Master the Art of Making Roux

January 30, 2013 | By | Comments (1)
Photo by Iain Bagwell

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Use our simple-to-follow technique to boost the flavor, color, and aroma of stews, gumbos, and sauces. Start practicing now and you can become a pro in time to serve some fantastic gumbo on Mardi Gras. 

Roux is a ritual, a foundation of flavor, and a commitment. To make it, you simply combine fat and flour in a heavy skillet or pot and cook it, stirring constantly, to coax out flavor, using the color—blonde to dark brown—as your guidepost. Chefs know the only critical key to making roux is following one simple commandment: Thou shalt pay attention. No texting and stirring. From there, it’s easy.

Photo by Gary Clark

Get this spoon from The Louisiana Roux Spoon Company; Photo by Gary Clark

Step 1: Pick your fat. Butter or animal fat adds flavor, but use canola oil for darker Creole and Cajun roux. Its higher smoke point is more forgiving.

Step 2: Choose your heat. Experts can use a higher flame. Beginners should heat fat in a pan over medium; the roux will take longer but not burn as easily. Add roughly a 1:1 ratio of flour.

Step 3: Identify the roux you want below. Keep stirring until you match it.

Step 4: Get a Cajun roux spoon. A whisk works, but a wood spatula is the best tool for making roux. Its flat edge scrapes evenly along the bottom and into the corners of a pan, preventing stubborn bits of flour from scorching.

Photo by Jennifer Davick

Photo by Jennifer Davick

Blonde Roux – Light Brown Roux – Medium Brown Roux

Blonde Roux: Flour is cooked but still light. Stir into sauces such as velouté to add richness and body.

Light Brown Roux: Marry this versatile thickener with pan juices from a roast to make gravy.

Medium Brown Roux: Begins losing thickening power but adds toasty flavor. Takes 15 minutes on medium heat.

Photo by Jennifer Davick

Photo by Jennifer Davick

Dark Brown Roux – Bless Your Heart

Dark Brown Roux: (first two spoons) Takes 20 minutes when cooked fast, up to 1 hour cooked slowly. Gives étouffées and gumbos deep, smoky flavor.

Bless Your Heart: (last spoon) You’ve gone too far. Cook the roux too long or fast and it will taste burned.

Watch our Test Kitchen Professional, Norman King, demonstrate the best way to make roux:


  1. Blizzard Gumbo – From the Vine to the Urban Stack

    […] what I did. (remember, I wanted to skip this part because I don’t know how to make roux!) HERE is a good explanation of roux. I kept adding a little more butter and a little water until I thought it looked right. Basically, […]

    February 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm

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