Velvety Bearnaise Sauce Recipe For Steaks (Simple Perfection)

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The Bearnaise Sauce Recipe is perfect for elevating dishes. Keep in mind it’s a creamy blend of herbs and butter. Add a hint of lemon if you’re looking for a richer flavor. On the other hand, if you prefer a milder taste, reduce the tarragon. Research shows that a well-made Bearnaise enhances steak and seafood dishes. I advise using fresh ingredients for the best results. All you need is a little patience and the right technique. Try to follow a trusted recipe and pay attention to the details.

Bearnaise Sauce isn’t just another sauce; it’s an experience. On a recent trip to a quaint European bistro, I was intrigued by a dish glistening with a luscious golden sauce.

My curiosity was further piqued when my Middle-Eastern friend, during a casual visit, raved about the same delicacy. 

Bearnaise Sauce

“You need to try this,” she exclaimed. The problem many face is finding the perfect balance of flavor and consistency.

A chef shared a tip in a bustling restaurant in Paris: “The key is in the precision.” Taking this advice to heart, I ventured to recreate the sauce, adjusting ingredients and techniques. 

The result? A Bearnaise Sauce that’s perfect for any dish. If you’re keen on elevating your culinary game, remember this universal rule: attention to detail makes all the difference.

This guide will give you that restaurant-quality Bearnaise Sauce in your kitchen. All you need is the passion to get it right.

What Is Bearnaise Sauce?

Bearnaise Sauce is a refined version of the classic Bearnaise, a creamy, herb-infused sauce from France. It’s perfect for complementing meats, especially steaks and grilled seafood. 

This sauce is a culinary delight, rich in butter, enhanced with tarragon and shallots, and given a tangy lift with vinegar. On my visit to a renowned European restaurant, the chef emphasized its versatility and ability to transform even simple dishes. 

Keep in mind it’s not just about the ingredients but the technique. When done right, Bearnaise Sauce becomes more than just a condiment; it’s an exquisite experience for the palate.

History Of Bearnaise Sauce 

Bearnaise Sauce draws inspiration from the traditional Bearnaise sauce, a French classic. The original Bearnaise was birthed in the Bearn region of France. While there’s ambiguity around its singular inventor, it quickly became an integral part of French cuisine. 

On a trip to Paris, I learned that chefs often reinvent classics, and Bearnaise Sauce is a testament to this tradition. It represents a more refined or tweaked version of the original. 

Although it’s hard to pinpoint an exact creator for Bearnaise Sauce, its existence speaks of a universal rule in the culinary world: good recipes evolve, adapting to the tastes and techniques of the times.

Interesting Facts About Bearnaise Sauce

  • While the classic Bearnaise is ancient, Bearnaise Sauce is a more modern adaptation, signifying culinary evolution.
  • On a visit to a high-end Middle-Eastern eatery, I was surprised to find this sauce paired with traditional dishes, showcasing its versatility.
  • Bearnaise Sauce is often preferred by chefs for its more balanced flavor profile, making it perfect for diverse cuisines.
  • Research shows that certain variations of Bearnaise Sauce use unconventional herbs, deviating from the standard tarragon.
  • You must use clarified butter to achieve the sauce’s signature silky texture.
  • One of the best things you can do to enhance the sauce is to add fresh, organic herbs.
  • Despite its sophisticated taste, you only need basic culinary skills and patience to master this sauce.
Bearnaise Sauce

What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce?

Bearnaise Sauce, rooted in the French tradition, has seen several regional adaptations as it traveled the globe.

It’s not uncommon to find it spiked with a touch of smoked paprika in Spain. In the Middle East, during a restaurant visit, I was intrigued by the addition of za’atar, lending a unique aromatic twist. 

Italian versions sometimes incorporate fresh basil or oregano for a Mediterranean touch. In Scandinavian countries, dill often becomes a prominent herb, perfect for pairing with fish. 

While in Asia, chefs might add a hint of lemongrass or ginger. These adaptations are a testament to the sauce’s universal appeal and ability to harmonize with diverse palates.

What Will Make You Love This Bearnaise Sauce?

Bearnaise Sauce stands out for its rich depth and impeccable balance of flavors. What’s not to love about a sauce that seamlessly blends the creamy goodness of butter with the aromatic essence of herbs? When you first taste it, the silky texture grabs your attention. 

It’s perfect for drizzling over steaks yet delicate enough for seafood. The sauce’s adaptability became evident during my travels through European bistros and Middle-Eastern cafes. Its versatility is unmatched. 

If you want to elevate a meal, all you need is a dash of this sauce. I advise giving it a try with both traditional and experimental dishes. You’ll get an unparalleled culinary experience, making Bearnaise Sauce an instant favorite.

Bearnaise Sauce

Ingredients List

Butter1/4 cup
Minced onion1 teaspoon
White wine vinegar1 tablespoon
Egg yolks (beaten)2
Heavy cream2 tablespoons
Lemon juice1 1/2 teaspoons
Dried tarragon1 teaspoon
Chopped fresh parsley1 teaspoon
Salt1/4 teaspoon
Dry mustard1 pinch
Cayenne pepper1 pinch

Ingredient Tips 

  • Butter: Always opt for unsalted butter to control the saltiness.
  • Minced Onion: Use fresh onions and mince finely for better texture and flavor.
  • White Wine Vinegar: Using high-quality vinegar can elevate the sauce’s taste.
  • Egg Yolks: Ensure they are at room temperature for smoother blending.
  • Heavy Cream: Fresh cream is best; avoid ones with added preservatives.
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed juice is preferable over store-bought for a vibrant tang.
  • Dried Tarragon: Fresh tarragon can give a more pronounced aroma if available.
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley: Rinse and dry thoroughly before chopping.
  • Salt: Opt for sea salt or kosher salt for a cleaner taste.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Adjust according to your heat preference; a little goes a long way.

What Are The Variations Of Bearnaise Sauce Recipe? 

  • Herb Remix: Besides tarragon, chefs might add chervil or rosemary for a different aromatic touch.
  • Spicy Kick: Some love introducing a dash of hot sauce or extra cayenne for a bolder kick.
  • Citrus Twist: Replacing lemon juice with orange or lime zest offers a unique tanginess.
  • Cream Substitute: Some opt for yogurt or sour cream instead of heavy cream for a lighter version.
  • Vinegar Alternatives: Red wine or apple cider vinegar can be used for a different acidity profile.
  • Exotic Additions: On my travels, I’ve encountered recipes adding a hint of saffron or truffle oil, elevating the sauce to gourmet levels.
Bearnaise Sauce

Recipe Directions

Cooking Method

  • Start by placing the butter in a medium glass bowl.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds on High.
  • Once melted, whisk in the heavy cream, onion, egg yolks, white wine vinegar, and lemon juice until well combined.
  • Season your mixture with tarragon, salt, mustard powder, parsley, and cayenne pepper. Mix until all ingredients are well integrated.
  • Return the bowl to the microwave. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. It’s crucial to pause and stir the sauce every 20 to 30 seconds to ensure even cooking and a smooth texture.
  • Once done, let the sauce rest for about 5 minutes, allowing flavors to meld.

Scaling The Recipe

Scaling a recipe, like the Bearnaise Sauce, requires some considerations to maintain its desired taste and consistency:

  • Consistent Ratios: Always maintain ingredient proportions. If you’re doubling the recipe, double every ingredient. Similarly, for half the amount, use half of each ingredient.
  • Adjust Cooking Time: When scaling up, you may need more time for ingredients to meld properly. Conversely, reduce time when scaling down.
  • Use Appropriate Tools: You might need a bigger mixing bowl or pan for a larger batch.
  • Taste Check: As you adjust the size, it’s crucial to taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
  • Mixing Challenges: Larger batches may present mixing challenges. Ensure thorough mixing for consistency.
  • Storage Considerations: Ensure ample storage space and containers if you’re making a larger batch.
Bearnaise Sauce

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads?

  • Marinade: While traditionally not used as a marinade, its rich flavors can enhance meats, particularly chicken or fish. However, its thick consistency means you might want to thin it slightly with more vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Dipping Sauce: It’s perfect for this! Pair it with grilled vegetables, crispy fries, or fresh bread. The creamy and tangy profile offers a delightful contrast to many foods.
  • Dressing for Salads: While unconventional, you can certainly use it. I advise diluting with a bit of olive oil or vinegar. Its rich, herby profile can complement hearty salads, especially those with grilled chicken or seafood.

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany Bearnaise Sauce?

  • Steaks: A classic pairing, the creamy sauce balances the savory flavors of a well-grilled steak.
  • Eggs Benedict: An elevated breakfast option; the sauce is a luxurious alternative to hollandaise.
  • Grilled Seafood: Whether it’s salmon, shrimp, or scallops, the tangy nuances of the sauce highlight seafood’s delicate flavors.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or root veggies become irresistibly tasty when drizzled with Bearnaise II.
  • Chicken: Grilled or roasted, the poultry benefits from the sauce’s creamy texture.
  • Pork Chops: The herby notes offer a refreshing contrast to the meat’s richness.
  • Potato Dishes: The sauce, whether roasted potatoes or fries, adds a creamy touch.
Bearnaise Sauce

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature Bearnaise Sauce? 

  • Tournedos Rossini: A lavish dish with beef tenderloin, foie gras, and truffles, often complemented by Bearnaise.
  • Grilled Steak: Perhaps the most classic pairing, where the sauce’s richness accentuates the steak’s flavors.
  • Lamb Chops: The herbaceous notes of the sauce balance the distinct taste of lamb.
  • Eggs Sardou: An elegant breakfast dish with artichokes, spinach, poached eggs, and often a Bearnaise drizzle.
  • Grilled Lobster Tail: The sauce adds a creamy contrast to the sweet, succulent lobster meat.

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Bearnaise Sauce Offers?

  • Creaminess: The butter and heavy cream provide a luxurious, velvety texture that feels indulgent.
  • Herbaceous: Tarragon and parsley bring a fresh, green note, offering depth and aroma.
  • Tangy: White wine vinegar and lemon juice impart a bright acidity that cuts through the sauce’s richness.
  • Mild Heat: The cayenne pepper introduces a subtle warmth without overpowering.
  • Umami: The combination of egg yolks and butter lends a savory touch.
  • Slight Bitterness: With its anise-like quality, the tarragon has a hint of bitterness that contrasts the sauce’s creamy elements.
Bearnaise Sauce

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life?

  • Refrigeration: Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate after cooling. It’s best used within 2-3 days.
  • Freezing: It’s not ideal to freeze the sauce as the emulsion can break, leading to a grainy texture upon thawing.
  • Reheating: If reheating, do so gently over a double boiler. Microwaving can cause separation.
  • Shelf Life: Freshly made and kept in the refrigerator, it remains good for up to 3 days. Always check for signs of spoilage before use.
  • Preservatives: The sauce lacks preservatives, so consuming it within the mentioned time frame is essential for the best quality and safety.

What Are The Substitutes For Bearnaise Sauce?

  • Hollandaise Sauce: A classic emulsified butter sauce, it shares a creamy base with Bearnaise but lacks the herbaceous tarragon note.
  • Mustard Cream Sauce: This offers a tangy kick, though it’s milder in herb flavors.
  • Herb-infused Mayonnaise: Blend mayonnaise with tarragon and lemon juice for a cold, creamy alternative.
  • Aioli: A garlic-based sauce with a creamy texture, albeit with a distinct flavor profile.
  • Creamy Tarragon Dressing: While lighter, it retains the signature herb flavor.
  • Lemon Butter Sauce: Simple and tangy, especially suitable for seafood.
  • Creme Fraiche with Herbs: A thicker, tangier option infused with parsley and tarragon.
Bearnaise Sauce

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce?

  • Too Thick: Add a few drops of warm water or lemon juice if your sauce is overly dense. Whisk gently until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Too Thin: If the sauce is too runny, return it to low heat and whisk in an additional egg yolk or more melted butter. This should help emulsify and thicken the mixture.
  • Broken Sauce: If the emulsion breaks and looks curdled, start with a fresh yolk in a new bowl and gradually whisk the broken sauce into it.
  • Temperature: Bear in mind consistent gentle heat is vital. Too much heat can alter the sauce’s consistency.
  • Whisking: Proper and consistent whisking ensures a smooth texture and helps regulate consistency.

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm?

  • Texture and Flavor: Warmth accentuates the sauce’s creamy texture and helps in fully releasing its aromatic, herbaceous notes.
  • Complement to Dishes: It’s often paired with hot dishes like steak or grilled seafood, and a warm sauce complements these dishes best.
  • Viscosity: At a warmer temperature, the sauce retains a pourable, silky consistency, making it perfect for drizzling.
Bearnaise Sauce

Nutritional Values

Bearnaise Sauce is rich in fats from butter and egg yolks, providing energy and essential fatty acids. It also contains minor amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals from the egg yolks and herbs.

What Are The Total Calories In Bearnaise Sauce? 

Estimating the calories for Bearnaise Sauce requires analyzing individual ingredients.

However, a typical serving of Bearnaise sauce, based on its primary components of butter, egg yolks, and cream, can range between 80 to 120 calories per tablespoon, depending on the exact proportions and additional ingredients. 

Dietary Restrictions Of The Bearnaise Sauce

  • Dairy: Contains butter and heavy cream, making it unsuitable for lactose-intolerant and dairy-allergic individuals.
  • Eggs: The presence of egg yolks can be problematic for those allergic to eggs.
  • Gluten-Free: Naturally gluten-free, but always check ingredients for cross-contamination.
  • Vegan: Not suitable due to butter, eggs, and cream.
  • Vegetarian: Suitable for ovo-lacto vegetarians.
  • Low-Fat Diets: High in fats, so not ideal for those watching fat intake.
  • Low-Carb/Keto: Generally acceptable due to low-carb content.
  • Halal/Kosher: Depends on the source and processing of ingredients.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

What Are The Common Mistakes While Making This Sauce?

  • Overheating: Applying too much heat can cause the egg yolks to scramble or the sauce to split. It’s vital to use gentle, consistent heat, preferably a double boiler.
  • Inconsistent Whisking: Not continuously or vigorously enough can prevent proper emulsification, leading to a broken sauce.
  • Cold Ingredients: Using cold egg yolks can cause the sauce to curdle. It’s best to have ingredients, especially eggs, at room temperature.
  • Rushing: Adding butter too quickly can prevent proper emulsification. It should be added gradually, in a steady stream.
  • Skimping on Acidity: Not using enough vinegar or lemon juice can result in a sauce that’s too rich or heavy.
  • Improper Storage: The sauce can solidify or separate if stored for an extended time before serving. It’s best consumed soon after preparation.
  • Overseasoning: Adding too much salt, herbs, or spice can overpower the delicate balance of flavors.

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce?

  • Pasta Mix-In: Stir it into freshly cooked pasta for a creamy twist.
  • Sandwich Spread: Elevate a regular sandwich or wrap with its rich flavor.
  • Veggie Dip: Pair with raw or grilled vegetables for a delicious snack.
  • Egg Scramble: Mix into scrambled eggs for a luxurious breakfast.
  • Potato Topper: Drizzle over baked or mashed potatoes.
  • Soup Enhancer: Add a dollop to soups for added creaminess.
  • Rice Flavoring: Mix into plain rice or grain bowls.
  • Baked Dishes: Use as a topping for casseroles or gratins.
  • Pizza Base: Swap traditional pizza sauce for a creamy Bearnaise layer.
  • Bread Dip: Warm slightly and dip fresh bread.
Bearnaise Sauce Recipe

Special Tools & Equipment Needed 

  • Double Boiler: Essential for gently heating the sauce without direct contact with the flame, preventing curdling.
  • Whisk: For continuous and even mixing to achieve the desired emulsion.
  • Heat-Resistant Bowl: Preferably glass or stainless steel for mixing and heating the sauce ingredients.
  • Thermometer: Helpful to monitor the temperature, ensuring it’s in the ideal range for emulsification.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer: Useful to strain out the minced onion or any accidental eggshell pieces.
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups: For accurate ingredient quantities.
  • Spatula: For scraping and ensuring no sauce is wasted.
  • Airtight Container: Essential for storing any leftover sauce.
  • Microwave (optional): Some recipes use microwaves for heating, but with caution to avoid overheating.

Frequently Asked Questions  

Can I Use Dried Herbs Instead Of Fresh Ones?

Yes, dried herbs can be used, but they have a more concentrated flavor. Typically, you’d use a third of the dried herbs compared to fresh ones. So, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh tarragon, you can substitute it with 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon.

My Sauce Split While Making It. How Can I Fix It?

Don’t panic! Start with a fresh egg yolk in a new bowl and gradually whisk the broken sauce. This method often helps in restoring the emulsion and achieving a smooth sauce.

Can I Make Bearnaise Sauce In Advance?

While Bearnaise Sauce is best served fresh, you can make it a few hours beforehand. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge and gently reheat using a double boiler before serving.

Is There A Dairy-Free Version Of This Sauce?

Traditional Bearnaise contains butter and cream, but you can try using vegan butter and non-dairy cream alternatives. Keep in mind that the texture and flavor might vary slightly.

How Can I Add More Tanginess To The Sauce?

If you prefer a tangier flavor, you can slightly increase the amount of white wine vinegar or lemon juice. However, always add in small increments and taste as you go to ensure the right balance.

Velvety Bearnaise Sauce Recipe For Steaks (Simple Perfection)

5 from 3 votes
Recipe by Lana Rivera Course: Sauces


Prep time


Cooking time




Ferment/Rest Time



Bearnaise Sauce is a luxurious, herb-infused variation of the classic French sauce. Rich in butter and egg yolks, it boasts a creamy texture complemented by white wine vinegar and lemon juice tang. Perfectly paired with steaks and seafood, this sauce elevates dishes with its aromatic tarragon and parsley notes.


  • 1/4 cup 1/4 Butter

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Minced onion

  • 1 tablespoon 1 White wine vinegar

  • 2 2 Egg yolks (beaten)

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Heavy cream

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons 1 1/2 Lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Dried tarragon

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Chopped fresh parsley

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 Salt

  • 0.3 gm 0.3 Dry mustard

  • 0.3 gm 0.3 Cayenne pepper

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation
    Ensure all ingredients are measured and at hand.
    If possible, bring egg yolks to room temperature to prevent curdling.
  • Melt Butter
    Place butter in a medium glass bowl.
    Melt in the microwave for about 30 seconds on High. If you’re not using a microwave, you can melt it over low heat in a saucepan.
  • Combine Ingredients
    Once the butter is melted, whisk in the onion, egg yolks, white wine vinegar, heavy cream, and lemon juice until well combined.
    Season your mixture with mustard powder, tarragon, salt, parsley, and cayenne pepper. Whisk until the ingredients are integrated.
  • Cook the Sauce
    Return the bowl to the microwave.
    Cook for a total of 1 1/2 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remember to stop and stir the sauce every 20 to 30 seconds, ensuring even cooking and preventing curdling or overheating.
  • Rest and Serve
    Once cooked to the desired consistency, remove from the microwave.
    Allow the sauce to rest for a minute, letting the flavors meld.
    Whisk once more before serving to ensure a smooth texture.
    Serve warm alongside your dish of choice.


  • Fresh vs. Dried Herbs: If you have access to fresh tarragon, it can impart a more vibrant flavor compared to dried. However, when substituting fresh herbs for dried, increase the quantity, typically by a factor of three, as dried herbs are more concentrated.
  • Consistency Adjustments: If the sauce becomes too thick upon cooling, it can be gently reheated with a splash of warm water or cream to regain the desired consistency.
  • Alternative Heating: A double boiler on the stovetop works well if you don’t have a microwave. This method allows for gentle and consistent heating, reducing the risk of the sauce separating or curdling.
  • Storing: While best consumed fresh, any leftover sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Gently reheat before using.
  • Dietary Adjustments: Try substituting the heavy cream with half-and-half or milk for a lighter version. However, this may alter the texture slightly.
  • Flavor Variations: Feel free to experiment with additional seasonings such as minced garlic, chervil, or a hint of white pepper to tweak the flavor profile.
  • Pairing Suggestions: This sauce pairs wonderfully, not just with meats but also with roasted vegetables, especially asparagus and Brussels sprouts.
  • Emulsion: Achieving the perfect emulsion is crucial to the sauce’s texture. If it breaks, starting with a fresh egg yolk in a new bowl and gradually whisking in the broken sauce often helps restore the emulsion.

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