Sauces, dips, butters

Let’s nail that Béarnaise!

If you are from Denmark, or have ever lived in Denmark, you will know that Danes love sauce. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Denmark came in first place on a list of most sauce eating nations in the world. (And béarnaise sauce would certainly be among the absolute favorites.) If you don’t believe me, try the cruel experiment of serving a good steak with no sauce to a Dane. I promise you the disappointment and disillusionment will be of unforgettable proportions.

It’s hard to say exactly why béarnaise especially has such a dear place in the hearts and bellies of most Danes. But the strong craving for this sauce in particular makes a lot of Danes willing to buy even the most questionable béarnaise lookalike products that really have nothing to do will real béarnaise sauce. But what can you do when you’ve got a craving? Well, here’s the solution with this super easy béarnaise sauce recipe.

It’s actually not that hard getting béarnaise sauce just right, as long as you follow these basic steps. And you do have to be willing to do a bit of arm work as rule no. 1 is, you don’t stop whisking! But look on the bright side, not only is this sauce great for a low-carb diet it will also give you perfectly toned biceps 🙂

Béarnaise sauce (serves 4 – or maybe 2 if you are Danes)


10 oz (250 g) butter

6 tbsp white wine vinegar

6 tbsp white wine (preferably a dry fruity one like Sauvignon Blanc)

4 coarsely chopped shallots

A bundle of tarragon

A small bundle of chervil

4 egg yolks

Lemon juice to taste

Salt and white pepper to taste

A pinch of cayenne pepper (can be left out)


1. First pour the white wine vinegar, the white wine, shallots and the stems from the tarragon into a small saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove at medium to high heat. Let it simmer down till about half the liquid has evaporated. Then set it aside to cool for about half an hour and then pour it through a sieve and discard the solids. Now you have your Béarnaise essence.

2. Now clarify the butter by putting it in a saucepan and gently heating it till it has all melted. Thus the whey separates from the fat in the butter, as the whey will settle at the bottom of the saucepan (so don’t stir). Then you can skim the clarified butter off the top. Don’t worry if you get a little of the whey in the clarified butter, it doesn’t make a big difference in this sauce and that is also why we don’t use a more complicated method to separate the two.

3. Pour the béarnaise essence in a metal bowl together with the egg yolks and heat it in a bain marie. Now whisk the eggs viciously while you add the butter spoonful by spoonful until you’ve used about half the butter. This should prevent the eggs from separating. While still whisking, you can now add the rest of the butter at a bit faster pace. Let the sauce thicken, but don’t heat the sauce too much because the eggs can still separate if you’re not careful. (If the sauce heats up to more than 140 F (60 C) it will for sure separate.)

4. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper if you like, and add the finely chopped tarragon and chervil leaves.


Do you love tarragon as much as we do? Here are a couple of great recipes with this most kingly of herbs:

Creamy chicken tarragon – will give you something like that wonderful béarnaise taste, without making your arms fall off from whisking 🙂

Creamy chicken tarragon with garlic French green beans and baguette

Or, what about this amazing baked brie with pears, nuts, brandy and tarragon?

Baked brie with pears, nuts and tarragon

One Comment

  • Sheree

    Your wonderful sauce just needs a piece of steak (rare) and some home made French fries to set it off!

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