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stirring dark roux in a cast iron skillet.
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3.59 from 12 votes

How to Make Roux for Gumbo

Learn how to make roux for gumbo with this easy recipe.  Now you can recreate this Deep South comfort food at home by using this traditional roux recipe.  It’s simple and perfect for your next special meal.
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time57 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 151kcal


  • ¾ cup melted lard or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour


  • Melt the lard or heat up the vegetable oil over high heat in a large cast iron skillet.
  • White: Gradually whisk in the flour until it is well mixed, then turn the heat down to medium and whisk constantly. After 2-5 minutes, you'll start to see a change in color. This stage is called a white roux.
  • Blonde: Keep whisking and after 5-10 minutes you'll see the next color change: a blonde roux. If you like, exchange your whisk for a wooden spoon, but keep stirring constantly so the flour doesn't burn.
  • Light Peanut Butter: After stirring for 15-30 minutes, the flour will darken to a golden brown or peanut butter color. For this stage, keep the heat to be anywhere between medium low and medium.
  • Copper Penny: This will require about 30-45 minutes of constant stirring.  Be patient--it's worth it. The smell of the flour browning should give off a nutty aroma.  If you smell it burning, lower the heat or move the cast iron skillet off the burner for a while.  If there are black flecks in the roux, it is burnt and you'll have to start over, as a burnt roux will taste bitter.
  • Milk Chocolate: After 45-60 minutes of stirring, you'll achieve a milk chocolate color roux, which is perfect for a Cajun gumbo.
  • Dark Chocolate: After you reached the milk chocolate roux stage, remove the cast iron skillet from the heat and continue stirring for a couple of minutes. Allow the roux to cool in the skillet, and it will darken because of residual heat. Now, you'll have a wonderful base for your gumbo.


  • Get all the ingredients and supplies ready before you start making your base for gumbo.
  • Stir constantly with a a wire whisk or a wooden spoon, and don't walk away from it.  If you need to leave it, recruit a kitchen helper to stir.
  • Warning Signs: If your roux for gumbo has black flecks, smells burnt, or it turns black.
  • Be patient!  It will take 45-60 minutes of stirring to get a milk chocolate roux for your gumbo.
  • The roux darkens and continues to cook when it's removed from the source of heat, especially if it's in a cast iron pan.
  • Making this ahead of time?  Let it cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 month.


Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 11mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg