Chef John's Béarnaise Sauce


I adore a good hollandaise and couldn't survive without mayonnaise, but if I had to pick an all-time favorite 'aise, it might just be béarnaise. This tarragon-spiked, shallot-infused hollandaise is absolutely perfect with any and all steaks or roasts, especially lean ones.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
55 mins
1 cup



  • 1 cup fresh tarragon leaves, coarsely chopped

  • ½ cup thinly sliced shallots

  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • ½ cup white wine vinegar

  • ½ cup white wine

  • cup water

Compound Butter:

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon

  • 1 teaspoon drained capers

  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter


  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 3 tablespoons tarragon-vinegar reduction

  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon caper-tarragon compound butter

  • salt and cayenne pepper to taste

  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place 1 cup of tarragon, shallots, and peppercorns in a saucepan. Pour in white wine vinegar, white wine, and water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer; stir. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer and reduce liquid to about 3 tablespoons, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain into a bowl through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing tarragon mixture to extract as much liquid as possible.

  2. For compound butter: Place 1/4 cup chopped tarragon and capers in a mortar. Mash with a pestle for about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of cold butter. Mash and pound with a pestle until ingredients are thoroughly combined in a solid mass. Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap; wrap and chill.

  3. For béarnaise sauce: Place egg yolks in a stainless steel (flameproof) mixing bowl; add 3 tablespoons tarragon/shallot reduction; whisk together. Add cold butter cubes. Place bowl over low to medium heat whisking constantly until sauce thickens, as you hold the bowl with a kitchen towel. After butter melts continue whisking; mixture will turn a lighter yellow color after 8 to 10 minutes. When mixture is nice and thick, reduce heat to low and stir in compound butter broken into chunks. Continue whisking. Remove from heat. Season with salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.

    close up view of slice of meat with Béarnaise Sauce served with a potato and fresh herbs on a white plate
    Chef John

Chef's Note:

A sauce made from 75% butter has some advantages, and elevating lean meat is just one of them. This is also excellent on potatoes, vegetables, as well as just about any seafood I can imagine. And as I mentioned in the video, this can be used to make quite the memorable eggs Benedict.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

152 Calories
14g Fat
3g Carbs
1g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 152
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 86mg 29%
Sodium 38mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 91mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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