How to make a good Béarnaise Sauce

Béarnaise sauce is simply the best sauce to enjoy with a grilled steak! In the 19th century, the French chef, Auguste Escoffer, devised five basic or ‘mother’ sauces that could be adjusted to make many other sauces. A good example is Béarnaise sauce which is an adjusted Hollandaise sauce. Other popular sauces that are also based on Hollandaise sauce include Bavaroise (with horseradish and thyme), Maltese sauce, flavoured with orange zest and juice and Noisette sauce, made with browned butter.

Béarnaise sauce can be served hot, cold, or warm. As well as being excellent with steak, the sauce is perfect with salmon and chicken too.


  • 1/4 teacup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teacup dry white wine
  • I medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh tarragon (finely chop the leaves, keep the stalks separately)
  • 3 sprigs chervil ( finely chop theleaves, keep the stalks separately. If you don’t have chervil, add the leaves from two more sprigs of tarragon)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 12 5g unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to season


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the wine vinegar, white wine, the herb stems, chopped shallot, and black peppercorns.
  2. Heat the mixture until it simmers, reduce the heat so that the mixture is very gently simmering. Cook for about 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced in volume to two tablespoons.
  3. Carefully strain the liquid into a small bowl using a fine sieve. Squeeze the herb stems to extract all the liquid.
  4. Add the egg yolks and a pinch of salt to the liquid and blend well.
  5. Melt the butter in a small pan over a high heat, stirring constantly. The butter will be foamy. Remove from the heat as soon as the butter has completely melted.
  6. Using a hand whisk, start mixing the vinegar liquid and slowly and steadily add the melted butter as you whisk. The sauce should be smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. Slowly whisk in the chopped herbs. Keep the sauce warm before serving or chill.

    * Please note, that once you have cooled the sauce it will be impossible to re-heat without it separating. To keep the sauce warm, pour it into a serving jug standing in boiling water and keep the temperature of the sauce below 140ºC – otherwise the sauce will separate.