I wonder if Hollandaise wasn’t created by some sadistic Chef looking for yet another way to torment apprentices, home cooks, and anyone else who dared to desire it. Even though it is essentially mayonnaise, there are about a million things that can go wrong with it.  Meanwhile, there is only one acceptable way for it to come out. It must be thick, it must be creamy, it must be yellow, it must be SAFE.  It must be a certain temp, not too hot, not too cold, you can almost make it break just by looking at it wrong. On the other hand, Sous Vide Hollandaise is delicious.

 Please don’t make me…

Modern chefs have devised a number of passive aggressive rationalizations for not using it. It’s too rich, all those yolks, all that butter; too many places use it, so, nobody makes it any more. Anything to avoid admitting that they want it, but they are just so over jumping through hoops trying to get it to come out. Many “quick and easy” methods have been developed to avoid the endless stirring and worrying and watching.
Most of these shortcuts either don’t work, or, are just as much trouble as the old way. Lots of dirty dishes, extra bowls, boiling water, whips, not to mention tear soaked Kleenex. You can buy it in a can, or even as a powder, both of which bear very little resemblance to the real thing. I had pretty much resigned myself to the idea that it was just one of those things, no way to fake it without noticing the difference.

What can Sous Vide do for me?

Electric whips and hand blenders help you avoid the strain of whipping, but lack of brute strength is not really  the  problem. It’s the ANXIETY that eventually sinks us.  The bane of all cooks, that impatient, nihilistic voice in the back of your mind reassures you that this is NOT gonna come out the way you WANT it to. Since everything other than the real thing is gonna be ersatz anyway, why not make it as simple as possible, and eliminate the most annoying components? I pondered this for a few minutes, and decided to give Sous Vide Hollandaise a shot.


  • 2 egg yolks, or, 1 egg (whole). that’s right. WHOLE.
  • 1 stick of COLD butter. 4 oz, DO NOT MELT.
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (don’t leave this out, it’s part of the chemistry)
  • pinch of salt (you can adjust this later)



  • Preheat your SV vessel to 183F. I’m using the Nomiku Immersion Circulator.


  • I clip a Ziploc quart bag to my Lipavi rack…

ziploc hollandaise

  • 2 egg yolks (or one whole egg), one lemon, and the butter

ziploc hollandaise

  • Squeeze the lemon through a strainer, and everything goes into the bag cold.
  • Add just a pinch of salt.


  • Seal the bag, but, it’s really not necessary to remove all the air, in this case
  • Put the bag in the tank for half an hour


  • Remove, set on the counter and let it rest for a minute, so it’s easier to handle
  • Dump the bag out into a narrow container, like a drink glass so that a stick blender just fits into the bottom.


  • You will see, the butter will be melted on top of what appears to be soft scrambled eggs.  That’s what you want.


  • PULSE, and watch, as the egg on the bottom slowly pulls the butter down into it. DON’T LIFT THE BLENDER UP. Keep pulsing, and then, TILT the blender a little bit to pull the remainder of the butter into the sauce.

Yes! We Have It – Sous Vide Hollandaise


  • If there’s still a little butter on top, you can stir it in with a spoon, and then taste it. It’s going to be hot–about 140F. Serve immediately, or you can keep it, it won’t break until it goes below 120F, although it may get somewhat thicker.

Trouble shooting:

We used to blame humidity, bad ventilation, eggs too old, eggs too fresh, womanhood, and anything else we could think of when this sauce failed.  The fact is, anxiety makes this sauce fail as often as anything else might.  But, there’s hope.  If your sauce separates while you’re blending it, do not discard it.  Set it aside, someplace warm, and, in a few minutes the butter will all float to the top, and everything else will settle to the bottom. add ONE TABLESPOON of hot water, and let it sink, and, then, process again, remembering always NOT to lift the stick blender up. Your result should be a very satisfying Sous Vide Hollandaise.