How to Make Turkey Gravy

5 from 10 votes

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Learn how to make Homemade Turkey Gravy with or without drippings to complete your Thanksgiving meal. This gravy recipe is silky smooth, super flavorful gravy that compliments all things Thanksgiving. Tastes amazing drizzled over roasted turkey and my buttery mashed potatoes.

overhead photo of turkey gravy in gravy boat

Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without a Good Gravy

Here it is, guys. The liquid gold you want to pour over everything one day a year. I’m talking about turkey gravy, of course! If you haven’t had a good gravy recipe, are hesitant to make this from scratch or just don’t know how to make a basic turkey gravy, you’ve come to the right place!

In this post, you will find all my tips and tricks for getting a silky smooth, super flavorful gravy that compliments all things Thanksgiving.

melted butter in pan

My Turkey Gravy Recipe|Main Ingredients Needed

So remember from my Beginner Turkey Roasting post what you do after you take the turkey out of the oven? That’s right! You let it rest! While the turkey is resting, you can make your Homemade Gravy! Here is what you need:

  • Pan Juices – this includes the fat and drippings from that purdy golden bird you so perfectly roasted.
  • Butter– I use salted butter
  • All Purpose Flour – this is to thicken the gravy.
  • Turkey Stock – if you don’t get enough drippings from your bird, substitute the rest with stock. I just recently started using this Better than Bouillon Turkey Base and oh mama its good. I highly recommend it.
  • Salt – for flavor.
  • Pepper– optional, but delicious.

Love gravy? Check out some of my other gravy related meals: Salisbury Steak RecipeThanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf Recipe, Classic Biscuits and Gravy, and this Shepherd’s Pie Recipe.

sprinkling flour into a pan with butter

A Few Gravy Pro Tips Before We Begin

So before I get going in the how to’s of this recipe, I think it’s important to note two things that will make your life much easier!

Get a fat separator. I own this one from OXO and it is such a lifesaver! It will make your life so much easier, come Thanksgiving. While it’s an item I only use a few times a year, it is worth every penny. You can easily use the fat drippings for your roux and then keep the really tasty (fat free!) drippings for the gravy.

Get a flat whisk; they are perfect for gravies! Ensuring your turkey gravy is lump free just comes down to using a whisk (and the right kind of whisk at that.) Highly recommend!!

hand holding fat separator

How to Make Turkey Gravy WITH Drippings

So, here’s the deal when it comes to turkey drippings: every turkey will give off different amounts of juices and fat. So, writing a recipe like this is somewhat dependent on how many pan juices you got. I’ve done my best to make this as simple as possible! If you have enough drippings, then great! Carry on! If you don’t have enough, strain off the fat and make up the different with turkey stock.

  1. Pour off all the turkey drippings into a gravy fat separator. Skim off the fat. Return 1/4 cup fat to a deep skillet. If you don’t have enough fat or don’t want to use it, use butter. Place over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle over the flour and whisk to create a paste, called a roux. Cook 1 minute. Why do we add in the flour over the top of the pan juices and not liquid? This is a great way to prevent lumps. If you sprinkle flour over the top of a bunch of hot liquid, you’ll get lumps.
  3. Whisk in drippings or enough stock to equal 1 1/2 cups. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer, whisking to avoid lumps. After gravy boils, it should thicken up nicely.
  4. Taste and add salt or pepper if desired. Serve gravy warm.
whisking roux in pan

How to Make Turkey Gravy WITHOUT Drippings

Want to make your gravy ahead? Didn’t get enough drippings? No problem! Here’s how to do it:

  1. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a deep skillet over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle over the flour and whisk to create a paste, called a roux. Cook 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups turkey stock into the roux. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer, whisking to avoid lumps. Once it comes to a boil, it will thicken, then reduce to simmer.
  4. Taste and add salt or pepper if desired. Serve gravy warm.

Thin versus Thick Gravy

Some people like a runny gravy, some like it on the thicker side. I tried to land mine somewhere in the middle so you could adjust it easily to how you like it.

If your gravy is too thick, do this: whisk in more drippings or turkey stock to the gravy until desired consistency is reached.

If your gravy is too thin, do this: whisk 1-2 tablespoons flour in 1/2 cup cold water until dissolved. Pour directly into gravy and bring to boil. Whisk until thickened, then reduce heat to low.

pouring turkey stock into the roux

Gluten-Free Gravy

To make this turkey gravy recipe gluten-free, try using cornstarch instead of flour. This is a super great way to be considerate of guests with eating restrictions but not compromise the taste of the gravy!

Cornstarch is a stronger thickening agent than flour so you aren’t going to be using as much.

Instead of sprinkling on the cornstarch like you do the flour, you are going to make a slurry. Do this by adding 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to about a 1/2 cup of turkey stock or drippings. Dissolve the cornstarch and then add it to your pan with the fat and whisk away. Then follow directions as normal.

Note: Cornstarch has the tendency to lose thickening power if cooked for too long. If this happens, make another slurry and add it to the mix.

whisking gravy in pan

Creamy Turkey Gravy

A super simple way to make your gravy creamy is to add in milk, cream or a combination of both! This creates an extra rich gravy recipe.

To make, follow the directions as normal until you get to adding chicken stock. Instead of adding in all chicken stock replace 1/4 cup of it with your choice of milk product (heavy cream, milk or half & half).

pouring turkey gravy into gravy boat

More Thanksgiving Recipes!

For my nearly full list of Thanksgiving, Recipes check out  101+ Thanksgiving Recipes! But here are some of the classics.

finished turkey gravy in gravy boat
5 from 10 votes

Homemade Turkey Gravy Recipe with or without drippings

Learn how to make Homemade Turkey Gravy to complete your Thanksgiving meal. This gravy recipe is so easy, so quick and SO delicious.
servings 8
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup skimmed fat from drippings or butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour or cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups drippings from the roast turkey or turkey stock
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Pour off all the turkey drippings into a large bowl or liquid measure. Skim off the fat. Return 1/4 cup fat to the roasting pan. Place over medium to medium high heat.
  • Sprinkle over flour and whisk to create a paste. Cook 1 minute. Whisk in remaining drippings. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer, whisking to avoid lumps. After gravy boils, it should thicken up nicely.
  • Taste and add salt or pepper if desired. Right before serving stir in green onion and lemon juice (optional, but delicious!) Serve gravy warm.

Notes

*If you don’t have enough fat from your roasted bird, use butter
*If you don’t have enough drippings, substitute remaining with chicken or turkey stock.
*This recipe easily doubles! 
*If you would like a thicker gravy, add an extra tablespoon or two of flour
*if you would like a thinner gravy, whisk in more chicken or turkey stock

Nutrition

Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 46mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 4IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dip, Sauce
Cuisine: American, Thanksgiving
Keyword: How to Make Turkey Gravy, Turkey Gravy, Turkey Gravy Recipe
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32 Responses
  1. Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray

    These posts are making me want to eat Thanksgiving dinner every.single.night.

    I need this holiday to come faster!!!

  2. brandi

    gravy is the best thing about Thanksgiving, besides my mom’s fudge pie, pumpkin dump cake, and fresh rolls.

    i think i might have to post about my Mammaw’s ham gravy this year.

  3. Shannon

    Ugh. These recipes are making me so hungry for Thanksgiving food! I really need a good dessert recipe to bring. Will you be doing any Thanksgiving desserts recipes for us this year?

  4. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)

    Absolutely INCREDIBLE photos. Gravy is pretty much my favourite food, so you better believe I am drooling!!!!

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  12. Phil

    I usually do the same but I cook my turkey on a charcoal Webber grill indirect heat and apple wood chips for first hr then cook with drip pan to catch all drippings stuffed bird ! smoked stuffing Smokey gravy drippings ohhh heck its to die for screen out add thickener on stove best gravy ever ❤️Been perfecting it for over 30 years

  13. Marge

    We always smoke the turkey, so I don’t get any drippings. I bought the Better than Bullion, Turkey flavor per your suggestion. When do I put that in? Also, since this is an odd year, can I make this a day or two ahead and reheat on Thanksgiving?

    1. Lauren

      On the jar, there are directions and increments on how to make turkey stock by whisking some Better than Bouillon with water. Just follow the directions!

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