How To Make Turkey Gravy
Homemade Turkey Gravy with Drippings
Every year as we start posting Thanksgiving recipes we receive a plethora of questions about gravy.
Why does a dish as simple as gravy cause such alarm?
I believe this derives from the generations of American cooking, when progress and modernization meant Thanksgiving side dishes came out of boxes and cans, and gravy was made from powdered packets.
Most adults of a certain age remember these Thanksgiving dinners, with gelatinous cylinders of cranberry sauce and stuffing made from pouches of dehydrated onions and herbs.
Turkey Gravy From Scratch
Fortunately, the American culinary mindset has come full-circle.
We want to make things from scratch again. We want personal quality-control over what goes in our food and our bodies.
Gravy seems to be the final frontier of taking Thanksgiving dinner back to the basics.
Best Turkey Gravy Recipe
The best turkey gravy is made with your turkey pan drippings. However, you will still need to supplement with some turkey broth to reach the right consistency.
How To Make Turkey Gravy with Drippings
Roast Your Turkey – Based on the size of your turkey and exactly how you prepare it, your turkey will produce anywhere from one cup to several cups of drippings. Some people add water and vegetables to the roasting pan to enhance the turkey drippings. Others stuff the turkey with fresh herbs and onions to flavor the turkey and the drippings. These are both great ideas, but not absolutely necessary. You can start with a dry roasting pan and still end up with drippings.
If you happen to brine your turkey, the drippings will be very salty. You must taste the dripping before you start making gravy, so you don’t over-season your gravy.
Make A Roux – Instead of adding butter or oil to the gravy, skim some fat off the turkey drippings and whisk it with flour to create the thickening base for your gravy. Here I added chopped onion and fresh herbs, as the roux cooks, to boost the flavor of the gravy.
Measure Your Drippings – To start, you will need 4 cups combined of pan drippings and broth (or stock.) Not all drippings contain the same fat-to-liquid ratio and intensity of flavor. Therefore, taste the drippings to decide how much to add. If your drippings are very salty, add less drippings and more broth. If they are very fatty, skim off some of the fat before adding.
However, if your drippings taste amazing and have some fat, but are not all fat, use all the drippings. Then fill the measuring cup to the 4-cup mark with as little broth as possible.
Whisk! – To make silky smooth turkey gravy, pour the liquid into the roux while whisking vigorously. Then let the gravy simmer until you reach your desired consistency.
Loosen The Gravy – Gravy thickens as it cooks, and even more as it cools. It’s a good idea to reserve a little extra broth to whisk into the gravy right before serving, so it is not too thick.
Strain – When you are ready to serve your fabulous Thanksgiving meal, use a fine mesh sieve to strain out the onions, herbs, and any clumps, so the gravy is extra smooth.
Get The Full Thanksgiving Turkey Gravy Recipe Below
How To Make Turkey Gravy Q&A
Here are some of the questions you’ve left in other Thanksgiving posts, or emailed us directly…
How do you make the best turkey gravy?
You follow the recipe below. *wink*
How do you make gravy from drippings?
Again, use our best turkey gravy recipe listed at the bottom of his post. It does not disappoint!
How do you make turkey gravy without drippings?
You can absolutely make turkey gravy, using this recipe, without pan drippings. Substitute 4+ cups of turkey broth.
Will the gravy taste as delicious? Honestly, no.
Yet it will still taste pretty good, and is a decent option when you are cooking a turkey breast and don’t have pan drippings.
Can you make turkey gravy ahead of time?
Yes. Just rewarm the gravy and whisk in some extra broth to loosen it up.
Can you freeze turkey gravy?
Yes. Portion the gravy into small air-tight containers and freeze. That way, you can pull out only as much as you need later. You can keep frozen gravy for up to 6 months.
How do you make gluten free turkey gravy?
Rice flour is the best substitute for wheat flour, when making gravy. Substitute it in exact proportion and your gravy will be just as thick and silky. P.S. For a truly gluten free recipe, also make sure the broth you buy does not contain ingredients with gluten.
Is turkey gravy dairy free?
Yes. As long as you do not rub butter on your turkey, the pan drippings will be dairy free. Double-check your store-bought broth as well, just to be sure.
How do you make vegan gravy?
Obviously, vegan gravy is not turkey. However you can use this recipe, substituting vegan vegetable broth for the liquid, and 1/4 cup vegan butter to make the roux.
My favorite vegan gravy is made with mushroom broth!
Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes You’ve Got To Try!
- Best Turkey Brine
- Brown Sugar Baked Ham
- Sausage Mushroom Thanksgiving Stuffing
- Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes
- The Best Mashed Potatoes Ever
- Honey Cinnamon Cornbread Muffins
- Southern Creamed Spinach
- Famous Corn Pudding
- Pumpkin Slab Pie
How To Make Turkey Gravy
- After roasting a turkey, there are drippings left in the bottom of the pan. Depending on the size of your turkey and exactly how you prepare it, your turkey could produce anywhere from 1 to 5+ cups drippings. If you brined your turkey, the drippings will be very salty. It's important to taste the dripping before you start making gravy. If starting with "briny" drippings, use only 1 cup of dripping, or your gravy will be way too salty. Also make sure to use low sodium broth so you have better control over salt content.
- Skim off 1/4 cup turkey fat from the drippings and place it in a sauté pan. Set over medium heat and whisk in the flour to create a roux. Add the chopped onion and fresh herbs, and cook until the onions are soft and the roux is golden.
- Meanwhile measure out the pan drippings and broth to total 4 cups combined. This is not an exact science, as all drippings are different based on how to prepared your turkey. Be careful not to add too much of the drippings if they are very salty. Also, you want some turkey fat in the mix, but if your drippings are primarily fat, use less drippings and more broth.
- Pour the liquid into the roux, whisking to incorporate evenly. Once the mixture is smooth, simmer to allow it to thicken. The thickness of your gravy is entirely up to you. I like mine thick enough so coat a spoon. Once you reach your desired consistency, turn off the heat.
- Taste the gravy, then salt and pepper as needed. Gravy will thicken as it cools, so either set it on a warmer or set a lid over the pan, and keep a little extra broth to stir in at the end and loosen the gravy.
- When ready to serve, rewarm if needed. Whisk, 1/4-1/2 cup of additional broth into the gravy if needed. Then use a sieve to strain out the onions and herbs as you pour it into a gravy bowl. Serve immediately.
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