Knowing how to make a roux is one of the most useful kitchen tips you will learn! A roux is used to create brilliant sauces, gravies, and thicken soups and other liquid dishes quickly.
A dark roux can add a nutty flavorful finish to your dish as the starches present in the thickening agents brown.
A roux is the perfect way to thickening your liquids (such as gravy) and keeps your sauces from becoming lumpy. Nobody likes getting a large bite of cornstarch or flour in their soup or mac and cheese!
What is a Roux?
A roux is a combination of equal parts flour and fat, the most common being butter (or meat drippings). When you make a roux, if you cook it long enough, the flour will brown adding great flavor to your sauce or dish.
The longer you brown your roux for, the more flavor it will have. If you are making a chowder or a white sauce for Scalloped Potatoes, you would not brown your roux like you would if you were making a pot of gumbo!
How to Make A Roux
Making a roux is not difficult, here are the quick steps you’ll take (with step by step photos below).
- Melt butter. Add flour and cook to desired color.
- Add cold liquid a little at a time while whisking until smooth after each addition.
- Add remaining liquid and seasonings, simmer a couple of minutes.
1. Melt Butter and Add Flour
Start your roux by melting butter (or fat such as drippings) in a saucepan and whisk in flour until smooth. Allow it to bubble for at least 1 minute while mixing. This will eliminate any floury flavors. For a blonde roux, allow it to cook a minute or so.
The true secret, as I learned from Chef Jerry in New Orleans, to the best gumbo recipe, is creating a dark roux. A dark roux would require cooking the flour/fat mixture longer while whisking until it reaches a golden dark caramel color.
2. Add Liquid
Once you have cooked the flour mixture to your liking (most white sauces or cheese sauces use a light or white roux) begin adding liquid while whisking a small amount at a time.
Reduce the heat to low and begin adding the liquid a little at a time. Stir until smooth after each addition.
You will get a paste like texture at first, add a bit more liquid and whisk until smooth and completely free of lumps. Continue this process until you’ve incorporated the liquid.
Now that you have a nice roux as a base, add the rest of the ingredients for your sauce sauce along with seasonings (or add your roux into your dish to help thicken it). Allow the mixture to bubble for at least one minute while whisking.
Keep in mind that cheese shouldn’t be boiled/simmered as it will separate and break. If you are adding cheese, remove the sauce/dish from the heat and add cheese while still hot. Stir to melt.
Dishes That Use a Roux
- Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole – My personal favorite!
- Homemade Creamed Corn
- Chicken Stroganoff – So good!
- Roasted Cauliflower Soup
- New England Clam Chowder – Easy to make at home.
- Broccoli Rice Casserole from Scratch
- 1/4 cup butter or fat such as drippings
- 1/4 cup flour
Melt butter (or fat) in a saucepan and whisk in flour until smooth. Allow it to bubble for at least 1 minute while mixing.
For a blonde roux, allow it to cook a minute or so.
For a dark roux, cook the flour/fat mixture longer while whisking, until it reaches a golden dark caramel color.
Add cold liquid a little at a time while whisking until smooth after each addition.
Add remaining liquid and seasonings, simmer a couple of minutes.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)