Perfect Turkey Gravy: A Thanksgiving Classic

Turkey Gravy is a revered centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table, a tradition passed down through countless generations. Just as chili is incomplete without beans, no Thanksgiving feast feels complete without the lushness of turkey gravy, brimming with the hearty essence of its drippings.

How to make Turkey Gravy

The aroma and taste of fresh turkey drippings evoke memories of past celebrations, weaving a tapestry of shared stories and laughter.

Combined with the depth of a quality turkey stock, it crafts a symphony of flavors that not only resonate with the holiday spirit but also promise a smooth, lump-free texture, the very emblem of culinary perfection.

Venture into the artistry of Turkey Gravy with this guide. Every ladle captures the essence, warmth, and unity of Thanksgiving, making it an indispensable chapter in the chronicles of festive feasts.

If you’re getting ready for Thanksgiving, check out this guide on How Long To Cook A Turkey At 325 °F and try this Potato Au Gratin recipe!

Turkey Gravy Ingredients

  • Premium Turkey Stock: The backbone of any authentic gravy, premium turkey stock infuses the dish with deep, traditional flavors reminiscent of heartfelt festive meals.
  • Fresh Turkey Drippings: This is where the soulful essence of the gravy comes alive. Fresh drippings capture the genuine, savory nuances of the roasted turkey, setting the foundation for an unparalleled taste experience.
  • All-Purpose Flour, sifted: Not just a thickening agent, the sifted flour ensures a velvety consistency, acting as a bridge that harmoniously unites the drippings and stock.
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste: These elemental seasonings fine-tune the gravy’s flavor profile. While appearing simple, they play a pivotal role in heightening and balancing the dish’s rich, savory notes.
Ingredients for Turkey Gravy from above

Each ingredient in this recipe, much like in a pot of chili, isn’t just a component but a testament to tradition, comfort, and culinary artistry.

How to Make Turkey Gravy

  • Roux Creation: In a saucepan over medium-low heat, gently warm the turkey drippings, ensuring they don’t reach a boil. Once warmed, methodically whisk in the sifted flour, blending until a smooth, paste-like roux emerges.
warm the turkey drippings
  • Stock Incorporation: With a steady hand, pour in the turkey stock, maintaining a constant whisking rhythm. This diligence ensures the fusion of ingredients, yielding a lump-free, velvety blend.
adding flour to make the roux
  • Simmer & Season: Allow the mixture to simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until it thickens to a rich consistency. Once done, take it off the heat. Delicately taste, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, bearing in mind the inherent seasoning of the stock and drippings.
Turkey Gravy whisking until a smooth, paste-like roux emerges.

Making Turkey Gravy Without Drippings: Alternate Method

Even if you’re short on drippings, don’t sweat it; there’s an alternative method for preparing your Thanksgiving sauce using chicken or turkey stock.

Here’s how I do it: I start by melting a generous knob of butter in a heavy-bottom pan. Once that’s bubbling and golden, I whisk in some all-purpose flour to create what the French call a roux – it’s this mixture that will give our gravy its body.

Next, slowly but surely, I pour in my chosen stock while continuously stirring to avoid any lumps from forming. As the liquid heats up, it thickens into a beautiful gravy. A dash of salt and pepper here, maybe some fresh herbs there – voila!

A delightful homemade gravy without drippings is ready to dress your Thanksgiving feast.

Turkey Gravy with Chicken breast

Tips for Turkey Gravy Mastery

  • Depth of Flavor: Just as beans are integral to chili, the choice of turkey drippings can make or break your gravy. Always use fresh drippings, preferably collected from a roasted turkey, for the most authentic flavor.
  • Consistency is Key: Achieving that silky, lump-free texture requires constant whisking, especially when integrating the flour. Think of it as a labor of love that guarantees perfection in every ladle.
  • Seasoning Nuances: Turkey drippings and stock carry their inherent seasoning. Much like balancing spices in chili, it’s crucial to taste and adjust the seasoning only after combining all the ingredients.
  • Stock Choices: While turkey stock is the gold standard, don’t shy away from experimenting with chicken or vegetable stock, especially if you’re aiming for a lighter flavor profile. It’s akin to choosing between black beans or kidney beans in chili—both have their unique charm!
Turkey Gravy from above

How to Store Your Turkey Gravy

  • Refrigeration: Once your gravy cools to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh for about 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: For longer shelf life, you can freeze the gravy. Pour it into freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, leaving some space at the top for expansion. Label with the date, and your gravy will be good for 2-3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat slowly on the stove, stirring well.
  • Reheating Tips: When reheating your gravy, do it over low heat, stirring frequently. If you find it’s too thick, a splash of stock or water can help restore its original texture.

The magic of turkey gravy often lies in its day-after flavors. It tends to become even more flavorful and rich as it sits, making leftovers something to relish truly!

from above turkey gravy


Are There Any Gluten-Free Alternatives to All-Purpose Flour for Making Turkey Gravy?

There are several gluten-free alternatives to all-purpose flour for thickening gravy. I often use cornstarch as it’s readily available and does a great job. You could also consider arrowroot powder or rice flour. Just remember, you’ll need half the amount if you’re substituting cornstarch for flour.

How Can I Make My Turkey Gravy Creamier or Thicker?

To make your gravy creamier or thicker, you’ll need to create a roux. I usually start by melting butter in a pan, then whisking in equal parts flour until smooth. This mixture is cooked slightly before slowly adding the liquid, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. If it’s not thick enough for your liking, I’d suggest adding more of this roux, but remember: Gravy continues to thicken as it cools!

Can Turkey Gravy Be Used as a Base for Other Sauces or Meals?

Absolutely! I often use my turkey gravy as a base for other sauces or meals. It’s incredibly versatile and adds depth of flavor to any dish. I’ve incorporated it into casseroles, used it in pot pies, and even transformed it into a rich sauce for pasta dishes. The possibilities are endless with this culinary gem!

Turkey Gravy

How to make Turkey Gravy

Elevate your holiday meal with this sumptuous Turkey Gravy, crafted meticulously from turkey drippings. Requiring only a handful of ingredients, this rich gravy is the epitome of festive flavors. Drizzle it over your roasted turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, or any side dish to infuse an essence of warmth and heartiness.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 32 ounces (2 quarts)
Calories 246 kcal


  • 4 cups Premium Turkey Stock (preferably homemade or a high-quality store-bought version)
  • ¼ cup Fresh Turkey Drippings
  • ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour, sifted
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste


  • Place the saucepan over a medium-low flame. Add turkey drippings to the pan, ensuring they are heated through but not brought to a boil.
  • Gradually whisk in the sifted all-purpose flour to the warmed drippings. Continue whisking diligently until a smooth, lump-free roux forms, showcasing a paste-like consistency.
  • Steadily pour in the turkey stock, constantly whisking to ensure seamless integration. This continuous motion prevents any lump formation and guarantees a velvety texture.
  • Let the mixture simmer gently, consistently stirring, until it achieves a luxuriously thick consistency.
  • Remove the pan from the flame. Taste the gravy and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper as required. Remember, moderation is key, as the drippings and stock might already have inherent saltiness.


Calories: 246kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 7gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 366mgPotassium: 252mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 7IUVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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