Gumbo Base (Aka Roux)

Total Time
Prep 2 mins
Cook 15 mins

A roux is the base of numerous Cajun and creole dishes. In Louisiana, natives have a joke about how long it takes to make the roux for certain dishes. Etouffee is usually a 1 beer roux while a full fledged gumbo is a 2 to 3 beer roux. Obviously meaning how long it takes to DRINK the beer. The cook time will vary depending on how dark you want your gravy. NOTE: The measurements I used are normally what I make for a Sunday pot of gumbo, southern style. That means it makes a lot! You may want to only use half for normal people!

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 34 cup flour
  • 34 cup butter (or oil, but the oil will change the flavor)


  1. Melt Butter in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium to medium high heat.
  2. Slowly sprinkle in the flour a little at a time, stirring constantly.
  3. Continue to stir constantly.
  4. Do not walk away!
  5. If you burn it even the tiniest bit, it is unusable.
  6. You will notice the flour beginning to brown.
  7. The darker the flour, the darker the gravy.
  8. For gumbo, when the roux reaches a deep dark chocolate brown color it is done.
  9. At that point you would add your seasonings, such as onion, garlic, bell pepper and celery.
  10. You can make this ahead of time and keep tightly covered in the frige or freezer.


Most Helpful

I just wanted to say that this is the only way to make a roux so.when you make your gumbo make sure you do it this way,i also use this simple roux recipe for my homemade stews and things.

southern chef in louisiana December 10, 2002

I have made roux a zillion times using this same recipe and it always turns out great. Except of course the couple of times I walked away for a couple of seconds.

Today I made it with EVOO and while it turned the right color, dark chocolate, it never got really pasty like I am used to it doing. I also add sea salt, cracked pepper, and cayenne and chili flakes as I think the flavor of the cayenne and chili flakes especially comes out best in the heated oil. Since I usually make at a 1c. to 1.c ratio, when I make 20 qts. I normally make a 5c. to 5c. roux and freeze the completed Gumbo in gallon containers.

Also, if you make any Gumbo and use shrimp, always buy shell on, Gulf shrimp, (head on is even better and you can freeze the heads and shells to make stock later) peel and de-vein prior to serving. Just drop in the hot gumbo and let cook 2 to 3 mins. and serve. If you are make a big batch and want to freeze some, leave out the shrimp and put the shrimp in when you get it reheated. Otherwise the shrimp will get rubbery as it over cooks easily.

Phixin2 January 30, 2012

Very time consuming but good. Just a heads up for other first time roux makers: It will be pasty (almost like frosting)and remain the same yellow color at first but after about 20-25 min of constant stirring the mixture will become a litlle more like gravy and start to finally turn color. I was able to make my roux a dark penny copper color after about 45 min. so if you want to make it a chocolate color it will probably take about 1 hr so be prepared to make muscle. I kept it on medium and stirred it constantly.

Chef Sarita in Austin Texas October 14, 2009

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