Are Roux For Real?

For real, I cannot believe how many people don’t know how to make a basic roux. Just in case you don’t know this word, it’s pronounced ‘roo’. A roux is such a staple in so many amazing recipes and my goal is to make it as simple as possible for all of you. Next time you recall the knowledge gained from this post, feel free to crack yourself up thinking of this silly title 😉

Let me break it down for you, a roux is a very basic sauce base used in combination with added spices and/or cheeses and generally ends up being a thickening agent. Ahhh…the magic of this trifecta of ingredients: butter, flour, and milk! Melt the butter, add in the flour and cook just until the flour loses some of the flour-ness flavor and sloooooowly add in milk, whisking well after each pour of the liquid. Really, the key to this is keeping it slow and smooth. Play some blues or slow jazz in the background to get the right tempo for cooking it. This is not a top pop or hard rock playlist kind of recipe, trust me 😉 Keep the mixture smooth by whisking continuously over low heat and being patient as the liquid is gradually added in.

Want to know my favorite part of making a roux? Once you master it, the possibilities for you in your new cooking world are endless! Roux plus potatoes and ham? Hello scalloped potatoes and ham dish! Roux plus hot sauce and fresh cracked pepper and sausage? Hi there, sausage gravy ready to pour over biscuits for breakfast! Roux plus cooked veggies and chicken broth? Cheesy creamy veggie soup, oh yeah! Roux plus cheese and more cheese and yet another kind of cheese plus some shells? Mac n cheese, yes please! Roux plus cooking liquid from roast turkey? Om nom nom gobble gobble gravy!Alright, I could go on and on clearly but you get the gist, right? Rouxs are life in the cooking world!

Alright, let’s get into it for real now. For any good roux, you need equal amounts of a fat and a flour. My go-to is good ol’ fashioned butter but sometimes a recipe will call for something else and that’s totally fine. The different the fat, the different the end result flavor! Make sure you melt it over low heat until the foaming disappears. Next, the flour. The biggest thing is to make sure that you use the same quantity of flour as you did with the butter. The next big thing is to make sure you mix it into the butter fully and keep it cooking over low heat for just a bit without letting it burn to the bottom. Remember the movie Finding Nemo? Just keep swimming..only this song is reminding you to just keep stirring!!! From there, you will have a giant butter and flour lump in your pan and you will be wondering how this is a sauce. Hang in there with me!

Slowly, add in part of the milk/broth and whisk your little heart out until it has combined with that lump. Don’t panic that the lump keeps returning after the first few small additions of liquid. Gradually, that lump will evolve into a thick paste. From there, the more liquid you add, the more smooth the sauce will be. Now you’ve got that base sauce I was telling you about where you can add spices and cheeses and etc to your heart’s desire! You can also play with the beginning of this recipe by sautéing some chopped onions and/or garlic into the butter before resuming the rest of the process. Now that you’re familiar with what a roux is, you’ll likely notice it as being the beginning of multiple recipes you see. Roux=blank canvas for flavor and thickening. My biggest hope is that you retain the knowledge gained and put it to the yummiest uses possible!

Basic Roux

  • Servings: Approximately 1 cup
  • Print

Super simple basic roux ratio to get you started with that staple sauce!


-2 tablespoons butter (or fat of choice)

-2 tablespoons flour

-1 cup milk or broth (or liquid of choice)


1) Melt butter in saucepan over low heat until liquified.

2) Add flour to the butter and whisk in well until combined then continue to cook over low heat one minute, stirring continuously.

3) Pour about a quarter of the liquid into the saucepan, whisk in well until combined mixture is smooth then repeat until all the liquid is combined well.

4) Add in desired spices/cheese/veggies/protein/etc and, if needed, thin out by adding more liquid until you reach your desired consistency.


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