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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

How to Make a Roux (the Secret to Rich Soups and Sauces)

creamy bowl of pasta
Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Whether you’re creating a creamy and flavorful white gravy for a Thanksgiving dinner or making homemade macaroni and cheese, you’ll need to make a roux first. Here’s how.

You’ve had many dishes that use a roux in them, even if you didn’t know it. Learn the secret to rich soups and sauces by following these easy steps.

What Is a Roux?

Let’s start with the basics. If you’re wondering how to say this French word, leave out the “X”—it’s pronounced “roo.” Made from equal parts flour and fat, roux is used as a way to thicken sauces, gravies, soups, and more. While you can use any fat to make a roux, clarified butter is traditionally used in many recipes.

Clarified butter is a beautiful golden-colored butter made by removing the water and milk proteins. When you take out the water and milk components, the butter can be heated at a higher temperature and doesn’t burn as quickly. No worries though, you can undoubtedly make a roux with regular old butter; just keep an eye on it and don’t let it burn.

How to Make a Roux

Perhaps you’ve only ever used cornstarch to thicken soup or gravy. Learning how to make a roux is super easy, and it has more nutritional value.

One important thing to keep in mind is that you need less cornstarch to thicken than if using a roux. While using a cornstarch slurry is quick and convenient, if you’re looking for luscious soups or stews, a roux is always the way to go. Follow these three steps to make one.

Warm Up Your Fat

Melting butter in a pot
Emilee Unterkoefler

Whether you choose to use rendered bacon fat, butter, or even olive oil, the choice is yours, but be sure it complements the dish you’re making. For example, if you’re making a bacon macaroni and cheese, once your bacon is cooked, use that delicious leftover liquid fat to make your roux for maximum flavor.

Stir in Flour

Whisking in flour
Emilee Unterkoefler

Remember the ratio is always equal parts fat and flour; to be accurate, measure this by weight, not volume. So, if you have a digital scale in your kitchen, use that. If you don’t own a scale, no worries—you’ll still make a fine roux.

Using a whisk helps incorporate the flour into the butter without leaving behind large chunks. You’ll notice that by combining the flour and butter, a thick paste-like consistency will form. You’ll want to cook the roux for at least a minute or two to allow for that doughy flour taste to go away.

Add Liquid

Adding liquid to the roux
Emilee Unterkoefler

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