Béarnaise sauce

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Béarnaise sauce
Béarnaise sauce. The basic sauce is smooth; chopped herbs were added to finish it.
Type Sauce
Place of origin Paris, France
Main ingredients egg yolk, clarified butter, white wine vinegar
Cookbook:Béarnaise sauce  Béarnaise sauce

Béarnaise sauce is a sauce made of clarified butter emulsified in egg yolks, white wine vinegar and flavored with herbs. It is considered to be a 'child' of the mother Hollandaise sauce, one of the five sauces in the French haute cuisine mother sauce repertoire.[1] The difference is only in their flavoring: Béarnaise uses shallot, chervil, peppercorn, and tarragon, while Hollandaise uses lemon juice or white wine. Its name is related to the province of Béarn, France.

In appearance, it is light yellow and opaque, smooth and creamy.

Béarnaise is a traditional sauce for steak.[2][3]


The sauce was likely first created by the chef Collinet, the inventor of puffed potatoes (pommes de terre soufflées), and served at the 1836 opening of Le Pavillon Henri IV, a restaurant at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, not far from Paris. Evidence for this is reinforced by the fact that the restaurant was named for Henry IV of France, a gourmet himself, who was born in the province of Béarn.[4]


A Béarnaise sauce is simply clarified butter, an egg yolk, a shallot, a little tarragon vinegar. It takes years of practice for the result to be perfect.[5]

Like Hollandaise sauce, there are several methods for the preparation of Béarnaise sauce. The most common preparation is a bain-marie method where a reduction of vinegar is used to acidulate the yolks. Escoffier[2] calls for a reduction of wine, vinegar, shallots, fresh chervil, fresh tarragon and crushed peppercorns (later strained out), with fresh tarragon and chervil to finish instead of lemon juice. Others are similar.[6] Alternatively, the flavorings may be added to a finished Hollandaise (sans lemon juice). Joy of Cooking[7] describes a blender preparation with the same ingredients. A faux Béarnaise can be produced by adding capers and tarragon to a Hollandaise.[8]

Derivatives of Béarnaise sauce[edit]

  • Sauce Choron is a variation of béarnaise without tarragon or chervil, plus added tomato purée.[9][7] It is named after Alexandre Étienne Choron.
  • Sauce Foyot (a.k.a. Valois) is béarnaise with meat glaze (Glace de Viande) added.[10][7]
  • Sauce Colbert is Sauce Foyot with the addition of reduced white wine.[11]
  • Sauce Paloise is a version of béarnaise with mint substituted for tarragon.[12]


Béarnaise sauce is often referred to as Bernaise sauce, as if it were from Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, which is in no way connected with this sauce or its origins.[13] The sauce's name refers to the Béarn region, a former province now in the département of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, in southwestern France.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The family is sometimes referred to as "mayonnaise sauces" as they are, like mayonnaise, based on the emulsion of an oil in egg yolk.
  2. ^ a b Escoffier: 89
  3. ^ Julia Child
  4. ^ Bearn
  5. ^ Restaurateur Fernand Point (1897–1955) in Ma Gastronomie.
  6. ^ Cookwise, pp.304-5
  7. ^ a b c Joy of Cooking p.359
  8. ^ Cookwise, pp.302-3.
  9. ^ Escoffier: 90
  10. ^ Escoffier: 91
  11. ^ Escoffier: 41
  12. ^ Escoffier: 141
  13. ^ What is Bearnaise sauce? | Cookthink


External links[edit]