To submit requests for assistance, or provide feedback regarding accessibility, please contact


Beurre Monté Recipe: How to Make Emulsified Butter Sauce

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Jun 2, 2020 • 3 min read

This one-ingredient butter sauce allows you to use butter in high-heat situations without the butter separating.



Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking TechniquesThomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques

Learn techniques for cooking vegetables and eggs and making pastas from scratch from the award-winning chef and proprietor of The French Laundry.

Learn More

What Is Beurre Monté?

Beurre monté, literally “mounted butter” in French, is a cooking technique for preserving the emulsification of butter at high temperatures. In beurre monté, chunks of butter are whisked into hot water to create an emulsion stable up to 180 to 190°F. “Buerre monté” is also the name for the resulting liquid, which you can use as both a cooking fat and a finishing sauce.

What Is Emulsification?

Emulsification is the process of forcing two immiscible (non-mixing) liquids into a suspension. For example, although oil and water don’t mix, you can break oil down into tiny droplets that remain suspended in the water. Emulsion thus occurs when small droplets of one solution (the dispersed solution, which is often oil-based) are evenly dispersed throughout another (the continuous solution, which is often water-based).

Butter itself is a naturally occurring emulsion. Unlike most emulsions, which are oil-in-water emulsions, butter’s continuous phase is fat (80 percent by volume) with water droplets dispersed throughout, making it a water-in-oil emulsion. When melted (around 158°F), the emulsion breaks down, separating the fat from the water.

Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques
Alice Waters Teaches The Art of Home Cooking
Wolfgang Puck Teaches Cooking
Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking I

Beurre Monté vs. Clarified Butter: What’s the Difference?

Both beurre monté and clarified butter are techniques that allow you to use butter at higher temperatures, but they do this in completely different ways. Clarified butter, or ghee, is butter that has been heated to remove the water and milk solids, leaving behind just the butterfat. Since clarified butter is 100 percent butterfat, it isn’t an emulsion. Beurre monté, on the other hand, involves heating butter in more water to stabilize butter’s natural emulsion. When warm, it has a creamy texture. When cooled or reheated, the emulsion breaks, and the water and fat separate. Clarified butter, like lard or schmaltz, is solid when cool, liquid when hot, and can be refrigerated for long periods of time without losing its structure.

Beurre Monté vs. Monter au Beurre: What’s the Difference?

Although these phrases sound similar and both involve butter, beurre monté and monter au beurre are slightly different techniques. Beurre monté is an emulsification of butter and water used as a sauce or poaching liquid. Monter au beurre is the process of adding cold butter to a sauce after you’ve taken it off the heat. Adding the chilled butter produces a similar emulsification effect, adding body and shine to an existing sauce.


Suggested for You

Online classes taught by the world’s greatest minds. Extend your knowledge in these categories.

Thomas Keller

Teaches Cooking Techniques I: Vegetables, Pasta, and Eggs

Learn More
Alice Waters

Teaches the Art of Home Cooking

Learn More
Wolfgang Puck

Teaches Cooking

Learn More
Gordon Ramsay

Teaches Cooking I

Learn More

Beurre Monté vs. Beurre Rouge: What’s the Difference?

Beurre monté uses water to stabilize a butter emulsion, creating a thin, pale yellow sauce. Beurre rouge, or “red butter,” involves a similar process but uses red wine instead of water. Chef Thomas Keller uses beurre rouge as a sauce for all kinds of dishes at his restaurant The French Laundry, including his pan-roasted monkfish tail. Similarly, beurre blanc is an emulsified butter sauce made with white wine.

How to Cook With Beurre Monté

Think Like a Pro

Learn techniques for cooking vegetables and eggs and making pastas from scratch from the award-winning chef and proprietor of The French Laundry.

View Class

Beurre monté might seem like an unnecessary extra step in getting butter into food, but it can be a total game-changer for hot dishes. Try it for yourself:

  1. As a finishing sauce for meat, fish, or pasta: Simply pour the beurre monté over any hot dish. Unlike cold or melted butter, beurre monté won’t separate, and the texture will remain creamy.
  2. As an ingredient in other sauces: You can use unflavored beurre monté as the base for a sauce flavored with herbs, spices, lemon juice, shallots, and more.
  3. As a poaching liquid for vegetables or shellfish: Chefs use beurre monté as a cooking liquid since it adds a buttery flavor without frying delicate foods.

Simple Beurre Monté Recipe

2 cups
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min


  • 1 pound cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
  1. In a small saucepan, bring 4 tablespoons of water to a boil.
  2. Immediately reduce the heat to low and whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time.
  3. Once the sauce has emulsified, you can add the butter in 2–4 tablespoons at a time, whisking after each addition. Keep the sauce warm but below 180°F to prevent the emulsification from breaking.

Become a better chef with the MasterClass All-Access Pass. Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by culinary masters, including Gabriela Cámara, Chef Thomas Keller, Massimo Bottura, Dominique Ansel, Gordon Ramsay, Alice Waters, and more.