If you've ever had lasagna, pasta, a meat dish, macaroni and cheese, or any number of your favorite dishes, then you've definitely been introduced to a roux before. You've probably wondered at one point how to make a roux yourself. While lots of people talk about it, what exactly is a roux? How do you make one? What does it do?

We're here to answer all of your roux-based questions and we're going to teach you all about it!

flour on a cutting board

What Is A Roux?

A roux is a thickening agent made of flour and fat that is used to thicken sauces. It's an important element in many sauces because it helps the sauces you make stick to your food without being watery or falling right off the food. It's also the base for three of the five French mother sauces, which all use a different sort of roux.

There are four different kinds of roux: white, blond, brown, and dark brown. They change color based on how long you cook them for. The lighter the roux, the shorter amount of time it has spent on the stove. Each of the different types of roux come with their own benefits. For example, white roux serves as a better thickening agent while dark brown roux is not the thickest, but it's the most flavorful.

Learning how to make a roux is an essential step to make your dishes and sauces much thicker and tastier!

flour and butter

Simple Recipe For A Roux

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of melted butter

The best kinds of roux use equal parts fat and flour.

Steps

  • Add the butter to a pan heating over low-medium heat. When you're making a roux, you want to add in your fat first.
  • Sprinkle in the flour and keep whisking as you add in your flour.
  • Whisk, whisk, whisk! Don't stop whisking your roux until it reaches your desired color.
  • Remove from heat.

Roux isn't all that hard to make, it just takes a little bit of time and arm power depending on the kind of roux you're looking to make. Each of the four different kinds of roux will take more time and turn different colors.

Different Types of Roux

If you're wondering how to make a roux for certain things, then these are the different stages of roux you should familiarize yourself with!

White

White roux only takes about five minutes to make because it's used for bechamel sauce or white sauce. You don't need to do much with it here besides whisking it until the flour loses its raw smell. This one is the thickest one but it has the weakest flavor. When you add this to bechamel sauce, the sauce on its own is usually made into smaller sauces because it's so bland on its own. Bechamel sauce can be used in some of your favorite dishes like chicken pot pie or lasagna.

Blond

If you keep whisking your roux for about 20 minutes, then you'll start to see it turn the color of peanut butter. This is the blond roux phase. You'll see that it's not as thick and it'll smell a bit like popcorn or like something is being toasted. A blond roux is used to make veloute sauce, a sauce that usually acts as the base for sauce supreme or white wine sauce.

Brown

I hope your arms are ready because brown roux will take about 30-35 minutes of whisking to make! The thickness will start to wear significantly thin and it'll turn the color of milk chocolate. You'll know that it's brown roux because the mixture will start to smell a little nutty and the smell will be pronounced. You can use a brown roux with thinner gumbos.

Dark Brown

A dark brown roux is sure to wear out your arms because it'll take about 45 minutes of continuous whisking to create. This will be the thinnest but most flavorful of the four. It's going to be the color of melted dark chocolate and will actually smell a little like it too, so there's an added bonus! Dark brown roux is used for the French mother sauce Espagnole sauce, which is often used to make demi-glace or bordelaise.

brown sauce and whisk

Choosing Your Fat

Most of us have wondered how to make a roux before and we're often told that we need to use butter and flour, but you can use a variety of fats! Of course, you can stick with butter if you like, but don't be afraid to use oil or animal fat. Depending on the kind of recipe you're looking to make, you can shake things up with different kinds of fat and it won't take away from your roux!

The Roux-T of Some Dishes

Please hold your applause for that amazing pun as I tell you that you can use roux on its own to thicken some of your favorite dishes. Roux on its own can be used in a bunch of differentfoods like lasagna, macaroni and cheese, chicken pot pie, anda cajun chicken stew. For example, if you're looking to make homemade macaroni and cheese then you can make a roux and add in some cheese so that you'll have a thick, creamy cheese sauce for your macaroni.

There are lots of things you can do with a roux on its own or by mixing it into the five French mother sauces. Once you familiarize yourself with how to make a roux and what it's used for, the possibilities in your kitchen are endless!

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