Knowing how to make roux is a handy skill to have in the kitchen when it comes to thickening gravies, sauces, soups and stews. There is more to a roux than a simple fat and flour combination. It’s important to know the different ratio, colors, cooking times and amounts for desired thickness. We go over all of that below so that you can feel confident with this technique!
What is Roux?
A roux is the perfect mixture chefs use to thicken soup and other food products of similar textures. There are three specific types of roux used in the culinary world: white, blond, and brown. These types are used for different textures and flavors.
The roux color reflects the length of cook time, meaning the longer the simmer the darker the roux. It is important to know that the darker the roux, the less thickening ability it will have.
Maintaining a roux ratio of 1 part fat to 1 part flour by weight will make for a successful sauce, gravy, or soup.
Here is a simple recipe for how to make a roux at home:
Step #1. Prepare Ingredients
For a roux you simply need equal parts butter and flour.
- 3.5 oz. (100 gr.) butter
- 3.5 oz. (100 gr.) flour
- Whisk or wooden spoon
Step #2. Melt the Butter
Heat a pot to medium heat and melt the butter.
Step #3. Add Flour to Pot
Add the flour to the butter and mix well. Stir constantly while the flour gets cooked – you can make this in 3 colors depending on the sauce or plate you’ll make afterwards. (You want it to gently bubble as it cooks. If it is bubbling too vigorously, turn the heat down.)
Step #4. For a White Roux
For a light colored roux, cook until you get a light color (about 4 minutes).
COOKING TIP: White roux is ideal for bechamel sauce.
Step #5. For a Blond Roux
For a medium (blond) roux, continue cooking until lightly browned (about 7 minutes).
COOKING TIP: Medium roux is ideal to thicken chicken or vegetable stock and gravies.
Step #6. For a Brown Roux
For a dark (brown) roux, cook until darkly browned (about 12-15 minutes). For an even darker brown you can cook it longer.
COOKING TIP: Dark roux has a toasted flavor, so it’s ideal for beef stock.
Step #7. Use the Roux
You can now use the roux to thicken soups, sauces and stews. If you just made the roux and it is hot in the saucepan, slowly whisk in the liquid that you will be using for the sauce and simmer until thickened (make sure you check out how much roux to use below first). If you are using the roux at a later time and it is cold or room temperature, simply whisk it into the simmering sauce until it thickens.
How Much Roux to Use Per 1 Cup Liquid?
The table below outlines generally how much roux to use per cup of liquid based on how thick you would like the soup or sauce to be. You can use it as a general guide.
|Per 1 Cup Liquid|
|Thin Sauce:||1 tbsp. butter/1 tbsp. flour|
|Medium Sauce:||2 tbsp. butter/2 tbsp. flour|
|Thick Sauce:||3 tbsp. butter/3 tbsp. flour|
Roux Tips & Tweaks
This basic recipe is excellent for:
Consider applying a roux recipe to your next cheese dish such as a hardy cheese sauce or a filling mac and cheese. Mastering this quick technique for developing a thickening agent will step your food game up a notch, putting your dishes on par with your favorite restaurants’.
Once you’ve gotten down how to make roux, experiment with good ways to pair roux and explore new dishes and sauces such as a Creole Shrimp Étouffée, Béchamel, and Espagnole.
Some tips and tricks for making and keeping a delicious roux include making it with patience. Roux must be combined and stirred well. That mixing should be continued as flour is very gradually added to prevent clumping.
Be vigilant as you watch the colors turn for the type of roux you would like to achieve. When adding a liquid to a roux, it should be added slowly and constantly whisked.
A roux with vegetable oil can be stored for several weeks without refrigeration; however, a roux with a butter base should always be refrigerated or frozen. When stored in the fridge or freezer in an air-tight container, roux should last up to 6 months or so.
What new recipes will you explore with your new roux skills?
How to Make a Roux
- 3.5 oz. (100 gr.) butter
- 3.5 oz. (100 gr.) flour
- Heat a pot to medium heat and melt the butter.
- Add the flour to the butter and mix well. Stir constantly while the flour gets cooked – you can make this in 3 colors depending on the sauce or plate you’ll make afterwards. (You want it to gently bubble as it cooks. If it is bubbling too vigorously, turn the heat down.)
- For a light colored (white) roux, cook until you get a light color (about 4 minutes).
- For a medium (blond) roux, continue cooking until lightly browned (about 7 minutes).
- For a dark (brown) roux, cook until brown in color (about 12 to 15 minutes). For an even darker brown you can cook it longer.
- You can now use the roux to thicken soups and sauces. See notes below for ratio and liquid amounts.
- Note that the time it takes to achieve each roux color is approximate. Watch closely for the color change as you are mixing. Also note that the less flour and fat you use, the quicker it will cook.
- The medium (blond) roux is a good general-purpose roux that you can use for gravy.
- Roux ratio is 1:1 fat to flour by weight
- Amount to use per 1 cup liquid (use as a general guide):
- thin sauce: 1 tbsp. butter/1 tbsp. flour
- medium thickness sauce: 2 tbsp. butter/2 tbsp. flour
- thick sauce: 3 tbsp. butter/3 tbsp. flour
- The darker the roux, the less thickening power it has.
- If you are using the roux immediately, this would be the point where you slowly whisk in the liquid you are using and simmer until thickened. If not using right away, you can store it in the fridge or freezer.
Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.
Looking to further enhance your cooking skills? Check out…How to Make Mole Sauce