An easy homemade Roux can be used to flavor and thicken soup, gravy, and macaroni and cheese as well as gumbo and cajun dishes.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make roux for the base of many different recipes, you’ve come to the right place! Roux (pronounced “roo”) is a simple combination of flour and fat, cooked and used to thicken and add flavor to recipes. A good roux will give a silky smooth texture and thickness to your favorite dishes. The darker the roux the more complex the end flavor is.
Why make homemade Roux:
Simple Ingredients: Roux has 2 ingredients. Fat and flour. You can use animal fat, butter, lard ghee or oil in roux.
Adaptable: The longer a roux cooks the darker it gets and the more complex the flavor is. How long you cook your roux will vary based on what you’re using it for. Sound complicated? Don’t worry- I’ve made an easy chart to help you know exactly how long to cook your roux.
Make ahead: Roux is a labor of love and can be time consuming but the good news is it stores great in the fridge (up to 6 months) and you can freeze it in ice cube trays for up to a year! I like to store cubes of roux to thicken pan sauces, gravies, and soups easily whenever I need it.
How to Make a Roux:
Start with a white roux: In a small saucepan melt the butter (or heat the oil) over medium heat. Add the flour and stir constantly for 2-5 minutes until the mixture is bubbly and foamy. Use this to make a delicious bechamel sauce in Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame, lasagna or to thicken Sausage Gravy and Macaroni and Cheese.
Blonde Roux: Keep stirring over medium heat for up to an additional 5 minutes (10 minutes total). You’ll know it’s done when it turns a light caramel or peanut butter color. Use blonde roux to thicken pan sauces like Turkey or Chicken Gravy and creamy soups. Try it in Broccoli Cheese Soup.
Brown Roux: In order to avoid burning your roux, turn down the heat to medium-low and keep stirring. You’ll need to keep cooking for an additional 5-15 minutes. The roux will take on a nutty aroma when it’s done and turn a milk chocolate brown.
Dark Roux: Make sure your heat is set to medium-low and keep stirring till your roux is a dark complex maple color. This is a true labor of love. Total cook time is 35+ minutes but so worth it. Dark Roux adds a complex and lovely flavor to my favorite Authentic New Orleans Gumbo.
Stir: Warm up your arm because a good roux needs to be stirred constantly to avoid burning. You’ll be able to smell if it burns and it will need to be restarted. The trick is to keep stirring, and don’t turn the heat to high.
Heat level: Resist the urge to crank up the heat! Aim for medium heat when making a white or blonde roux. If you’re making a dark roux, like for gumbo, once your roux hits caramel color turn the heat down to medium-low and keep stirring!! It’s a labor of love but SO worth it.
Dark Roux: Is a delicious and flavorful base for gumbo and many Cajun dishes. It has a long cook time so using butter is not recommended as it will burn and ruin the flavor. Use a good quality oil.
Adding roux to your dish– The lighter the roux the more it will thicken. Hot roux incorporates best when added to a cooler liquid. Cold roux mixes best with hot liquid. Adding hot to hot usually means more clumps. Add a little at a time and whisk like crazy!
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:
To Make Ahead: Make roux and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight bag or container in the fridge for up to 6 months.
To Freeze: Make roux and allow to cool completely. Freeze in an airtight bag, ice cube trays, or a freezer safe container for up to a year. Allow roux to thaw overnight in the fridge before using or defrost quickly in the microwave.
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- 1/2 cup fat: oil, butter, lard, meat drippings, ghee
- 1/2 cup flour
- White roux: In a small heavy saucepan melt fat over medium heat. Add flour, whisking to incorporate fully, and stir for 2-5 minutes until the mixture is bubbly and foamy.
- For Blonde Roux: Continue cooking and stirring for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture turns a light caramel or peanut butter color.
- For Brown Roux: In order to avoid burning your roux, turn down the heat to medium-low and keep stirring. You'll need to keep cooking for an additional 5-15 minutes. For a total of (15-25 minutes). The roux will take on a nutty aroma when it's done and turn a milk chocolate brown.
- For Dark Roux: Continue cooking and stirring for an additional 20+ minutes, or until the roux is a dark chocolate color. Be careful not to burn it! If it smells burned at all, you need to start over.
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