Traditional Cajun Roux

Cajun roux in cast iron skillet

The Spruce 

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1867 Calories
179g Fat
63g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 1867
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 179g 229%
Saturated Fat 14g 69%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1410mg 61%
Total Carbohydrate 63g 23%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Protein 8g
Calcium 187mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Roux is an essential part of Cajun cooking and is used to thicken sauces, soups, and stews. A roux is a simple combination of fat and flour cooked until the mixture has thickened and the raw flour taste has cooked out. In France, the fat used is butter, but in Cajun cooking, lard or oil is preferred. In addition, a Cajun roux can be light or dark; a dark roux is cooked for a much longer time until it develops a nutty aroma and a peanut butter appearance.

This Cajun roux recipe is made on the stovetop, but it also can be made in a microwave oven or conventional oven.


  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Cajun roux recipe
     The Spruce
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet or pot over medium heat for about 2 minutes. 

    Cast iron skillet and whisk
     The Spruce
  3. Add the oil and heat for another 2 minutes.

    Adding oil to cast iron skillet
     The Spruce
  4. Add the flour and whisk or stir constantly to combine into a smooth consistency.

    Adding flour to oil in skillet
    The Spruce 
  5. Continue to whisk or stir constantly until the roux reaches a blonde color, about 8 minutes.

    Whisking roux in skillet
     The Spruce
  6. For a darker roux, cook it for up to 60 minutes, stirring frequently.

    Whisking dark roux in skillet
     The Spruce
  7. When the roux reaches the desired color, it is ready to use.

    Cajun roux in skillet
     The Spruce
  8. Use in your favorite Cajun recipe and enjoy.


    If the roux seems to be cooking very fast or getting very dark, turn the heat down. Above all, stir almost constantly—at least every 15 seconds; with each stir, the roux gets just a bit darker. Try using a flat metal spatula (like a pancake turner) as it covers more surface area than a spoon.

    How to Store

    Instead of making roux fresh for just the dish you happen to be preparing, you can make a larger quantity and refrigerate it or freeze it for future dishes and longer storage.

    • Refrigerating: Transfer the roux to a large glass or plastic bowl to stop the cooking process, stirring occasionally as it cools down. Roux can be kept in the refrigerator for two months in an airtight container.
    • Freezing: If freezing the roux, place 1 tablespoon of the roux in each section of an ice cube tray and, when firm, transfer to a freezer bag and store for up to six months. When a recipe calls for 1/2 cup roux, pop out 8 cubes (8 tablespoons, or 1/2 cup). You also can use just a cube or two at a time if your stew, soup, or sauce needs a bit of thickening.

    Recipe Variation

    This recipe makes a thicker roux. For a thinner roux and, thus, a thinner sauce, use 1 cup of oil and 1 cup of flour. The more oil you use, the less chance there is of burning the roux, so if you've never made a roux before, you might want to start out with equal parts of fat and flour.

    Cooking a Light vs. Dark Roux

    • For a light roux, after a few minutes of cooking the flour and fat, the roux is likely to become foamy and remain so for several minutes until it thickens. This is normal. 
    • For a dark roux, after about 10 minutes, the roux will begin to turn dark and will develop a nutlike fragrance. After about 20 minutes, the roux will start to cook faster and must be watched more carefully so it doesn't burn. Lower the heat if necessary—a burned roux is only fit for the garbage. If the roux starts to smoke, lower the heat or turn the heat off for a bit to allow the roux to cool down. If the oil gets hotter than the point at which it starts smoking, it may negatively affect the taste.

    How Much Roux Do I Need?

    If you have made a batch of roux and stored it for later, it's helpful to know how much roux you will need to add to a recipe that calls for making it from scratch. Basically, a good guide to follow is to add as much prepared roux as the amount of flour called for in the recipe (for making the roux). For example, if a recipe calls for making a roux with 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup flour, use 1/2 cup of prepared roux.

    Other amounts to keep in mind are:

    • 3 cups oil plus 3 cups flour equals 3 2/3 cups roux
    • 1 cup oil plus 1 cup flour equals 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons roux
    • To thicken 6 to 8 cups of liquid for a gumbo, soup, or another dish, use 1 cup prepared roux or start with 1 cup flour and 1 cup fat.

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