First, You Make a Roux

I have a confession. I grew up in a home where “make a roux” was a common phrase. I watched my mother do this ALL OF THE TIME. I have even been known to say it without thinking to novice cooks and people who have never encountered the phrase after years of cooking. The confession? I really hate making a roux. Not only that…I am not very good at it. I know the mechanics. I just, well, have no patience. It takes forever to do it right. That said, make your roux correctly. Your dishes will thank you.

This snippet starts a chapter of meat recipes in the River Road Recipes II, from the Junior League of Baton Rouge, 1976.

First, You Make A Roux

As the statement, “First you make a Roux!” so often opens a Louisiana cook’s recipe, we felt it necessary to give a basic roux recipe for your use. A basic roux does take a long time to make, so don’t expect instant cooking.

2 tablespoons butter, shortening or bacon fat
2 tablespoons flour

Melt the butter, shortening, or bacon fat in a heavy, thick pot or skillet. Add flour and stir constantly over low heat until dark brown. The trick is to get it dark brown but not burned. If it is over browned, it will taste bitter so it should be discarded. To this basic roux, add seasoning and stock to make sauces, gravies, gumbos and all sorts of good things.


  1. They really do take forever. I usually only make one when I’m making macaroni & cheese.

  2. I’m familiar with “First you make a roux,” but not so much from my years growing up and seeing my mother make them. I think it was more that my mother-in-law used them in many of her delicious recipes. She was such a good cook…I can still see her standing at the counter making her roux; yep I remember that bacon fat too. ~Joy

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