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Learn how to make Homemade Turkey Gravy with or without drippings to complete your Thanksgiving meal. This is the BEST turkey gravy recipe because it is silky smooth, and a super flavorful gravy that compliments all things Thanksgiving. Tastes amazing drizzled over roasted turkey and my buttery mashed potatoes.
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.
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 this easy homemade turkey gravy recipe! You only need a few ingredients but does require technique to ensure your gravy is full of flavor and of course not lumpy because nobody wants that.
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. You simply pour your drippings into the fat separator. The liquid stays at the bottom and watch the fat rise to the top. Just make sure you plug the spout first before adding the liquid.
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!! You can use a wooden spoon in a pinch.
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 have. 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 difference with turkey (or chicken) stock or turkey broth (or chicken broth).
- 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-low heat.
- Add all-purpose 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.
- Whisk in pan drippings or enough stock to equal 1 1/2 cups. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer, whisking the bottom of the pan to avoid lumps. After gravy boils, it should thicken up nicely.
- Taste and add salt and lots of black pepper if desired. Serve your delicious gravy warm. At this point you can add any dried or fresh herbs if desired.
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:
- Melt 1/4 cup butter in a deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
- Add flour and whisk to create a paste, called a roux. Cook 1 minute.
- 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.
- Taste and add salt and lots of pepper if desired. Serve gravy warm.
Thin versus Thick Gravy
Some people like a runny – thinner 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: in a separate bowl, 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.
How To Make Gluten-Free Gravy
To make this easy 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.
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).
What to do with Leftover Gravy
If there is any leftover gravy (but, like…HOW?), store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Or, better yet! Repurpose your leftovers by turning them into my delicious Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole which is basically a layer by layer of all of your leftover Thanksgiving dishes…minus the desserts! 😉
More Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes!
For my nearly full list of Thanksgiving, Recipes check out 101+ Thanksgiving Recipes! But here are some of the classics.
- Wild Rice Stuffing Recipe with Bacon and/or Cornbread Sausage Stuffing
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Cauliflower Au Gratin
- Mashed Potatoes or Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
- Green Bean Casserole
- Cranberry Sauce
And THAT is everything I know about how to make the best gravy ever! And this method can be used for any meat gravy, really. The printable recipe card is below, but let me know if you have any questions!
If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.
Homemade Turkey Gravy Recipe with or without drippings
- 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.
- Add 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. Serve gravy warm.