Béarnaise sauce

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Béarnaise sauce
Béarnaise sauce with Tarragon garnish.jpeg
Béarnaise sauce, garnished with tarragon.
Type Sauce
Place of origin Paris, France
Main ingredients egg yolk, clarified butter, white wine vinegar
Cookbook: Béarnaise sauce  Media: Béarnaise sauce

Béarnaise sauce (/bərˈnz/; French: [be.aʁ.nɛz]) is a sauce made of clarified butter emulsified in egg yolks and white wine vinegar and flavored with herbs. It is considered to be a "child" of the mother Hollandaise sauce, one of the five mother sauces in the French haute cuisine repertoire.[1] The difference is only in the flavoring: Béarnaise uses shallot, chervil, peppercorn, gherkin and tarragon, while Hollandaise uses lemon juice or white wine. Its name is related to the province of Béarn, France.[2]

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

Béarnaise is a traditional sauce for steak.[3][4]


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. This assumption is supported by the fact that the restaurant was named for Henry IV of France, a gourmet himself, who was born in the Béarn region,[5] a former province now in the department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, in southwestern France.


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 [6]

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[3] 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.[7] Alternatively, the flavorings may be added to a finished Hollandaise (sans lemon juice). Joy of Cooking[8] describes a blender preparation with the same ingredients. A faux Béarnaise can be produced by adding capers and tarragon to a Hollandaise.[9]

Derivatives of Béarnaise sauce[edit]

  • Sauce Choron or Sauce Béarnaise Tomatée is a variation of béarnaise without tarragon or chervil, plus added tomato purée.[8][10] It is named after Alexandre Étienne Choron.
  • Sauce Foyot (a.k.a. Valois) is béarnaise with meat glaze (Glace de Viande) added.[8][11]
  • Sauce Colbert is Sauce Foyot with the addition of reduced white wine.[12]
  • Sauce Paloise is a version of béarnaise with mint substituted for tarragon.[13]

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. ^ "Bernaise" is a frequent misspelling based on the common English pronunciation [ber-neyz] of Béarnaise, not an attempt to associate the sauce with Bern, Switzerland, or any other location.
  3. ^ a b Escoffier: 89
  4. ^ Julia Child
  5. ^ What is Bearnaise sauce? | Cookthink
  6. ^ Restaurateur Fernand Point (1897–1955) in Ma Gastronomie.
  7. ^ Cookwise, pp.304-5
  8. ^ a b c Joy of Cooking p.359
  9. ^ Cookwise, pp.302-3.
  10. ^ Escoffier: 90
  11. ^ Escoffier: 91
  12. ^ Escoffier: 41
  13. ^ Escoffier: 141


External links[edit]