How to Make Gravy

How to Make Gravy

Publish Date October 4, 2023 2 Minute Read

Gravy is much more than a dressing for turkey. It can enhance every part of a holiday meal – meats, potatoes and sides – and thus could be considered its most essential element.

Those who haven’t made gravy may not know how simple it can be. It can be prepared in as little as 10 minutes, ideally during the time you’re allowing your turkey or roast to cool after cooking.

Check out some helpful tips and tricks to make gravy your suppertime star.

Gravy 101

Essentially, gravy has two parts: the roux and the stock. Roux is a cooked mixture of equal parts fat and flour; it’s essentially a paste that thickens the stock into a velvety gravy. The stock, or broth, is a base liquid in which meat has typically been simmered. Additional ingredients can be added for seasoning or to thicken the gravy, if desired.

Gravy is usually prepared just before serving your turkey or roast, but it can be made days in advance. If made earlier, it can be enhanced when reheating by adding pan drippings for extra flavor.

Most stock is either a store-bought liquid or a preparation made with stock (or bouillon) cubes. Stock cubes or powder have more flavor than liquid stock, which results in tastier gravy if you’re making it from scratch. However, liquid broth is more appropriate if you’re using pan drippings, which will add lots of flavor to the gravy.

A more advanced preparation is to make your own stock by simmering poultry bones for a couple hours, then straining the mixture.

Don’t Pitch What’s in the Pan

Traditional gravy prep calls for using pan drippings after your roast is done cooking. If you go this route, place the roast on a cutting board, then move the roasting pan to the stovetop to start making your gravy. Using the same pan is ideal, since there will be lots of flavor in the bottom of the pan.

First, separate the fat and broth left in the bottom of the pan. You can use a spoon to scoop off the fat, then strain the remaining liquid. The fat saved can be used in place of butter in your roux, and the liquid saved can be used as the broth.

Making the Gravy

To make the roux, use equal parts fat and flour. (For each cup of gravy you want to prepare, start with two tablespoons of each ingredient.) If you didn’t save fat from your roast, use butter. Melt over medium heat, then whisk in the flour until it becomes golden and bubbly.

Now it’s time to whisk in the stock. Accounting for evaporation, you’ll probably need about 3-4 cups of liquid to produce 2 cups of gravy. If you’re using pan drippings but don’t have enough juice, supplement with store-bought broth. Alternate stirring and adding liquid, maintaining the consistency you want, until all stock has been added. When it’s all mixed in, the gravy’s ready.

If you prefer creamier gravy, substitute milk for up to half of the broth. Some recipes may suggest add-ins such as dried mushroom powder, herbs or Worcestershire sauce. Taste before serving; if needed, season with salt or pepper.

Shop Gravy Ingredients

Alternative Gravies

To make gluten-free gravy, use equal parts corn starch and water in place of flour and fat/butter in your roux. Or if you’d like a quick gravy prep before attempting the traditional method, try our Thanksgiving Gravy Hack.

For vegetarian gravy, you can use vegetable broth as a base. Check out our recipe for a tasty plant-based sausage gravy.

Get Cooking

If you’ve finished your Thanksgiving feast and look forward to leftovers, gravy will keep in the fridge (in an airtight container) for up to 5 days. Gravy can be frozen for up to 3 months; thaw in the fridge before using. For more Thanksgiving inspiration, visit our Thanksgiving shop.