Beurre Blanc

James Beard

Author and Educator

Originating in the Loire Valley, beurre blanc, literally “white butter,” is a rich butter-based sauce that pairs beautifully with fish, especially salmon, and steamed vegetables. It is supposed that this sauce was created by accident, when a chef, rushed for time while making a béarnaise sauce, forgot to add the tarragon and egg yolks and...voilà beurre blanc!


  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 sticks chilled butter, cut into 24 pieces


Boil the wine, vinegar, and shallots together in a stainless steel saucepan until they are reduced to 2 tablespoons. Add salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat, and, with a wire whisk, beat in two pieces of butter. When this begins to cream, beat in another piece. Continue in this manner, holding the pan over low heat or warm water, until all the butter is added. The resulting sauce will be creamy in color. Do not let it get too hot, or it will separate.

The beurre blanc can be kept warm over a larger saucepan of warm water. Stir it gently with the whisk every few minutes so that it does not separate.


3/4 cup