Hollandaise Sauce

The thought of eggs benedict has me salivating, so I looked up some recipes for hollandaise sauce. The recipes say to beat egg yolks and butter together, but I don’t see anything about actually cooking the eggs. Is the sauce supposed to contain raw eggs?

Are you sure you’re reading the recipe correctly? The usual method is to cook the sauce in a double boiler (or lacking that, to put the sauce in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water).

The lemon juice that is generally used will also help the “cooking” along.

Yes, hollandaise is usually done in a double boiler, a metal bowl over simmering water, or straight in a saucepan over direct heat (but this requires a bit of a feel for moving the saucepan around and keeping the sauce from turning into scrambled eggs.) This is the standard approach.

Basically, you’re making an emulsified sauce like a mayonnaise, except instead of using raw egg yolks and oil, you’re using warmed, thickened egg yolks (I’m not sure I’d quite call them “cooked”–the temp the sauce is taken to is about 110-120F) and butter as your base. The key to forming a stable emulsion is not to add too much fat too quickly at the beginning. You want to go a few drops or dabs at a time, whisk until it’s well incorporated and looks like a homogenous mixture, then a few more drops, etc., until you reach about the 1/3-1/2 point, and then you can start adding your fat in greater amounts.

The eggs are not fully cooked in Hollandaise (and not at all in mayonnaise, or in eggnog, for that matter), so if you have reason to worry about this sort of stuff, you can use pasteurized eggs. I have never used these myself, but I hear they’re fine.

Yeah, the steaming over water thing was what I was having trouble with. The way I learned to cook was either throw everything into a boiling pot, or leave it raw. I still don’t really see how an egg can be slightly cooked though. Once it’s cooked, doesn’t it turn into a solid?

If you’re new to Hollandaise, try the blender method. It’s very difficult to screw up (unlike traditional Hollandaise) and is really, really good. There’s also a link on that page to an old-school method of making it.

But yeah, the egg yolks are not fully cooked. They’re more cooked than, say, eggs sunny-side-up, but if you’re worried about raw eggs, skip the Hollandaise.

We do the blender recipe. The butter is hot enough to mostly cook the egg yolks. The trick is to drizzle the butter in REALLY, REALLY slowly. Otherwise, it doesn’t have the right texture.

Hi Grapefruit,

I had the same question about this a while ago and my chef friend told me that I could find pasteurized in the shell eggs at some grocery stores. I have had not problem getting them but I’m not sure what stores you have near you. I use these eggs for lots of homemade stuff like eggnog, mousses, Caesar salad dressing, and of course the poached eggs to go with the hollandaise sauce are safe too when using pasteurized. While most people wouldn’t get too sick from salmonella it could be bad for a young child, an elderly person, a pregnant woman and more b/c anyone who is immune compromised is at risk (think diabetes, chemo/ transplant patients ect.)

Thanks for the information, everyone. I don’t know if the magic bullet imitator I have will work with the blender method. And at any rate, the raw egg (or at least, not fully cooked) part makes me a little queasy. Slightly different question now… has anyone used the packaged mixes? Good substitute or stay away like it’s nuclear waste?

I use the packages and they are fine. I’ve also used the blender method. Hollandaise sauce is one of those things that is too difficult for the payoff, considering the substitutes are fine IMO.

Stay away like it’s nuclear waste. Seriously - Hollandaise is one of those things that are divine when it’s fresh and homemade, and horrible if made out of a package or a jar.

How do you feel about canned gravy? If you’re accepting of canned gravy as a substitute for homemade gravy, you’ll probably be okay with the Hollandaise powder. Me, it’s for emergencies only.

Agree with Athena. Terrible stuff that packaged stuff is.

If you’re worried about the raw eggs, just get the pasteurized ones. Like I said, the eggs in mayonnaise and egg nog aren’t even cooked the slightest.

RE the blender method: if you’re like me and prefer a seriously lemony Hollandaise, zest the lemons into the butter while melting, then pour through a strainer into the blender.

Also, the package can be nice to have on hand if the Hollandaise does start to seperate. Just sprinkle in a bit from the package untilt he ingredients start to pull together. A bit like adding potato starch to a stubborn gravy, only you lose less flavor by using the packaged mix.

I’m on your side. Too much work for a couple of eggs on muffins otherwise.

I do a quick and dirty hollandaise when the gf is not around (she’s French and would be upset if she saw this:))
per serving:
1 tbs butter, melted
1 yolk
1tbs lemon juice

Put ingredients in bowl, zap for a minute and whip. You’ve gotta play with your MW to get the times right but it is super quick and works adequately.

I read an idea for mayonnaise awhile ago that seemed brilliant to me. Most food processors have a little plastic cylinder that you use to push food into the processor through the lid, right? And that little cylinder has a tiny hole in its base, right? So this author said put all your ingredients except the oil in the processor, put the lid and cylinder in place, start it up, and then pour the oil into that cylinder. It’ll drizzle the oil in at a perfect rate, and when the oil’s all gone, poof! Mayonnaise!

I’ve never tried it, but it sounded awesome. Would that work for hollandaise also?

I know about the raw eggs in egg nog and mayo… I just don’t have any of those either! Well, mayo’s kind of hard, but I found a perfectly good vegan mayo substitute. Pricey, but I only use mayo for sandwiches. And I know I can used pasteurized eggs, but salmonella isn’t actually my main concern. I just get squicked out about the raw thing. Oddly enough, I have absolutely no problem eating raw fish…

Anyway, seems like there is no consensus on the packaged mix. I think I’ll just give it a try and see how I like it. I don’t think the restaurant I go to for my eggs benny make the real stuff anyway. Thanks for all your replies and tips!

Just remember to serve the sauce in a chrome-plated vessel.

‘There’s no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise.’


Gadzooks! I can’t decide whether that’s brilliant or nauseating!