I like making sauces from scratch, starting with a roux. Today, I discovered there's no flour in the kitchen. A quick trip to the store is not possible.

What could I use instead?

(Note that my question is similar to but not the same as Flour alternatives for roux. I have no reason to avoid wheat flour; I just don't have any around.)

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    It would help if you listed what you actually have available that could be used, and what you need to make a roux for. – GdD Mar 14 '14 at 8:50
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    That would vary from one time to the next. I'd like to have a list: if no flour, try xxx. If none of that, try yyy, If that's not around, try zzz... – DarenW Mar 14 '14 at 15:33
  • It's possible that what the roux is for might be more significant -- if you're making a gumbo where you need a really dark roux the options may be different than for a blonde roux. – Joe Mar 14 '14 at 16:09
  • What I actually did was grab some fancy crackers and grind them up. The powder was pretty much like coarse flour. The end result came out good, though with some interesting flavor due to the seeds or nuts or whatever additive was in the crackers. – DarenW Mar 16 '14 at 4:22

Technically, you can make roux with any starch and any fat, per Harold McGee.

So use cornstarch or arrowroot or whatever you have. Just avoid something with strong flavor like cornmeal.

Of course, the flavor and thickening properties will be those of the starch you use... And you probably don't want to make a brown roux with anything but flour because of the flavor difference.

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  • As I recall, in Germany potato starch is sold for brown roux, so I don't think the flavor warning applies. – JasonTrue Mar 14 '14 at 14:01
  • @JasonTrue While you can certainly brown non-flour based roux, without the wheat protein the flavor is going to be very different, and may be dissonant in the dishes (I am thinking mostly of the New Orleans cuisine) which expect brown roux. – SAJ14SAJ Mar 14 '14 at 14:10
  • Not substantively different in my experience, but I am more likely to use wheat flour because it's usually more convenient. – JasonTrue Mar 14 '14 at 15:20

Instant corn masa works. The commercial stuff around here is mild enough in flavor that it doesn't overpower, and it thickens as well or better than white flour.

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