You can make a roux with the right blend of fat and flour. This serves as thickeners (mostly for soups and sauces) and is also a good flavor enhancer for soups, stews, and sauces. Good thing, roux is made with simple ingredients. Keep them ready in your pantry to level up your next sauce and soup experience!
What is a Roux?
One of the basics of cooking is learning how to make a roux. Luckily, making a roux is as easy as 1-2-3 made with 2 simple ingredients – butter and flour.
It gives our comfort food, like soup and stew, its rich buttery flavor and nice consistency. Without the roux, our soup and stew won’t be as thick and will be just plain boring soupy soup. Not that it’s a bad thing, but roux can just make any dish 10x better! 😉
What is a Roux?
Roux is a French word for “Red”. Roux is a common technique in continental cuisines. It is a cooked mixture of equal parts of starch and liquid fat and is used to thicken soups, stews, and sauces.
Though every dish I prepare for my family is a big hit, using roux as a base level up the game! Just like their all-time favorite Homemade Gravy– without it, our Roasted Turkey, Smothered Chicken, and Biscuits and Sausage Gravy will never be the same.
- Butter – the taste and quality of your roux rely on the butter used. When making a roux, make sure to use high-quality butter for extra rich flavor. You can also use oil, but we’ll talk more about that as you read along. 😉
- Flour – of course, you need high-quality flour, too. The flour has high starch content that becomes sticky or pasty as it emulsifies with liquid, like melted butter, while cooking.
- Lard – can be used if you’re making a gumbo roux like Chicken, Shrimp, and Sausage Gumbo or other heavily flavored dishes. Because the strong flavor of these dishes overpowers the subtle funky taste of lard.
- Oil – Neutral oils with high smoke points like canola and peanut oils are a great replacement because they won’t burn easily and their flavor is, well, neutral. It won’t affect the taste of your dish but will lack the richness that the butter gives.
- Glutinous Rice Flour – for a gluten-free option, just replace flour with glutinous rice flour using a 1:1 ratio. It will create the same silky and velvety texture as the flour.
- Cornstarch or Arrowroot – is a good gluten-free substitute as a thickening agent for soup, stew, and sauce. However, you need to mix it with more liquid because it has higher starch content than flour. It’s called a slurry and added at the end.
- Whey Protein Isolate (Unflavored) –keto-approved roux recipe? Yes, please! This one is a real game-changer! Click here for the recipe.
- Xanthan Gum – just mix 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons xanthan gum to 1/2 – 3/4 cup of butter to make a keto-approved sauce thickener. Yay!
Pro Tip: You can determine if the dish used a slurry or roux as a thickener. Cornstarch leaves a shiny, and translucent finish, and flour makes the sauce cloudy and opaque.
What Kind of Fat Should I Use?
You are welcome to use any kind of fat or oil that your diet prefers. Just keep in mind that the fat you choose will affect the flavor of your roux.
Also, always consider the smoking point of the fat or oil you are going to use. Using low smoking point oil may have a tendency to give your roux a burnt taste and damage all the benefits of oil -which we don’t want to happen.
You can choose oils like peanut oil, refined coconut oil, virgin or extra light olive oil, vegetable oil, or any fat or oil with a smoking point higher than 375 °F if you want your roux to be darker.
Types of Roux
Cook Time: 4-5 minutes
Color: Pancake batter
Aroma: Subtle flour
Uses: Creamy soups, milk-based sauces, and macaroni & cheese
You can make this by mixing equal parts of oil (or butter) and mixing thoroughly for about 4 to 5 minutes or until well combined. Its color should be like a pancake batter, and aroma of subtle flour.
I once taught my niece to use white roux for my Stovetop Mac and Cheese and this became her favorite snack – even serves this to her friends!
Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Aroma: Toasted bread
Uses: Gravies, sauces, soups, and stews
Tagged as the most common among the other types of roux. Stir continuously for about 10 to 15 minutes to achieve its tan color. Blond roux gives off an aroma of toasted bread and is best used on gravies, sauces, soups, and stews. So the next time you want the gravy to your mashed potatoes, just remember this Blonde Roux here.
Cook Time: 18 to 25 minutes
Color: Peanut butter
Uses: Gumbos and Stews
Do you love stews and gumbo as much as I do? If yes, achieve this peanut butter-colored roux with a nutty aroma.
Cook your flour and liquid fat mixture for 18 to 25 minutes, and voila! I’m sure your family will love your stew and gumbo so much more than they did before.
Cook Time: 30 to 40minutes
Color: Milk chocolate
This type of roux is the longest one to cook. Therefore, you need more arm strength (kidding aside)!
Stir your flour and oil for about 30 to 40 minutes until the color is similar to milk chocolate.
This roux is used as a flavor aid only and has little to no thickening power. It is commonly used for Cajun and Creole dishes.
This roux recipe has a pretty long shelf life. Making a big batch is really not a problem. Plus, it freezes well, too! 😉
- Let it cool at room temperature before transferring to an airtight container, ziplock bag, or ice cube tray.
- Oil-based sauce thickener can stay fresh at room temperature for about 3-5 days.
- Refrigerate – sauce thickener made with butter must be refrigerated. It can last inside the fridge for about a month.
- Freeze – Store them in small portions in ziplock bags or ice cube trays and they can last for up to 1 year.
Generally, the ratio of fat and flour is 1:1. And the ratio for the roux to liquid is 4 tablespoons for every cup of liquid or depending on your desired consistency.
Actually, there are 4 types of it: white, blond, brown, and dark. However, dark roux is used only as a flavor aid because it doesn’t have thickening power.
It has a starchy taste but delivers rich flavor when added to soup, stews, and sauce.
Make These Recipes with your Roux
How to Make Roux
Mixing Butter and Flour
- Melt the butter – in a saucepan on medium-low heat. (Photo 1)
- Add the flour – and stir continuously using figure-eight motion to fully incorporate butter and flour. (Photo 2)
- Light Roux – mixing continuously for about 4-5 minutes until light and puffy. (Photo 3)
- Blond Roux – continue to cook and mix for about 10-15 minutes until it changes to blond color. (Photo 4)
- Brown Roux – this will take about 18-25 minutes. (Photo 5) Dark Roux – stir and cook for about 30-40 minutes until it turns to dark brown color. (Photo 6)
- Use – Use it to make soup, stew, or sauce. Or let it cool and store in the fridge for later use.
Watch How To Make It
This blog post was first published in September 2020 and has been updated with additional information and a video.
How to Make a Roux
- 2 tablespoons (30g) butter
- 2 tablespoons (15g) all-purpose flour
- Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat.
- Add the flour and stir continuously using figure-eight motion to fully incorporate butter and flour.
- Light Roux – mixing continuously for about 4-5 minutes until light and puffy.
- Blond Roux – continue to cook and mix for about 10-15 minutes until it changes to blond color.
- Brown Roux – this will take about 18-25 minutes.
- Dark Roux – stir and cook for about 30-40 minutes until it turns to dark brown color.
- Use it to make soup, stew, or sauce. Or let it cool and store in the fridge for later use.
Tips & Notes:
• Generally, the ratio for butter/fat and flour is 1:1.
• Make sure to use a heavy-bottomed pan to prevent the roux from burning.
• Use lard or oil if you’re making savory dishes like gumbo and stew. It is best to stick with butter for sauce and soup.
• Keep stirring in figure-eight motion for even cooking.
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