Hollandaise Sauce Runny Causes [2022 Fix]

Is your hollandaise sauce runny? That could be devastating. But just so you know it happens to many, so you are not alone. Hollandaise sauce is made of melted butter, egg yolks, and lemon juice and even the simplest mistake can affect its consistency. Now you might wonder what can cause them to be runny and if there are remedies.

Quick answer: Hollandaise sauce could be runny if too much lemon juice or butter was used in the hollandaise mix, or if the mix wasn’t properly battered. However, the bone of contention is that there are several ways to fix runny hollandaise sauce including using starch, kneaded butter, adding more egg yolks, potato flakes, and other quick fixes.

Hollandaise sauce is one of the easiest and quickest sauces to prepare. They are versatile as they can be paired with just about anything. They can be store-bought, but they taste much better when they are homemade.

Moving on, this article will elaborate on the causes of runny hollandaise sauce and how to fix it.

Reasons Why Your Hollandaise Sauce is Runny

Hollandaise sauce can sometimes require a lot of attention and when care is not properly taken they break or become thin. There are however several reasons why issues like this can occur. 

1. Too much heat

This can cause the egg yolks to be lumpy and the sauce to be of grainy texture. High heat isn’t good for hollandaise sauce; as it might lose its emulsion as fat separates from the egg. And this can end up causing a runny sauce.

2. Too much butter was used in the hollandaise mix

Butter is an essential ingredient when making hollandaise sauce. But when too much butter is added to the mix, it tends to cause the hollandaise sauce to be thin and runny.

Image: Envato Elements

3. Hollandaise mix wasn’t whisked well

Whisking the mix is the toughest part of making a hollandaise sauce especially when you are manually whisking. You might have gotten tired and stopped whisking. You probably didn’t know that properly whisking can help keep runny hollandaise at bay.

4. Too much lemon juice

It is said that too much of something is bad and in this case, too much lemon juice can ruin the consistency of your Hollandaise sauce. When lemon juice or white wine vinegar are not put in the right proportion it might make it difficult for the emulsion to take place in the sauce.

How To Fix a Runny Hollandaise Sauce?

Now that you know the reasons why hollandaise sauce can turn out to be runny, that should serve as a pointer to where the issue is coming from. So what if you added too much lemon juice to your mix or you used too much butter, what should you do?

1. Add more egg yolk

Usually, hollandaise sauce gets its thickness from egg yolks and whisking, not from butter. And since the sauce is already too runny because too much lemon juice or butter was added to it, adding more egg yolk can fix the problem. Just take these steps; 

  • Step 1: Remove the egg yolk from the egg white 
  • Step 2: Beat the York until it is properly set.
  • Step 3: Pour the hollandaise sauce into your mixer or blender and add the egg yolk slowly to the mixture as you whisk. 
  • Step 4: Watch to see if it is thickened enough before adding more egg yolk.
  • Step 5: Ensure to taste the hollandaise sauce to know if you need to add anything else.
Egg yolks on a black bowl
Image: Envato Elements

2. Use Starch 

This is also a good method for thickening hollandaise sauce. Use any kind of starch like cornstarch, potato starch, rice flour, and tapioca flour as they may already be at your disposal. These starches thicken the hollandaise sauce by absorbing the liquid in the mix.

You’ll need to add more heat with this method but be careful so that the heat is not too much. Simply apply these steps;

  • Step 1: Add the starch to water and mix well.
  • Step 2: Put the hollandaise sauce preferably in a Bain Marie.
  • Step 3: When the water has boiled, add the cornstarch mix into the hollandaise sauce, and stir until the sauce has thickened.
  • Step 4: Be sure it’s the consistency you want then it out of the pan.

3. Simmer the hollandaise sauce

This simpler method is done by bringing the hollandaise sauce to a partial boil. It evaporates the water in the sauce and makes the hollandaise sauce thicken.

While using this method you should be sure that the heat is not too much as it could burn the sauce or harden the eggs and when this happens there’s no saving the sauce anymore, you’ll have to make another one. So it’s best to simmer on a very low heat and continue to stir so it doesn’t get burnt.

4. Kneaded butter

Unlike melted butter, kneaded butter is made with butter and flour. And the flour is majorly what’s going to thicken your hollandaise sauce.

You can make kneaded butter by mixing flour and butter. Make a paste with butter and flour, and smoothen it to ensure there are no flour lumps. Then you proceed to make little balls with the kneaded butter and now you can add it to your simmering sauce to achieve the consistency you prefer. 

5. Add potato flakes

Potato flakes like flour starch do a similar job. If you find that you are out of cornstarch or any flour starch and you can improvise with potato flakes sitting around the corner of your kitchen

Potato flakes are dried mashed potatoes that have been prepackaged. Make sure to get one that would throw off the flavor and taste of your hollandaise sauce.

Simmer your sauce and slowly add the potato flakes, one tablespoon at a time until you’re content with the consistency.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you thicken runny hollandaise sauce?

If you have a runny hollandaise sauce on your hands not to worry there are several ways the sauce can be thickened. One of them is by adding flour starch to the mix. Another way is to add more egg yolk. Or you can simmer the hollandaise mix and add kneaded butter or potato flakes to the runny sauce.

What is a good substitute for hollandaise sauce?

There are numerous options you can choose as a substitute for hollandaise sauce. And they are cheese sauce, red wine, bechamel sauce, avocado, choron sauce, bearnaise sauce, and sausage gravy. And all these are great replacements for hollandaise sauce.

How long can hollandaise sauce sit?

Hollandaise sauce is best eaten within 3 hours of preparing it. Although they can be kept refrigerated for 5 days at least, the longer the hollandaise sauce stays the less you enjoy it. What this means is that hollandaise sauces are best enjoyed when they are freshly made.

What is the hollandaise sauce made of?

Hollandaise sauce is made from three main ingredients, whisked egg yolks, melted butter, lemon juice, and seasoning to taste. Although some people white wine vinegar or tarragon vinegar in place of lemon juice others add both together. 


It doesn’t matter how good you are in the kitchen, hollandaise sauce sometimes won’t turn out the way you expect it to due to many reasons.

When an issue like a runny hollandaise sauce occurs it is either caused by overcooking the egg yolk, overheating, using too much butter, or adding too much lemon juice. Sometimes not properly whisking your hollandaise mix can cause this too.

But this issue can be fixed in different ways. To thicken hollandaise sauce you can add more yolk to your mix, use cornstarch, kneaded butter, and potato flakes as a thickener, and simmer your mix.