Bearnaise sauce is a classic French sauce made with clarified butter, egg yolks, white wine or vinegar and herbs.
It is a light and creamy sauce that is used to enhance the flavor of fish or vegetables.
Although it can be difficult to make correctly at home, the delicious flavors of this unique condiment make it worth the effort.
A good substitute can be used when Bearnaise sauce is not available, either due to difficulty finding ingredients or simply lack of time needed for preparation.
Many readily-available ingredients can provide a flavoring that is very close to Bearnaise sauce.
If you need a quick fix for your recipe but don’t have time to make Bearnaise from scratch, look no further: here are five ideal substitutes for this delicious French classic.
What is Bearnaise Sauce?
Bearnaise sauce is a classic French sauce typically served with steak and other meats.
It’s made with clarified butter, egg yolks, tarragon, shallot, and white wine or vinegar.
Traditionally, it is poured hot over the meat while it rests.
The resulting flavors are creamy, rich, and slightly acidic with herbs from the tarragon or chervil leaves.
Bearnaise sauce is one of the classic “mother sauces” in French cuisine that were created in the 19th century by Chef Simeon Bernard-Leroy.
In addition to being served as accompaniment for meat dishes, it may also be used in sauces for fish and vegetable dishes or as the base for other sauces such as Choron or Maltese Sauce.
It may also be used to add richness to soups or gravies.
Ultimately, Bearnaise sauce adds classic flavor with ease.
How to Make and Serve Bearnaise Sauce
Bearnaise sauce is a classic French sauce made with clarified butter, shallots, tarragon, and white wine vinegar.
It is traditionally served over fish or steak and often accompanies other favorites such as asparagus and potatoes.
The flavour of this rich and delightful sauce pairs nicely with almost any entree.
Making bearnaise sauce may seem intimidating but the process is not difficult if you are familiar with the ingredients involved.
The basic method for making it is to incorporate clarified butter together with a flavored reduction made from shallot, red wine vinegar, tarragon and some seasonings such as black pepper and sometimes even a bit of cayenne pepper.
This mixture should be slowly cooked until thickened and then strained before adding in the final ingredient- melted butter.
Once completed, bearnaise can be served hot or cold over meats or vegetables of your choice.
When using fresh tarragon to make bearnaise, it’s best to plan ahead – tarragon can lose its flavor if held too long before being used in the recipe.
Freshness is key when it comes to making this delicious sauce so make sure all ingredients are at their peak flavor before being added into the mix.
Bearnaise should always be stored in an airtight container in the fridge where it will keep for up to three days or frozen for a few months-be sure to label and date any stored containers for later use.
Whether you’re looking for an easy weeknight meal or an impressive dish worthy of entertaining guests bearnaise is an excellent choice that will never disappoint.
5 Best Bearnaise Sauce Substitutes to Consider
It has a classic flavor profile of butter, lemon juice, and tarragon – which can be hard to replicate.
Fortunately, there are some great substitutes for bearnaise sauce that offer similar flavors and textures for those times when you don’t have it on-hand.
Here are the five best substitutes:
1 – Creamy Hollandaise Sauce
When you’re in need of a Bearnaise sauce substitute, creamy hollandaise sauce is a popular choice.
It’s very similar to Bearnaise sauce, with the same rich flavor that comes from its use of butter and egg yolks.
The one downside is that it doesn’t provide the depth of flavor that Bearnaise does due to its missing flavorings such as tarragon and chervil.
To make up for this, you may want to add a few drops of lemon juice or some herbs to your sauce while cooking.
Creamy hollandaise is quite simple to make, just melting butter and mixing it with egg yolks, hot flavored water or broth, and a pinch of salt and pepper for taste.
You can then spoon the finished product over grilled meats or fish for an appetizing presentation.
2 – Beurre blanc
Beurre blanc is a classic French sauce that’s made from equal parts of butter and white wine vinegar or white wine.
The butter is gently heated with shallots, herbs and lemon juice until thick and creamy.
It can also be flavored with tarragon, basil, chervil or peppercorns for an intense flavor.
Beurre blanc has a rich, buttery flavor that’s slightly acidic, making it an excellent substitute for béarnaise.
Like béarnaise, it can be served over seafood such as steamed fish or lobster tail.
It can also be used to make amazing pan sauces for leg of lamb or pork chops.
3 – Garlic Butter Sauce
The third popular substitute for Bearnaise sauce is garlic butter sauce.
This simple recipe is made by combining melted butter with a generous helping of minced garlic, fresh parsley, and thyme.
If you like, you can also add a dash of white wine or lemon juice to give it even more flavor.
Or, keep it basic with just the garlic and herbs for the perfect creamy accompaniment to steak or potatoes.
Whether you make this sauce from scratch or use a store-bought version, it adds the perfect amount of garlicky richness to your meal for an instant upgrade.
4 – Mayonnaise
Mayonnaise is a great substitute for Bearnaise when you need something creamy and rich.
Many people keep some kind of mayonnaise on hand at all times which makes it an easy, convenient way to get a similar flavor profile quickly.
Use a good store-bought brand, or whip up some fresh homemade mayo if you have the time.
To make it extra special, try adding some herbs or lemon juice for a light, bright tang.
This condiment definitely has its own unique vibe that will help elevate the flavors of whatever you’re making.
Plus, it adds the perfect texture for spreading and dipping – ideal for fish and chips platters or creamy salads.
5 – Vegan Avocado Aioli
Vegan Avocado Aioli is a great vegan alternative to Bearnaise sauce.
To make it, steeds mash together one ripe avocado and one ripe banana in a bowl.
Add five tablespoons of lemon juice and two tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, along with four minced garlic cloves, one minced shallot, and a teaspoon each of Dijon mustard and sherry vinegar.
Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Finally, whisk the mixture until it forms an even paste and serve.
This creamy vegan aioli can be used as a savory dip or spread instead of Bearnaise sauce.
Bearnaise sauce is a delicious and creamy French sauce made with egg yolks, white wine, butter and chervil.
Its flavor is often described as a combination of hollandaise sauce and tarragon.
While it’s delicious, it is one of the five classic French mother sauces, which can be intimidating to make at home.
No matter which substitute you choose, these flavorful options will help create meals that will delight any guest.
With these easy-to-find alternatives, you won’t have to worry about mastering the tricky techniques required for making traditional bearnaise sauce—leaving you more time to enjoy your meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Bearnaise Sauce?
Bearnaise sauce is a French sauce made from clarified butter, shallots, white wine vinegar, tarragon, and other seasonings.
What are some of the best substitutes for Bearnaise sauce?
The best substitutes for Bearnaise sauce are hollandaise, mayonnaise, aioli, béchamel sauce, and mustard sauce.
What are the benefits of using a Bearnaise sauce substitute?
The benefits of using a Bearnaise sauce substitute are that they are often easier to make, more versatile, and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!