Do you have the perfect gravy or sauce recipe and need it to be gluten-free? Try this gluten-free roux recipe to make sure it’s still safe for your diet!
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If you love thick and rich sauces, gravies, and soups, knowing how to make a roux is essential. A roux is made to thicken and add flavor to a variety of dishes, and it’s only made with two ingredients: flour and butter (or other fat).
But if you follow a gluten-free diet, how do you make the most of a recipe that calls for a roux? You’ll need to find a way to make a gluten-free roux that functions the same as a normal roux but without any of the gluten.
In this post, we’re going to talk about what a roux is, what it’s used for, if you can use gluten-free flour for a roux, and how to make a gluten-free roux step-by-step.
We’ll also dive into the difference between a roux and a slurry, and when you might opt to use a gluten-free slurry instead of a roux.
What is a roux?
A roux is a combination of flour and fat that is cooked together to add flavor and thicken sauces or soups.
There are generally four types of roux, according to allrecipes: white, blond, brown, and dark brown. The longer a roux is cooked, the more flavorful it is and more brown in color it will become.
White and blond roux are generally used to thicken sauces, soups, and make gravy. Brown and dark brown roux is used more in very flavorful dishes like gumbo.
What is roux used for?
A roux is most often used to add flavor or thicken a sauce, gravy, or soup. You can find recipes that call for a roux, like my gluten-free gravy recipe, clam chowder, or casserole dishes.
Can you use gluten-free flour for a roux?
You can definitely use some gluten-free flours to make a homemade roux. Some flours work better than others in making a gluten-free roux.
I’ve seen recipes with sorghum flour, rice flour, and cassava flour that all seem to make wonderful gluten-free roux. Each of these work well, and each will give your roux a different flavor profile when added to the dish you’re creating.
I prefer to use the gluten-free flour blend that I keep on hand and use for all my cooking and baking: King Arthur Gluten-free Measure for Measure Flour.
I like this gluten-free flour blend, because it combines some gluten-free flours for the right combination to mimic wheat flour.
King Arthur gluten-free measure-for-measure flour has rice flour, whole grain rice flour, whole sorghum flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, cellulose, xanthan gum, vitamin and mineral blend, and riboflavin.
What I love most about this gluten-free flour is that it takes the guesswork out of finding the proper ratio and it’s blended to create the right consistency to work in place of wheat or all-purpose flour.
In a recipe, you can swap equal parts of this gluten-free flour for wheat or all-purpose flour and know the recipe will turn out.
I’ve also had success with King Arthur gluten-free all purpose flour when I have that on hand.
You can try your hand at using different types of gluten-free flour to see what flavors work best for you (they might not all create the consistency you’re looking for).
Can a roux be made with almond flour?
I’ve tried making a roux with almond flour and didn’t have great luck. The almond flour doesn’t have any starch, so it doesn’t thicken in the way you’d anticipate or hope for in a roux.
You’re better off using a gluten-free flour that has starch in it, like from a grain. Rice or sorghum flour are good options if you don’t want to use a gluten-free flour blend.
How to make roux dairy-free
If you also avoid dairy like I do, you’ll want to find a way to make your roux without butter. There are a few options for this. A roux calls simply for fat, and that can come from a variety of places.
Here are my favorite choices for a dairy-free roux: vegan or dairy-free butter, coconut oil, vegetable oil, or bacon fat. You can choose whatever you have on hand or whatever flavor you love most for making your dairy-free roux.
If you’re gluten-free and not dairy-free, you can use butter in your roux.
If you’re making a creamy gravy, be sure to use a dairy-free milk instead of cow’s milk.
How to make a gluten-free roux
Making a gluten-free roux isn’t any more difficult than making a normal roux. Swap out the flour for gluten-free flour and ta-da! You have a gluten-free roux.
Let’s go through it step-by-step.
Step 1. Melt the fat
You can use butter, vegan butter, coconut oil, bacon fat, or any other fat that you wish here. I usually use vegan butter to make my roux dairy-free, but any of these other options will give you a great roux.
Step 2. Add the gluten-free flour
Add the gluten-free flour that you’re using to the pan and whisk into the fat. I use King Arthur gluten-free measure-for-measure flour, but other rice flour, cassava flour, and sorghum flours all work well to make a gluten-free roux.
Step 3. Whisk continually
Whisk the flour and fat together as it cooks, until the desired color is reached. For a white or light roux, you can let it cook for just about a minute or two. For a brown roux, you’ll let it cook longer, continuing to whisk the entire time.
Step 4. Add liquid
After cooking your gluten-free roux, you’ll want to add some liquid turn to finish the sauce. At this point, you can whisk in milk, dairy-free milk, stock, or broth to the roux. You’ll also want to season the sauce with salt and pepper, as desired.
This will create a base sauce that you can flavor and turn into a gluten-free gravy, sauce, or thickener to be added to a soup or casserole dish.
Now that you know the steps for making a gluten-free roux, here are a few tips for making sure it turns out great every time.
Tips for making gluten-free roux
Stay nearby and keep the roux moving by stirring frequently. This will ensure the roux doesn’t burn.
Don’t use too high of a heat to make your roux. Medium to medium-high heat is fine, but don’t use high heat or you might burn the flour.
Find a gluten-free flour that works for you. I’ve tried making roux with a few other flours and have had success with some, but not all.
Use a blend or experiment with different types of gluten-free flour to find a flavor and consistency that works for you and the dishes you’re trying to create.
You can get creative with the fat in the roux based on your preferences. I use vegan butter, because I also follow a dairy-free diet, but you can also use real butter, coconut oil, or even bacon fat to achieve the same results with varying flavor.
Can you make a roux with cornstarch instead of flour?
Cornstarch works great as a thickener, but isn’t the right ingredient for making a roux. Roux needs to be cooked with fat, and unfortunately cornstarch gets gummy when trying to cook it in this way.
On the other hand, cornstarch does work well in thickening sauces, soups, or gravies. But you’ll want to create a slurry as opposed to a roux in order to do that.
Read on: Is cornstarch gluten-free?
What is a slurry?
A slurry is a mixture of cornstarch or other flour and added to cold water, broth, stock, milk, or dairy-free milk. This mixture is combined well, then added to a warm liquid.
The warmth of the liquid will thicken the cornstarch, creating a thicker sauce, soup, or gravy.
You might opt to use a slurry instead of a roux for soups that you’d like to cook in a thinner broth at the start. You might also choose this option if you don’t have the ingredients or interest in creating a roux.
The point of a slurry is to allow the starch to combine with the liquid before adding to a recipe so that it seamlessly gets incorporated into the liquid in the recipe you’re making.
If you tried to add cornstarch directly to the warm liquid, you’d get a lumpy gravy, sauce, or soup… and nobody likes lumps in their gravy.
How to make a gluten-free slurry
To make a gluten-free slurry, you’ll want to be sure you’re using gluten-free ingredients. Choose gluten-free cornstarch, arrowroot starch, or gluten-free flour. You’ll also want to be sure if you’re using broth or stock that these ingredients are gluten-free as well.
Step 1. Combine cold ingredients
Mix equal parts of cornstarch and cold water, broth, stock, or dairy-free milk in a small bowl. Whisk together.
Step 2. Add hot liquid
Add the slurry ingredients to the hot liquid in your soup, sauce, or gravy.
Step 3. Boil and thicken
Allow to boil or simmer for at least one minute to thicken the dish.
Now that you have two easy ways to thicken up your sauces, soups, gravies, and casseroles using a gluten-free roux and a gluten-free slurry, let’s talk about how to shortcut this if you need to.
Gluten-free roux in a jar
Some folks just don’t want to make their own gluten-free roux, and I understand! Even if it’s simple, sometimes shortcuts can be helpful in the kitchen.
Here are a few premade gluten-free roux products you can buy at the store or online to help you shortcut thickening your favorite dishes.
- Gluten-free Roux from Red Stick Spice Co
- RC Gluten-free Roux from RC Fine Foods
- Gluten-free Instant Roux Mix from Savoie’s
- Nonnie’s Old Fashioned Roux
- 2 tbsp butter or vegan butter
- 2 tbsp gluten-free flour blend
- Melt the butter or vegan butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the gluten-free flour and whisk in with the butter.
- Whisk the flour and the fat as it cooks, until the desired color is reached.
- Add liquid to make a sauce or gravy.
I use King Arthur Measure for Measure flour blend for my gluten-free roux. You can try other brands or gluten-free flours as well. Brown rice, cassava, and sorghum flours all will work too.
To make your gluten-free roux dairy-free, use vegan butter or other fat, like coconut or vegetable oil.
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I hope if you’ve been looking for the perfect gluten-free roux recipe that you’ll use this one next time you’re making gluten-free gravy, sauces for pasta or veggies, or thickening up a soup. This recipe couldn’t be easier – and it’s pretty flexible with ingredients!
Try different fats and gluten-free flours to land on a gluten-free roux you love for different dishes that you make, and remember you can adjust the flavor of the roux based on how long you let it cook and brown in the pan.