Make This Fancy French Sauce Out of Butter and Water

Make This Fancy French Sauce Out of Butter and Water

Melted butter, without modification or adornment, makes a pretty damn good sauce, but whisking it with a little hot water makes it silkier, clingier, and, surprisingly, creamier. The resulting sauce has a fancy French name—beurre monté—but this simple emulsification can be whipped up by home cooks of any skill level.

What does “beurre monté” mean?

“Beurre monté’ simply means “mounted butter.” The phrase is used to refer to both the technique and the sauce itself, but don’t let the French intimidate you. If you can whisk, you can make this a sauce.

Like mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, and butter itself, beurre monté is an emulsification—a mixture of two immiscible ingredients, one of which is suspended in the other. When butter is melted, its emulsion breaks, but whisking cold butter in hot water stabilizes the emulsion, keeping it creamy and stable while hot.

What can you do with a beurre monté?

Beurre monté is glossy and creamy and makes an excellent finishing sauce, but you can also use it as a poaching liquid for delicate vegetables or shellfish. Just make the sauce, add your food, and let it gently come to temperature in the silky, rich sauce.

Beurre Monté recipe


  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1-2 sticks butter, cut into tablespoons

Bring the water to a boil in small sauce pan, then reduce the heat to low. Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a smooth, uniform sauce forms. Add the remaining butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until all the butter has been whisked in. Keep the sauce warm, but not hot, until ready to use. Heating the sauce above 180℉ will cause it to break.

Toss with roasted vegetables, drizzle on fish, chicken, or steak, or use beurre monté as a poaching liquid for delicate produce or seafood.

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