Orange Butter Sauce (Beurre Blanc) for Seafood

SauceButter Sauce

Traditional French Beurre Blanc sauce, with the zest of oranges! Great sauce for seafood dishes.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

This Orange Butter Sauce is a French “Beurre Blanc” (“white butter”) sauce based on a reduction of shallots and an acid such as vinegar, citrus juice, or wine, mixed in with cold butter.

Its creamy tanginess works well with mild fish such as trout, shad, or haddock.

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It may also be served with any shellfish including lobster, crab, and scallops.

Orange Beurre Blanc Sauce

This recipe comes from a cooking class I took at Scott’s Seafood in Folsom, California, presented by Chef David Lamonica.

Orange Butter Sauce (Beurre Blanc) for Seafood Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 1 cup

You'll need one large orange or two smallish oranges to have enough juice for this recipe.


  • 2 oranges
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) white wine
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallots
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks, 225 g) cold, unsalted butter
  • Salt and white pepper


1 Make a syrup with orange zest, orange juice, wine, and shallots:  Zest half of one orange (about 2 teaspoons) and juice the two oranges (about 3/4 cup).

Put the juice, zest, wine and shallots in a sauce pan on medium high heat.

Cook until it is syrupy and almost gone.

2 Slowly whisk in butter: On low heat, whisk in the butter continuously and vigorously, 1 tablespoon at a time.

add cold butter a tablespoon at a time for orange beurre blanc sauce

Butter is the only emulsifier for this sauce, and if you slowly add it, continuously stirring, the sauce will achieve a silky smooth texture. Do not let the sauce boil!

3 Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Orange Beurre Blanc Sauce

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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12 Comments / Reviews

No ImageOrange Butter Sauce (Beurre Blanc) for Seafood

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Robert

    Exactly what I was looking for, a rich orange sauce for mahi mahi.


  2. M

    I was hesitant to try this since I wasn’t sure i c old get the texture right. But be patient boiling down the orange juice and you’re golden! Literally! It turned out a lovely golden color. Whole family loved it. Nice change of pace from lemon.


  3. sharon George

    Very good; tried it first as written then added vanilla and cardamom as suggested by another comment. Both were keepers. Served it over pan seared scallops and baked yam. Will definitely make again sea bass, cod, etc. Thank you!


  4. sharon

    Very good sauce; made it as written, and was delicious.
    Then I added a smidgen of vanilla extract, and that took it over the top. Just a few drops, I didn’t count, but if you want to try it, start with 2 drops and see how you like it, then more if you prefer, still a drop at a time. Thanks for a great beurre blanc. My fave for seafood and shellfish.


  5. sharon

    It was slightly bitter when finished, and I was very careful to keep any white flesh out of the juice or zest, so I added a bit of cardamom and apx 1/2 tsp of vanilla and it was perfect.


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