This festive Turkey Gravy is made from fresh drippings, stock, and aromatic herbs. Once thickened, it morphs into a rich, creamy, decadent sauce that NEEDS to be included in your upcoming holiday spreads!
Making turkey gravy from scratch is one of the simplest ways to take your holiday meals (or any meal) to new heights.
Even though my Cornbread recipe is moist and flavorful, an extra dollop of turkey gravy on top is what food dreams are made of. If you serve this recipe at your next get-together, I guarantee your friends and family will be licking their plates!
What Is Turkey Gravy?
At its core, gravy is a thickened sauce made with a base of cooked meat drippings. But I have to say, it is so much more than that!
Turkey gravy is one of the most iconic sauces when it comes to any holiday feast. The incredibly unique thing about gravy is that it adds such depth and complexity, but it requires almost no time to cook. What’s not to love about that?!
Preparing turkey gravy is as simple as making a roux with flour and drippings, then mixing in stock, seasonings, and any other add-ins you enjoy. Cook it low and slow while you sit back and take in the cozy smells that fill your house.
What Is The History?
The term “gravy” is derived from the French word “gravé,” which was frequently mentioned in many French cookbooks throughout the 14-century and potentially earlier.
It wasn’t until hundreds of years later that this style of sauce-making spread to other cultures and parts of the world. The Southern United States made its mark on this dish, and has now become one of the epicenters of gravy!
The Best Way To Thicken
When it comes to gravy, you have a few options to thicken it. However, I must stress that it’s a balancing act between too thin and too thick. Creating the perfect rich, buttery, and velvety-smooth texture is essential to elevating the other components of your plate.
Making a roux is the most simple method and produces the best results. But, it’s also important to add the stock slowly to make sure the sauce doesn’t thin out too much. In addition to starch, you can turn your gravy into a more decadent recipe with heavy cream.
- Turkey Drippings — This is primarily where the flavor comes from. If you don’t have turkey drippings, swap in an equal portion of butter or oil for your fat component.
- All-Purpose Flour — To make the roux that will thicken this gravy and deepen the flavors into a delectable sauce. I don’t recommend replacing all-purpose flour with anything else.
- Turkey stock — Just like my Chicken Stock, I love the taste of homemade turkey stock. It rounds out this gravy so much better than store-bought, and it doesn’t even require that much effort to whip together!
- Unsalted Butter — Since there are already drippings and stock, you don’t want to go overboard with the salt. It’s best to use unsalted butter so you can adjust the salt level yourself.
- Salt & Pepper — For extra flavor enhancements and a little kick! Just a pinch of each is all you need.
- Herbs (Rosemary, Thyme) — I can’t tell you how much I love rosemary and thyme. I think turkey gravy was made to be seasoned with these two cozy herbs.
How to Make Turkey Gravy
- Make the Roux – Heat turkey drippings in a skillet over medium. Whisk in the all-purpose flour, and continue to whisk so it doesn’t burn. You just want it to be golden brown, which takes about 5 or so minutes.
- Add the Stock – Whisk in the turkey stock, and let it cook over medium heat for about 7 or 8 minutes to thicken the gravy.
- Season the Gravy – Turn off the heat and mix in the unsalted butter, making sure to stir constantly so it doesn’t stick. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve this turkey gravy while warm.
Turkey gravy goes with pretty much anything — I’ll even eat it by the spoonful! However, if you’re looking for a gravy companion, try it with some Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Seafood Dressing, or Brown Butter Pumpkin Corn Bread.
As much as I love this recipe, I think the sky is the limit when it comes to putting different spins on gravy.
You can make this recipe heartier with the addition of mushrooms. Spice it up with Tex-Mex seasonings like cumin, paprika, and oregano. Create more intense, savory, umami flavors with the addition of soy sauce, Worchestershire, or even balsamic vinegar.
Swap in different meat drippings like chicken, pork, or beef to see which one you prefer! If you’re feeling adventurous, try making a spiked gravy with whiskey, bourbon, or wine.
Tips And Tricks
Whisking thoroughly while adding the flour into the fat is essential. Browning the flour helps deepen the gravy color and flavor, but you don’t want it to burn. Keep that flour moving, y’all!
Another key point is to add the liquid in very slowly while constantly whisking the mixture. Continue to whisk until the roux is completely incorporated and not lumpy. It can be a little labor-intensive, but I promise if you follow these tips, you will achieve PERFECT gravy every time!
What To Do With Leftovers
- Fridge: Leftover gravy will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezer: This turkey gravy will store in the freezer for about 2-3 months.
To warm up the gravy, heat it very gently in a pot over low. Make sure to whisk it constantly to achieve a smooth consistency once more, adding a little stock if necessary.
If you need to prep your gravy in advance, make it to completion as laid out in the recipe card. Store it covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it, then reheat it the same as above.
If you are making it close enough to serving time, keep it warm in a thermos so you don’t have to go through the reheating process.
Turn This Into A Full Spread
Now that you have a delicious turkey gravy recipe, include it as part of an entire holiday feast with dishes like these:
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I use flour or cornstarch in turkey gravy?
While both are common options, I give the edge to flour. Not only is it possible to brown, which deepens the color and flavor, but it also holds up better for reheating later on.
How do you make turkey gravy darker?
To darken turkey gravy, cook your roux for longer (without burning it). You can also add a dash of browning sauce.
How thick should gravy be?
Gravy should have a thick yet pourable consistency — not unlike hollandaise sauce. If it has thickened up too much, add more stock in slowly. If it is too thin, add more flour and simmer it a little longer to thicken it again.
More Sauces and Gravies
- 4 tbsp turkey drippings
- 1.5 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup turkey stock plus more as needed
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Herbs if desired rosemary, thyme
- Add drippings to the skillet over medium heat.
- Once heated, whisk in flour combining with drippings and continue to whisk allowing it not to burn but to brown. This should take about 5 minutes or so or until it turns golden brown.
- Whisk in stock and allow it to continue to cook over medium heat to thicken for about 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in butter. Constantly stir to avoid sticking.
- If it comes out too thick, add more turkey stock 1 tablespoon at a time until it’s thinned to your liking. Add stock slowly. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
- Whisking thoroughly while adding the flour into the fat is essential. Add in your liquid very slowly and continue to whisk until the roux is completely incorporated and not lumpy.