Dark Gravy

Whether to use Kitchen Bouquet or not . . it’s one of those nagging questions I should be able to walk away from but honestly, it just seems that if so many people swear by it, I should be using it too. Thank you all for your responses. and I am going to try using it . . maybe just once . . maybe in every dish I make in the future. I just don’t see the need to add something to “enhance” the flavor but again, that’s just me. I think the flavor comes from the ingredients used in cooking. That’s where the “cheating” idea comes from in my mind. If I want a dark, rich gravy, I make sure my roux is really brown and then I use broth or . . I could put a few drops of Kitchen Bouquet which may or may not add flavor but darkens the gravy. Like I said . . I’m going to try it but obviously, I’m skeptical.

I found this page that was interesting. Some people think it adds flavor, some do not . . so that pretty much tells me that it doesn’t add enough flavor to make a whole lot of difference. I don’t think anyone questions whether garlic powder adds flavor . . whether it’s a good flavor or not depends on your taste but it’s a definite flavor.

Back when I first began cooking, there was a cajun cookbook that was popular. It was entitled something like “First You Make a Roux” or “It All Starts With a Roux”.  I can’t remember the name of it and it’s been years and years since I saw it but it must have made a good impression on me because almost everything with a gravy or sauce around here starts with a roux. There’s a pot of bacon fat on the stovetop now . . waiting to be the beginning of my gumbo roux.

Meatballs and Gravy

I went back and looked for pictures on the blog of meals with gravy and . . I don’t know . . I mostly eat my own cooking so maybe I just don’t know but I think my gravy is dark and rich enough. Because that meatball recipe is so delicious, here’s the link. It calls for roux from a jar, which I’m not opposed to using, but mostly I make my own and for that picture, that’s homemade rough.


Even my enchilada gravy starts with a roux . . lighter than for gumbo or some gravies, but a roux nonetheless.

And here’s a picture of my gumbo . . all the way from way back in 2005.


I’ll admit some gumbos I see have darker “juice” but so long as the roux gets the flour nice and toasty brown, and the stock is rich .. the color has never bothered me.

Someone mentioned in a comment that they add Kitchen Bouquet to giblet gravy and mentioned how yucky white giblet gravy would be. I wouldn’t know . . my giblet gravy starts with a roux!  ðŸ™‚

Boneless Beef Ribs

Boneless Beef Ribs

This is my lunch. It’s leftover boneless beef ribs with gravy and I think this gravy was pretty and delicious and quite dark .. nothing added to change the color.

I am going to try the Kitchen Bouquet . . probably in the gumbo that I’ll make this weekend, although I’m sharing that with a friend so maybe my experiment should wait. It definitely doesn’t matter to me if I use it or not but if I don’t need it, why stick one more thing in my already crowded cabinets? And as I mentioned to my friend, Vicky, this morning . . obviously Vince and I are not pushing ourselves away from the table because the gravy isn’t dark enough!  ðŸ™‚

It sounds to me like Kitchen Bouquet is something most folks use for color, maybe a little added richness, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you don’t have it but, you’re happy you do have it. That’s what makes life so interesting. No . . I’m not saying Kitchen Bouquet makes life interesting but it’s the fact that we can all use what we want, love the things we want to love, ignore the things we don’t think we need, and yet we all still love each other!  ðŸ™‚

Again, I’m not saying it’s right or wrong for you to use it or not use it . . I’m just saying that I’m really surprised that I’ve never used it, especially when so many people do use it.

And now, I’m wishing I had started that pot of gumbo instead of sitting and knitting!


  1. 1

    Connie H. says

    Your blog makes life interesting, at least for me. I love learning new approaches and thinking about how we do what we’ve done our entire lives and what might be better. I can’t recall ever reading a roux recipe that says anything other than just let the butter and flour “cook” to eliminate flour flavor. Your roux looks so deliciously brown maybe you cook it to something similar to a brown butter roux. How do you do that? Will have to try next time.

    • 1.1


      Maybe it’s more regional but I’ve never really made a roux that’s not dark brown. I will sometimes blend flour and butter to make a white sauce but I don’t even try to brown the flour. Now that I’ve been thinking about it, I’m kinda surprised at how much I do use roux.

  2. 2

    Dar says

    Hmmm…. I think a roux tutorial is in order! I learned to make brown gravy from my MIL, who used cornstarch, strained broth and either Kitchen Bouquet or Gravy Master. My mother made flour gravy but my one newlywed attempt was deemed inedible by my (spoiled LOL) husband. Your gravy looks amazing and delicious. The secret must be a good roux. Can you teach this old dog (soon to be 60) a new trick? 🙂

    • 3.1


      Google is your friend! 🙂 I’m sure you can find out more than you ever wanted to know if you google it. I think there is some amount of sodium in it but I haven’t paid much attention to the ingredients list.

  3. 4

    Connie H. says

    Wow! Looked at your 2009 post. That is such a beautiful brown roux. Can’t wait to try it your way! You probably don’t need KB unless you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for that patient stirring and monitoring.

    • 4.1


      Thanks. I think the well browned flour creates a depth of flavor that you may not get with adding a darkening agent. Roux isn’t difficult to make but it does take a good bit of time and patience. I can’t imagine that anything other than cooking the roux to a deep, dark brown is going to result in the flavor we love.

  4. 5

    Barbara says

    My mother is Cajun and would have never allowed kitchen bouquet in her kitchen…that was only used by bad cooks according to her (she is ninety seven)
    When I was first married I made a gumbo and invited her over…she took one bite and said…you used kitchen bouquet didn’t you?
    Of course I had been nervous and didn’t get my roux dark enough so I used it and thought no one would notice…
    Lesson learned…I tossed the bottle and learned how to make a good roux.

  5. 6

    Denise ~ justquiltin says

    I might have to ask my brother about Kitchen Bouquet and if I’m missing out on anything by not using it. He works for the parent company that produces it and I can remember having a conversation about packaging of their various products and how KB has not changed their labeling like so many other products do to give a new look. It’s had that same labeling for eons (ok slight exaggeration). I do miss the fact that he no longer deals with the Hidden Valley Ranch part of things – there went my salad dressing supplier!

  6. 7

    Sue says

    Having never made a roux of any kind (gasp! I know – but then I’m a northerner…) I look forward to the tutorial. My gravies are made from the juices from the meat and some cornstarch. And they’re very tasty if I can judge from DH’s waste line…

  7. 8

    Rebecca in SoCal says

    I looked at your 2009 post, and that was darker than I have ever made roux! I’m thinking I should try it. The picture reminds me of Vicky’s tale of being taught to make roux: put a Hershey’s Kiss on the counter. Cook the roux until it’s the same color. Eat the kiss and proceed with your dish.

    p.s. I did a very quick search on Amazon for cookbooks with “Roux” in the title (and turned up a whole bunch of other stuff), but found two, both from Junior Leagues (different cities).

  8. 9

    Linda Smith says

    I had not thought of using Kitchen Bouquet in soup, etc. My mother always smeared it on a rump roast and then peppered the roast before roasting it on a rack in the oven. She said it sealed the juices in the roast. I thought it was always used to “seal” the juices in meat. Her rump roast was always tender and juicy. That is all she ever used it for.