With this simple roux recipe, you will learn how to make a roux from a light blonde roux to a rich, dark chocolate brown roux to make soups, gumbos, sauces and so much more. Let's make some roux!
How to Make a Roux (Easy Roux Recipe)
One of the biggest questions I get on the blog here is how to make a roux. I use a roux in many different recipes, particularly Cajun and Creole gumbo, which is one of my favorite dishes in the world, but also for making gravies, soups, and rich sauces.
The key to a great gumbo, and many other dishes, starts with a good quality gumbo roux. This post will show you how to make roux the right way.
What is a Roux?
A roux (pronounced "roo") is an equal mixture of oil or other fat like butter and flour used for making sauces and gravies, and for thickening other liquids.
It is a cooking technique that originated with French cuisine for sauces and as a thickening agent, but adopted all around the world.
A roux is made by heating equal parts of oil, butter or other fat and flour in a pan to form a paste, then stirred continually as you cook it. It will thin and darken as you cook it.
The color of the roux depends on how long it is cooked for, and on its intended purpose.
Types of Roux
Rouxs are typically categorized by their color, which depends on the amount of cooking. It will darken as you cook, and each is used for slightly different purposes.
A white roux retains the color of flour, and is slightly grainy in texture. It takes only 4-5 minutes to make, and has the most thickening power at this point.
White roux is a great gravy roux, but also used for making white sauces, such as béchamel sauce (roux + milk), cheese sauce or nacho cheese base, white gravy, and as a simple thickener for drippings.
It's great for making thick and cheesy macaroni and cheese!
A blonde roux is very light brown, and takes about 10 minutes to make. As you cook the roux in the hot pan, constantly stirring, it will turn from white to blonde in color.
The pan toasting not only changes the color, but also the flavor, giving it a slightly nutty quality. It is also slightly thinner in texture, but still great as a thickener.
Blonde roux is perfect for thickening stocks, pan drippings like velouté, making smooth gravies and sauces, and thick soups.
A brown roux is a roux that has been cooked until it darkens to anywhere from a light brown the color of peanut butter or copper, to a darker brown similar to the color of chocolate.
It takes about 20-30 minutes to make.
Brown rouxs are not as thick as lighter rouxs, but offer a more developed flavor. It is nuttier and richer, though not as good for thickening.
It is ideal for slightly thickening soups and stews, and essential for making gumbo.
Dark Roux (the Best Gumbo Roux)
A dark roux is a thinner roux that takes on the color of rich, dark chocolate, or a cup of black coffee.
A dark roux can take 30-45 minutes or longer to make, and is a favorite for making rich, flavorful pots of gumbo. This is my personal favorite gumbo roux.
I love a dark, dark roux for making gumbo at home.
Let's talk about how to make a roux, shall we?
- Oil or Other Fat. I usually use a neutral oil, like peanut oil or vegetable oil. You can use other fats, like butter, lard or bacon fat
- Flour. Use all-purpose white flour.
How to Make a Roux - the Recipe Method
Heat the oil in a large pot or pan to medium heat, then stir in the raw flour.
Stir constantly. The oil and flour will combine to form a liquid slurry. If you don’t keep stirring, the roux will start to burn and you’ll have to start over, so do not stop stirring.
Stirring is a must, which also helps prevent lumps.
You can smell when the roux burns. It’s acrid, unpleasant, a bit like burnt popcorn. If this happens, toss it and start over. It will ruin the flavor of whatever you are making.
So be careful, and don’t bring up the heat too high to hurry your roux along.
What you’re looking for is the color of the roux. It starts out the color of flour, very light, batter-like, but as it heats, it will begin to thin and brown, going from a white roux to light brown to the color of peanut butter or copper, and eventually to a rich chocolate brown, and even darker if you continue cooking it.
Cooking time can vary based on the amount of heat and other factors.
How Long Does it Take to Make a Roux?
A roux can take anywhere from 5-45 minutes, depending on the amount you are making, your desired color and amount of heat.
Personally, I take 15-20 minutes for my typical roux of 1/2 cup each oil and flour, which gives me a roux a copper or peanut butter color. The roux is great then, coaxed of outstanding flavor.
It can take around 30 minutes or longer to achieve a very dark gumbo roux.
When I make a smaller batch roux, such as 2-3 tablespoons each of oil and flour, it takes much less time.
If you continue to cook and stir longer, you'll achieve a darker chocolate color that is even richer in flavor, but a darker roux usually results in thinner sauces, gumbos and soups for most home cooks.
It doesn't thicken as much as a lighter gumbo, though it does have a more nutty flavor.
Feel free to experiment to discover which shade of roux produces the best flavors for your taste buds.
How to Make a Roux in the Oven
You can also make a roux in the oven. Some chefs in New Orleans prefer this method, as they can make larger batches with much less effort. Even though it takes longer than traditional roux, it is much more hands off.
Some may feel making an oven roux is cheating, but who cares if it saves you time?
To make an oven roux, whisk together flour and oil in a cast iron pan or Dutch oven, then bake it at 350 degrees F for about 2-1/2 hours. Give it a good stir every 20 minutes.
Once your roux has reached your preferred color, remove it and use it as you would in any gumbo or similar recipe, such as a fricassee or etoufée.
If you make a larger batch, freeze your roux in containers and use later.
Boom! Done! You now have a roux! Now you can use it in any recipe you'd like. Making roux is easy, isn't it?
No problem at all.
What to Make with Roux?
A good roux is often the first step for many recipes, including making gumbo, soups, stews, sauces, soups, making gravy and so much more.
The heated mixture allows you to make silky smooth sauces, thicken pan drippings into gravies, and for adding flavor to many different types of soup and stew dishes.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Keep Stirring the Roux. It is extremely important to keep stirring the flour so it does not stick to the bottom of the pot, where it can burn. If you burn your roux, do not use it. It will give your gumbo, soup or sauce an unpleasant acrid flavor. It is best to start over. Try using a figure eight pattern when stirring to get the entire bottom of the pot evenly, and do not use too high of heat.
- Best Oil for Roux. Neutral oils with higher smoke points are best for roux making, to avoid burning your roux. Peanut oil is very popular, as is canola oil. You can make a roux with olive oil, but it is more likely to burn because of the lower smoke point.
- Other Fats for Roux Making. You don't need oil to make a roux. Try it with clarified butter, which has a higher smoke point than regular butter, or use saved bacon fat, or lard. You can make roux with most fats and flour.
How to Store a Roux / Make Roux Ahead of Time
You can easily make your roux ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Simply make your roux as directed to the color you prefer, cool slightly, then transfer to a container and seal.
Homemade roux will last for months in the refrigerator. It will last for 1 year in the freezer.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my easy roux recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
How to Make a Roux (Easy Roux Recipe)
- ½ cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
- ½ cup flour
- Add ½ cup peanut oil to a large pot and heat to medium heat. Add flour and stir.
- Cook for 10 minutes, constantly stirring, until the roux lightly browns to a blonde roux, or continue stirring and cooking for up to 30 minutes for a roux the color of chocolate. The roux will darken as you stir, from very light brown to copper or peanut butter brown, then then to light chocolate, then dark chocolate, then very, very dark brown.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 11/16/22 to include new information and photos. It was originally published on 4/24/20.