Béarnaise sauce

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Béarnaise sauce
Place of originFrance
Main ingredientsEgg yolk, clarified butter, white wine vinegar

Béarnaise sauce (/bərˈnz/; French: [be.aʁ.nɛz]) is a sauce made of butter, egg yolk, white-wine vinegar, and herbs. It is regarded as a "child" of hollandaise sauce.[1] The difference is only in the flavoring: béarnaise uses shallot, black pepper, and tarragon, while hollandaise uses white pepper or a pinch of cayenne.

The sauce's name derives from the province of Béarn, France. It is a traditional sauce for steak.[2][3]


Legend has it that the sauce was accidentally[dubious ] invented by the chef Jean-Louis-François Collinet, the accidental inventor of puffed potatoes (pommes de terre soufflées),[4] and served at the 1836 opening of Le Pavillon Henri IV, a restaurant at Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The restaurant was in the former residence of Henry IV of France, a gourmet himself, who was from Béarn.[4][5]

Although the sauce is a French invention, it caught on in the Nordic countries in the late 20th century, where it forms a major part of local steak cuisine with steaks and fries,[6] and is occasionally used there as topping on pizza, whether as part of the pizza or as a cold dressing put on afterwards.


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. – Fernand Point [7]

As with hollandaise, there are several methods for preparing béarnaise.

The most common method of preparation uses a bain-marie, whisking to a temperature of 66 °C (150 °F),[8] where a reduction of vinegar is used to acidify the yolks.

Auguste 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.[9]

Alternatively, the flavorings may be added to a finished hollandaise (without lemon juice). Joy of Cooking[10] describes a blender preparation with the same ingredients.


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 water.
  2. ^ a b Escoffier: 89
  3. ^ Julia Child
  4. ^ a b "La sauce béarnaise". 16 May 2015.
  5. ^ "What is Bearnaise sauce? | Cookthink". Archived from the original on 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  6. ^ "Ad libitum: Populære bøfrestauranter inviterer på steak fries og bearnaise" (in Danish). MigogKbh. 21 April 2023. Retrieved 21 June 2023.
  7. ^ Restaurateur Fernand Point (1897–1955) in Ma Gastronomie.
  8. ^ "How to Make Hollandaise | A French Mother Sauce | Stella Culinary".
  9. ^ Cookwise, pp.304-5
  10. ^ a b c Joy of Cooking p.359
  11. ^ Escoffier: 90
  12. ^ Escoffier: 91
  13. ^ Escoffier: 141

External links[edit]