Classic Lemon Beurre Blanc
One taste of this Lemon Beurre Blanc and you will be spooning it over everything! This classic French butter sauce is both rich and creamy, yet light and delicate all at the same time. Shallots sweat in a butter until soft, then cook with white wine, white wine vinegar, and fresh lemon juice.
The sauce finishes over low heat with a splash of heavy cream and cold butter slowly added. What you’re left with is a beautiful emulsion — a seriously smooth, luscious sauce that is best served over delicate seafood. It is pure elegance and will make you look like a total star in the kitchen! (P.S., you are!)
Ingredients For Beurre Blanc
A classic beurre blanc recipe is made with butter, shallots, white wine, white wine vinegar, and heavy cream. The latter works as a stabilizer to prevent the sauce from separating.
To make a citrus beurre blanc, add fresh citrus juice — in this case, fresh lemon juice! — which gives it a bright flavor! Season the finished sauce to taste with a sprinkle of Kosher salt.
We don’t add pepper to the sauce, but we do season the seafood (the most common accompaniment for beurre blanc sauce) with a good bit of black pep! Also, some lemon beurre blanc recipes call for the addition of lemon zest. Feel free to add it, but we think this recipe is plenty citrus-forward as is. Two tablespoons fresh lemon juice is perfect!
To make a beurre blanc at home, you’ll need a medium saucepan.
How To Make Lemon Beurre Blanc
Making beurre blanc sauce is easy! In fact, the entire recipe is made in a single saucepan. Begin by sweating shallots in a tablespoon of unsalted butter until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Add in the liquid: dry white wine, white wine vinegar, and fresh lemon juice. Reduce the temperature to medium and allow the sauce to thicken and reduce, about 4 minutes.
Pour in a tiny bit of heavy cream, swirl the pan (or use a whisk), then turn the heat down to a low simmer. Finally, you’ll add cold unsalted butter that’s been cut into cubes. Add 2-3 tablespoons at a time, then swirl the pan until the butter has emulsified into the sauce. Repeat with remaining butter until the sauce is rich, creamy, and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, then serve immediately.
Tips So Your Sauce Doesn’t Break!
Nobody wants a broken sauce. Here’s how to make sure it doesn’t happen to you!
- Don’t add the butter too quickly! Allow each cube of butter to melt into the sauce before adding more. We like to add 2-3 tablespoons at a time, but the butter must be cold!
- Keep the sauce at the proper temperature, don’t rush the process. When you add the butter, keep the temperature at low heat, no higher.
- Do not let the mixture come to a boil after adding the butter! This will cause the sauce to separate.
What Do You Serve Beurre Blanc With?
Seafood is the perfect pairing! Salmon, scallops, Chilean sea bass, shrimp, lobster! Really any fish or crustacean is improved upon with a silky smooth lemon beurre black. Chicken works great, too!
Keep the sides simple with sautéed vegetables or some creamy mashed potatoes for soaking up more of the beautiful sauce.
How Long Will Beurre Blanc Keep?
When stabilized with heavy cream, beurre blanc will last for up to 3 days in a fridge, or up to 1 month in a freezer.
Variations on Beurre Blanc
Once you’ve nailed down the method, you can begin to play around with variations. Try adding fresh herbs — you can stir 1 Tbsp of chopped, fresh herbs once the sauce has finished. Fresh dill or chives are excellent with seafood!
Don’t have white wine vinegar? Substitute with other vinegars: red wine vinegar, tarragon vinegar, anything that is light in color (not balsamic). You can also make a beurre rouge by using red wine in place of white wine!
This bright, delicate sauce is truly luscious. Make a beurre blanc sauce once, and we’re fairly confident it will make regular appearances in your kitchen.
If you try this Lemon Beurre Blanc recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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More recipes to try!
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- Weeknight Slow Baked Salmon with Herb Shallot Butter
- Butter Poached Cod
- Chicken Provencal
- How To Make Aioli
Lemon Beurre Blanc
- Small sauce pan
- 9 Tbsp unsalted butter divided, cold, cubed
- 1 medium shallot finely chopped
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice about ½ large lemon
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
- Kosher salt to taste
- Sweat the shallot. Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Add minced shallot and cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add liquid. Pour in ½ cup white wine, 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar, and 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat till the mixture reaches a simmer. Reduce temperature to medium, then let the sauce thicken and reduce, about 4 minutes. Add the heavy cream, stir, then turn the heat down to low.
- Emulsify with butter. Add 2-3 Tbsp of cold, cubed butter. Swirl the pan (or whisk) until the butter has emulsified into the sauce. Repeat with remaining butter. Taste, then season with a pinch or two of Kosher salt, as needed. Serve immediately.