What are alternatives to roux? (6 substitutes for roux)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “What are alternatives to roux?”, discuss different types of roux and the procedure to make the roux.

What are alternatives to roux?

If your soup turns out runny or your Garvy is not consistent enough, and there is no roux, you can use the following alternatives to the roux:

  • Flour
  • Cornstarch or arrowroot
  • Tomato paste
  • Egg yolk
  • Vegetable puree (such as potato, winter squash, etc.)
  • Nut butter

What is a roux?

A roux is a mixture obtained from mixing roughly equal parts of starch and liquid fat that are cooked together and then used as a thickener in soups, stews, and sauces. The flour is toasted and whisked into the fat and then adds a specific nutty flavor to the thing in which it is being added.

What is a dry roux?

Toasted flour is simply termed as a dry roux. You can get it in any of the following two ways:

  • Either prepare it in the skillet on the stovetop
  • Or bake it in the oven at 350 F for 25 minutes

It doesn’t matter what way you choose to make the dry roux, just make sure to stir it occasionally to ensure even color until the floor is brown.

What can you substitute for flour in a roux?

For gluten-free thickening powder, skip the flour and prepare slurry using cornstarch or arrowroot to mix in your soup at the end of cooking time.

What will you do to keep the nutty flavor of roux?

To keep the nutty flavor of the roux, swap it in sweet rice flour for wheat flour. As sweet rice flour is obtained from ground glutinous rice so it creates the same silky texture as that created by regular flour.

What are the types of roux?

Based on the color and how long you cook the mixture of flour and fat, there are three main types of roux:

  • White roux

It is the most common type of roux with the most thickening power. We generally use this type for white sauce and soups. It is prepared by cooking the flour long enough to eliminate its raw flavor. The cooking time ranges from 2-5 minutes.

  • Blonde roux

This type of roux is caramel colored with a nuttier flavor. We generally use this type for making veloute (one of the mother sauces) but we can also use it as a substitute for the white roux. The cooking time ranges from 9-11 minutes.

  • Brown roux

This type of roux is deeply flavored with a maple-colored mixture that does not have as much thickening power as the other two types. Generally, vegetable oil is used for this type of roux instead of butter. It is cooked for almost 30 minutes with continuous stirring to keep it from burning.

What way is better to cook a roux: stovetop or oven?

You can cook a roux either on the stovetop or in the oven but there are advantages and disadvantages to each:

  • Cooking roux on the stovetop

Advantage: You can cook the roux faster on a stovetop. You can also keep an eye on it the whole time while whisking continuously as it develops. This also helps you to gauge its color and aroma and take it off-heat when it seems right.

Disadvantage: When cooking the roux on the stovetop, it can scorch more easily if you are not careful enough.

  • Cooking roux in the oven

Advantage: While cooking roux in the oven, you don’t need to worry much about the roux suddenly going up in smoke. You can leave it unattended for a long time.

Disadvantage: It takes a lot of time to cook, approximately more than 2 hours (1 and a ½ hour at 350 F to take it to the blonde stage, and another 3 hours for the final, dark brown roux to be ready). That is, a lot of waiting!

How to make a roux?

To make a roux that is enough to thicken one cup of milk/broth, you will require the following materials;

  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil (such as Canola oil)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Dash white paper

Now, follow the following easy steps to prepare a perfect roux:

  1. Melt the butter or oil over medium heat in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the flour, salt, and pepper and stir with the help of a rubber spatula.
  3. Cook with frequent stirring, long enough (about 2 minutes) to eliminate the taste and odor of raw flour.
  4. The white roux will be ready when the ingredients are well combined and the mixture looks smooth.
  5. To deepen the nutty flavor of the roux, continue cooking it (for about 10 minutes) with constant stirring until an appealing caramel color is obtained.
  6. For a brown roux, keep going for a total of 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, it will turn out deep and rich with a nuttier flavor and aroma.
  7. Now you can use your prepared roux or can save it to be used later.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “What are the alternatives to roux?”, discussed different types of roux and the procedure to make the roux.


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