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 Recipe
- 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.
This was a home run on the Chilean Sea Bass. I just wish it was a little more healthy! Thank you for the recipe.
Ari Laing says
A perfect combination! Agree, totally wish beurre blanc could be an every day occurrence, but alas, best saved for special occasions. Glad you enjoyed! xo, Ari
David Regal says
Alright, I’ll just say this, I don’t like extra sauces on my food. I didn’t even make this for myself. I simply asked my girlfriend what she might like with Chilean Sea Bass. She told me she liked a sauce like this.
I don’t care for sea food, so trying to make that, and trying to make this sauce was a new challenge for me, a way to test me.
She used to work at a high end restaurant in Pittsburgh and this was on the list of menu items they served. I followed the recipe and instructions word by word. The sauce not only held up during the prep, but almost 30 minutes later it still held strong. When I served it to her, she absolutely loved it. Said it was even better than the high end restaurant here.
I personally had to try it afterward and it still is not for me, but it didn’t matter. Her pallet is much more refined than mine when it comes to fine dining and I’m happy to simply impress her when I get the chance. For the record I added about a 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. For her it was enough….for me, I probably would have needed another half teaspoon. It was good enough for her to tell me to save the rest.
For that, I give this recipe 5 stars. I’m always looking for ways to up my cooking skills and this one is saved to my favorites now.
Happy I found this recipe because I’d have never considered making this for anyone until now.
Ari Laing says
Thanks for this wonderful feedback, David! I’m so glad your girlfriend loved it, and it sounds like you knocked it out of the park. Well done! xo, Ari
J. P. says
This was exactly what I wanted to go with my salmon. I’ve had it in a few restaurants and love the way it goes with it and with rice.
It was fairly easy to make and came together quickly. I had to sub the white wine vinegar with champagne vinegar.
Will definitely be making this again.
Ari Laing says
Love hearing this, thanks so much! xo, Ari