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How to Make a Roux for Gumbo

How to Make a Roux for Gumbo

Last Updated on 17th December 2021 by

I love a good gumbo, but I’ll be one of the first to admit that it can be a little tricky to make. The most difficult part for most people is the roux. This is a mixture of flour and milk that needs to be prepared just right to give the gumbo its texture.  

If you don’t know how to make a roux for gumbo, you might be intimidated at trying to make this food. Gumbo can be pretty intimidating own with all its ingredients without even getting to making the roux from scratch. On top of that, it’s difficult to find a roux already made up and sold in grocery stores. This is usually something you have to make yourself in the kitchen.

I will walk you through step by step how to make a good roux for gumbo that will ensure your dish turns out authentic tasting and delicious. It can be a bit tricky to make the roux on your own, but I will make the process as simple as possible for you. I’ll also provide some tips for you that can make sure it comes out perfectly every time.

How to Make a Roux for Gumbo

You only need two ingredients for a gumbo roux. Some roux will require more, but this one is just a basic two-ingredient recipe.

In order to make it, you just need flour and butter. You start with melted butter in a pan, preferably. Then, add in your flour and mix together. When the ingredients have combined like they should, you should have a paste. Now, you can make this a runny roux or a very thick paste roux. To make it runny, you may add water or milk. Milk is usually the preferable way to make a roux into a liquid sauce, but it’s probably not something you want to add to gumbo. Most gumbo recipes do not call for any milk.

Why do you need a roux? This is a simple thickener that helps bring out some of the flavors of the dish. It’s a more interesting thickener than cornstarch, and it’s likely you have both flour and butter on hand in your kitchen at most times.

How much butter and how much flour do you mix together to make this? Not all roux are made the same; some of them use different proportions than others. When we were making this for gumbo, we’re going to use the same amount of butter as we do flour. So, for instance, you can use 3/4 cup of flour with 3/4 cup of butter for your roux. This will make a roux that’s not very thick but can be used to thicken up your gumbo to give it the right texture and consistency.

How long does it take to make a roux for gumbo? It doesn’t take very long to make this- just a few minutes at most. Be sure to melt your butter in a pan or in the microwave first, and then mix your flour in to the melted butter. A mistake people make is to put both ingredients into a pan and heat up everything together. The two ingredients will not combine properly if you do this and you’re likely to mess it up.

How to Make a Dark Roux for Gumbo

The roux I’ve given you a recipe for is a light colored dish, whitish yellow in color. You can make a darker one for gumbo if you want. A lot of gumbo recipes will call for a dark roux, however, and I can show you how to make a roux for seafood gumbo or sausage gumbo that is a darker color.

To give the gumbo its characteristic color and make it look the way it should. How do you darken up your roux?

Start by melting your butter in a skillet all by itself. Stir in a little bit of flour after the butter melts. Only sprinkle in a little flour at a time. As you pour it in, make sure you are stirring frequently. Be sure you keep an eye on your roux as you make it and keep the heat on medium for good control.

You don’t want it to burn or to dry out. As you cook it, you’ll see the flower start to brown. You don’t have to add any other ingredients to make this roux a nice dark brown color. As it cooks, the flower will darken and that makes for a dark gumbo gravy. Once the roux is that is the color of dark chocolate and a deep brown color, it’s finished.

Now you know how to darken it and make a roux that has a wonderfully chocolate shade of brown.

What to Do with Your Roux

After you’ve made the roux, what can you do with it? You can add it to gumbo, but you might not be ready to do that just yet. You can make this up ahead of time and store it in the fridge or the freezer. It can be stored in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for weeks.  

It can also be used for a lot of other dishes. You can use the roux to make cheese sauce, as long as you don’t let it get too brown. You would usually add milk to the flour and butter to make it more liquid. You can use it as a sauce in all sorts of foods, particularly to make a cheese sauce by adding and melting shredded cheese to it.

Once you know how to make a roux, you’ll find it’s very useful. If it comes out too thick, you can thin it out with some milk. I don’t suggest using water if you can help it, as the flour already makes the roux somewhat bland. You don’t want to make it even blander by adding water to it.

If the roux is too thin, you can thicken it with some extra flour. Just remember to go sparingly with the flour and only use as little as possible. As I just mentioned, the flour makes the flavor quite bland, and it can affect the flavor of whatever you are using the roux in. Try to limit how much flour you’re using, only sprinkling in a little bit at a time until the roux thickens up adequately.


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Pauline Loughlin
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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!