smoked salmon eggs benedict, part 3: hollandaise sauce

by Stacy

Hollandaise is often listed as one of the five “mother sauces” in cooking. I would also say it is one of the most delicious sauces in cooking. Kids won’t eat asparagus, broccoli or Brussels sprouts? They will if you cover them in Hollandaise. You can dip the leaves of steamed artichokes in it, or top breakfast hash with it. Just use it sparingly.

Hollandaise sauce isn’t hard to make, it’s just easy to ruin. People tout mixes (ew) or blender versions using melted butter as being easier, but I feel like that just dirties more dishes. All you need is a knife, a saucepan, a whisk, 20 minutes, and this recipe: 3-2-1.

3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 egg yolks
1 stick of butter (cold)

I did not get process photos because I was busy stirring and didn’t have my camera in the kitchen. Sorry!

Separate your eggs. Put the 2 yolks in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and whisk together.

Now to the side, take your stick of cold butter and cut it into tablespoon-sized pats. Stretch your stirring arm, and here we go!

Turn the burner on low — on my crazy stove, I only put it on warm. Add a pat of butter and stir until the butter is completely melted. Then add the next pat of butter. Stir until that pat is melted, and repeat.

It will take a while. You should be able to touch the pan comfortably, that’s how low the heat should be. If the pan gets too hot, the butter will overheat and cook the eggs giving you scrambled eggs and curdled sauce. That is not what we want. If the butter gets too warm, the sauce will start to separate. If that happens, remove the pan from the burner and whisk as fast as you can to try to save your emulsion. Turn the heat down before returning the pan to the burner.

Once all the butter is in, keep on stirring until the sauce thickens. It should be smooth and custard-like. Remove from heat and spoon over everything!

hollandaise sauce

Hollandaise Sauce

Makes enough for 6-8 people’s eggs Benedict, or 4 people’s eggs Benedict plus veggies the next day


  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 eggs yolks
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cold


  1. Place egg yolks and lemon juice in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk to combine. Slice butter into tablespoon-sized pats and set next to the stove.
  2. Turn burner on as low as possible and add butter, one pat at a time, waiting until each pat is totally melted before adding the next. Stir constantly.
  3. When all butter is added, continue stirring over low heat (you should be able to touch the side of the pan comfortably) until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately.
  4. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to a week. To reheat: (in the microwave) Microwave in 5 second bursts, stirring well each time until sauce is smooth. (on the stove) Place in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly until sauce is smooth. Or, spoon cold sauce over hot vegetables and it will melt over them.

Now we can assemble our eggs Benedict!

Slice your biscuit in half, lengthwise. If you made them earlier, you can toast it.

Put a slice of smoked salmon on top (ours came from Costco).

Carefully balance a poached egg on top of that. Cover in Hollandaise sauce.

smoked salmon eggs benedict

These photos are from a round of leftovers, so I put the sauce on cold and let it melt on my hot eggs. Shh.

smoked salmon eggs benedict


As I mentioned a few posts ago, traditional eggs Benedict is half a toasted English muffin, Canadian bacon, a poached egg, and Hollandaise. According to Wikipedia, there are a number of delicious-sounding alternatives.

The biscuits, poached eggs, and sauce can all be made in advance and reheated just before assembly and serving, so don’t think you have to get up at dawn to prepare these for brunch! Serve with a nice citrus salad or juice to combat the richness of the dish.

Just be careful to whom you serve these, or you may find yourself hosting brunch a lot more often…

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