Does Hollandaise sauce have gluten?

Hollandaise sauce is a rich, creamy sauce that is a staple of classic French cuisine. It is often served with eggs Benedict, asparagus, artichokes, vegetables, fish, and other dishes. Hollandaise gets its luxurious texture from egg yolks and butter. But does this classic sauce contain gluten?

For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, knowing whether a sauce like hollandaise contains gluten is crucial. Even small amounts of gluten can cause issues for those who are gluten-intolerant. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the ingredients in hollandaise sauce and discuss whether it contains gluten.

What is Gluten?

Before discussing hollandaise sauce specifically, let’s quickly go over what gluten is. Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. It acts as a “glue” that helps baked goods hold their shape and have a chewy texture. For most people, consuming gluten is not an issue. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine. Even small amounts of gluten can cause stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, fatigue, and other issues in gluten-intolerant individuals.

People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity must follow a strict gluten-free diet, avoiding foods and ingredients that contain gluten proteins. This includes obvious sources like bread, pasta, baked goods, etc. But gluten can also hide in sauces, dressings, soups, and other everyday foods. That’s why it’s so important to understand whether common ingredients like hollandaise sauce contain gluten.

Key Ingredients in Hollandaise Sauce

To determine if hollandaise sauce contains gluten, we need to look at the key ingredients that go into making it:

Egg yolks

Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolk and melted butter. Egg yolks give the sauce its rich texture and yellow color. Eggs themselves do not naturally contain gluten. So egg yolks are gluten-free.


Butter is the other primary ingredient in hollandaise sauce. Traditional butter is made by churning cream until it separates into solid butterfat and liquid buttermilk. Like eggs, pure butter does not contain any gluten. As long as the butter used to make hollandaise sauce does not have any gluten-containing additives, it can be considered gluten-free.

Lemon juice

Most hollandaise sauce recipes also include lemon juice, which provides a bright, acidic flavor that cuts through the richness of the butter and eggs. Plain lemon juice is gluten-free.

Salt and pepper

For seasoning, hollandaise sauce is usually seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. Neither inherently contains gluten.


Some recipes may use a small amount of water to help thin out the sauce. Plain water does not contain gluten.

Potential Sources of Gluten in Hollandaise

Based on the main ingredients, hollandaise sauce made with simple ingredients like eggs, butter, lemon juice, and seasonings would not contain gluten. However, there are some potential ways gluten could sneak into certain hollandaise sauce recipes:

Flour as a thickener

Some hollandaise recipes call for a small amount of flour to help stabilize and thicken the sauce. Regular all-purpose flour does contain gluten. So if the recipe uses wheat flour, the hollandaise would no longer be gluten-free.


Occasionally, breadcrumbs are added to hollandaise. Breadcrumbs are used to help thicken the sauce and add flavor. But since breadcrumbs are made from gluten-containing bread, they would introduce gluten into the hollandaise.

Flavoring extracts

Extracts like vanilla are sometimes used to flavor hollandaise sauce. Pure vanilla extract is gluten-free. But some cheaper artificial vanilla extracts may contain gluten as a additive. The same applies to other extracts like almond. Always check the label to confirm extracts are gluten-free.


Even if all the ingredients are gluten-free, cross-contamination is still a possibility in restaurants or production facilities. Using the same equipment to make multiple dishes can transfer traces of gluten into gluten-free items. So those with celiac disease need to be especially cautious when eating hollandaise sauce prepared outside of a gluten-free certified kitchen.

Is Hollandaise Sauce Traditionally Gluten-Free?

Hollandaise sauce was invented in France in the 1700s. The traditional recipe contains just egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It does not call for wheat flour or other gluten ingredients. So hollandaise sauce made according to classic French techniques would be naturally gluten-free. The potential for gluten would only come from modern recipe variations that use thickening agents.

What Do Recipe Authors Say?

Looking at recipes from well-known chefs and cooking sites can provide more insight into whether hollandaise sauce typically contains gluten:

Julia Child

Julia Child’s seminal cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking provides a classic hollandaise recipe with only egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper. She does not use flour or other thickeners.

Thomas Keller

Acclaimed chef Thomas Keller’s recipe in The French Laundry Cookbook also makes hollandaise sauce the traditional way, without flour or breadcrumbs.

The highest-rated hollandaise sauce recipe on with over 2,000 reviews contains just egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper. The recipe states the sauce is thickened gradually through whisking, not flour.

The hollandaise sauce recipe on calls for butter, lemon juice, egg yolks, and salt. No thickeners are used.

Epicurious provides a simple recipe with butter, lemon juice, egg yolks, salt, and white pepper. No flour or other thickeners are added.

So across credible sources, traditional hollandaise sauce recipes do not include any gluten ingredients. Most chefs and cooking sites specifically call for thickening the sauce gradually with whisking rather than using flour or other starches.

How to Make Gluten-Free Hollandaise Sauce

Based on typical recipes, hollandaise sauce made with whole food ingredients can be considered gluten-free. Here are some tips for preparing gluten-free hollandaise sauce at home:

– Use high-quality butter, preferably from grass-fed cows. The butter should not contain any additives. Clarified butter or ghee are also good options, as the milk proteins have been removed.

– Choose certified gluten-free lemon juice or vinegars. White wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, sherry vinegar all work well in hollandaise.

– Only use clean, fresh eggs from a reputable source. Eggs naturally do not contain gluten.

– Avoid adding wheat flour, breadcrumbs, or other thickeners that contain gluten. The sauce will gradually thicken through whisking as it emulsifies.

– Use salt and pepper for seasoning. Onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and other herbs and spices can also add flavor.

– If desired, fresh herbs like chives, tarragon, parsley, chervil, or dill complement the flavor of hollandaise sauce. Chop finely before adding.

– Prepare the hollandaise sauce in a clean pan to prevent cross-contamination. Use dedicated gluten-free utensils and equipment.

– For lemon flavor, zest the lemon before juicing to infuse even more citrus flavor into the sauce.

– Use a double boiler or bain marie setup to gently cook the sauce, preventing it from curdling or separating. Whisk continuously.

– Strain the finished sauce through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any bits of egg or herb stems.

Following these tips will result in a rich, velvety hollandaise sauce that is safe for gluten-free diets. The sauce can be served warm over poached eggs, grilled asparagus, seared scallops, steamed artichokes, or crisp-skinned fish. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and gently reheat before serving.

Hollandaise Sauce Substitutes

For those avoiding gluten, making hollandaise completely from scratch may be time consuming. Luckily, there are some convenient hollandaise sauce substitutes that are naturally gluten-free:


Aoli is a Mediterranean sauce made from oil emulsified with garlic and egg yolks. To make a quick hollandaise substitute, combine 2 egg yolks, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 cup avocado oil or mild olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk or blend the oil into the yolks as you would for mayonnaise. The result is a rich, golden sauce perfect for drizzling over vegetables or fish.

Tahini Sauce

Tahini sauce is made from toasted sesame seeds, which are gluten-free. Mix 1/3 cup tahini paste with 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove, and salt. Thin with warm water until the sauce is drizzling consistency. Tahini makes a tasty, nutty substitute for hollandaise.

Blender Cheater Hollandaise

Making hollandaise in a blender is faster and prevents scrambling. Add 3 egg yolks, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp cayenne and 1 cup melted butter to a blender. Blend on low until thickened. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Bottled Gluten-Free Options

There are several brands of pre-made hollandaise sauce sold in grocery stores that are labeled gluten-free, like the options from Carolina Classics and Organicville. Always check the ingredients and label to be sure.

Key Takeaways

– Traditionally, hollandaise sauce recipes only contain ingredients like butter, egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and pepper. None of these contain gluten.

– Potential sources of gluten could include flour as a thickener, breadcrumbs, flavoring extracts, or cross-contamination.

– Most classic recipes for hollandaise sauce do not include any added gluten. Thickening is achieved through slowly whisking over low heat rather than using starches.

– To make gluten-free hollandaise sauce, use high-quality eggs, gluten-free butter and lemon juice, and avoid thickeners like flour or breadcrumbs.

– Aoli sauce, tahini sauce, blender hollandaise, and pre-made brands are all convenient gluten-free alternatives to making hollandaise completely from scratch.

So in summary, hollandaise sauce made according to traditional French techniques would be considered naturally gluten-free. By using high quality, gluten-free ingredients and taking steps to prevent cross-contamination, hollandaise sauce can be enjoyed safely by those following a gluten-free diet. This elegant, buttery sauce makes the perfect finish for a variety of seafood, vegetable, and egg dishes.

Leave a Comment