Classic Bearnaise Sauce Recipe

In case you weren't aware, Bearnaise sauce is a classic recipe that has been around for ages. According to Our Everyday Life, this French sauce recipe came to be in the 19th century in one of the most famous cities in the world, Paris, though the name itself honors the Bearn province in southwestern France. Consisting of butter, white wine vinegar, herbs, and egg yolks, Bearnaise sauce is very popular in France, and it's kind of like the U.S. equivalent of Hollandaise sauce. You can serve it on a variety of things, but most people like to add it to steak.

Recipe developer Catherine Brookes of Blue Sky Eating came up with this quick and easy recipe that pairs well with pretty much any protein. "Bearnaise sauce is one of my favorite pairing with steak and making your own batch at home isn't as difficult as you might think," Brookes raves. "It tastes amazing when made fresh." This sauce is thick, creamy, and buttery, and now you can make a slice of French cuisine right in your own kitchen.

Gather the ingredients to make this classic bearnaise sauce

Every recipe starts with a trip to the store. While you're there, get white wine vinegar, fresh tarragon, shallot, lemon juice, egg yolks, butter, salt, and white pepper. Once you have those things, you can make this classic Bearnaise sauce.

Melt the butter

For this step, you will need a saucepan and the butter. Place the saucepan on your stove and toss in the butter. Crank the heat up to medium and continue cooking the butter until it melts.

Once melted, use a spoon to skim off any white solids that have formed on top of the butter. Then, set it aside to cool.

Mix the vinegar, tarragon, lemon juice, shallots, and strain

In a different saucepan, go ahead and add the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of tarragon, lemon juice, and the chopped shallots. Turn the heat up to medium-high and be sure to stir the mixture frequently. Continue cooking until the liquid is reduced by half.

Then, strain the liquid through a sieve. Be sure to keep the infused vinegar and toss any solids that the sieve catches. 

Prepare a bain-marie

Grab a heatproof glass bowl and place it on top of a saucepan filled with about half an inch of water. This is your bain-marie. Please note that the bowl should not be able to touch the water, but it should sit right above it. Continue heating the water until it begins to simmer.

Toss in the infused vinegar and egg yolks into a glass bowl. Be sure to whisk the mixture constantly as it heats. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Add the butter to sauce mixture

Once the mixture is thick enough, you can remove the pan from heat and slowly drizzle in the butter. Again, you want to be sure to constantly whisk until all the ingredients are combined and the sauce is creamy. The flavor in this sauce is amazing. "It's rich, creamy and herby with flavor from the shallots and tarragon," Brookes notes. 

Add the spices and serve

Add the tarragon, salt, and white pepper to the sauce and whisk one more time to combine.

Then, transfer the contents of the sauce to a bowl and serve as you wish. This classic Bearnaise sauce goes well on a lot of things, and Brookes provides several serving suggestions. "It goes great with steak, chicken or seafood," she says. 

And, if you happen to have leftovers, "you can store it covered in the fridge for up to 3 days," says Brookes.

Classic Bearnaise Sauce Recipe
5 from 37 ratings
This Bearnaise sauce is similar to a Hollandaise sauce with its creamy, buttery, and rich flavors.
Prep Time
Cook Time
classic bearnaise sauce in bowl
Total time: 20 minutes
  • ¾ cup butter
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of white pepper
  1. Add the butter to a saucepan and heat on a medium setting until melted. Use a spoon to skim off any white solids that have formed on the top and set aside to cool.
  2. Add the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the tarragon, the lemon juice, and chopped shallot to the saucepan and heat on a medium-high setting, stirring frequently until the liquid is reduced by about half.
  3. Strain the mixture through a sieve, reserving the infused vinegar and discarding the solids.
  4. Prepare a bain-marie by placing a heatproof glass bowl on top of a saucepan filled with about an inch of water. The bowl should not be touching the water but just sitting above it. Heat until the water is simmering.
  5. Add the infused vinegar and egg yolks to the glass bowl and whisk constantly as it heats. Keep whisking until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly drizzle in the melted butter while whisking constantly, until it has all been incorporated and the sauce is thick and creamy.
  7. Add the remaining tarragon, salt, and pepper, and whisk to combine.
Calories per Serving 757
Total Fat 78.3 g
Saturated Fat 47.0 g
Trans Fat 2.8 g
Cholesterol 551.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 7.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Total Sugars 2.7 g
Sodium 322.3 mg
Protein 7.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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