Classic French Beurre Blanc Sauce Recipe

Classic French Beurre Blanc Sauce Recipe

Discover the creamy, rich flavors of beurre blanc, a classic French sauce that elevates any dish. This versatile butter-based sauce is perfect for seafood, chicken, and vegetables alike.

What is Beurre Blanc?

Beurre blanc, which translates to “white butter,” is a velvety smooth sauce originating from the Brittany region of France. This elegant sauce combines the richness of butter with the bright acidity of white wine and vinegar, creating a perfect balance of flavors.

Unlike its cousin hollandaise, beurre blanc doesn’t rely on egg yolks for emulsification. Instead, it achieves its creamy consistency through vigorous whisking and careful temperature control. The result is a luxurious sauce that’s surprisingly easy to make and incredibly versatile.

Key Ingredients for the Perfect Beurre Blanc

  • Dry white wine: Provides a subtle acidity and depth of flavor. Choose a crisp, unoaked variety for best results.
  • White wine vinegar: Adds a sharp tang that balances the richness of the butter.
  • Shallot: Offers a delicate onion-like flavor that complements the sauce without overpowering it.
  • Butter: The star of the show. Use high-quality unsalted butter for the best flavor and texture.
  • Salt: Enhances all the flavors in the sauce.
  • Pepper (optional): Adds a subtle warmth and complexity to the sauce.

Mastering the Art of Beurre Blanc

Creating the perfect beurre blanc is all about temperature control and constant whisking. Here are some pro tips to ensure success:

  • Use a heavy-bottomed saucepan or saucier to distribute heat evenly.
  • Whisk constantly to maintain the emulsion and prevent hot spots.
  • Manage the heat by moving the pan on and off the burner as needed.
  • Add butter gradually, allowing each addition to melt before adding more.

Beurre Blanc Recipe


  • 1/4 cup (60ml) dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) white wine vinegar, plus more if needed
  • One medium shallot (2 ounces; 57g), finely minced
  • 1 1/2 sticks (170g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pats
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black or white pepper (optional)


  1. In a small saucepan or saucier, combine wine, vinegar, and shallot. Heat over medium heat until simmering. Cook, swirling occasionally, until liquid is almost fully evaporated and only 1 or 2 tablespoons remain.
  2. Begin adding butter a few pats at a time, whisking constantly. Allow each addition to melt and emulsify before adding more. The sauce should look creamy and milky, not broken. Continue this process, adjusting heat as needed to prevent overheating.
  3. Once all butter is incorporated and a stable emulsion has formed, season with salt to taste. If desired, add freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately on warmed plates to maintain the proper temperature and consistency of the sauce.

Serving and Storage Tips

Beurre blanc is best served immediately, but can be held warm for a short time. To keep the sauce warm without breaking, place it in a warm spot or use a warm water bath set to around 110°F (45°C). If the sauce thickens, whisk in a tablespoon or two of warm water to maintain the proper consistency.

Exciting Variations to Try

Once you’ve mastered the classic beurre blanc, experiment with these delicious variations:

  • Beurre Rouge: Substitute red wine for white wine
  • Beurre Citron: Use lemon juice instead of wine and vinegar
  • Herb-infused: Add fresh herbs like tarragon, chives, or dill
  • Spiced: Incorporate a pinch of saffron or curry powder for an exotic twist

With its rich, velvety texture and bright flavor, beurre blanc is sure to become a staple in your culinary repertoire. Whether you’re serving it with pan-seared fish, roasted vegetables, or tender chicken breasts, this classic French sauce will elevate any dish to restaurant-quality status.

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