making a roux

Making a Roux — Basic Cooking Skills

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When you think of a roux, you might first think of Cajun food with rich gumbos and jambalayas. It is an essential part of the Creole cuisine but have been used by cooks across the world for centuries as the foundation of endless dishes. Making a roux is a basic technique that will increase your understanding of cooking and elevate your sauces for decades to come!

Let’s get started!

This post is part of our Basic Cooking Skills series. Each week we will be doing a deep-dive into one basic cooking skill and a brand new recipe to accompany it to practice that newfound skill. Check back throughout the series for updates and new posts.


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What is a roux?

A roux (pronounced “ru-”) is a base for sauces and soups that works as a thickening agent. When heated it thickens your creamy Italian sauces and keeps your dinner gravies from getting clumpy.

Compared to a slurry of cornstarch, rouxs are more flavorful, smooth, and naturally enhance the flavor of the liquids.

Equal parts flour and fat (usually butter) come together to form this simple thickener.

As roux cook longer they develop a darker color and deeper flavor. There are unique ways to use the 3 standards types, and each is a little different than the others. 

how to make a roux

It could not be easier to whip up an amazing roux. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!

  • Heat butter (or another fat) and whisk in equal parts flour. Stir until smooth. Cook for a few minutes until the desired color is achieved.

Typically the rule of thumb for a creamy sauce is 1 cup of liquid = 2 tbsp butter & 2 tbsp milk. For a thinner sauce, use less; for a thicker sauce, use more.

incorporating roux into a sauce

Once your roux has formed and has finished cooking, you can continue creating your sauce or gravy.

Slowly mix in the liquid for your sauce, most often chicken broth or cream.

If the liquid in your dish is hot and already prepared,  room temperature roux can be added into the liquid, stirring vigorously. If your liquid is cold, such as broth from the fridge,  the liquid should be added into the hot roux, stirring vigorously.

Stir frequently to break it down into the liquid and combine.

Don’t worry if you need to make adjustments as you go. If your sauce is too thick like a paste, add more liquid. If your sauce is too thin like water, cook in more roux.

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3 types of roux and when to use them

White

  • The lightest of the rouxs, cooked for 1-2 minutes
  • The most commonly used
  • Thickens the most
  • Uses:

Blond

  • Cooked for 5-10 minutes
  • Slightly caramelized and is a deeper brown
  • Nuttier flavor
  • Uses:
    • Veloute and stock-based sauces
    • Gravy
    • Soup

Brown

  • Cooks up to 30 minutes, until almost burnt. So be careful!
  • Very dark in color
  • Lots of rich nutty flavor
  • Uses

Materials Needed

quick takeaways

  • Roux is a natural thickener for sauces and gravies that enhances flavor
  • Equal parts butter and flour
  • 1 cup of liquid = 2 tbsp butter + 2 tbsp flour
  • Easily adjust thickness by adding more roux (thicker) or more liquid (thinner)
  • Increasing cooking time to create a blond or brown type
  • Use the 3 different types for unique sauces

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Implement Your New Skill

Now that you know how to make a solid roux, there are no limits to what sauce you can make! Have some fun experimenting in the kitchen with different sauces, gravies, soups and more as you master the 3 different rouxs.

This Thursday check back in for a SUPER easy cream sauce recipe using a white roux! Can’t wait to share it with you 🙂

**UPDATE: Check out this easy cheesy cream sauce recipe to test out your roux skills!

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58 thoughts on “Making a Roux — Basic Cooking Skills”

  1. Amazing info, I only knew about the first roux, the blond for the likes of bechamel sauce and cheese sauces.

    Will definitely be giving it a go for sauces, gone will the days of gravys and sauces lumpy with flour.

  2. Great information! I cook and know what a roux is but honestly had no idea about blond or brown. Probably because most of the recipes I make or use have more of a white roux. Thank you for sharing!!

  3. I only recently learned how to make a roux, and it has transformed the way I cook. I use it for my favorite dinner: beef tips and egg noodles! This post was so informative and helpful 🙂

  4. When I thoughts of roux my only thought was, “what’s a roux?” Ha ha ha. I had no idea is was a thickening agent for stuff like sauces, and I really hate a runny sauce. You end up with food items with no sauce favour on it, so I’m going to have to try this out

  5. How have I never heard of a roux before? I love this post as I’ve now learnt two new things – what a roux is, and a great new recipe that I can try out later. Love it! Thanks for sharing x

    1. I used to use slurries of cornstarch for my chilies but it always left a silky texture. Flour and butter do such a better job of thickening up excess liquid!

  6. Such great advice! My mom taught me this a couple years ago and we use it when making Alfredo or gravy sauces but it’s always great to read and refresh! Thanks for sharing

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