You Can Make This Cheater’s Hollandaise Sauce in the Microwave

You Can Make This Cheater’s Hollandaise Sauce in the Microwave
Photo: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Hollandaise sauce can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to making emulsions. Though we have several excellent methods for making a true hollandaise sauce (whether you want to do so on the stove, with an immersion circulator, or using an immersion blender), it’s nice to have a simple cheater option, especially if you find you’re out of eggs, or want something that can be whipped up in under two minutes in the microwave.

This ersatz hollandaise from Duke’s is exactly that. Instead of emulsifying egg yolks with butter and lemon, the iconic Southern mayo company suggests whisking together their mayo with lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and water, then heating it in a microwave set to low power for a minute and a half.

This is a pretty reasonable hack. Mayonnaise and hollandaise are similar sauces. Both are made with emulsified eggs and fat, and using mayo completely sidesteps the whole emulsification issue, because mayonnaise is already completely emulsified, and is itself an emulsifier. Duke’s brand is an even better match, as their mayo is made with yolks instead of whole eggs, giving it a consistency and flavour more similar to hollandaise than whole-egg mayo.

Still, I tried their recipe as exactly as written and found it wasn’t quite right, which makes sense, because it is missing a key hollandaise ingredient: butter.

Though mayo contains fat (oil), it’s the combination of egg yolk, lemon, and butter that gives hollandaise its recognisable flavour. So I added butter (and upped the lemon a tiny amount), and boom — I got a pretty good, very fast hollandaise.

This recipe is forgiving and the sauce is virtually unbreakable, so feel free to play around with it. Add some shallots that have been sautéed in white wine, or a little hot sauce, or smoked paprika, or any thing else you think would taste good in a hollandaise. Just don’t forget the butter. The butter is essential.

Easy Ersatz Hollandaise (slightly adapted from Duke’s)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Duke’s mayo (or other egg yolk mayo)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons water (divided)

Add the first three ingredients and 1 teaspoon of water to a microwave-safe container, and nuke at half power for 45 seconds. Whisk with a fork, then heat for another 45 seconds, or until hot. Add the second teaspoon of water if you want a thinner sauce. Whisk once more and pour it on a Benedict, asparagus, salmon, or anything else you usually pour hollandaise on top of.

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