If you’ve ever made cheese sauce from scratch, you’ve probably made a roux. A roux is a simple combination of fat, usually butter, and flour followed by liquid which forms the base for many sauces and soups. It lends thickness and creaminess to many different dishes. Depending on how long you cook the roux for, you it may also add flavor. Here’s how to make it to perfection.
First of all, you’ll need to start with equal parts fat and flour by weight, and have the liquid you’ll be using in your recipe (usually broth or milk) ready to go. Measure these out beforehand, because once you’re over the stove you won’t be able to leave the roux alone to go measure out ingredients. You can also use another starch like potato or cornstarch if flour isn’t your thing, but be sure to check online for possible changes in method for these alternatives.
Start by heating up your butter or oil until it’s just bubbling, and sprinkle in some flour. If it bubbles up, add the rest of the flour and mix, mix, mix! It’s a good idea to use a whisk here, because it will combine more smoothly. Be sure to whisk in such a way that the flour is cooked evenly throughout. Be sure not to heat it too high because a burned roux will be unusable.
Once it’s thickened and combined, you can add your liquid. Stream it in slowly and whisk constantly until you have a creamy sauce that can be used as a base for sauces, chowders, or gumbo. If you’re cooking gumbo or jambalaya or you just want that nuttier toasty flavor, keep stirring the fat and flour until they darken to a light or dark brown and only then add your liquid.