If you love hollandaise sauce but avoid it because it is “so bad for you” then this Greek Yogurt Hollandaise is about to change your life! Serve it for Easter, Mother’s Day or any special occasion. At only 60 calories per serving, you can even have it for a not so special occasion. I’ll show you how to do it. It’s not as scary as you may think.
The first time I tried making hollandaise sauce with Greek yogurt was last year when I developed this similar recipe for the Dairy Farm Families at Cabot Creamery. One taste of the creamy lemony sauce and I picked up the phone to call my sister to tell her about it. Folks, I developed thousands of recipes over the last sixteen years as a recipe developer, and this was the first time I had been moved to do that. I called her because as a kid my mom served hollandaise sauce with steamed artichokes, and it was my sisters favorite meal ever. She even requested it for her birthday.
Neither my sister or I indulge in it regularly though, because hollandaise sauce is basically just egg yolks and butter (with a little lemon juice) and it’s not exactly considered health food. Hollandaise is more of a occasional special treat.
My mom always made her hollandaise in the blender with a bubbling hot stick of melted butter. Later I learned how to make it in a double boiler when I was on the line at Isabels on the Waterfront. I perfected it when I was at culinary school. I think understanding the science behind it really helps to get good results. I made some mistakes and I have lots to share with you today.
I sat down with a pencil and actually figured out the calorie savings you get by swapping Greek Yogurt in for butter in this hollandaise, and I was shocked. For the whole batch you save 729 calories, which works out to be a savings of 91 calories per 2 tablespoon serving! Amazing! Now maybe it can go from being an occasional treat, to a go-to way to jazz up veggies.
I was reminded that I needed to share this technique with you when a reader recently asked about swapping in Greek Yogurt in a recipe. As you know, I am all about that, but it isn’t always a fool proof venture. In the case of this hollandaise sauce, you’ll need to keep a couple things in mind to ensure the most creamy results.
How to make Greek Yogurt Hollandaise
- Set Up A Double Boiler. A double boiler is a two part pot that holds boiling water in the lower chamber and you can place your food in the upper chamber. They’re often used to melt chocolate or cook egg sauces (like lemon curd or 7-minute frosting) because cooking over the steam prevents the delicate egg or chocolate from getting too hot. I don’t own a double boiler, and pretty much every single restaurant that I have cooked in didn’t either, so what I do is I bring an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Then I use a medium metal bowl on top to improvise the double boiler. When choosing your bowl, make sure to pick one that isn’t huge. If the edges overhang the pot, it’ll get too hot, and the egg will cook along the edges. But you do want to have a little lip sticking up to be able to pick the bowl off the saucepan with a pot-holder to allow the steam to escape periodically.
- Egg yolks have lecithin in them which is an emulsifier. This is responsible for creating the emulsion of the fat (butter) and the liquid (lemon juice.) One yolk will hold a shocking amount of fat if the fat is slowly incorporated into the yolk. For hollandaise sauce, the yolk and liquid are cooked until they are thick. You do not need the white, because it doesn’t have any magical emulsifying powers and the proteins in whites denature at a lower temperature, so your hollandaise would end up lumpy.
- Before you start cooking your yolk, make sure the butter is melted. I always use unsalted butter because then I can control how much salt is added at the end. Note: You want the butter ready to go because the egg cooks fast, and you won’t be able to walk away from it.
- Whisk your egg yolks and lemon in the bowl before setting it on the steam. Don’t put the bowl on the steam first or it will get too hot, and cook the egg when the egg hits the hot bowl. I learned this the hard way back in my Brunch Spice days when I used to make mega batches of hollandaise. Ooopsie!
- Set the bowl over the simmering water. You don’t want the water to be at a rolling boil. Simply steaming isn’t enough either. Simmering is perfect. Small bubbles.
- The chef at Isabel’s taught me the steam escape trick- and I swear it helps. Every minute or so, lift the bowl up off the simmering water. This allows some of the trapped steam to escape so the bowl doesn’t get too hot too fast. This makes it easier to control how quickly the yolks cook. It’s better to err on the side of cooking hollandaise too slowly than try to do it too quickly.
- Whisk constantly. I love my French whisk, seen above. It is narrow, and the spokes are tight together (is that what they’re called? Tines?? I dunno, anywhoo you know what I mean) and they’re not too flexible, so I can really scrape the edges well as I go. Again, this helps to prevent the hollandaise from becoming curdled where small swaths of yolk hit the hot bowl along the top edge. *Whisk whisk scrape whisk whisk scrape scrape.*
- You’ll possibly notice that the mixture foams up as you cook at first. But keep whisking and it will become a little thick all of a sudden. Every time I have made this, it surprises me how quickly it happens. With my set-up, it is within 3 minutes if the water is simmering, and I allow the steam to escape. If you have a very large bowl, it may be even faster! Immediately pull the bowl off the top of the double boiler or you will have scrambled eggs.
- As soon as you get it off the heat, whisk in the melted butter. You’ll have to drizzle it with one hand and whisk with the other, so if you put a wet towel under your bowl it won’t spin. Once the butter is in, take a breath. The hard part is over. Phew.
- Then whisk in your Greek yogurt. You want to do this before the hollandaise starts to set. So don’t take too long of a breath. Remember there comparably not much added fat or liquid in it a this point, so it will start to form a little bit of a skin on it, I add it in a little at a time, but it’s not going to break at this point. I like low-fat plain Greek for this recipe best (note: the above calorie savings are based on low-fat) but if you prefer full-fat Greek yogurt or non-fat they work too. Note: The Greek yogurt does cool the hollandaise sauce down a bit, but if you pour it over hot vegetables or poached eggs, usually the temp will be just right.
- I add in zest of the lemon because I am a lemon freak and more lemon is always a good idea. You can totally omit that if you want. Plus add in salt, white pepper and Tabasco- this is the way I’ve always seasoned my hollandaise, and I just love the way it tastes. You can add chopped tarragon too to make it into bearnaise.
- To keep it warm, you can put boiling water into an air pot/ carafe. Empty that out then put the fresh hollandaise in it. Or you can put the bowl back over gently steaming water, with the heat off. Press a layer of plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent it from forming a skin.
- This is high in protein, so you can’t leave it for too long. No longer than 4 hours in the temperature danger zone please and thank you.
Swap low-fat plain Greek yogurt in for butter in home-made hollandaise and save 729 calories per batch. Here is how to make it step by step.
- 1 lemon, juice plus 1 teaspoon zest separated
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 10 dashes Tabasco hot sauce, or to taste
- ¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- pinch ground white pepper, or to taste
- Bring one inch water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler or large saucepan.
- Whisk lemon juice and egg yolks in the top of the double boiler or metal bowl. Adjust heat under the double boiler so the water is at a gentle simmer. Set bowl over the simmering water in the double boiler or saucepan and whisk. Lift bowl occasionally to allow the trapped steam to escape so the bowl doesn’t get too hot. Cook, whisking constantly until the egg mixture is steaming hot and thickened, but not curdling along the edge, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove the egg mixture from the heat and whisk in melted butter. Whisk in yogurt, a little at a time until smooth. Whisk in Tabasco, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Keep warm until ready to serve. Do not keep warm for longer than 4 hours.