How to Make Roux

Roux may sound fancy but it's simple to make. Discover the different types of roux, how to cook a roux and watch the step-by-step instructional video.

A cream colored bowl holds gumbo topped with a small mound of rice and sliced green onion. To the right of a bowl are to slices of French bread.

Roux sounds fancy but it's simple and results in big flavor for gumbos, soups, gravies and sauces.

Roux (pronounced "roo") is the foundation for many Cajun and Creole recipes, from gravies to sauces and soups to gumbos. Roux, though simple in nature, brings incredible flavor to so many recipes. Roux is a cooked mixture of flour and fat (oil, butter or lard) used as a thickening agent.  

Check out the instructional video and learn about making roux.


How to Make a Louisiana Roux:

This is the traditional method for making roux using equal parts oil and flour.

  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup flour

Method of Preparation:

  1. In a heavy or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat oil until hot.
  2. Add flour gradually, stirring or whisking to combine with the oil.
  3. After adding all the flour, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, about 45 to 60 minutes or until roux ranges from a peanut butter color to a dark brown (like a reddish brown, or the color of milk chocolate) and has a nutty odor (it will be very thick and pasty).

    This process takes some time, depending on how high the heat on your stove is. The slower, the better, but be ready to remove skillet from the heat and stir more rapidly if the roux appears to be getting too hot.

    If you stop stirring – the flour will burn. Never walk away from the roux. The secret to getting perfect roux is to take your time and stir constantly.

  4. When done to your liking, immediately remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Carefully transfer it into your stockpot and start making gumbo or other recipes.

Approximate Time Table for Cooking Traditional Roux:

There are five (5) different stages of cooking a roux. Cooking times can vary, depending on the type and amount of roux you’re trying to make. Different variations of roux are categorized by their color and that is dictated by the amount of time they spend cooking in the pan. As the roux cooks longer, it becomes darker while gaining flavor, however it will lose some of its thickening power.

The different stages of roux are as follows:

White (Light) Roux: Usually takes 5 minutes to develop. This roux is useful for thickening sauces, soups and other dishes. Also, it is an ingredient in some pastries and entrees.

Light Brown (Peanut Butter) Roux: This roux can take up to 15 minutes to fully develop and has the color of peanut butter.

Medium Brown Roux: If you cook the roux for 20 minutes, you will get a medium brown roux that should be the color of a copper pot.

Dark Brown (Chocolate) Roux: When you cook the roux for 25+ minutes, you will end up with a dark brown roux the color of dark chocolate.