Runny Hollandaise sauce just will not do. That’s one way to ruin your Eggs Benedict or another dish for sure. But how do you thicken it? Well, this is all that you need to do.
So, how do you thicken Hollandaise? You can thicken Hollandaise sauce by adding more butter, more egg yolks, or a thickening agent, such as a starch. Cornflour in particular works well. Equally, you can look to reduce the sauce by continuing to simmer it. Although you do need to be careful with temperature to ensure this sauce doesn’t break or curdle.
So as you can see, you do have several different options.
What you decide to do will depend on perhaps what you have in the cupboard, how much time, and your preferences too.
Nevertheless, there is certainly a right and a wrong way to go about thickening.
And with this particular sauce, it can all go very wrong very quickly.
And there can be no going back once it’s ruined.
It’s not very forgiving.
So let us walk through your options in further detail below to ensure your sauce ends up nice, thick, and still appetizing!
But first, why is your Hollandaise too thin, to begin with?
Why Is My Hollandaise Too Thin?
Hollandaise is typically too thin when not enough butter is used, too much lemon juice/white wine vinegar is used, or the sauce hasn’t been whisked enough. Sometimes it is a combination of the three.
Of course, when making this sauce, you need to be very strategic in mixing the egg yolks and adding the butter.
Fail to do so correctly, or in the right quantities, and you can end up with a sauce runnier than you desire.
And for this particular sauce – it just won’t do.
It needs to be relatively thick in consistency.
So, be sure to follow a recipe to the letter.
Thankfully, if you buy a store-bought or jarred Hollandaise sauce, you shouldn’t encounter any issues with consistency!
What Do I Do If My Hollandaise Is Too Thin?
If your Hollandaise is too thin, you can thicken it with certain additional ingredients, or you can look to simmer it to boil some of the water off.
Below, we will run through each option:
Thickening With Starch or Flour
This is perhaps the most practical, simple, and effective way.
All you need to do is add some starch of your choosing to your runny Hollandaise sauce.
Cornstarch is perhaps the most popular but it is not your only option here either.
You can use white flour, potato starch, rice flour, or even almond flour.
If you do decide to add a thickening starch or flour agent, you will need to turn up the heat a little.
But not too much, or your sauce will curdle.
Step one: Begin by creating a slurry of cornstarch (1:1 ratio of cornstarch to water – mixing them together).
Step two: Then, place the Hollandaise in an appropriate bowl and place it over a bain-marie. Be sure that the bowl is not submerged or is touching the water.
Step three: Once the water is boiling, add the cornstarch/flour slurry in small amounts at a time. Add as much as you need for the consistency you desire.
When it comes to choosing starch for this, I recommend this particular product and brand from Amazon.
I find it easy to work with and it does not change the taste/flavor of Hollandaise in any noticeable way.
Just what you want.
Thicken With More Butter
Butter is a core ingredient of Hollandaise sauce, so it simply makes sense to use more to thicken it up.
However, it is advised to use ‘kneaded butter’.
Kneaded butter is simply butter mixed with some plain white flour.
You basically create a paste and then proceed to add it to your runny Hollandaise sauce, over a bain-marie as discussed above.
Depending on how runny your sauce is will dictate how much-kneaded butter you need – but add a small amount at a time until you reach the consistency you require.
Thicken With More Egg Yolks
Another key ingredient of Hollandaise sauce is egg yolks. So, you can thicken this suce up with the fat and consistency of the egg yolk.
All you need to do is separate an egg yolk and discard the white.
Mix it in the Hollandaise sauce and get whisking!
Again how many egg yolks you need and how long you need to whisk depends on how runny your sauce is, to begin with.
Just be sure that you add your egg yolk while you are warming the sauce over a bain-marie.
It’s also a good idea to give your sauce a taste – you may want to add more butter if your sauce is too thick or the taste is off. Likewise more lemon juice or vinegar may be required.
Thicken By Simmering
The way to thicken the sauce without any additional ingredients, but one that can actually make matters worse if not done properly.
When simmering, you need to ensure that your sauce does not come to a boil.
So, keep the heat low on your stove as you cook over a bain-marie.
You’ll notice that as the sauce remains warm, the water in the sauce will naturally evaporate off in time and the sauce will become thicker.
Just be sure to keep stirring to prevent burning!
Why Is My Hollandaise Not Thickening?
Hollandaise sauce will not thicken if you add too many ingredients at a time. It will also not thicken if the temperature of your bain-marie is too hot, or the ratio of ingredients is off (too much butter to egg yolk).
So, you do need to be patient and mindful with the thickening method you decide to go with.
Take your time, and ensure your ratios and temperature are appropriate.
Remember, a Hollandaise sauce should never be cooked over 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
It should be warm while heating and not boiling.
And at the same time, the ratio of ingredients is key not only to flavor but to consistency too.
While it’s easy to make a runny Hollandaise sauce, it can be a little tricky to thicken it up.
And ultimately, that’s what you want.
It should be buttery, light yet relatively thick, after all.
Thankfully it can be done, and there are various methods that you can use.
That being said, if you have gone to the effort of making Hollandaise sauce, then you’ll want to ensure your hard work does not go to waste during the thickening process.
Besides, you can ruin it.
It’s easily done.
Thickening can reduce the sauce too much, it can be too thick, it can curdle and the flavor can change.
Just bear that in mind.
Proceed with caution and with whatever option you choose, start slowly.
And when adding any ingredients and altering the temperature, remember, less is more.
Want to learn how to thicken other sauces? Then go ahead and check out my other related guides:
- How To Thicken Alfredo Sauce
- How To Thicken Cheese Sauce
- How To Thicken Cream Sauce
- How To Thicken Pesto Sauce
Hi there. I’m Jeremy – a passionate food technologist with several decades in the food industry. With a love for sauces, food, and nutrition, I decided to create WeWantTheSauce. Here I share my experience, knowledge, and recommendations; from ingredients and recipes to storage all the way through to nutrition for every sauce imaginable.