This is a fantastic sauce to have in your culinary repertoire, as it is a great last-minute sauce that works wonderfully well with lots of different things, particularly fish or chicken.


  • 100 ml white wine
  • juice of ½ lemon/1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 small shallots (finely diced)
  • 110 g cold butter (cubed)


  • Place the white wine and lemon juice into a medium sized shallow saucepan with the diced shallots and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce by about a half and then strain the liquid to remove the shallots
  • Reheat the mixture if it has cooled down a little.
  • Next whisk in the butter piece by piece, beating well between each addition until al of the butter has been incorporated into the sauce. I find the best option to do is to beat in the butter whilst taking the pan on and off the heat and this will prevent the sauce from splitting.
  • Season lightly with a little salt and pepper and, if desired, you can add some freshly snipped herbs.
  • Top Tips:
  • Ensure that butter is cold as the cold butter meeting the hot liquid is what causes the sauce to thicken.
  • It is vitally important that you continue whisking at all times when adding the butter to ensure that the sauce does not split.
  • If you wish when you are reducing the wine/shallots etc you could add some bay leaves or black peppercorns for added flavour.
  • If you need to store this sauce for a few minutes before serving, store it in a china teacup or in a glass jug set in a saucepan of warm water.
  • Wholegrain mustard, chopped herbs, capers or diced chorizo can be whisked into the sauce before serving for a varied finish.
  • People often thin this sauce down with a little fish stock or chicken stock.
  • Why not cook some prawns and add them to the sauce to serve over some pan fried fish.
  • For a champagne beurre blanc replace the white wine with some champagne.
  • Beurre Nantais is when you add in some cream to the sauce also.

More by Kevin Dundon:

Find recipes by keyword:

four live french sauces cooking basics