Of the French “mother sauces,” there are few more intimidating than hollandaise. What is simply an emulsion of egg yolks and butter can go south at a moment’s notice if you get one element wrong. And sometimes, you may want to make eggs benedict and find out that you don’t have lemons to finish the sauce! If you want to learn to make hollandaise sauce without lemon and even how to make it without a blender (and not screw it up!), then look no further — this article is for you.
Making hollandaise sauce without a blender can seem like an impossible task — how do you stop the eggs from curdling? How do you prevent the sauce from breaking? Because I recommend not doing this over direct heat, these mistakes can be easily avoidable — I promise!
So if you want to make a brunch at home and whip up a batch of eggs benedict or florentine but forgot to pick a lemon up at the shop and don’t have a blender to make a more “foolproof” version, then you’ve come to the right place. Here I will tell you how to make hollandaise sauce without a blender and lemon juice while walking you through everything that can go wrong!
Things to Know Before Making Hollandaise
Hollandaise sauce only requires three essential ingredients — egg yolks, butter and an acid of some sort. Most recipes for this French “mother sauce” call for lemon juice but if you want to make a hollandaise sauce without lemon, subbing in white wine vinegar will work just fine and yield just a nice of results.
To make hollandaise sauce without a blender, there are two distinct methods.
The first is known as the direct heat method where you make the sauce in a pan directly over the stove — or on direct heat. There are a number of drawbacks to this, namely that the direct heat will increase your changes of curdling the eggs and running the sauce. Ideally, you need to use indirect heat to adequately and gently cook your hollandaise.
The other method (the one we will be using here) is the double-boiler method. This means that we will cook the hollandaise in a bowl set over a small amount of barely simmering water. The key here is to only fill the saucepan with a scant amount of water to ensure that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
You also want to ensure that the water never comes to a full boil. This gentle heat is essential if you want your best chances at success with this notoriously finicky sauce.
The method that many suggest using when making hollandaise is using a blender. In this method, you slowly stream hot, melted butter while blending the egg yolks. It works like a charm and it is a pretty great way to ensure you have good results, but it is completely possible to make a fantastic hollandaise sauce without a blender.
One thing to keep in mind is to be kind to yourself. I’ve made hollandaise a number of times before and even I can sometimes screw up. In fact, I had intended to write this recipe earlier only to end up curdling the eggs when we were taking the photos!
Heed the late, great Anthony Bourdain’s wise words in his Les Halles cookbook — “you will surely f**k this sauce up. Don’t worry. Just do it again … hollandaise, more than any other sauces, seem to smell fear and uncertainty.”
How to Make Hollandaise Without Lemon & No Blender
So let’s get started with how to make hollandaise without a blender and without lemon juice!
The first step to is to fill a small saucepan with a small amount of water. To ensure that you haven’t put too much in, set the bowl you will be using to mix the sauce over the saucepan to ensure that the water is not touching. Bring the water to a bare simmer over low heat. Make sure it does not boil.
Meanwhile, vigorously whisk your egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until they start to thicken and turn pale yellow in colour. Whisking the eggs initially off the heat sets you up for success immediately as you’re more likely to start to curdle them if you haven’t whisked them at first.
Then, place the bowl over your simmering water and continue to whisk vigorously and constantly until the egg yolks turn a very pale yellow, begin to thicken, and nearly double in volume. This will take about five minutes.
Be very mindful about the temperature of your water at this time and make sure it does not reach a boil — you do not want scrambled egg yolks!
Once you’ve reached this stage, it’s time to start adding your butter. To ensure that you make a stable emulsion, take your time adding the butter and do most of it off heat unless you need to warm the sauce a bit. Make sure to have your butter cut into pieces before you begin making the hollandaise.
Take the bowl off of the heat and, one piece at a time, begin to whisk in your butter. Wait until one piece of butter has been completely incorporated into the sauce before adding another.
This will ensure that you get a strong and stable emulsion. If needed to help incorporate the butter, you can put the sauce on the heat for a few seconds (still whisking constantly!) just to warm up the sauce a bit. Take it off the heat before adding more butter.
Once all of your butter is incorporated, it’s time to stir in your vinegar. If you want to make hollandaise without lemon, white wine vinegar makes a fine substitute. Hollandaise with vinegar tastes just as good and it’s sure to please everyone you serve it to.
Finish your sauce with a little bit of cayenne pepper (for just a kick of heat) and salt to taste. Then serve over poached eggs or drizzle over asparagus.
- 3 large egg yolks
- 125 grams butter, cut into 10 pieces
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Fill a small saucepan with a shallow amount of water -- so much so that the water does not touch a bowl when set over it. Bring the water to a bare simmer over low heat.
- In a medium, heatproof bowl that fits over the saucepan, vigorously whisk the egg yolks until they turn a pale yellow, about 1-2 minutes.
- Set the bowl with the yolks over the saucepan, being careful that the water is not touching the bowl and that the water is not boiling. Whisk the egg yolks vigorously and constantly until they thicken, turn pale yellow and nearly double in volume, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the saucepan and, still whisking constantly, add the butter one piece at a time. Make sure the piece of butter is completely incorporated into the yolks before adding another.
- Once all of the butter is incorporated, whisk in the vinegar and cayenne pepper. Taste to adjust for seasoning, adding a pinch of salt if needed.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 292Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 253mgSodium: 256mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 6g
Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Making an easy hollandaise sauce without a blender or lemon juice does not have to be a daunting or difficult task! Just make sure to take your time and be kind to yourself if you end up making a mistake.
Are you trying to make hollandaise without lemon or a blender? Have any tips or insight? Let me know in the comments!