How to Make a Roux

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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!

flour in pot

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).

  1. Melt butter.  Add flour and cook to desired color.
  2. Add cold liquid a little at a time while whisking until smooth after each addition.
  3. Add remaining liquid and seasonings, simmer a couple of minutes.

picture of roux on stove with green whisk

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.

adding milk to roux on stove

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.

roux on stove being mixed

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

adding milk to roux on stove
4.8 from 10 votes
Review Recipe

Roux Recipe

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 6 minutes
Servings 1 batch
Author Holly Nilsson
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.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter or fat such as drippings
  • ¼ cup flour

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Instructions

  • 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.

Recipe Notes

This roux recipe will mix well with about 3 cups of liquid and produce a medium consistency sauce. Start with less liquid and add more until you reach the desired consistency for your sauce.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 520, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 46g, Saturated Fat: 29g, Cholesterol: 122mg, Sodium: 405mg, Vitamin A: 1420IU, Calcium: 14mg, Iron: 1.5mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword how to make a roux, roux
Course How To
Cuisine French
flour added to liquid in a pot with a whisk for How to Make a Roux
Liquid in a pot with a whisk for How to Make a Roux
About the author

Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

More Posts by Holly

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Comments

  1. Tried your Mac n cheese bread dong a roux. Like any other time I’ve used a roux it was awful. I make great gravy using the same method do I can’t figure out why it taste bland
    Sharp cheddar
    Parmesan
    Cream cheese
    Pepper Jack
    Even added bacon
    ????????????

    1. I can’t say why you’d find mac and cheese bland, as I find it creamy and tasty, especially when adding various types of cheese. Did you add seasonings such as dry mustard (or dijon) and onion powder? Salt? Pepper? Hope that helps.

    1. It could be any cold liquid. I most often use broth, milk or cream depending on what the final recipe is. If you are making gravy or soup you’ll most often use broth. If you are making a cream sauce you’ll use a little bit of milk.

  2. this totally worked. I used butter and flour, for the liquid I used beef broth, then I added some onions, meat, and seasonings. I cooked roux a little longer and browned it up. came out good! thanks!

  3. What is the liquid the recipe is referring to. It’s not anywhere in the ingredients or instructions that I found.3 stars

    1. Hi Terry, that will depend on the dish. For a creamy sauce like cheese sauce or scalloped potatoes, I would use milk. For a soup/stew or gravy I would use a broth.

      1. Kevin, on the recipe card in the notes, it says “This roux recipe will mix well with about 3 cups of liquid and produce a medium consistency sauce. Start with less liquid and add more until you reach the desired consistency for your sauce.” Hope that helps.

    1. It depends on the dish, for a creamy sauce like cheese sauce or scalloped potatoes, I use milk. For a soup/stew or gravy I would use broth.

  4. Is there anyway to do this without flour?? My husband is gluten free and I’ve yet to find a way to do this for him!!

    1. As I don’t follow a GF lifestyle, I haven’t tried it without flour. Have you tried using a GF flour substitute or baking mixture before?

      I do use a cornstarch slurry to thicken sauces and soups as well. Combine equal parts cornstarch and water. Pour into your boiling soup/broth/liquid a little at a time while mixing until you reach desired consistency.

    2. Use Sorghum Flour as it is Gluten Free. It makes a great Roux. It lacks Gluten and therefore does not stick together as well as wheat flour when making things like pancakes or cookies, but for a Roux it is actually superior. I am a sustainable farmer and grow grain sorghum and we are in the process of opening up Bula Land Mills and offering these products online. We are still in the process but you can obtain Sorghum Flour at a few sites on the internet. Search for “sorghum flour”.

  5. When I make a roux, its thick and clumpy not smooth. I use same part flour and butter. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Is the liquid cold? I turn the heat down and add the liquid a little bit at a time and whisk until smooth after each addition. At first it will seem a bit clumpy but as you continue to add a bit of liquid each time, whisk until smooth until you incorporate the liquid.

      Hope that helps, let me know how it goes!

      1. Yes once I start adding the milk and whisk it thins out. I just thought it was supposed to be smooth just adding the flour and butter. Thank you