How to fix a broken hollandaise sauce

The picture above shows a hollandaise sauce that’s about to break. Yes, I purposely broke a hollandaise sauce in order to write this post! And I did it with confidence, because I knew how easy it would be to fix. As you can see, the sauce is thick and starting to look shiny on the surface. If your sauce starts to look like this, you can prevent it from breaking by adding a splash of water and whisking to incorporate.

But if you don’t get to it in time and it does break, you’re going to have to fix it. Just follow these simple steps:

How to fix a broken hollandaise

At this point, the sauce is well and truly broken. Transfer the broken sauce to another container, such as a measuring cup, and wash out the bowl or pot you’re making the sauce in.

Next, for every cup of butter in your sauce, add about a tablespoon of water to the bowl you’re using, and then add an equal amount of the broken sauce.

Whisk the two parts together until they’re well combined. As you can see in this photo, the sauce no longer looks “broken,” it just looks like a very thin hollandaise. Which is exactly what it is! From here, keep adding the broken sauce spoonful by spoonful, whisking to incorporate each addition. As you do, the sauce will start to thicken. If it thickens too much and looks like it’s going to break again, add a splash of water to smooth things out. (I had to do so with the sauce for this demo.)

Eventually, once all the broken sauce has been incorporated, you’ll be left with a hollandaise sauce that’s as good as new!

One of the great things about this technique is that it allows you to reheat leftover hollandaise sauce. If you find yourself with too much sauce, refrigerate it promptly. Then, when you want to reheat it, put it in a double boiler, and gently warm it. If there was enough water in it in the first place, it may not break, but if it does, you now know how to fix it.

Has a broken hollandaise sauce ever caused you to despair?

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