Hollandaise sauce is an easy, classic sauce to make. Its main ingredients are egg yolks, butter, and lemon juice. Usually the sauce is seasoned with salt and pepper, but it can include other ingredients depending on what recipe you use to make it.
It has a distinct creamy and acidic taste. Depending on what seasoning is added to the sauce, it could have other flavors as well.
Using methods to thicken hollandaise sauce should not have an effect on altering the flavor of your sauce, so there are great ways to make sure that your sauce has the right consistency without sacrificing flavor.
Why Does Hollandaise Sauce Need to Be Thickened?
This sauce needs to be thickened to really be of good quality. One of the most notable and recognizable things about hollandaise sauce is its texture.
Having a smooth, creamy texture is important to being able to make the perfect batch of hollandaise sauce.
What Is the Right Texture for Hollandaise Sauce?
The texture of hollandaise sauce is very specific. It needs to be buttery and silky, but light and airy as well. This makes being able to thicken the sauce that much more important. Without the right texture, the sauce just isn’t the same.
Having the right texture is what makes hollandaise sauce a classic. If you aren’t able to get the right texture of your sauce, you will probably need to either try a different method or remake the sauce entirely.
However, there are a few very easy methods you could use to make sure that your sauce is thick enough.
What Is the Best Way to Thicken Hollandaise Sauce?
There are many different ways to thicken hollandaise sauce, and there isn’t necessarily one “best” way to do it. The method you choose to thicken hollandaise sauce will likely depend on what you already have in your pantry.
Using what you have at hand is a great way to learn how to make hollandaise sauce perfectly. Everyone cooks differently, so developing your favorite methods and tricks is a great way to raise your cooking skill.
1 – Boiling
A very simple method to thickening hollandaise sauce is by heating it. While you wouldn’t want to bring it to a full boil, a simmer would work to thicken the sauce.
If you allow the sauce to boil, it could burn, so be careful to watch the pot as you’re heating it.
Simmering the sauce will allow for steam to come up out of the sauce. This steam is water that is being released. With less water in the sauce, it becomes thicker.
Boiling is a great, easy way to thicken hollandaise sauce.
2 – Add Starch
Adding a starch is also a good way of thickening hollandaise sauce. You will probably also have this at your disposal already as part of basic cooking items.
If you add a starch such as flour, rice flour, or tapioca flour, it will help to make hollandaise sauce thicker.
When you add one of these four ingredients to your sauce, it works to soak up the excess water in the sauce. The starches absorb the liquids and swell, creating a thicker texture for the sauce.
The starch grains are not big enough to change the texture of the sauce from its intended creaminess, and will not add a gritty texture either.
Just make sure that if you are adding a flour starch that’s not in the recipe you used to make the hollandaise sauce, add only a small amount at a time. If you add too much flour, it could change the taste of the sauce, and make it too thick.
Once either of these happens, you will have to start the sauce over again.
3 – Add Potato Flakes
This is a similar method to adding starch in the form of different kinds of flour. You are more likely to have flour in your pantry than potato flakes, so you should try using flour before going to the store and buying a new ingredient.
Potato flakes will work in a very similar way to flour starches, since potato is itself a starch. Add a small amount of potato flakes to the sauce at a time. The starches in the flakes will start to thicken the sauce by absorbing any extra liquid.
If you aren’t sure how to find potato flakes, you might be thinking about it too hard. A great way to add potato flakes to thicken your hollandaise sauce is to buy dried mashed potatoes.
Make sure that if you are buying dried mashed potatoes, they come unflavored, or they have a flavor that will compliment your sauce, such as butter.
Adding a flavor of dried mashed potatoes that doesn’t compliment your sauce could throw off the whole taste. You want to make sure that your sauce still tastes like hollandaise sauce.
If you can’t find the right kind of dried mashed potatoes, you’re better off using a different method to thicken your sauce.
4 – Thicken with Butter
Butter is probably already one of the ingredients that your hollandaise sauce recipe calls for. But, if you prepare the butter a certain way, it can help to make your sauce thicker.
Using kneaded butter instead of regular or melted butter will help to thicken sauce. The difference between regular butter and kneaded butter is that kneaded butter is mixed with flour.
The flour in the butter is what will help to thicken the sauce. The starches in the flour will work to soak up any excess liquid in the sauce.
To make kneaded butter, all you have to do is mix butter and flour together. This is very easy to do. You just have to make sure that you have left your butter out to soften enough that you can knead it.
Knead butter and flour together until the mixture has the texture of dough or of a thick paste, and then add it to the rest of your sauce recipe as normal.
Use this method to thicken your sauce if you have already made the recipe before and liked it for its flavor, but had wished that it would be thicker. You probably don’t want to use methods to thicken hollandaise sauce before you finish your recipe, as you could be making the sauce too thick.
Risks of Over-Thickening Sauce
Of course, there is such a thing as making your hollandaise sauce too thick. When you are trying these methods to make your sauce less watery, you should be careful with how much of the various thickeners you are using.
If you put too much of the thickening ingredient in your sauce, it risks changing the taste of it. Most of the thickening options will not alter the flavor so much as dilute it.
If you are spending the time to make your own hollandaise sauce, you will want to make sure that it still has a good amount of flavor.
Adding too much thickener can also give you the wrong texture. Remember that you still want your sauce to be runny. It should still be able to pour or spread over your food, so make sure that you are not making it too thick to use.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.