Making Roux, Step-by-Step Article -
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How to Make Roux, Step-by-Step

Roux (pronounced "roo") is a thickening agent for soups and sauces with roots dating back more than 300 years in French cuisine.

Made by cooking a flour and oil paste until the raw flavor of the flour cooks out and the roux has achieved the desired color, a properly cooked roux imparts silky-smooth body and a nutty flavor while thickening soups and sauces.

1. Roux can be made with a variety of oils and animal fats. They are commonly made with vegetable oil, olive oil, or clarified butter, but can also be made with bacon grease or other rendered fats. Since an oil-based roux will separate as the flour settles to the bottom, clarified butter is the preferred fat to use when making a roux for future use, as it will harden when refrigerated, trapping the flour in suspension.

There are four varieties of roux: white, blond, brown, and dark brown. The different colors are a result of how long the roux is cooked; white is cooked for the shortest time, while dark brown cooks the longest. White and blond roux are the most common, used to thicken sauces, soups, and chowders. Brown and dark brown roux have more flavor, but less thickening power than white or blond roux. These roux are primarily used in Cajun and Creole dishes, most notably gumbo and jambalaya.

2. Begin making the roux by melting 1 cup of clarified butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is hot enough that a pinch of flour sprinkled into it will slowly start to bubble, proceed to the next step.

    3. Whisk 1-3/4 cups of flour into the clarified butter until a thick, rough paste forms. Whisk constantly while it bubbles over medium heat. As it cooks, the roux will become smooth and begin to thin.

      4. The white stage is reached once the flour looses its raw smell, after about 5 minutes of cooking and stirring. Although slightly grainy in texture, it is much smoother than it was at the beginning. The mixture is bubbling vigorously and the color is a little paler than when the clarified butter and flour were first combined.

        5. After about 20 minutes of continuous cooking and stirring, the roux will reach the blond stage. The bubbles are beginning to slow, and the aroma has taken on nuances of popcorn or toasted bread. The roux is now tan colored, very smooth, and thinner than it was at the white stage.

          6. Brown roux will reach a peanut butter-brown color after approximately 35 minutes of cooking and stirring. Its aroma is more pronounced and sharper than the nutty nuances of blond roux. The roux is now thinner, and the bubbling has slowed even more.

            7. Even darker than brown roux, the dark brown stage occurs after about 45 minutes of cooking, and is the color of melted milk chocolate. Its aroma will also mellow from the strong, roasted flavor of brown roux and will actually smell a little like chocolate. The roux is no longer bubbling, and is very thin.

              Nov. 23, 2009 1:28 pm
              Remember to keep stirring! Roux IS the perfect way to thicken gravy with-out getting lumps. Never just mix flour and water in jar and think you're going to thicken gravy. It's TROUBLE!
              Nov. 24, 2009 6:22 pm
              My grandmother taught me a variation to this roux recipe. I have always browned the flour over a medium to medium-high heat and when it gets to the desired color I add the desired oil which is usually clarified butter. I will have to try it in reverse and see if it tastes the same.
              Nov. 24, 2009 11:07 pm
              I thought a Roux was equal amounts of oil and flour? Why is it different here?
              Nov. 26, 2009 11:19 am
              i'm new... what is clarified butter? and where can i get it?
              Dec. 2, 2009 12:36 pm
              melted butter = clarified butter
              Dec. 20, 2009 6:24 pm
              Jude, Clarified butter is simply butter which has been melted and then skimming off the white foamy material that floats on top. What you skim off are solids and impurities that can burn during high heat. If not skimmed off, you may also find it floating on top of whatever you were thickening with the roux.
              Dec. 23, 2009 10:35 am
              Is this to be made right before you make your gravy or can you make it ahead and refridgerate?
              Dec. 30, 2009 9:32 am
              I am making a gumbo and was told about adding a roux to it. Are there any suggestions?
              Jan. 13, 2010 9:43 pm
              I'm with Jan...can this roux be made a stored/refrigerated/frozen and to Jude, thanks for the well explained answer to what clarified butter is and how to avoid potentials dismay is solids/impurities are not skimmed. That really helped me.
              Jan. 15, 2010 6:23 pm
              The best gumbo I have ever tasted is found in Houston at Goode and Company. They will not share the recipe. If anyone can copy it, please post.
              Jan. 17, 2010 3:14 pm
              no one answered can roux be stored for any lenght of time?
              Jan. 17, 2010 5:25 pm
              Storage: from the All About Roux page on this site (click on "Gumbo Basics" above, then click "All About Roux" about 2/3 down the page) "When the roux has finished cooking, pour it into a metal or heatproof container and allow it to cool. As it sits, the flour will begin to settle to the bottom, and the oil will rise to the surface. Stir the oil back into the flour before using as this will make the roux dissolve smoothly. If you decide to pour off the oil, the roux will still work, but will require more whisking into a sauce in order to fully dissolve. After the roux has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate. Roux will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer until ready for use. Roux made with vegetable oil can be stored at room temperature for several weeks, but roux made with butter or fat should always be refrigerated."
              Jan. 19, 2010 4:54 pm
              I made a butter/flour roux and added it to my soup but it didn't thicken at all. The roux was very thick so I took some of the soup and added it to the roux first. I have tried thickenings before and sometimes there are clumps of flour and sometimes it doesn't thicken. what is the trick?
              Jan. 30, 2010 3:59 am
              Iam from Houma, La. & I cook my roux with very little stirring. I heat my oil(covers bottom of pot,maybe 1/8" deep), then I add the flour. Sorry I don't measure, I just eyeball the thickness.Once the thickness reaches the desired amount and it is bubbling, I turn the fire down as low as it will go and still bubbles. It basically cooks itself with very little stirring which is tiring & time consuming. While the roux 'cooks itself', you can prepere whatever you're going to put in it. Hope this helps.
              Karla N 
              Feb. 5, 2010 8:48 pm
              Thank you, Kris, for the original information, and Debbieb, for the "cooks itself" tip. I am unable to stand for very long or stir for very long, either, so I'm very happy to know that's not necessary.
              Feb. 15, 2010 11:42 am
              For Diane: When making a roux, the longer you cook it the less ability it has to actually thicken something. For best results (like when making a gravy, for instance)don't cook your roux too long. Also, I use equal amounts of flour and oil. Hope this helps you.
              Feb. 18, 2010 10:51 am
              my roux is equal parts oil to flour and i cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes or more - it should look like the color of an old penny - so get an old penny & put it next to your roux pot! i know what roux should look like, and the i have seen other than a recipe very much like this one, you will have something other than real roux - believe me! IT DOES TAKE WORK - and if you burn it _ START OVER
              Apr. 13, 2010 9:46 pm
              The amounts are equal in weight not volume, hense the difference in the volume measurments.
              Jun. 6, 2010 5:17 pm
              How much roux do you add to beef stew to make it thick? How do you know how much to use to make stews thick?
              Aug. 8, 2010 4:02 pm
              to, it cannot. it does not hod up well.
              Aug. 19, 2010 10:16 am
              is that how enchalada sauce is madeusing roux ?
              Oct. 9, 2010 12:00 am
              When making Gumbo i suggest using a brown or dark brown roux that's what i've always used in Gumbo. It thickens nicely and gives it great flavor.
              Nov. 23, 2010 8:32 pm
              Your "step by step" to make a roux is excellent. thank you so much !!!!
              Ma Doo 
              Dec. 5, 2010 12:42 pm
              when making a large amount, do i just double or triple the amount of clarified butter and flour? or do i add water to stretch it? i'm a newbee. thanks
              Dec. 8, 2010 3:25 am
              Your "step by step" to make a roux is excellent. I like it too much,you are amazing.
              Dec. 22, 2010 7:31 pm
              This roux makes any stew, gumbo or any dish that requires gravy a great experience. After you master it, you can try it with smothered steaks, liver and even chops. "The way to get to the heart is through the stomach." Your love will never leave you!
              Es Buchanan 
              Dec. 24, 2010 5:30 pm
              Can I make ROUX ahead of time and if so--how long do I have to use it up?
              Jan. 1, 2011 7:12 am
              I spend each mornin' checking out all the wisdom you people have .. thx
              Jan. 4, 2011 10:54 am
              In answer to the questions about equal IS equal parts but what you are missing is the BY WEIGHT part. Thus, the difference in measurement - 1 cup oil, 1-3/4 cup flour... From "Whether you make a little or a lot, the proportions of ingredients are the same: 1 part oil or fat and 1 part all-purpose flour, by weight. If you have a kitchen scale, this is easy to measure. If you do not have a kitchen scale, use measuring cups or spoons to measure 1 part oil or fat and 1-3/4 parts all-purpose flour."
              Jan. 6, 2011 5:41 pm
              MUDSLINGER is my middle name,playing in the mud is my game, with my YAM 700 GRIZZLY. I`m 68 years old,and still WIDEOPEN!!!!!!
              Jan. 13, 2011 8:56 pm
              Why can't I add this step by step Roux recipe to My Recipe Box?
              Jan. 28, 2011 1:59 pm
              Susan you posted a comment over a year ago about Goode and Co - just put the company name in the search engine and you will find some of their recipes - maybe not the one you are looking for, but worth a try.
              Jan. 28, 2011 2:00 pm
              Nark you can make your own recipe folder on Word and just copy and paste what you want to save.
              Feb. 8, 2011 7:06 am
              after my roux gets to the derired color,I addedchopped onions,celery and bellpepper.Fresh garlic too. Then I let it cook on low for about 15 minutes. This allows the roux a fuller flavor forgumbo.
              Rod B. 
              Feb. 18, 2011 7:06 pm
              It's hard to believe someone would say clarified butter is "melted butter", or all you do is "skim the top". When you melt butter you will get three distinct layers of matter. The substance on the top of slowly melted butter is the water layer and has carried some of the milk fat up with it. The main part in the middle is the butter without water or milk solids (clarified butter) The solids at the bottom of the pot is the milk solids. Skim off the top layer, then very carefully and slowly pour the clarified butter into a container BEING CAREFUL TO LEAVE THE SOLIDS IN THE BOTTOM OF THE POT. There are a couple better ways to clarify butter, but this one is by far the easiest and should work fine for just about all needs. P.S. Most people that know true Louisiana roux or locals will tell you there mother/grandmother always kept it in an old coffee tin on top the fridge. It will easily last a week if you clarified the butter correctly. Also use salted butter to start with. I apologiz
              Apr. 14, 2011 12:34 pm
              I'm from the Texas Louisiana border area and I once had a recipe to cook the roux in the oven with no stirring at all. Anyone out there have that one? Also I heard thatyou can microwave it too. Any comments?
              May 1, 2011 1:33 pm
              How to make roux the almost-no-stir method. First note that butter gives some people heart burns when over used. Also, oil will stand higher heats than butter so I use oil. 1. Mix the flour & fat (oil) equal parts BY WEIGHT into a cold cast iron pot or frying pan. Stir to blend. 2. Place the cast iron frying pan into a pre heated 325-350 degree oven. Your heat may vary so make it hot but monitor it until you trust the heat setting of your oven. At over 350 some oils will burn. 3. When it comes to a boil the first time, stir it one time. 4. Cook for two hours or the color meets your needs. 5. The longer you cook it, the darker it gets and the less thickening ability. I cook up a bunch. Refrigerate in plastic container. Pour off excess oil. It keeps for months. Use as needed for great taste.
              Jun. 18, 2011 4:22 pm
              If you don't want to take the time to clarify your butter, stop by your local Indian market and pick up a jar of Ghee. If anyone knows how to clarify butter, it would be my friends from India! It may be blasphemy, but when I make roux for my gumbo I put all the spices and onions in it before I put it in the pot with the other ingredients. It's unconventional, but man does it make a great thoroughly seasoned pot of gumbo.
              Jun. 19, 2011 6:33 pm
              I love gumbo but don't like all the oil can you make the roux and then pour off the oil and get the same flavor ?
              Sep. 7, 2011 9:22 am
              adding info to Louise message (6/11) Ghee (clarified butter) is also an excellent way to make for spicy (flavorful) but cutting the actual affect the spices have on the stomach- I learned this from my Indian friends, the can feed their spicy foods to little ones or Wimpy ones by added a teaspoon of Ghee to the plate/bowl of food and stirring it in - you loose the bite but not the flavors!
              Oct. 6, 2011 8:46 am
              Thanks for these tips!!! I now can make my potato leek soup with cream and hopefully have no "curdled look" in the soup. Christmas Eve soup will be better this year!
              Oct. 22, 2011 10:56 am
              Here in south Louisiana all the grocery stores sell powdered roux products. Savoie's makes one and so does Tony Chachere's. There are other brands as well, and some are oil and salt-free. They are easy to use in lieu of making your own roux from scratch. You can rapidly whisk in what you wish into your prepared gumbo, according to your own taste and thickness preferences. I do not know if other states carry these powdered roux's, but perhaps you could find some online.
              Nov. 7, 2011 8:27 pm
              I read several saying to "pour off the oil when the roux settles". Is it okay to "reuse" that oil to make more roux? Has anybody tried that?
              Nov. 17, 2011 7:43 pm
              I make my roux for my gumbo with butter and bacon fat (maybe just a little more butter than bacon). Get it cooking and add flour. Clarify butter? I'm not that fancy and my roux does just fine with stick butter. Also, my rue will darken a little as it cools, so I cut the heat just a little before my desired color.
              Nov. 17, 2011 7:44 pm
              Oh, and stir constantly!!
              Nov. 29, 2011 6:22 pm
              Call me a wimp,but the day will never come when I stand there stiring anything,for 20 min and more.I make a roux for gravies, and cream sauce, but I didn't cook it for more than 5 min..Just think how much better it'll be when I do it right.
              Jun. 4, 2012 7:25 pm
              Cajun dish, use oil for your roux and if it's a Creole dish use butter, also butter if the dish is going to have tomatoes in it.That's what I learned, but I pretty much use oil all the time, it's so nuch easier.
              Aug. 7, 2012 5:32 pm
              I am 68 and was raised with the old method of mixing flour and milk and getting the sauce to thicken. I am so totally sold on making a roux first. I even shortcuttedf the directions by just melting margarine in the microwave, heating on an electric stove, stiring in the flour and stiring for 5 minutes. Added milk and no lumps and much better taste. Make the roux first. I am learning even at my age......
              Oct. 5, 2012 12:24 am
              Can't wait to make some to always have some on hand.
              Oct. 17, 2012 6:38 am
              What is the best instrument with which to stir the roux. I use a spatula with a sharp edge so I can scrape the mixture off the bottom of the pot. Is there a better way?
              Oct. 20, 2012 10:20 am
              I am doubling a cream of mushroom soup recipe. Can anyone tell me if I should also double the roux? Thanks!
              Nov. 14, 2012 1:14 pm
              I have never had a problem with mixing flour and water together to make a paste for gravy. I use a whisk and any lumps get broken down. I have never made gravy with a roux.
              Dec. 18, 2012 11:32 am
              Sharon: actually, by adding flour to the sucs in your roasting pan, you have by definition been making a roux. What you are calling a "paste" is your roux. (It just sounds more appetizing when you throw in a few french words!) The left-over bits in the pan are the fat, the flour is the thickening agent, and the water is simply being used to achieve the desired consistency. Roux does not have to be made ahead of time to be a roux.
              Walt M 
              Sep. 3, 2013 3:11 am
              I see that many complain about lumpy gravy. I realize that this discussion is about roux but here is my foolproof and lump proof way to make gravy. Skim off about half of the oil/drippings from the top of the meat and place in appropriate sized sauce pan. Increase the heat to high and bring the drippings to a rapid boil. Take a couple of tablespoons of corn starch and stir in a half cup of cold water or milk. The secret is to always add very cold starch to very hot drippings. Slowly add the combined corn starch and liquid to the hot drippings whisking constantly. When drippings are thickened the desired amount stop adding the thickener and stir/whisk the gravy until it reaches the stage where it will cling thickly to a tablespoon. If the gravy is not the dark color that you wish for slowly add drops of Kitchen Bouquet (available at any supermarket in a small bottle) until it reaches the desired color. cold thickener must be added to very hot/boiling drippings. If
              Oct. 10, 2013 8:01 pm
              Hoping to use this recipe to enhance/thicken a vegetarian stew to some degree. (Dairy is still ok. Make any sense??
              Oct. 24, 2013 10:37 am
              Just finished a large batch of gumbo cooked in a cast iron pot. Delicious...but from time to time a roux ring is left on the bowl. What up with that? Good pot, half oil and half flour (measured not weighted), 35 min to a milk chocolate brown every time. So why the ring of roux on the bowls? Thanks in advance from New Orleans.
              Oct. 25, 2013 10:31 am
              I'm hoping someone can answer some questions I have about roux. I want to start using rouxs in my cooking, and am trying to do one now. I slowly bubbled 2 T. of butter (unclarified, because I'm just adding it to a stew - so didn't think I needed to worry about the heat point, or storing it this morning), then added 3 1/2 T. of flour and whisked it constantly. It slowly bubbled, but started turning brown quickly (within about 6 - 7 minutes). It was a nice light caramel brown and smelled like yummy roasted nuts. Then I added 1 1/2 c. of cold water (slowly) and whisked it until it was fully combined. My questions are: Am I supposed to cook it longer now (after adding the water) before adding it to my stews/soups? Or is it done, and I just add it now? (Which is what I'm doing today, and am hoping for the best as I'm not sure). Also, I see that many say that bacon grease is really good to make roux with. Does it add a strong bacon flavor to the dishes? Or does it just taste really good? I a
              Sep. 11, 2014 7:17 am
              I usually make gravy with water and flour, but the water has to be really cold to get the four to mix in seamlessly and not lump up when added to the food. Excited to try this way so I can make my husband a proper gumbo.
              Oct. 3, 2014 12:16 pm
              Roux will keep in the fridge as long as a stick of butter will. If you make it with clarified butter the flour will not separate. The flour only separates if you make it with oil.
              Tom Jorgenson 
              Dec. 10, 2014 12:21 pm
              Your gravy will be much better if you start with roux as a base. Whip up a quick, small amount of roux as instructed and after several minutes of stirring (until the lumps turn smooth), add your milk and stir again. Flavor as usual, pepper, sausage bits, etc., as you wish... but little extra is needed. This is wonderful. If you're not making a darker roux, just relax and throw it together, stir a bit and add the milk. Stir some more and it'll be fine.
              Dec. 11, 2014 3:51 pm
              - from New Orleans here Blonde rouxes are made with butter usually. It's used in more gravy like dishes. Shrimp creole or an ettoufe. The darker roux from oil is used in gumbo. Creole cooking is French based. It's all presentation. Color, smell, taste. Most gumbo you get in someone's house is going to be darker than the stuff fed to tourists. (Side note, ettoufe should NOT use tomato. That would make it a stew. Color should come from fat and liver removed from head) Yes the roux will hold if you refrigerate, just have to stir it as the flour settles out and oil rises. You can arrest the browning of your roux by adding your "holy trinity" (onion, bell pepper, celery) and then your chicken and then sausage if your doing chicken and sausage gumbo. For seafood you add in after stock is added. You get stock by boiling your scrimp shells in water. Or go buy it. For that reason we don't refrigerate the roux and cook it another day. This makes for a better gumbo, so most of us
              Lori Nelson 
              Jan. 19, 2015 9:41 pm
              I have typically melted 2 Tbsp. of butter and 2 Tbsp. of flour in the bottom of a saucepan, then gradually added milk (over medium heat) and kept stirring until I got the desired consistency. Maybe I'm making a white sauce instead of a roux. I am very confused!!
              Mar. 30, 2015 5:21 pm
              First, in clarifying butter it's important to do it over low heat. The bottom layer in the pot will be a water based 'buttermilk' that you don't want to boil. After skimming the solids off the top, pour the clarified butter off the buttermilk. The clarified butter keeps very well at room temperature. Refrigeration won't hurt, but the butter fat gets very stiff. Proportions for the roux? I start with the fat, then add the flour until the consistency seems right. I like it slightly stiffer than canned tomato paste. It should still be fluid enough to easily accept the heat from the pot/pan. How much to use? One or two tablespoons of roux will thicken a cup of liquid. If that liquid is milk, yes - you have a white sauce. (I'd go for cream and less roux..) Best use for roux is to make a gravy for a roast - whatever you've just roasted. Use the pan fat and juices - perhaps deglaze with a little wine. Separate the fat - they make neat plastic pitchers for this - and see what you
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