learn how to make roux: a step by step guide to for the best sauce base ever
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Roux. The cornerstone of many sauces. An amazing thickening agent and flavor enhancer.
There are 4 basic kinds of roux; white, blond, medium brown and dark brown. Each of them have a different use.
Guys, first of all I’m not going to lie. Making roux is a pain in the ass. It takes a lot of time, attention and stirring. Which is usually not something I love.
BUT, it’s totally worth it. The roux will add this awesome amazingly deep flavor to the dishes you cook. There is nothing better than a deep, dark chocolaty roux in a warm and hearty gumbo.
And have you ever had an etouffee? With it’s creamy, deliciously wonderful sauce? And don’t even get me started on macaroni and cheese. Well that’s all thanks to roux.
But first, let’s talk a little about the ingredients. Traditionally, roux is made with clarified butter; however, you can use any fat you’d like. If you choose a fat that burns easier, you just need to be a little more careful to not let it burn during the process. I love a roux made with bacon grease, but butter, vegetable oil, duck fat, chicken or turkey fat, or a mix will also work.
Using plain oil will produce the least flavorful roux, however, it can be great for a dark roux because it doesn’t burn easily. When I make a dark roux, I use an oil and butter mixture.
Here are some affiliate links to fats that I use on a regular basis. Note if you buy through these links, I receive a small commission to help keep this site running.
Personally, I render my own bacon grease. But if you’re not a regular bacon fryer, it’s really handy to just buy it for cooking.I’m a regular bacon fryer.
Because bacon fat makes everything better. Seriously.
Once you’ve chosen your fat, you need to use an equal amount of flour. For instance, if you used 1/2 cup of fat, you’ll need 1/2 cup flour. You can adjust the amount if it is too thick/thin after you whisk the flour in. I don’t typically have to adjust anything.
I recommend using a cast iron skillet like this one to make your roux. The pan heats uniformly and makes it easy to whisk with the lower sides. You can also use a dutch oven if you’d like something a bit deeper.
Cook the roux over medium heat. If you choose to cook your roux over lower heat, it will take longer to cook, but does not require continuous stirring. If you choose to cook it over higher heat, it will cook faster, but must be stirred continuously to keep from burning.
And always, ALWAYS stir/whisk your roux while it’s cooking. Otherwise it will burn. And you’ve wasted all that time, energy, and delicious fat.
learn How to make roux: a step-by-step guide
White roux takes less than 5 minutes to cook. It cooks just long enough to get rid of the raw flour taste. Because we are not cooking it to a deeper brown color, it doesn’t take on much flavor. It is typically used as a thickening agent for sauces. It’s great for use in a Bechamel sauce or a white gravy. Think about that macaroni and cheese guys.
If you’re going blond, you’ll need to cook it for about 5-10 minutes. It will take on very light brown, almost peanut butter color. This is a great base for creamy soups and bisques.
Medium Brown Roux
The medium brown roux takes between 15-30 minutes. It should be a milk chocolate brownish color. Not too dark, but definitely darker than the blond. Perfect for etouffee or a lighter seafood gumbo. Nothing like trying to make food sound appetizer by describing it as a “brownish color”….
Dark Brown Roux
Dark brown roux takes a commitment. But it’s worth it. Totally worth it. It takes between 30 and 45 minutes and careful attention. DON’T BURN IT. I love this stuff. It adds a deep, amazingly delicious flavor to gumbo. Because it’s somewhat of a pain in the ass to make, I make a larger batch and freeze it. Note that when you make larger batch, the cook times may be a little longer.
So guys, give it a shot. It’s totally worth it. Yes, it takes time. Make a batch. Freeze what you don’t use.
You’re gonna love it.
Made it? What kind did you make? What did you use it in?
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup fat (cooking oil, butter, animal fats)
Add the flour and fat to a cast iron skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Continue stirring until desired color is reached. Less than 5 minutes for white, 5-10 minutes for blond, 15-30 minutes for medium brown and 30-45 minutes for dark brown.
- Any animal fat can be used here. If you make a dark brown roux, I would recommend a fat with a higher smoking point to avoid burning it.