How To Make Bernaise Sauce

Often considered the child of the classic Hollandaise sauce, the Bernaise sauce is a classic butter and egg sauce flavored with a combination of vinegar, pepper, tarragon and shallots. This French sauce is served traditionally with potatoes, roasted meats and fish. Bernaise sauce is quite the classic sauce as it is considered to be one of the five French haute cuisine mother sauces.

The instructions below are quite similar to the famous French cooking school Escoffier’s recipe and could be considered the classic way to prepare the sauce.

These are the ingredients to make a classic Bernaise sauce:

  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • White pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon
  • 1 tbsp fresh chervil
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp dry white wine
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp water

Step 1: In a saucepan, put in the shallots, tarragon, chervil, vinegar, wine and a pinch of salt and white pepper. Simmer in low heat until you get about 2 tbsp of liquid. Let cool.

Step 2: Lightly beat the egg yolks in a bowl. Add in a tablespoon of water and add in the mixture from

Step 3: Put the bowl over simmering water. Keep whisking.

Step 4: Keep whisking as you gradually beat in the melted butter a few drops at a time. Then in a thin stream like the way you do when making Hollandaise sauce.

Step 5: Finish off by adding a half tsp of tarragon and chervil, a pinch of cayenne pepper and the lemon juice.

Warning: Do not allow the sauce to cool!  The sauce will thicken and separate when it does. In the event that this happens, simply drop in a few drops of cold water then whisk again to bring back the consistency.

For this reason it is always advisable that you only prepare the Bernaise sauce within a few minutes of serving the dishes they’re to be used on. Allowing the sauce to cool will ruin the flavor and the appearance of the dish.

Here are a few sites that also have their versions of Bernaise sauce. While the ingredients may vary, the preparation is quite the same. These are a few sites that can offer you great alternatives to making Bernaise sauce:

  • The Food Network. The Food Network’s site has a lot of easy to follow directions and encourages you to experiment with the ingredients.
  • Cooks. This recipe from is quite interesting as it has mayo listed among the ingredients. It could be quite the departure from the traditional Bernaise sauce!
  • The’s recipe for the sauce even comes with time estimates on preparation, cooking and serving. How thoughtful!
  • UkTV. A bit closer to the originators of Bernaise sauce, this English site has quick and easy instructions on creating the sauce.

Cooking is an art form largely ruled by taste, if any of these recipes is not to your liking, simply research online until you find one that suits your taste buds. Have fun!


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