Learn How to Make Roux and How to Use it in Your Recipes

Roux is a mixture of fat and flour that is the basis for many sauces and gravies.  Once you know how to make it, you can easily adapt it for many varied recipes.  Use roux as a base for thickening soups and stews, or it can be a starter for gravy.  It is the basis for white sauce and other sauces.


How to Make Basic Roux

Roux, a French word pronounced “roo,” is started by mixing equal parts of butter and flour.  Typically, butter or oil is used in the roux mixture.  However, to reduce the amount of trans-fats in the end product, you can substitute margarine in exchange for butter.  Check out your grocery store or supermarket for the lowest fat brand.


To reduce the appearance of lumps, always add a cold ingredient into a warm one, not the other way around. 


To begin, place the butter or oil into the pan.  Melt the butter over medium heat.  Add an equal part of flour to the pan.  It is essential to whisk the mixture together.  This helps to eliminate lumps.  Lumps consist of small beads of flour that haven’t fully integrated with the liquid – in this case, butter.  If your mixture does end up with lumps, don’t worry.  You can easily remove them by simply pouring the mixture through a strainer before serving.

The 4 Classic Types of Roux

There are four types of this delicious sauce starter, ranging from light to dark: 


The lightest is called ‘white’ and is used for a classic white sauce, often known as Béchamel.  It is a great starter for tuna casserole, mac and cheese, and New England clam chowder.  To make it, simply cook the mixture until heated through and thick, but not browned.  It needs to cook just until the raw flour taste is gone – about five minutes.

A ‘blond’ mixture is cooked for about 20 minutes, until it becomes a light golden brown.  This takes on a toasty flavor, with a slight nuttiness.  It is perfect for adding to soups and stews. 


A ‘brown’ mixture is cooked for about 30 to 35 minutes until it gets to be darker brown.  It has a much stronger smell and is used for adding to soups and stews. 


A ‘dark brown’ mixture is cooked very slowly for about 45 minutes, until it becomes very dark brown in color.  It has a mellow flavor and doesn’t thicken as much as the other varieties.

Cooking With Roux

Once you’ve cooked the mixture, you’re able to add it to anything you want to thicken.  It can be easily added to soups, stews, sauces or gravies. 


To use it, first heat the ingredients that you want to add it to.  Then, simply whisk the roux mixture into the heated ingredients, while still on the heat.  Continue to whisk and stir until it is incorporated and thickens the mixture.  To make sure that no lumps form, add the mix in small amounts, stirring well between each addition.

Storing Roux


The basic roux recipe can be stored for later use by putting it into an airtight container and keeping it in the fridge.  You can make as much of the mix as you need by simply adding equal parts of oil and flour together.  Keep some on hand at all times to make smooth gravy and to create homemade sauces in a flash.

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