Making Roux Article -
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Making Roux

Roux is a thickener for sauces and soups that combines equal parts flour and butter.

Roux ("roo") is used to thicken sauces and soups. Pre-cooking flour allows the starch granules to swell and absorb moisture, and lets you thicken a sauce base without the flour clumping or forming lumps. Rouxs are also used to deepen the flavor of a sauce: browning the flour gives it a nutty, toasted flavor.

Colors of roux

Roux can be white, blond, brown, or dark. The color just depends on how long you cook the fat-flour mixture. While none are better or worse than the others, it does affect flavor and how much the roux can thicken. For an in-depth description and photos of different types of roux, see our All About Roux article.

Cook and stir

To make a basic roux, use equal weights of fat and flour. Four ounces of fat and four ounces of flour equal about 8 ounces of roux (moisture will evaporate). If you don't own a kitchen scale, one tablespoon of flour equals about ¼ ounce. One tablespoon butter = ½ ounce. Butter is the most commonly used form of fat; other fats can be used, but will have a different flavor. Melt the butter over medium heat; slowly add the flour to the butter, whisking constantly. Within 2 to 3 minutes the roux will have a consistency of a cake frosting. A white roux is done when the flour loses its "raw" smell and begins to develop a toasty aroma. Darker roux are cooked, stirring constantly, until the desired color. If you're not adding liquid, immediately remove the pan from the heat and transfer the roux to another container to cool. Be very careful: the hot fat-flour mixture can cause painful burns. Refrigerated or frozen roux will keep well for up to two months and can be added directly to soups or sauces for quick thickening.

Roux Tips

For step-by-step instructions on making roux, see our photo tutorials:

Aug. 30, 2009 10:57 am
actually roux does mean red, but it is used to describe a "red-haired" person or something "reddish", whereas rouge, which also means red, is used to describe red or pink in the form of a cosmetic.
Jan. 1, 2010 3:28 pm
Oil and flour is the most common way to making a roux.. not butter..
Louis V. Townsend 
Feb. 19, 2010 11:55 pm
A great roux can be easily & quickly made in your microwave oven, Place flour and fat/oil in a safe microwave covered pan, cook on high 90 seconds, stir well, and continue cooking/stiring in 20 second increments until desired color. I learned this in a cooking class when microwave ovens first came out.
Mar. 8, 2010 8:44 am
According to your measurements, you would use 1 cup of flour to 1/2 cup of butter. Other recipes I have read use equal amounts of flour and butter/oil. Which one should I follow?
Mar. 11, 2010 7:31 pm
Brenda, Please note that in the article above, the first sentence states "To make a basic roux, use equal weights of fat and flour." This means equal amounts by weight. Where's the problem? Do the other recipes call for equal amounts by volume? I just found two other articles that call for 2:1 ratio by volume of flour to fat/oil. I also just measured 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of butter. They each weigh 4 oz. These are consistent with the article above. Scott
Sep. 11, 2010 7:29 pm
i've made roux many times and i always use the ratio of 1:1, using a large kitchen spoon and have found that i can add a little more flour or oil as i feel it's needed. and try not to use not to high a heat.
Oct. 5, 2010 6:13 pm
I Use Roux Everyday,and We Make it With Liquid Margarine(oleo)and Flour,Equal Parts,Use a Wire Whip to Make Sure ALL the Clumps are Out,The Roux Has to be Room Temp. for it to Work.Then Add it to the Hot Soup, Be Careful not to add to Much or it Will Get To Thick.
Oct. 18, 2010 12:58 pm
I have been making a dry roux for years. This is how my mother made it. I am from Biloxi,MS, but now live in Califronia. I didn't start making gumbo until I was married a few years. The first one I made I use oil then went to dry. I use a iron skillet, put the amount of flour I will use and then brown to the desired color. The fat from the chicken give me the flavor. I use a crock pot to make my gumbo.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:38 pm
I would never use butter to make roux for most things although a blonder roux might be tasty that way. My experience making roux tells me it takes just a bit more flour than oil to get a good roux. Plus I have discovered a fool proof way to make it. I write about it here in all its gory details!
Jan. 30, 2011 7:16 am
I have used Paul Prudhomme's fast method in my cast-iron wok for 25 years - excellent results in next to no time. The technique can be found in Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen.
Feb. 9, 2011 9:34 am
I make a blond ruix for soups using EQUAL parts butter to flour, i.e. 4 tablespoons butter to 4 tablesoons flour, it's PERFECT and easy, i cook it over low heat to keep it blonde. I'm going to try making some creol food using the olive oil as suggested.
Mar. 12, 2011 7:00 am
I use equal amounts of oil and flour for dishes like gumbo or courtbouillon because i like the dark color, but i use equal amounts of butter or margarine and flour for etouffee's because i like a golden color for these dishes. My grandparents and parents always used oil and flour for their dishes, but either way they're both delicious. It's just a color preference.
Mar. 20, 2011 5:44 am
My grandmother used to make a brown gravy for sauerbraten that was just for the men and we loved it. She would put equal parts lard, crisco,etc and flour in an iron skillet. She would use a wooden spatula for mixing. She would then turn on the heat to around medium high and start stirring....the flour/grease mixture would cook and finally brown until she said the mixture was shiny.....this was the secret to not burning it. It was really strong and delicious. It took me about 4 small barches to master the technique, but it was worth it. Its really a lost art and she passed on over 35 years ago and my aunt who could do it passed on last you have the secret
kishin mirpuri 
Mar. 21, 2011 7:09 am
receipe how to make spring roll covers
Sep. 27, 2011 8:53 am
flour and butter the mixture of roux the secret of cheif
Nov. 24, 2011 7:22 am
I have done the Thanksgiving Day gravy for 30 years. My favorite "fat" part of the recipe is the turkey fat skimmed from the pan drippings, although have used butter and olive oil. I'm with Tugboatdave for quantities--start with equal parts flour and fat by volume since its easier, than add extra of each as needed. The remaining drippings go in for the gravy, as do broth made from the organs/neck with celery and onion, and chicken broth if needed.
Feb. 20, 2012 12:01 pm
If I remember correctly, it was Irma Rombauer who wrote that the fat should be hot enough to "surprise" the flour. That's not to say smokin' hot. Certainly not so hot that the flour burns, sticks, or browns quickly, but the foamy little bubbles around the edges develop right away. The darker I want my roux, the more I reduce the heat little by little as it cooks and browns. The fragrance is as much of a guideline as the color. Make a light roux in your favorite skillet, but (in my experience) a cast iron skillet is the ideal medium for very dark roux -- just don't get the iron too hot, because it won't lose heat just 'cause you pull it off the burner and pray like a condemned man. Don't rush! If you've committed yourself to a very dark roux, you may be standing and stirring for a half hour or so. Then set it off the heat and plan on using it at room temperature. Store extra roux in the Frigidaire in baby food jars or an old mayonnaise jar. At least that's the way mom did it when I was
May 13, 2012 3:04 pm
Thanks for this article! I didn't know that roux could be frozen and then used later. I'll have to keep that in mind for making quick mac and cheese.
Aug. 12, 2012 9:12 am
My mother stored her roux that way back in the 70's... but it had a caramel color. So that's old school. Wish she was alive to see it on the computer.
Nov. 2, 2012 2:12 pm
That's funny. We call that "gravy" like for biscuits and gravy. lol Here I didn't know it was fancy french cooking. Of course my father's (from KY) real name was Guiteau so... go figure.
Jun. 18, 2013 1:59 am
we call it gravy but mix the flour with meat fat and juices. yum
Nov. 16, 2014 1:06 pm
I don't use butter to make roux! I use oil: Lard, vegetable oil, something like that. Butter is good for a cheese sauce or a white biscuit gravy.
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