How to Make Gluten-Free Roux: it's one of the basics you need to know! This recipe for gluten-free roux also offers a dairy-free version, plus tips & tricks for getting gluten-free roux just right.
Can you make thick, rich gluten-free sauces & gravies? Yes, you can.
This White Lasagna starts with a roux that becomes a creamy mushroom sauce. Who wouldn't want that? Nobody, that's who.
You can use this roux to make your own gluten-free sauces and recipes, or convert conventional favorites, like sausage gravy.
What to use the roux for, and roux colors or "stages"
Roux is used for thickening gravies, soups, sauces - all kinds of delicious things. Many recipes call for a white or blond roux, which simply refers to the color of the mixture as it cooks. Gumbo and a few other dishes call for a "brick" roux (or a dark roux). This just means that the mixture is cooked until it gets brick red- just before it burns!
Pro Tip: don't take gluten-free roux much past the "peanut butter" stage
Because gluten-free flour acts a little differently than wheat flour, I don't recommend making gluten-free roux much darker than peanut butter colored. Going darker than that can result in a burnt or scorched taste, even if the gluten-free roux doesn't look burned. I also don't make the roux in the oven, because I think you really need to keep an eye on it.
Choosing gluten-free flour for roux:
I usually use one of my favorite gluten-free flour blends to make roux, along with butter or olive oil. My favorites are Pamela’s Gluten-Free Artisan Blend or King Arthur Gluten-Free All-Purpose blend. Neither of these blends contains dairy- some GF blends do. You can also use a mixture of rice flour and tapioca flour/starch.
You want a blend with starches like tapioca, potato or corn, but no or limited gum-binders.
Can you make grain-free roux? Yes.
If you'd like to make your roux grain-free, the best option I've found is using a mixture of cassava flour and tapioca starch.
What do you need to make this roux recipe gluten-free?
Making gluten-free or gluten-free dairy-free roux doesn't take much. Here's what you need:
- heavy duty saucepan or skillet
- butter or olive oil
- gluten-free flour blend -OR- sweet rice flour + tapioca starch
Making dairy-free roux:
You’ll notice I use a little less olive oil than butter when I make dairy-free roux. That’s because the consistency of the oil is different than butter. Roux is usually half butter-half flour, and I've tried all kinds of dairy-free fats and oils. I'm convinced if you need GFDF roux, the scant-olive-oil-way is the best way.
Now you're ready to make gluten-free Bechamel Sauce or one of your other favorites.
Gluten-Free Roux Recipe
- 4 tablespoons butter -OR- 3 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons gluten-free flour blend -OR- 2 tablespoons rice flour + 2 tablespoons tapioca flour * for grain-free, use 2 tablespoon cassava flour + 2 tablespoon tapioca flour
- In a medium-sized, heavy duty saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted (or warm the oil).
- Add the gluten-free flour and whisk until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color (blond roux), about 6 to 7 minutes.
- If desired, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the mixture turns the color of peanut butter, roughly 4-6 minutes more.
- Nutrition calculated for one batch of gluten-free roux using butter.
images by Meg van der Kruik
This Gluten-Free Béchamel Sauce recipe can be made with or without dairy, and it always comes out beautifully.
Frequently asked questions about gluten-free roux:
Yes, but the blend matters. Don't use an all-nut blend or a blend with tons of binders. Our favorites are Pamela’s Gluten-Free Artisan Blend or King Arthur Gluten-Free All-Purpose blend, which has less binders then their Measure for Measure blend. You can also use finely ground sweet rice flour, our favorite is from Koda Farms, with a bit of tapioca starch.
All-nut flours won't thicken the same way as conventional flour or a GF blend. If you want to make a grain free roux, the best bet is to use a blend of arrowroot or tapioca starch and cassava.
The best options to use as a universal cooked thickener like roux are rice flour + tapioca flour or a gluten-free all purpose blend. Arrowroot, cornstarch or tapioca slurries will work if you're trying to thicken a sauce without starting from a roux.
Yes. Use olive in a slightly reduced measurement for the fat, along with a gluten-free flour blend, and an unsweetened plant-based milk if you're making a white sauce or gravy.
Yes. Tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same product. That is not the case with potato flour/potato starch or corn flour/corn starch/corn meal, so it can be confusing.