I made my first Beurre Blanc a couple days ago. It got very sour and I had to pour some sugar to sweeten it. I'm almost sure I reduced the wine and the vinegar enough before I started throwing in the butter.

I know I probably made this 2 mistakes:

  1. I didn't measure the exact amount of wine and vinegar. I just put one glass of wine and a little stream of vinegar.
  2. I used distilled white vinegar, not white wine vinegar.

Are these 2 mistakes what made my sauce sour or there's something else I'm doing wrong here? I really wanna master the Beurre Blanc because I love cooking fish but I've never made a sauce for it.

Thank you guys in advance.

  • What were your other ingredients? Also, distilled vinegar is quite different from white wine vinegar.
    – moscafj
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 13:27
  • 1
    @moscafj finely diced shallots, pepper and salt. Oh... and I just remembered that I used salted butter (it's a little hard to find unsalted butter where I live). And I know those are different vinegars, that is why I believe using distilled vinegar helped in making my sauce that sour! :(
    – franpen
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 13:29
  • As @moscafj indicated "distilled vinegar" is white vinegar not white wine vinegar
    – MaxW
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 17:16
  • @MaxW I know. That was one of the two mistakes I acknowledged. I just didn’t have white wine vinegar so I thought it could still work with white vinegar. It clearly didn’t.
    – franpen
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 17:42

2 Answers 2


Julia Child's "classic" recipe for beurre blanc uses quite a lot of butter (3 sticks) to 1/4 cup each of white wine and white wine vinegar (plus shallot and salt and pepper, with a squeeze of lemon to finish). I suspect that you (a) used too much liquid, and (b) used the wrong vinegar, leading to an overly sour/acetic sauce.

  • Thank you for your answer. I will mark it as correct because it makes a lot of sense to me. One question though: is it ok to use salted butter or it’s imperative to go with the unsalted?
    – franpen
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 13:38
  • 2
    Hi franpen and welcome! I suppose a purist may say to use unsalted butter and add the required amount of salt. However, I use salted butter and my sauces come out fine.
    – Cindy
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 14:05
  • @Cindy thank you so much for your response and thank you for welcoming me!! I’ll try it at home
    – franpen
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 16:52
  • Salted butter, depending on the butter, may give you a sauce with a fast-food level of salt. But that won't influence the sour taste at all
    – user57361
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 22:40

You don't need vinegar (although some recipes call for it). A dry white wine will provide all the acidity you need. You control the acidity by the amount of reduction of the wine. To get very controlled acidity, reduce almost to dry and then add a spoon-full of water so that your butter can emulsify. My classic proportions are (metric but can be transposed into any unit):

  • 200g cold cubed butter
  • 200g/200ml dry white wine
  • 50g finely diced shallots (peeled weight)
  • Seasoning

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