Beurre Blanc Sauce

Beurre Blanc sauce on salmon

The Spruce

  • Total: 75 mins
  • Prep: 8 mins
  • Cook: 67 mins
  • Servings: 9 servings
  • Yields: 2 1/4 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
434 Calories
46g Fat
1g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 9
Amount per serving
Calories 434
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 46g 59%
Saturated Fat 29g 143%
Cholesterol 122mg 41%
Sodium 46mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 1g
Calcium 18mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Beurre blanc is a simple butter-based emulsified sauce that's great with fish or seafood. When compared to mother sauces such as velouté, which has been around since at least the 1600s, beurre blanc is a relative newcomer (and not a culinary mother sauce). It originated in the 1890s in Nantes, a city in western France close to the Atlantic coast and was originally called beurre Nantes.

According to the legend, a chef named Clémence Lefeuvre (or in some tellings, her assistant) was making béarnaise sauce but forgot to add the egg yolks. Historical anecdotes aside, sometimes folks confuse these two sauces. Béarnaise uses liquid clarified butter, and it is important to keep it warm. With beurre blanc, on the other hand, you use whole butter, and it's important to keep it as cold as possible.

Beurre blanc tastes velvety and rich thanks to butter, but it's also slightly sweet and tangy as well. It pairs beautifully with fish and seafood. Good wines for the reduction include Chablis, sauvignon blanc or chardonnay, but any drinkable dry white will do.

1:22

Click Play to See This Buttery Beurre Blanc Sauce Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 1 pound unsalted butter (cold)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon shallot (finely chopped)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for beurre blanc sauce
    The Spruce
  2. Cut the butter into medium (1/2-inch) cubes and return them to the refrigerator to keep them cold.

    Cubed butter on a platter for beurre blanc sauce
    The Spruce
  3. Heat the wine, vinegar, and shallots in a saucepan over high heat until the liquid boils. Continue boiling until the liquid has reduced down to about 2 tablespoons, about 30 to 40 minutes.

    Heated wine, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan for beurre blanc
    The Spruce
  4. Reduce the heat to low, take the cubes of butter out of the fridge and start rapidly whisking them in, one or two at a time, to the reduction. As the butter melts and incorporates, add more and keep whisking. Continue until you only have 2 to 3 cubes remaining. This process should take about 25 to 30 minutes.

    Whisking in butter for beurre blanc sauce.
    The Spruce
  5. Remove from heat while whisking in the last few cubes, and whisk for a moment or two more. The finished sauce should be thick and smooth.​

    Finished beurre blanc sauce in a saucepan with a whisk
    The Spruce
  6. Season to taste with kosher salt.

    Seasoning beurre blanc sauce with salt
    The Spruce
  7. Traditionally the shallots would be strained out before serving, but doing so is optional. Serve right away. Enjoy!

    Beurre blanc sauce served atop cooked salmon
    The Spruce

Can I Make Beurre Blanc Ahead of Time?

Beurre blanc is really meant to be made and used immediately, but you can make it ahead, with a few caveats.

To make an hour or so before serving: This requires you to keep the sauce warm, which can be a little tricky because too much heat will break it. Keep it over a very low flame and a close eye on it while you are making the rest of the meal, and then whisk in a little stock or cream before serving. Or, if your kitchen is warm enough and you have other burners going, you can simply turn off the burner under your sauce and the ambient heat should be enough to keep it intact, provided you whisk it now and then. If not, add a little cold butter and whisk it in.

To make a day ahead (or for leftover sauce): If you're ok with the fact that the sauce won't really be the same, refrigerate the sauce in a sealed container. It's a warm emulsion and if you reheat it, it will break. Instead, simply scoop out a little bit of cold beurre blanc and put it on hot vegetables or fish. It will still be delicious but more like a compound butter. (Note: this works if you want to freeze leftover beurre blanc, too. Cut off a piece as needed and use it on hot foods.)

Why Did My Beurre Blanc Spilt?

If you make this sauce correctly, it will be thick, creamy, and velvety. If it looks like melted butter, the emulsion has broken. This can happen for several reasons. Either the butter was not cold enough, you added the cubes too quickly, you didn't whisk hard enough, or possibly all three. To fix a broken sauce, simply take it off the heat and whisk in a few chips of ice until the emulsion comes back together.

Recipe Variations

  • For a deliciously luxurious beurre blanc, try making it with leftover Champagne.
  • You can also make a variation called beurre rouge ("red butter"), by substituting red wine and red wine vinegar in the reduction.