How to Make Gravy: Our Two Favorite Ways

Wondering how to make homemade gravy? Making a homemade gravy recipe can be challenging for beginner cooks, but once you’ve mastered this easy technique, you’re ready to make savory gravy for your pork, roasted chicken, beef, and roast turkey dishes.

how to make gravy

Imagine serving your own easy homemade gravy with a roasted turkey or chicken fried steak and creamy mashed potatoes. Gravy is also perfect for breakfast with homemade biscuits.

Gravy can be made from the pan drippings of sauteed or roasted poultry, meat, or fish. A simple and easy turkey gravy recipe or homemade chicken gravy made with turkey drippings and chicken stock is great with holiday meals, but you can also adapt this recipe to make hearty giblet gravy or brown gravy recipe for roast beef.

If you don’t have pan dripping, you can still make delicious gravy. We include instructions for how to make a beef gravy recipe without pan drippings. All you have to do is combine stock and a roux. With thickening agents and very few other ingredients, you can make perfect gravy like a pro.

Different Types of Gravy

There are lots of different sauce types you can make using this simple gravy recipe. Use whatever type of stock or broth you like, including vegetable broth, chicken broth, or turkey stock. You can also make quick chicken broth using chicken bouillon.

Do you love homemade brown gravy or mushroom gravy for your mashed potatoes? If so, make your gravy with beef stock or broth, then season it with Worcestershire sauce for even more flavor and dimension.

Want a creamy milk gravy, cream gravy, or country gravy to serve over biscuits or chicken fried steak? Adapt this recipe to add milk or heavy cream. This base can be used to make sausage gravy or bechamel sauce.

homemade gravy

Gravy Thickening Agents

Thickening agents turn a thin cooking liquid into a creamy sauce. It’s important to know exactly how to incorporate the thickening agents into the liquid. You can make a simple roux with butter and all-purpose flour to make gravy, or you can make a gluten free gravy with arrowroot powder or corn starch slurry.

Collecting the Pan Drippings

The browned bits at the bottom of the roasting pan or skillet are called fond. The fond, along with the fat and pan juices, is what you’ll use to make your gravy. Pan drippings such as a turkey dripping are loaded with flavor, and you can get even more by scraping the bottom of the pan with a metal spatula.

Separating the Fat

The next step for making gravy is separating the fat from the pan juice. To do this, you can use a measuring cup or a fat separator. If you use a fat separator, you will get leaner broth without the added fat. This is handy to have in the kitchen if you frequently make homemade broth.

However, you can also use a measuring cup. Add the pan drippings, juices, and fat to a heat-resistant measuring cup. Let the fat rise to the surface so it separates from the meat juices.

The Consistency of the Gravy

The amount of thickening agent you add to your gravy will determine the gravy’s consistency. To make a roux, use fat and all-purpose flour. Your fat can be butter, pan drippings, olive oil, or ghee.

Use 1 cup of liquid to make your gravy. The liquid can be juices from the meat, broth, stock, or even water if you have nothing else. Here are the ratios you can use to make your gravy:

  • Gravy with a light body: Use 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of fat, and 1 cup of broth or other liquid.
  • Gravy with a medium body: Use 1 1/2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons of your choice of fat, and 1 cup of broth or other liquid.
  • Gravy with a heavy body: Use 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons of fat, and 1 cup of broth or liquid.

Heavy-bodied gravy will cling perfectly to your meat, but you can easily customize your recipe using the instructions in the notes section.

How to Make Roux

Basic roux is made using equal parts all-purpose flour and fat. The roux is what makes the sauce nice and thick. In our recipe, the pan drippings provide the fat, but you can use butter or olive oil if you like.

how to make homemade gravy

Fat makes the gravy rich and flavorful, and it also coats the all-purpose flour so that it is less likely to clump while the starches cook and become thick in the broth or liquid.

Thickening the Liquid

Be sure you always use cool liquid or room temperature liquid for adding to the hot roux. Adding room temperature or cool water keeps the gravy from becoming lumpy gravy and overcooked.

To add your liquid, slowly add it to the roux while you whisk continuously. The whisking thickens the gravy as it separates the starches.

Bring the mixture to almost a boil to get the starches to swell to their full potential. The entire process takes between 3 and 5 minutes.

Finish the Gravy

To finish your gravy, you can strain it to remove particles if you like a smooth sauce. We recommend making the gravy right before serving because as it cools, it becomes thicker.

Season your gravy with black pepper, kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, Kitchen Bouquet, poultry seasoning, or chopped fresh herbs.

homemade gravy recipe

How to Make Gravy if You Don’t Have Pan Drippings

If you don’t have meat drippings or meat juice, you can still make savory gravy. To make gravy this way, use all-purpose flour, butter, and broth or stock to thicken your gravy. It depends on the type of meat you’re serving, and you can use fish broth, vegetable broth, beef broth, and chicken broth.

We recommend making gravy with unsalted liquids. Just as you did with gravy made with pan drippings, slowly which the liquid into the hot roux.

Add more depth and flavor to your pan gravy by adding chopped shallots, garlic, balsamic vinegar, reduced wine, or soy sauce.

Reheating and Storing Leftover Gravy

Gravy made with all-purpose flour will keep in the fridge for as long as 4 days. If you want to make a huge Thanksgiving feast, feel free to make your gravy ahead of time and reheat it. Gravy can be frozen for up to 4 months. Just defrost it before reheating it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I leave the fat in my gravy? 
Collect the pan drippings when you make homemade gravy. Then, separate the juices from the fat. This allows you to control how much fat you add to your gravy.

Why should I add butter to my gravy? 
Butter adds body, richness, and thickness to your gravy.

Is it best to make gravy with flour or cornstarch?
All-purpose flour or wheat flour will give your gravy a thicker consistency. Plus, gravy made with flour reheats better than cornstarch gravy.

how to make gravy

How to Make Gravy (Our Best Ways)

If you want delicious, creamy gravy for your pork, chicken, beef, or turkey, this easy stovetop recipe will give you a quick gravy. You can make this gravy with pan drippings or without.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Seasoning, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 16
Calories 22 kcal

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Fat Separator

Ingredients
  

Gravy without Pan Drippings

  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup broth or stock beef, chicken, or vegetable
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Gravy with Pan Drippings

  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. reserved fat from pan drippings
  • 1 cup juice from pan drippings
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Kosher salt to taste

Instructions
 

Method #1: Gravy Without Pan Drippings

  • Prepare the Roux – Melt the unsalted butter over medium heat in a medium-sized saute pan. Add the all-purpose flour to the skillet. Whisk the flour to combine with the butter.
  • Whisk the Roux – Use the whisk to stir constantly until the roux starts to turn light blondish-brown in color. This will take about 1 minute.
  • Start Thickening the Consistency – Whisk the broth or stock gradually into the skillet, whisking continuously so that any flour clumps will break up.
  • Continue Cooking – Cook the gravy until it is thick and smooth. It will take between 3 and 5 minutes. If the gravy becomes thicker than you like, you can add more broth or stock.
  • Season the Gravy – Turn off the burner and remove the gravy from the heat. Using the whisk, stir in the black pepper and kosher salt. Taste the gravy and add more seasoning if desired.

Method #2: Gravy with Pan Drippings

  • Collect the Pan Drippings – After you cook your meat, scrape up the fond (the browned bits left in the pan) from the bottom of the roasting pan and use the juices to help with dissolving the pan drippings.
  • Separate Out the Fat – Pour the fat drippings, fond, and juices into a fat separator or measuring cup. Let the mixture sit until the fat rises and separates from the juices.
  • Prepare the Roux – Put 2 tablespoons of the fat you've reserved into a sauté pan or skillet. Heat the fat for about 1 minute over low heat. Then, add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Whisk the flour mixture in the fat constantly for about 1 minute.
  • Start Thickening the Consistency – Whisk the juices or stock into the pan gradually for 3-5 minutes. You can let it cook longer if you need to.
  • Season the Gravy – Add black pepper and kosher salt to taste and add the gravy to your gravy boat.

Notes

Serving Size: 1 Tbsp. gravy
Recipe Yield: 1 cup gravy
Substitute Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch: If you want to use something besides all-purpose flour, you can use arrowroot powder or cornstarch. To use this method, heat the broth or stock to boiling. Then, whisk in the cornstarch or arrowroot powder slurry. You don't need the butter or pan drippings unless you want to add more flavor.
Arrowroot Powder: Use 4 1/2 teaspoons of arrowroot powder for every 1 cup of broth or liquid. To prepare the slurry, combine 3 tablespoons of water with the arrowroot powder. Whisk the slurry into the hot broth until it thickens. This will take approximately 1 minute.
Cornstarch: If you use cornstarch, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into 2 tablespoons of hot water. Whisk the slurry into the hot broth until it starts to thicken. This will take between 30 and 60 seconds.
Thinner Gravy: Some people like a thinner gravy. If this is you, you can use 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and 1 tablespoon of fat.
Medium Consistency: For gravy with a medium consistency, use 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour and 1 1/2 tablespoons of fat.
For Added Flavor: To add even more delicious flavor to your gravy, you can use herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and sage. Add your herbs near the end of your cooking.
Storing Leftover Gravy: You can store leftover gravy in the fridge in an airtight container. It's good for about 4 days.
Freezing Leftover Gravy: Put the leftover gravy into an airtight freezer container or resealable bag. Then, freeze for up to 4 months. To use your frozen gravy, defrost it before reheating it.

Nutrition

Calories: 22kcalCarbohydrates: 1gFat: 1gCholesterol: 1mg
Keyword how to make gravy
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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