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Brown Butter Bearnaise

5 from 1 vote

Adding brown butter to this classic French sauce gives it a richer, nuttier flavour that's to die for!

Written By Brad Archer


Serves 10

10 Minutes




  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp dry white wine
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 3 fresh tarragon sprigs or 2 tbsp dried
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Step 1: Make Brown Butter

Start by making the brown butter. In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. As the butter melts, it will start to foam. Keep cooking and frequently stirring until the butter turns a nutty brown colour and you can smell a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Melting butter in a pan to make bearnaise
  • Brown butter is ready when it turns a deep golden brown colour and emits a nutty aroma. The solids in the butter will also become browned and settle at the bottom. Keep a close eye, as it can go from browned to burnt quickly.

Step 2: Make Reduction

In another small saucepan, combine the vinegar, wine, chopped shallot, and the tarragon sprigs. Bring this to a boil over medium-high heat and let it simmer until the liquid is reduced to about two tablespoons.

Making vinegar reduction in a pan

Step 3: Strain

Strain the reduction into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.


Step 4: Whisk

In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks lightly. Then whisk in the strained reduction.

Whisking egg yolks in a glass bowl

Step 5: Create Sabayon

Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk the egg yolk and reduction mixture continuously until it becomes frothy and doubles in volume. This is your sabayon.

Making a sabayon

Step 6: Add Brown Butter

Begin to add the brown butter slowly, whisking constantly, until all the butter is incorporated. Be sure to leave behind the milk solids at the bottom of the saucepan with the brown butter.

Adding brown butter to a sabayon

Step 7: Season

Remove it from the heat once all the butter is incorporated and the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.


  • Tweak the Herbs Tarragon is the traditional option for flavouring bearnaise but you could try parsley, chervil or thyme
  • Add Warmth A pinch of ground nutmeg or allspice is a great way to give bearnaise a subtle warmth that’s not overpowering


  • In the Fridge Place it in an airtight container where it can last for up to 2 days. Before using again, gently reheat it in a saucepan over low heat.
  • In the Freezer Put it in a freezer-safe container or ice cube tray. It can be kept for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge overnight and gently reheat on the stove, stirring constantly.

Similar Sauce Recipes

Brown Butter Bearnaise Recipe

Brown Butter Bearnaise Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Course: SidesCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Easy


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Adding brown butter to this classic French sauce gives it a richer, nuttier flavour that’s to die for!


  • 200 g 200 Unsalted Butter

  • 3 tbsp 3 White Wine Vinegar

  • 3 tbsp 3 Dry White Wine

  • 1 1 Shallot, Finely Chopped

  • 3 3 Fresh Tarragon Sprigs (or 2 tbsp Dried)

  • 3 3 Egg Yolks

  • Salt

  • Pepper


  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it turns brown and smells nutty. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a separate saucepan, mix vinegar, wine, shallot, and tarragon sprigs. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced to about two tablespoons.
  • Strain the reduction into a bowl, extracting as much liquid as possible, and discard solids.
  • Lightly whisk egg yolks in a heatproof bowl, then whisk in the strained reduction.
  • Place the bowl over simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl. Whisk continuously until the mixture is frothy and doubles in volume.
  • Gradually add the brown butter to the mixture, whisking constantly, avoiding the milk solids.
  • Remove from heat once all butter is incorporated and the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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