Making an Emulsification


emulsification: the mixture of two or more liquids that are normally unblendable


  • Very slowly, to start, beat two ingredients together– like an egg and fat
  • As the whisked liquid begins to thicken continue adding more of the input beating well between additions
  • When all parts are combined, taste and adjust seasoning and acid

Things to Know

  • For egg sauces, the oil is suspended in the water of the egg stabilized with the lecithin protein within the yolk.
  • The reason to add the oil slowly at the start is to prepare slowly stretch the proteins to take on the oil. If the proteins are overwhelmed with the oil to start they will never take the suspension. As they begin to stretch (seen as a thickening of the sauce) the oil can be incorporated more quickly.
  • For non-egg sauces the oil is suspended in another liquid usually through a blender or intense whisking. These are less stable than an egg sauce but also can be reblended over and over again without trouble (think a smooth, silky vinaigrette).

Hallmarks of Success

  • The emulsification will be completely homogenous with no oil slicks at the edges.
  • It will taste light and creamy despite the high volume of fat.

Trouble Shooting

  • For broken egg sauces, add a tablespoon of warm water to the sauce and beat vigorously. This will sometimes help re-suspend the oil.
  • If that doesn’t work beat the broken egg sauce into an additional yolk just as if you were making it from scratch. The additional stabilizing proteins will reset the sauce.