So, what’s all the fuss about a Cajun roux?  Well, if you ask me, a dark Cajun roux is the secret ingredient that is the single most important building block of Cajun cooking.  So important in fact, that we decided to show you in a step-by-step video that will give you every one of Rox’s roux-making secrets.  Take a look by clicking below.

And once you’ve mastered the art of the roux, we have it all for your convenience in a jarred product we call Rox’s Roux–the deepest, darkest, and richest commercially available roux.  The convenience of this product will add consistency and quality to any Cajun roux-based recipe.  That said, until you make a roux from scratch like Rox’s Roux, you will never understand the cultural significance of a Cajun roux.

Black pot of dark roux
The dark abyss of a perfectly made Cajun roux is the depth of flavor in Rox’s Roux. (All photos credit: George Graham)

Making a dark Cajun roux from scratch is a dying art.  Not too many years ago, there wasn’t a Cajun or Creole household in South Louisiana that didn’t have the unmistakably intense aroma of a dark roux, in all its glory, wafting through the kitchen.  Home cooks were taught basic roux-making skills early on, and it was a rite of passage to pass it on to the next generation.

Times have changed.

With the proliferation of jarred and powdered roux products, as well as packaged gumbo mixes, the art of roux making is slowly dying off.  Don’t get me wrong, some prepared roux products like Rox’s Roux are very good, and I use them myself.  But, there is no substitute for the ritual of making a homemade roux from scratch, and I believe it is the obligation — no, responsibility — of roux makers to hand down this timeless artisan skill to their children.  I know my wife has.

Rox can make a roux.

As deep and dark as blackstrap molasses and just as rich.

My wife Roxanne doesn’t cook every night nor does she profess to be a culinary artisan, but she is one of the best natural cooks I know.  For her roux, she follows a strict set of guidelines handed down from generations of good Cajun cooks before her.  She was born and raised in Jennings, and I sometimes tease her that her grandmother’s black iron pot and well-worn, wooden gumbo spoon were her dowry.  Truth be told, to her they are significantly more valuable than anything money could buy.

On a cold January day, she can work magic in that pot with a roux-infused chicken and sausage gumbo like none other I’ve tasted.  A roux is the foundation on which gumbo is based.  Rox’s roux is nursed and nourished with a serious attention to detail that defies logic.  It’s as if my wife goes into a semi-lucid state of consciousness that is mesmerizing.  She stirs and stirs.  And focuses on color, texture and smell.  For over an hour, she stirs.  No phone calls, no conversations, no distractions whatsoever.

4 Stages Of Roux

White, cream, beige, tan, brown, mahogany, and beyond.

There is an instinctive point of departure — a point of no return that she pushes beyond.  A less brave or sure-handed cook would stop short of perfection.  She has the confidence and courage to pursue that hauntingly dark depth of a rich chocolate-colored roux.  Hershey bar chocolate is the terminus, and anything more is burnt and destined for the disposal.

With her wooden spoon scepter in her right hand, my gumbo queen rules the kitchen.

Dark Cajun roux
Rox’s Roux: A dark Cajun roux that is chocolate syrupy thick and just as rich.  And now you can buy it online by clicking on this photo.
4.9 from 46 reviews
Rox's Roux (Dark Cajun Roux)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
My wife always makes more roux than she needs. Her rule is that as long as you are spending an hour of your life stirring roux, make enough for the next gumbo, too. Be careful stirring roux – there’s a reason it’s called Cajun napalm.
Recipe by:
Serves: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups oil, such as vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. A Cajun roux starts out in a large cast iron pot over medium heat. With no distractions and approximately one hour of time at your disposal, begin by adding the flour and oil.
  2. With a long-handled wooden spoon, begin to stir. Constant stirring and moving the flour around the bottom of the pot is the key to browning the flour evenly to prevent burning. This early stage will go slowly as you begin to see the white flour take on a beige and then a tan color.
  3. Continue stirring slowly and evenly, scraping the bottom and the circular crevices of the pot to move the flour around in the hot oil.
  4. At about the half-hour mark, you will begin to see a brown color developing and smell the first hints of toasted flour. This is where the stirring becomes even more crucial.
  5. At this point, you begin to enter the quickly developing phase where the least bit of inattention could result in burnt flecks of flour appearing – a sure sign you’ve ruined the roux. Watch your heat and lower it if the roux is cooking too fast.
  6. Constant stirring to keep the flour from staying in one place too long prevents burning. You will begin to smell an even nuttier aroma as you see the color turn darker mahogany. Most stop here, but you will keep going until you achieve a deeper, darker chocolatey consistency and color.
  7. Forget time at this point since you are now cooking by instinct, sight and smell. The utmost attention is needed to your stirring, and when you see that Hershey chocolate darkness, you will know you have arrived.
  8. Turn off the heat, but continue stirring until it begins to cool down and quits cooking.
  9. Spoon the roux into a bowl and let cool.
Notes
I like the neutral taste of vegetable or canola oil, but peanut oil will work fine as well, but stay away from olive oil or grapeseed oil or any flavored oil with a low smoke point. Refrigerate your roux in a glass jar for up to a year.
My wife Rox, and her roux rocks, too. Buy it by clicking on this photo.
My wife Rox, and her roux rocks, too. Buy it by clicking on this photo.

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181 comments on „First You Make A Roux: The Story of Rox’s Roux”

  1. Thank you for walking me through the ROUX process….
    I wish I could send you pictures – it turned out just like yours!
    Thanks sooo very very much, JC (60010)

      1. Hi! Mine seemed real greasy and separated in the pot. Where did I go wrong? I didn’t use it all. I have a big stock pot.It tastes ok. I have made roux before, just not equal parts. I used more flour. Suggestions?

    1. Hey Ed-
      Cooking roux is less about temperature and more about observing how fast the roux is cooking. I recommend you start out on your stovetop at a medium-high flame and once the roux begins to cook, turn it down to medium. If you sense that the roux is cooking too quickly, turn it down. After you’ve made a couple of rouxs you will begin to understand the process of controlling the heat. All the best.

      1. Hey Ronnie- Yes, but with a careful explanation. I’ve made gumbo before and once fully cooked with the roux, trinity, smoked sausage, meats, and stock, I sampled it and wanted it to be thicker and richer, so I added more dark roux, and simmered it for another hour. But here’s the catch: You don’t want to overcook your chicken or seafood, so I recommend removing those ingredients before you simmer for another hour, and then adding them back at the end to soak up the richness. I hope this answers your question.

    1. Hey Jenn –
      Jarred roux is shelf stable for 3 years (or more), after all, it’s just flour and oil. Like you, I put open jars in the refrigerator and its good for a year or more, however, around my house, it never lasts that long.
      Thanks for great question.

  2. When you say jarred roux is it canned or just put in a jar and put on your shelf? I loved the roux and will definitely be making more. Can you multiply the recipe safely and still get the same results? Christine

    1. Christine- Jarred roux (like Rox’s Roux) is sold in 16-ounce glass jars (Mason-type jars). The roux is shelf stable and can stay in your pantry for up to 3 years. I recommend refrigerating it after opening. As for the roux recipe, it can be scaled proportionately–equal parts oil and flour.

    1. Lauren – The word “grainy” is a subjective term that I cannot make a judgement call on without seeing your roux. That said, a well-made roux is not smooth like peanut butter but rather has a texture that some (I don’t) might call “grainy” or even “gritty.” Rest assured, that if made properly, the roux should dissolve into liquid and over the course of cooking, should thicken into a smooth consistency with no grainy/gritty texture. But I do have one final point: If your roux has a burnt smell, and if you can visually see black specs in it, then it is burnt and should be thrown out; it will totally ruin any dish that you are using it in. So, I urge you to use your “grainy” roux by incorporating it into the liquid (stock or water) that you are combining it with before you add your meat or seafood, and in that way, you will be able to tell if it will incorporate properly. Hope this helps you.

    1. Hey Stephanie-
      Good question. Our rule of thumb is to use 2 tablespoons of Rox’s Roux per quart of liquid (stock or water) for a moderately thick gumbo. Since this roux recipe makes 3 cups (16 tablespoons per cup), then you have 48 tablespoons of roux. The quantity of your gumbo (the amount of liquid) will dictate how many tablespoons you use. By the way, some folks like their gumbo a bit thicker or thinner, so adjust the amount of roux accordingly. The bottom line is: 3 cups of roux stored in the refrigerator will last up to a year and make lots of gumbos and other great roux-based gravy dishes.

  3. Your roux looks amazing! I’ve been noticing that when I get to the brick-colored stage, some oil begins separating on top of my roux. Any advice?

    1. Leslie – The oil and flour will begin to separate if you stop or slow down your stirring. It’s okay if it does; just pick up the pace on the stirring and it should come back together. FYI- when you finish your roux and store it, it will develop a layer of oil on top. This is good, and will protect the roux for up to one year refrigerated. I hope this helps clarify. Thanks for the great question.

  4. Thank you so much for this! Now I know what I did wrong- my roux looked like the tan colored one in the upper right square of the four square photo section.

  5. It really is a dying “art” when we have to Google how to stir vegetable oil and flour. Literally, the simplest thing. 2 ingredients, stir over heat until black.
    Wow. I’m 30 and I learned how to make gravy, aka roux, just by watching her for 5 minutes. It’s a skill few my age have.

    1. Hey Zach- You are partially correct: The simplicity of making a roux is obvious, but the patience, focus, and timing is the challenge. Congratulations on learning the art of the roux; the world of Cajun cooking is now yours. All the best.

  6. So we would substitute onion for flour to make roux. I too thought it was the strangest thing. But the end result was the most amazing taste. Roux with no flour!! Absolutely to die for. He always told me that his mother would do the oyster gumbo like this. All I could think “This must be a Terrebonne Parish thing!!!” Truly delightful.

  7. Looks great! When I make my roux, I do it in 1/2 cup batches (1/2 cup oil and 1//2 cup flour). I turn the heat up to high and keep it at high to medium-high while blasting it with a whisk. I find with this method you can get it done in about 12 – 15 minutes instead of the hour. BUT it’s a much more vigorous workout on the arm and I’d be hesitant to use more than 1 cup ratio since I think it’d burn a lot easier at that high a heat with more volume of roux in the pot. I also unplug my fire alarm due to the excessive smoke lol.
    P.S. I love that cast iron pot! I wish I had a family heirloom like that passed down to me, and one I could pass down to my children one day 🙂

    1. Hey Eric – Your roux-making method is right on. The reason I recommend making so much is that roux will keep indefinitely, so I take the time to make extra for the next couple of gumbos. As for the black pot, search out the antique stores and find a nice, vintage black-iron relic and “adopt” it. Old seasoned black iron has heritage and wisdom that must be passed on to a new generation of cooks; it is a shame that so many relics of cooks from the past are left in the dust bin of the culinary world. Reclaim it and revel in the beauty of its history.

    1. Hey Teddy- Yours is an often-asked question. There is an easy answer and an in-depth answer. For the easy: 2 tablespoons per quart of liquid (water or stock) makes a rich and moderately thick gumbo. But for the in-depth answer: Most folks are picky about their gumbo when it comes to roux. Some like it thick and some thinner, some dark, some light, some like their chicken gumbo different than their seafood gumbo. It’s all a matter of personal taste and a bit of trial and error. So, I suggest your starting point be 2 tablespoons per quart and adjust accordingly to your taste. All the best.

  8. Probably the one thing that no ones mentioned here, is for someone who’s never made a roux before, you’re probably better off making a few batches of light to med roux first. I wouldn’t do any more than a 1c batches at a time. Till you get your sea legs. this will help you gain confidence before moving onto darker rouxs and you’ll be able to see the dark flecks telling if burned it easier. Also if you muck it up, you’re only tossing a cup at a time. Remember stir stir stir. I use a med heat.
    I usually always keep a cup or two of a peanut butter colored or med roux on hand for accent sauces, for rice, chicken etc, it’s real easy to make, cook Trinity in butter, splash of stock, spoonful of roux and season with uncle Tony’s and done, 5 min pan to table.

    1. Hey Joe-
      Good points, but when you really think about the recipe for making roux, it is about as simple as it gets. But your point—stir, stir, stir—is where most people fail. To take a roux all the way to Rox’s Roux dark takes patience and attention to detail. Also, I like your point of keeping a medium-color roux on hand for sauces and gravies. All the best.

  9. My Grandmother was from the Kaplan area. I really enjoy Cajun cooking (learned from my Mother). Looking forward to your recipes!

  10. I used to live in Lafayette many years ago and learned to make gumbo from an adorable old woman, Mrs Patin. I say ‘old’ and I’m probably as old or older than she was at the time (haha). Anyway, I like to use half butter/half oil…. but I don’t ever jar it and store it, I just make enough for that batch of gumbo. Do you think it would store as long with butter? Or, not a good idea??

  11. Thank you for this recipe! Can you please give some advice as to storing roux, if I were to make extra to save for the next time I needed it? Thank you!

  12. Hi George,
    Thank you for this tutorial. My questions are:

    1) I have celiac disease and cannot have wheat flour. Is there a way to make this with rice or nut flours?

    2) Vegetable oil and canola oil is bad for you so I use coconut oil, real butter or olive oil too cook with. Would a high smoke point coconut oil work?

    2) How do you can roux, I want to stock up and hand out as gifts this Christmas.

  13. Hello, when using roux, I usually add cold roux to hot liquid. Is that fine with this roux or would you suggest a different way? Thank you.

  14. Cast iron vs ceramic cast iron Dutch oven? I have Bertha (a 14” cast iron skillet) but I bought a 10” Dutch oven too. I want to make the gumbo in the Dutch and I figured that I could brown the sausage a cook the (o,bp,c,g) in the same pot that I cook the roux in or should I separate and sauté those first then add roux to that pot? I guess the question is will the ceramic Dutch oven work for the roux?

    1. Hey Jamal – Ceramic cast iron will work fine. The key is even heat distribution so that you do not have hot spots that will burn. Even one black burnt spec in a batch of roux will spoil the entire gumbo. All the best.

  15. Update! Used your method with my Dutch oven and it came out perfect. Stirred until I turned the fire off and transferred. I only used 1cup-1cup. Waiting to eat my gumbo when I get back home.

  16. I thought this article is great!!! I’m a big fan of creole -cajun cookin. Im gonna start makin some of these favorites

  17. Can I use stored roux to start my gumbo? Would I reheat roux,and then add the veggies to cook down? Then add stock and meats?

    1. Jeff – By “stored,” I assume you mean roux that has been previously made and stored properly. If so, feel free to follow any of my gumbo recipes. Just type the word “gumbo” in the search bar and every recipe mentioning the word gumbo will come up. All the best.

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