Microwave Roux

For awhile, I went over to making most dark roux in the microwave oven. I’ve backed away from the idea, but I still do it at times. At first, I thought microwaving speeds up the process, but I have come to believe otherwise. Still, it’s a handy approach for some roux needs.

You must use a heatproof glass bowl. Know that a modest danger exists that even heatproof glass can suddenly shatter while making something that gets as hot as a roux does. It happened to me once, inside the microwave oven. The danger rises if you take the container out of the oven to stir on a cold counter. Put it on top of a dishcloth. A roux gets hotter than almost anything else you can put in a microwave. It is just as easy to burn a roux in the microwave as in a pot on the stove. To avoid that, use shorter and shorter bursts between stirrings.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup oil (or butter, lard, or your favorite fat)

1. Combine the flour and oil in a heat-proof (i.e., Pyrex) measuring cup. Stir it to blend it as completely as you can.

2. Microwave the mixture on high for 2:30 (two minutes and thirty seconds). Remove it from the microwave and stir it very well with a teaspoon or a fork, breaking up any clumps of flour. You may be able to get a smooth mixture (or maybe not), but that is the ideal.

3. Microwave again for 1:30. Remove and stir very well, until smooth. Be careful! This stuff will now be very hot, and the cup and the business end of the stirring implement will be hot enough to burn you severely. (The handle of the cup is usually safe to grasp–but don’t take that on faith!)

4. Microwave for 45 seconds. The roux now will be hot enough to continue cooking and darkening while you’re stirring it, so keep stirring it, scraping the bottom of the cup and breaking all clumps immediately, until you have a smooth paste. Then stir for another 30 seconds at least.

5. The roux should be dark enough for most purposes by now, but if you want it darker still, microwave it in bursts of 15 seconds or less, with long stirring in between. When it reaches the color you want, keep stirring until it has cooled enough to stop cooking. Or stir in the chopped onions, celery, etc. from the recipe you’re working on.

Makes about 2/3 cup of roux.

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  1. PattiinMS on June 11, 2014

    I prefer doing it this way since I don’t get burned as often. Because I usually do bigger batches, I have found that I have to keep a close eye on it early on to make sure it doesn’t boil over. The only time I broke my Pyrex measure was when I put cold water in right after I finished. We compared making it on the stovetop and in the microwave and the gumbos tasted the same.

  2. Carolyn wickstrom on June 11, 2014

    My shortcut is to toast my flour on a cookie sheet in the oven first then combine it with the fat in a skillet and finish the traditional way. It doesn’t really cut down on total time but it cuts down on “tending” time and the toasted flour gives it a nutty flavor.