smoked salmon eggs benedict

You know what is scary?

Hollandaise sauce.

It’s one of those things. Like baking with yeast and butterflying a chicken that makes a lot of people shake their heads and say, “Uh. I’m not a chef.”

I was afraid. Whenever I thought of hollandaise sauce, I thought it must be so complicated that chefs-to-be have to make it as their final exam in culinary school. I have this vision of an angry French chef yelling at a tiny Audrey Hepburn to, “Whisk! Whisk! Whisk!”

Then I had smoked salmon eggs benedict when we were on vacation this summer and I knew I seriously needed to overcome my fear of hollandaise sauce. For eggs benedict were something I needed in my life on a regular basis.

Plus, I’ve conquered baking with yeast and I can manhandle a chicken with the best of them. Why not take on hollandaise?

And guess what? Turns out hollandaise sauce really isn’t that hard. Just as long as you have strong triceps and a bit of patience, it comes together pretty easily. I was afraid all these years for absolutely nothing.

Hollandaise Sauce

print recipeview recipenutritional info

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter, melted
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dried dill (or 2 tsp. fresh)

Place a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Add egg yolks and whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes, or until eggs are thick, pale yellow and can coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. While constantly whisking, add in butter, a tablespoon at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition until all of the butter is incorporated. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Keep warm over warm water in saucepan until read to use. Whisk well before serving.

Makes enough for about 4 servings of eggs benedict.

Of course, there are a ton of uses for Hollandaise sauce. One of the more common is pouring it over green veggies like asparagus and brussels sprouts. But probably the most famous is eggs benedict.

A crispy English muffin topped with a creamy-yolked poached egg and smothered in Hollandaise sauce? Yes, please!

I fell so deeply in love with the breakfast I had while on vacation, I knew that it had to be my very first meal A.H. (After Hollandaise).

Pulling this together takes a bit of multitasking. You’ll be whisking Hollandaise at the same time you are poaching eggs and toasting English muffins. But you can do it!

First you’ll need to gather a heat-proof bowl that fits well into a saucepan.

Fill up the saucepan with about an inch of water and bring it to a low boil on the stove. Fill up a second sauce pan with water, and add a splash of vinegar.

Add that one to the stove too and bring to a simmer (this one is for poaching your eggs).

Meanwhile, seperate your eggs.

Four yolks into the heat-proof bowl.

Place on top of the simmering water and start whisking.

And KEEP whisking. You’ll be whisking constantly for about 3-4 minutes, or until the yolks get thick, pale and can coat the back of a spoon.

Remove from heat and start incorporating the melted butter. While whisking, add in a spoonful of butter at a time. Whisking well after each addition.

You’ll want to add the whole 1/3 cup of melted butter, a spoonful at a time. It can take a while. Your triceps will be screaming with pain. When you can’t whisk another second, call your Babyface over and ask him to take over.


Whisk in the lemon juice, dill, red pepper and salt. Then stop! You are done whisking.

Thank god.

This can sit over the warm water while you prepare the poached eggs and English muffins. Just give it a little stir every now and again until you are ready to serve.

Onto the poached eggs! Your other saucepan should be at a low simmer now. Break an egg, one at a time, into a small bowl.

Trust me, it is easier to slip these into the water when they are in a small bowl. Gently slide the egg into the simmering water. I normally do two at a time.

Set your timer for 3 1/2 minutes. At about a minute in, gently stir to make sure the eggs aren’t sticking to the bottom. When the timer goes off, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Assembly time! Toasted English muffin.

A layer of smoked salmon.

The poached eggs.

And then the Hollandaise sauce.

Garnish with a little more dill.

And yum.

Babyface said, “Mmmmmmm. Baby did good.”

Mmm, I did do good!


  1. says

    To answer your initial question: I think the scariest thing about hollandaise is its ingredients. But the sauce is so lovely and salmon eggs are my favourite too I don’t often think about how full of fat it is. Better fat than sugar anyway! I love the step by step pics too :-)

    • says

      I think anything that involves eggs scares people sometimes. Especially when it seems like they aren’t getting “cooked”. I know a lot of people are afraid for spaghetti carbonara because they think it is raw egg. Nope! The hot pasta cooks it.

      And I like fat! Fat is healthy. Fat is good for you. Fat keeps you satiated. (I also love sugar. :P)

  2. says

    I have actually never even let myself entertain the thought of making hollandaise sauce. These look just good enough to make me conquer my fear though, and smoked salmon instead of ham, something I also would have never even thought of, these look amazing! I could eat this any time of day!

  3. Suzanne says

    Eggs benedict is my favorite thing to eat for breakfast.Hollandaise is one thing I do make from a packet though because it seems like a very finicky thing to make.Thanks for sharing.They look delicious.I will try this out next time we make eggs benedict.

  4. Jenn says

    That looks delish! My husband made us eggs benedict for the first time a couple of weekends ago. Yumm. But, I think I want to try it with the salmon next time. That looks even better!

  5. says

    Beautiful post! I ran across your blog via Tastespotting and just had to comment. I’m actually in my very first semester of culinary school, and hollandaise is one of the first sauces we learned to make. It scared the crap outta me, too, because I had the same ideas about its difficulty that you did. :-) Your uses sound delicious. We’ve been playing around with it in class, and just wanted to pass on my favorite addition: Combine 1 tsp. minced shallot, 3 tbsp. each white wine vinegar and water, and 2 tbsp. white wine in a small pot or skillet, and reduce down to 1 tbsp. Strain this reduction into your yolks before whisking. The flavor is DIVINE. :-) Cheers!

  6. Kathy L. says

    Just came across your recipe while looking for a smoked salmon benedict recipe to make on Christmas Day while my in-laws are here. This is definitely the one I will use. The Hollandaise sauce scared me, but you made it very easy to understand! I have a question though … how to you manage to get the poached eggs off the paper towels and onto the salmon without breaking the yolks? That part scares me a little bit …
    Thanks for the great recipe!

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