guess I am a bigger fan of Bernaise. I started using tarragon vinegar years ago and then the herb.

              1. re: Chefpaulo

                ah tarragon vinegar , I can see the easy transition. since a true béarnaise is made with a tarragon reduction, herb and vinegar reduction that is. I love a great béarnaise myself,

          2. I made this the other night only to find out I didn't have any lemon. I used tablespoon of white wine and a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and still got that citrus/acid taste I was looking for.

            Just a shortcut if you are in the mood, but don't have any lemons at home.

            1. I always use whole butter because I like the flavor so much better - and sometimes I brown it a bit.

              What aspect of the sauce are you not satisfied with?

              I've made hollandaise in a double boiler - and in the blender - the blender version can get really thick and, in my opinion, a bit overly whipped - though it's so easy - I'm willing to overlook it - just thin it with a bit of warm water.

              Edit: In both cases, I use melted butter - but not boiling.

              1 Reply
              1. re: harryharry

                Basically the taste. I'm going to try both the blender method & brown butter. That sounds good!

              2. It’s been interesting reading the different threads here on hollandaise. I just made a one-yolk batch my usual way, which never breaks and is hugely lemony, just the way I like it for the Eggs Benedict I whipped up this morning.


                1 egg yolk from a large egg (with chalazae removed)
                1/4 egg white from the egg (whisk egg white lightly to break it up, if necessary)
                1/3 stick of salted butter at room temperature
                1 tbsp lemon juice
                Small squirt of sriracha sauce or dash of cayenne (optional)


                Place all of the ingredients into a 2-qt. Pyrex casserole dish at the same time, sitting over a 1-1/2 qt. saucepan half-filled with hot water. Turn the burner up to HI, and begin to slowly whisk ingredients together. Once the water in the pan sounds like it’s about to boil, turn the burner off. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens, lifting the casserole dish off of the saucepan once the sauce is finished.

                This sauce holds beautifully, and may be zapped in the microwave on a low setting to reheat if necessary, stirring occasionally. I think part of the success of this sauce is the albumin in the egg white holding everything together—an ingredient I’ve never seen in hollandaise sauce recipes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RelishPDX

                  THANK YOU for this hollandaise recipe - I used it tonight, with great results. I put ingredients in a slightly smaller metal pan instead of the Pyrex dish.

                2. I use whole butter almost all of the time and do it according to the recipe in Julia Child's "The Way to Cook."

                  If I'm not just using it for a quick eggs benedict for a weekend brunch, though, I'll occasionally clarify the butter first to get a cleaner tasting sauce for vegetables or fish.

                  If the sauce is greasy, it may not be fully emulsifying or you may need some more lemon to cut the fat. Sounds like some of the suggestions that have already been made would address any emulsification problems.

                  1. If you really really like your one with clarified butter, you can use ghee- Indian clarified butter.

                    Just like you I use clarified butter at the restaurant kitchen but when at home I make it whole butter. A yolk from a large egg, whisked over double boiler and then I add the butter in cubes until well blend well. I use a stick of butter. Yes I like mine really buttery. Then take it of heat, add a squeeze of lemon, season. That's it. Works out fine. Not greasy for sure.

                    1. Chamber sealer + sous vide + whipping siphon = the best, and easiest hollandaise you will ever have. I always use regular butter, never clarified.

                      1. Whole butter. I'm too lazy or too impatient to clarify it.