What is Roux, and How Do I Make It?

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A roux is a mixture of equal parts flour and fat (vegetable oil, butter, and bacon drippings are the most common) that acts as a thickener and flavoring agent to a cooking liquid like cream or broth. This single element can range from the mildly flavored white roux to the complex, nutty dark brown roux. 

Though it only requires two ingredients, don’t underestimate a roux. It can make or break the texture or flavor of a dish. The stovetop method is the most common. A simple white roux is mainly used as a thickener and only takes a few minutes of constant stirring. 

The darker the roux, though, the more attention and time it needs. The change in color comes from the flour toasting in the skillet, giving the roux (and your dish) more flavor. But the darker the roux, the less thickening power it has. Brown roux is the foundation of traditional Southern brown gravies and numerous Louisiana dishes like gumbo and étoufée. However, a burned roux, which turns black and has grains resembling coffee grounds, can ruin an otherwise excellent dish, so follow our instructions to make a delicious one.

Our method for a standard stovetop roux can be used in your favorite recipes. Or to save on time, try our low-maintenance oven method to dry-toast flour. This method eliminates the need for long stovetop cooking and instead lets the oven do all the work for you, creating a virtually instant roux. No matter how you prepare your roux, remember that all the careful, patient stirring will help make an unforgettable meal.

Stovetop Roux
Serves: About 1 cup
 
Don’t walk away from a roux on the stovetop because it can go from dark brown to burned very quickly. Patience, stirring, and a watchful eye are the keys to success.
Ingredients
  • 7 tablespoons vegetable oil, butter, or bacon drippings
  • 11 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. In a cast-iron Dutch oven or large cast-iron skillet, heat oil, butter, or drippings over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour vigorously until combined and mixture is smooth.
  2. Reduce heat to low; continue cooking, whisking constantly, until flour has lost its raw smell but before any golden color or toasted aroma occurs, 4 to 5 minutes. For blond roux, continue cooking, stirring constantly, until roux is light golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. For brown roux, continue cooking, stirring constantly, until roux color resembles peanut butter, 30 to 35 minutes. For dark brown roux, continue cooking, stirring constantly, about 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Use immediately, or let cool completely and freeze for up to 6 months.

Dry Roux
Serves: About 4½ cups
 
This roux is shelf-stable for up to 3 months and can be used in recipes in place of a stovetop roux. Simply replace the flour in the recipe with an equal amount Dry Roux, and mix with fat as directed in the recipe, cooking for 1 minute; this will make a brown roux.
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Spread flour evenly on prepared pan.
  3. Bake, raking edges inward and center outward every 10 minutes, until flour is the color of ground cinnamon, about 1½ hours. (Watch flour carefully toward end of cook time.) Remove from oven; let cool completely. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place for up to 3 months.