What Is a Roux?

Learn all about this ingredient that helps the thickness of soups.

ss penny roux
Compare the color of your roux to that of a penny.

Roux (ROO) is a French term for a mixture of flour and fat, such as cooking oil or butter, that is cooked, then used for thickening soups, sauces, gravies, and gumbos. A roux can be cooked to several stages, depending on the color and flavor you want to achieve.

  • If cooked for only a couple of minutes, the roux mixture won't change color, making it perfect for thickening white, delicately flavored sauces.
  • Heating a roux for a few minutes more gives it a golden color and a little more flavor. This is sometimes referred to as a blond roux.
  • A brown or caramel-color roux takes 20 to 30 minutes of cooking and stirring to achieve its deep brown color (similar to the color of a penny). This type of roux, with its rich, nutty flavor and aroma, is a perfect match for the strong flavors of gumbo. Roux will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or in the freezer for 6 months.

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