How To Make Curry Roux

How To Make Curry Roux

It’s very convenient to use Japanese Curry Sauce Mix (curry roux カレールー) to make Japanese curry (Curry Rice/Kare Raisu/カレーライス).  These days we can find the many varieties of Japanese roux in the Asian isle in American supermarkets.

However, making the curry roux from scratch is not difficult at all and only takes a few ingredients.  Let’s make homemade curry roux today!

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How To Make Curry Roux
Cook time
Total time
Serves: Curry roux for 4 cups of liquid
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp. garam masala
  • ¼ tsp.+ cayenne pepper (optional for spicy)
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat.
  2. When the butter is completely melted, add the flour.
  3. Stir to combine the butter and flour. Soon the butter and flour fuse and swell. Do not stop stirring because the roux will easily burn.
  4. After 20-30 minutes, the roux will turn to light brown color. Add the curry powder, garam masala and cayenne pepper.
  5. Cook and stir for 30 seconds and remove from the heat. If you don't use it immediately, let it cool in an airtight container with lid and store in refrigerator for a month or freezer for 3-4 months.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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  1. I am glad you shared a simple way to make Japanese Curry roux because we love Japanese Curry but most packaged roux has things that are not so good for us- more saturated fats or sodium. This is perfect. Thanks, nami!!

  2. I just thought ‘I don’t remember receiving a news letter for this recipe.’ and it looks like it’s not displayed in the main page either. Anyway.. I didn’t know you could make these at home! That’s a very exciting news. Even though we buy a pre-packaged curry at a mart, we prefer eating curry without any artificial colours or flavour enhancers if we can help it! Thanks very much for shaing this recipe.

    • Hi Hana! I have been using (Japanese brand) S&B curry powder that I can get at a Japanese supermarket, but this one was from curry powder from Indian store (much cheaper!). Hope this helps. :)

  3. Suzan

    Thank you for the recipe! I have omitted MSG from my family’s diet and I absolutely LOVE S&B curry. I grew up on it and my kids love it. I am so excited to try this and add it to our meal planning weekly. Thank you for the healthy recipes!

    • Elaine Fukumoto

      I’m wondering if Suzan found that the JOC curry recipe from scratch closely duplicates the S&B curry. I, too, have eliminated MSG from my diet and I, too, love S&B curry. All the curry bricks available at the stores have MSG.

      Question: Why do so many Japanese products use MSG? It’s hard to find anything without it. I’ve checked Korean products….there doesn’t seem to be the same prevalent use of MSG.

      • Hi Elaine! Unfortunately homemade curry will NOT duplicate the S&B curry. Like you said, it lacks “MSG taste” and all the ingredients that I don’t know what it is are included… So the taste is something similar but not exactly same.

        Well, MSG is used in many products in all Asian or American products if you carefully look at each product. However, American products started to avoid MSG more seriously and that became a sales point. While in Japan, “No MSG” is not commonly labeled and I also read some documents saying that MSG is not actually a bad thing scientifically or something like that. So the whole culture about MSG is very different, I guess. Lots of Japanese kids eat snacks that contain MSG and most moms don’t seem to even check the label (they are major and popular brands of Japanese snacks), while here at least where I live moms are very careful about feeding “healthy” snacks (but eat lots of sugary desserts while in Japan desserts are less sweet). I assume what people think “bad for you” is different? It’s a good question though!

        One more thing. We have more “mutenka” (無添加) – no MSG, preservatives etc – products available in Japan, and they are not imported to the US yet. Such as Dashi powders. Most of Japanese uses “mutenka” dashi powders these days, but here in Asian markets they only sell one with MSG (Japanese supermarkets sell “Mutenka” version for dashi). Hopefully we get more MSG free products will come to the US.

        Hope this helps! :)

        • Elaine Fukumoto

          Thank you for the information about “mutenka.” … a term I’ve never heard of. I have been finding more and more “no MSG” dashi available here.

          As for MSG being “bad”….. As I have gotten older, I now react with terrible headaches that pain remedies do not fix. I’ve found though, that antihistamines help. I have friends who also react badly with severe swelling of the joints. So, it’s apparent that these are allergic reactions.

          • I’m so sorry to hear about allergic reactions to MSG. I heard from someone else who has similar condition. It’s too much trouble to consume MSG if you don’t feel well. Hope your favorite food doesn’t include MSG. :) I’m glad to hear about no-MSG dashi! :)

  4. Nami, now this sounds like a wonderful and sraightforwar recipe for a Curry Roux – I love homemade, and I am convinced that this is just the best for starting your delicious Japanese Curry recipe.

  5. Candice

    I love curry! Thanks for posting this recipe on how to make Japanese Curry Roux at home. I’ve used the box kind from S&B before, but I’m sure it’s not too healthy. I’ve also made my own curry using just curry powder bought from an Asian (e.g. 99 Ranch) or Indian market and chicken broth to make curry fishballs or chicken. I do find that Chinese curry is less sweet than Japanese curry. I wonder why?

    • Hi Candice! You are comparing with store bought Japanese curry roux right? I think the box says sugar and caramel. Maybe that’s why? I like to add honey and apple to make it more mild and natural sweetness. :)

  6. Guindilla

    Hi there,

    Nice recipe. I remember looking for one similar for hours without success!

    Is it possible to store the roux for any length of time, so it could be used in a later time – 1 month, etc.? Is it better to store in the fridge?


    • Hi Guindilla! We can store the roux in air tight container and keep in the fridge for 1 month, and 3 months in freezer. :) I updated the recipe. Thank you for asking!

  7. Rochan

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I love Japanese curry, and this would definitely be a healthier alternative than the instant packed japanese curry.
    Will most definately make it.

    • Hi Vic! Yes. When I make recipes, I usually measure how long I cook. However, each stove top heat can be little different, not to mention the different kinds of pots… but it should take some time to brown, and shouldn’t be too quick. And yes, constantly stirring, because you don’t want to burn the roux! Hope that helps. :)

  8. Antonella

    Hi Nami, just had curry rice with chichen for dinner, i followed your receipe and made the curry roux at home, it’ s delicious!! Thank you so much for you ” cookbook” within all the pictures that help me a lot! I’ m italian so your receipe are totally different from my tradional food and meals, but I honestly had yummy Japanese’s meals following your receipe step by step, thanks again for you sharing that make this possible for me too. It wouldn’t possible for me to learn to cook by myself your traditional dishes without your so easily to follow receipe.

    • Hi Antonella! Thank you for letting me know! I’m really happy to hear that you enjoy my blog, and that you are making Japanese food at home! You made my day! :)

  9. justin


    If I’m serving curry for 4 people with this roux, do I add liquid to this?

    I’m not very experienced at cooking but loved the curry I ate in japan.
    What liquid do I add? Water?


  10. Roy

    This recipe is “okay” but ingredients in curry powder & garam masala aren’t in the best ratio for GREAT curry. My current blend is :

    2tb-1st turmeric
    1tb-2tsp cumin
    1tb-2tsp cordiander
    1tb cardamom
    1t allspice – key for flavor
    1t black pepper
    1/2t hot chili pepper
    1/2t methi

    Also I personally prefer 3 tb butter, 3 tb flour and 4 tb curry powder. I also saute my onion in the roux before adding the powder. And after toasting the powder I add 2 tb of ketchup and 1 tb of BBQ sauce to finish off the curry roux. This provides an excellent flavor.

  11. Denise

    I am so excited to find this recipe! For years I have been looking for a way to make my own version of S&B curry but up until I found this, we thought it was Chinese not Japanese! I kept searching for Chinese curry recipes and none looked right. The only question I have about it, is on the box the ingredient list shows sugar. I read in one of your comments to someone you use some honey and apples but I cannot have either. Does this recipe taste just like the golden curry sauce or does it need some sugar? If it needs some sugar, how much? I’m assuming I prepare my meat/veggetables the same way as for the box stuff then just add this roux. Thanks for any instructions you can give!

    • Hi Denise! I “tried” my best to make Japanese homemade curry roux. I like S&B too, but just like other curry roux brands, there are some ingredients that we don’t normally put for homemade stuff such as MSG and additives. Therefore, it’s impossible to make it just like S&B curry roux. Some prefer really spicy curry, so for this roux, I didn’t include any sugar/honey in the roux and I sweetened the curry after I added curry roux. Sweetness is up to person’s preference so I recommend you to sweeten as you like by adding 1/2 to 1 Tbsp. at a time. Also, depends on your ingredients, you can adjust sweetness too. I love adding extra onions because they make the curry sweeter. Hope this helps. :)

  12. Anna

    thanks for sharing that recipe, i searched a long time to find a recipe for Chicken Curry but i could not find curry roux in a shop ( i live in germany) and now i can finally try it out. yeah

    • Thank you Anna! Until you can find the Japanese curry roux in a shop, hope this recipe will work out for you. It’s not EXACTLY same, but it’s additive free and healthier. :) Hope you enjoy making curry!

  13. David Hicks

    Very simple and perfect. All of the premixes that I find have MSG in them and my wife gets a migraine from the MSG. We LOVE Japanese foods and are actually finding more and more MSG free or MSG not added foods in the Asain markets but prefer to make things from scratch as much as possible. Thanks for all of your recipes.

    • Hi David! I’m glad to hear you like this recipe! It’s true – I find more MSG-free products when I go to Japan, and really hope they will start appearing in Japanese grocery stores and Asian markets here. Thank you for your feedback! :)

  14. Vonny

    Hai nami i’m so Happy finally i found the recipe to make curry roux. It’s difficult for ke to find Japanese roux here in my place. I want to ask you can i Change the butter With margarine? Thank you

  15. Sasha

    I’ll love you forever for this recipe. I’ve found only one over the internet and the spices were so many and the quantites so complicated I’ve never tried. Be thanked for this (and for all your work too). どうもありがとうございます。今日、やります!

  16. Vinny

    Hi Nami! Great recipe, just made it tonight (the chicken curry). I found, though, your spice ratio didn’t quite work out for me, but its all a matter of taste. Didn’t have as much curry taste as I’d prefer. Next time I will put in double the curry powder and less of the garam. Still, excellent dish and great instructions! Thanks!

    • Hi Vinny! Japanese curry is very mild, compared to Thai or Indian curry (which is why it’s easier for kids to eat as it’s not as spicy). But that also means that it lacks of strong curry flavor I think. Thank you so much for trying this recipe, Vinny! :)

  17. deutie

    I absolutely love Japanese Curry and of course love making everything from scratch. However, when I realised my friend is allergic to gluten, I don’t know what to do to make the roux without all purpose flour. And I really want to show him this wonderful curry dish. Do you have any replacement for the flour as in thickening the curry/making the roux? Thank you very much ^^

    • Hi Bing! Thank you for asking! I updated my recipe with the information. You can keep in refrigerator for a month, and in freezer for 3-4 months. :)

  18. Karrie

    I made the roux and then followed the recipe to make curry. It turned out well. I can’t believe I have been using the curry blocks all this time. I am glad I was able to try these recipes!

    • That’s a good question… I’ve only tried with regular flour and can’t really tell if rice flour or gluten-free flour will work. Sorry I’m not an expert in GF. :(

  19. Audrey

    Hi Nami, I was looking for ohitashi recipes for our hana mi party today and found your blog. I am super excited to find this recipe too. I love Japanese curry so much and have been very sad to not eat it for years because I didn’t want to make the box stuff for my growing children. Now I can introduce them to this very special Japanese comfort food. Yay. Thank You!!

    • Hi Audrey! I hope you had a wonderful hanami party! As you know, the roux in the box has lots of stuff that we don’t normally put in the homemade version, the curry texture/flavor won’t be exactly same as the one in the box, but still, I think the homemade curry roux is very delicious and you can customize to your taste easily. I hope you enjoy this recipe! Thank you for your kind comment. :)

  20. Julie Deegmulder

    thank you so very much for taking the time in sharing your recipe on how to make the Japanese curry roux. as i have been looking for this Japanese curry for a very long time and this is now so wonderful that i can now make it at home along on a regular basis along with other Japanese dishes as they are so beautiful to eat once again thank you for sharing your recipes for others to enjoy . Julia may 4 2014

    • Hi Julie! Thank YOU for reading my blog and following! I hope you enjoy the homemade Japanese curry! If you have any request of recipes, let me know. :)

  21. Warren Farraway

    Hi Nami, your recipe for Japanese Curry Beef says 1 box of curry roux( 200-240 grms). It is the same brand that I bought but my 1 box weighs 100 grms. Do I buy another box? This seems like an awful lot of roux; I’m confused :(

    • Hi Warren! Chicken curry and Beef curry are different recipes. I used more liquid in Beef Curry, which is why you need more curry paste. However, if you are going to make smaller batch, you do not need to use that much liquid/curry paste.

      Your curry roux is the smallest box available at the store. It depends on how many people you want to serve, but follow the directions/guideline on the back of the curry roux for the liquid and ingredients amount for 100 g curry paste. However, instead of following the recipe of the box, you can adapt and make your own curry just like how I do in Chicken or Beef curry. Hope this makes sense. Let me know if I can be any help. :)

  22. calvin

    do you have a substitute for butter? I have a terrible lactose intolerance, butter is a no-no for me (although I really miss ’em!).

    • Hi Calvin! I think you can make it with extra virgin olive oil, although I haven’t done it before and I don’t know the exact measurement… Hope you can make good curry roux with it! :)

  23. Irina

    Hi Nami ! I have a question. It’s okay if I don’t put garam masala? Because I can’t find it in supermakerts and I was wondering if I can substitute it or even don’t put it at all. :)

    • Hi Irina! Garam masala contains turmeric, black and white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds and cardamom pods. If you have those you can add in, but if not, just use a little more curry powder. It loses some spice content (from garam masala) though. 😀

    • EunosRoadster is your friend! If I cannot find something in my local stores, and it isn’t a perishable like meat or fresh veggies chances are it can be had through I have a Prime account and I just order all my hard-to-find ingredients straight from them with free shipping!

      • Thank you so much EunosRoadster! Amazon prime is great and I love it too! I’m not too sure where (which country) Irina is from – but thank you for sharing your tip!

  24. J

    So, which roux would you say is better (taste wise) for the beef curry recipe you made? The homemade roux or the store bought? I’m thinking about trying your recipe today. Thanks

    • Hi J! Well homemade tastes great as we can be more flexible with flavors while store-bought roux will always taste the same unless you add some additional flavors. Some people don’t like MSG in roux so they go with homemade roux. Once in a while is okay with me and use store bought roux when I don’t have time. Since you don’t have garam masala maybe start with store bought roux? Garam masala is nice to put in curry. :)

      • Oops I got confused with other person who did not having garam masala. Sorry! If you have garam masala, try making homemade especially if you have time. :)

      • J

        Nice and thanks for the quick response. Ill definitely try making my own, I just bought some Garam masala so, I’m set. One more question though. How crucial is the roux to the curry? Like if I were to make the roux extra spicy would it balance in the curry or do you think it would ruin it?

        • You can definitely make it spicy! :) Hope you like the recipe. Make sure to make enough curry roux based on your liquid & ingredients amount. :)

  25. Victoria

    AMAZING! I can’t believe I never thought about making curry from scratch before, how silly! We live in the very, very white suburbs of Montreal, and I usually have to drive about 45 minutes to find a store that carries Glico curry. This will be so much better!! Thank you!

    • Hi Victoria! The Japanese curry roux is pretty convenient and good (despite all the preservatives and MSG etc) but homemade curry is pretty delicious too! I hope you enjoy making your own curry. :)

  26. DJ

    This is so much simpler than I expected. My wife and I recently moved to Japan for work; pork products make her sick and so many pre-packaged curry boxes here use pork ingredients for flavoring. Now I can make it at home with very little effort! Thanks, Nami. All of your recipes are great!

    • Hi DJ! I’m so glad you tried this recipe! I’m sorry to hear that your wife can’t take pork products from the package, but maybe it’s a good thing! It’s so much healthier making food from scratch. :) Thank you for trying this recipe and leaving a kind feedback! :)

  27. Ellie

    Hey Nami, thanks so much for this recipe!
    Lots of cooking recipes I use for curry just say “add curry sachet” and it’s so lovely to be able to make it from scratch!
    I’m very happy to see this recipe, even though you posted it a long time ago!
    Thank you again,
    Ellie from NZ

  28. Rebekah

    Quick question – for the Beef Curry recipe, would I double the amount of the homemade curry roux? Just wanted to check before I try that recipe for myself.

    Also wanted to say thank you for posting these recipes with such detailed pictures & instructions. My husband and I got to take a trip to Japan and loved the food! And since then we have often craved it but don’t have any Japanese food restaurants where we live. I love your website because now we can still have wonderful Japanese food in our home and all your homemade & make-it-from-scratch recipes make that possible. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Rebekah! I’m sorry for my late response! Yes, the beef curry recipe requires 8 cups of beef broth, and curry roux recipe is for 4 cups of liquid, so you should double it. However, when you add roux, please add small amount at a time to make sure you don’t put too much. For Beef Curry recipe, I used the store bought roux, so it’s not exactly the same consistency as homemade ones. It’s better to make extra curry roux than not having enough at the time you add roux… Hope this helps! :)

      I’m so happy to hear you enjoy my blog and thank you so much for trying my recipes! Your comment made me very happy! :)

  29. C McFodder

    This roux is the most fun thing to make and the kitchen smells so good. Your chicken curry recipe with the homemade roux is the so delicious it’s my new favorite dish to cook. Thank you so much!

  30. farah

    hi nami,good recipe:) but I have a problem in my town there isn’t shop who sell instan curry powder as “S&B curry” :( can you tell me how to make curry without instan powder….maybe i can make it self :))

  31. Mel

    Hi Nami
    I have just tried out this recipe as my daughter needs to use the roux method for a curry dipping sauce for skill recognition in her catering exam this week. My hubby & I found it a little grainy & felt it might need some more flavour to serve as a dipping sauce, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hi Mel! This roux recipe is to make Japanese curry, so it’s a paste before adding into the broth for curry. I don’t think this recipe works well to make a dipping sauce, to be honest. Like you said, it’s probably lacking spice and I wouldn’t use it as a base for dipping sauce. The dipping sauce shouldn’t be roux (flour and butter). Hope this helps and sorry I can’t help much. :(

  32. Jacob

    Thanks for the great recipe, I’ve made this twice now with pretty good results both times but there is one thing bothering me. When I make the roux it doesn’t look a whole lot like yours in the pictures! Did you double up on the size? My roux starts out really thick and grainy from the get go and there isn’t nearly as much as yours. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Hi Jacob! I’m glad to hear you like this recipe and thanks for the kind feedback! I did not double the size. My pot size is 1 1/2 QT, if that helps? Did you spend cooking for 20-30 minutes?

    • Hi Anissa! Hmmm it will lack some flavor as typical garam masala includes black and white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, black and green cardamom pods, bay leaf, and caraway. If you have any of these spices, it’ll help a bit. :)

  33. Maher

    this was so helpful :)
    but here where I live we don’t have garam masala is it important ?is there any replacement to it ?what flavor does it give?
    thanks beforehand :)

  34. Iain Brown

    Hey! If a recipe im using says to use 4-5 ‘cubes’ of curry roux how much of this recipe would i need?

  35. Joyce

    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing this recipe, along with the simple chicken curry. My husband and I used both recipes to make curry this weekend and it’s so good! In our opinion, it’s better than the boxed curry. My biggest complaint with boxed curry is that it’d have this weird grainy, slimy mouth feel when reheating leftovers. Your recipe has none of that problem (leftovers are as good as just made) and is even tastier! No more boxed stuff for us. The roux is so easy to make, I never knew! Thanks. :)

    • Hi Joyce! So happy to hear you liked this recipe and the curry recipe! Homemade roux is preservative and MSG free! I’m glad you enjoyed the curry! Thank you so much for your kind feedback! :)

  36. Cristina Chang

    Hi!! I really love that the fact I found how to make curry!! 😀 😀

    The only problem is that I don’t find garam masala here in my country :( , is there a replacement for that ingredient?


    • Hi Cristina! Garam masala contains turmeric, black and white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds and cardamom pods. If you have those spices, you can add them, but if not, just use a little more curry powder. It loses some spice content (from garam masala), so try finding it in an Indian store or spice shop. :)

    • Hi Jossh! Garam masala contains turmeric, black and white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds and cardamom pods. If you have those you can add in, but if not, just use a little more curry powder. It loses some spice content (from garam masala) though. Hope this helps! :)

  37. May S

    This recipe is SO great! I tried making my own a few days ago, and it turned out really great. If I want to make it alittle more spicy, do II just add more Cayenne pepper?
    I love your recipes so much, I use your recipes for dinner almost all week :)

    • Hi May! I’m so happy to hear you liked this recipe! Yes you can add more cayenne pepper. Hope you will find the good amount for your favorite curry flavor! :)

  38. Nikole

    Quick question, does this make the exact amount needed for your curry recipe? I want to know what size portions to freeze this in. Thanks!

  39. katie

    Hi! Thank you for uploading this recipe. Just made this roux for the chicken curry recipe you have up and so far it’s been great. However my roux turned light brown in about 15 minutes instead of 20-30, is that okay? Also, I was just wondering if it’ll be enough for the simple chicken curry recipe?
    Lastly do I need to keep it covered before it cools or should I cover it with a lid while it’s still warm?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Katie! I think the heat was stronger than mine, but it’s okay if it worked. Simple Chicken Curry recipe requires 4 cups of liquid, and this roux is for 4 cups. If you adjust the samount of ingredients, the liquid amount slightly changes and that will change the amount of roux. So be careful when you adjust. If you have enough time to let it cool naturally, you can keep the cover to cool. However, if you’re in hurry, uncovering will keep the food cool faster. :)

      Hope you enjoy! :)

  40. Alex

    Just made the curry roux and it smells amazing! Just one question, do you dissolve the curry in water or stock?
    Thank you so much!
    Best wishes from Germany.