How to Make

Roux How-To

Get to know a French recipe starter that's an integral part of rich, saucy dishes

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+ Join today!.

Even if roux (pronounced “rue”) is not a food term you’re familiar with, chowder, gumbo, soufflé, and mac and cheese probably are—and such expressions as béchamel and velouté may ring a bell as well. Roux—equal parts fat and flour cooked together—is such an important part of these recipes that they simply couldn’t be made without it. From a smooth, basic white sauce (that’s a béchamel) to a robust Cajun stew, the following recipes show all the things a roux can do.

3 Easy Steps

1. Stir together equal parts melted or hot liquid fat (butter, oil, or margarine) and flour in wide-bottomed pan or skillet over medium heat.

2. Cook the roux, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon, to desired color (the darker the roux, the deeper the flavor):

WHITE 2 to 4 minutes; add milk for a béchamel (the basic French white sauce) or broth for a velouté (a stock-based light sauce).

BLOND 5 to 8 minutes; used for veloutés and chowders.

BROWN 10 to 15 minutes; used for espagnole sauce and stews.

DARK BROWN 20 to 30 minutes; used for gumbo.

3. Add liquid—preferably warmed to prevent the roux from seizing up. For sauces, cook, stirring constantly, until desired consistency is reached.