4 types of roux & when to use them

A roux isn’t just white so here’s a guide to making a roux and its 4 uses.

COOKING TIME:  2 – 45 mins (depends on the type of roux you need)
thickening sauces, adding deep flavour

Roux (pronounced “roo”)

 A roux is your go-to mixture for perfectly thick, lump-free sauces.

It’s the basis of three of the five mother sauces of French cuisine.

Which are, Sauce Espagnole, Béchamel sauce, and Velouté sauce.

A roux can add colour, and flavour to sauces, soups, and stews.

You make a creamy sauce in macaroni and cheese from it.

And you can use it to turn your drippings into a lush gravy for your Sunday roast.

Plus, the best thing is, making a roux is simple.

What is a roux?

It’s a combination of flour and fat.

And to make a roux it’s just 1 part oil or fat to 1 part flour.

Then whisked constantly over heat until it reaches the shade of colour you require i.e. ranging from white to dark brown.

A guide to making roux & its 4 uses

It all comes down to how long you cook the roux.

So, the lighter roux is cooked for a short time.

While the dark brown roux is cooked the longest i.e. in a gumbo

White roux

  • Neutral in flavour and is used to thicken sauces, soups, and chowders.
  • Cook for approx. 2 – 3 mins, just long enough to get rid of the raw flour taste

Blonde roux

  • Nuttier in flavour and often used for sauces and soups.
  • Cook 3 to 5 mins.

Brown roux

  • Traditionally used for brown sauces like gravy and the mother sauce Espagnole.
  • Nutty flavour, and with less thickening power than lighter roux’s.
  • Cook for a total of 6 to 7 mins and should have a nutty aroma and pale brown in colour.

Dark brown roux

  • Dark brown roux is used in many Creole and Cajun dishes like gumbo and jambalaya.
  • Least useful as a thickening agent but brings depth of flavour to dishes.
  • For a rich, dark roux, continue to cook for 20 – 45 mins.

How to make a roux: Step-by-step guide

1 part oil or fat (butter) and 1 part all-purpose flour.

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add flour.
  3. Whisk the flour and butter together constantly.
  4. In 2 to 3 mins, you’ll have a white roux.
  5. Continue cookingto adapt to the darkness you require.

How long can you keep roux?

You can make roux ahead and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container, for up to several weeks.

What can you substitute for a roux?

  • Cornstarch: Start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of cold liquid in a small bowl. Stir until smooth paste or slurry forms. Whisk the slurry into the hot liquid that you want to thicken.
  • Arrowroot Powder: Use 2 1/2 teaspoons of arrowroot per 1 cup of cold liquid for a medium-thick sauce. Arrowroot is a flavourless starch does not require cooking. High heat and vigorous stirring can keep the liquid from thickening.
  • Cowboy Roux: Substitute roux by making “cowboy roux”, a mixture of flour and water. It can be used as a thickener, but the taste of raw flour will remain.

Do you have any tips on making a roux? Leave a comment.