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How to Make Turkey Gravy

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Learn how to make Turkey Gravy from your pan drippings. It’s luscious, lump-free, and perfect for drowning mashed potatoes, stuffing, and everything else on your plate.

Turkey gravy in a white gravy boat.

A good Turkey Gravy is essential for the happiest Thanksgiving Feast. Pour it on your Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, and Stuffing, or perhaps just drown your plate in full.

I am sure we all get a sense of satisfaction from putting our leftover turkey drippings to work in gravy. It feels like the natural course of events and ensures the best possible-tasting gravy.

If you have fresh broth on hand, you’ll level up your gravy even more. But if not, fear not. Your gravy will still be savory, luscious, and delicious.

With cornstarch as the thickener, this gravy is naturally (let’s say “accidentally”) gluten free, in case you keep track of such things. But, you can use flour too.

When it’s time to start the gravy, before you carve the turkey, you’ll probably be finalizing a slew of side dishes. This gravy takes 10 to 20 minutes depending on how hot your drippings are, so it comes together fast. That’s definitely something to be thankful for!

Recipe ingredients

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Pan drippings: If you don’t have pan drippings from a freshly roasted bird, substitute 6 tablespoons butter.
  • Chicken broth: Homemade chicken broth, or turkey broth, if you’re one step ahead of things. If you like, you can simmer the neck and gizzards in water while the turkey roasts to make a quick version of turkey broth (discard the liver). Store-bought works, too.
  • Cornstarch: My trick for making an easy gravy that’s also gluten-free.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. After the roasted turkey has been removed from the pan, remove the rack and place the roasting pan with drippings over 2 burners and turn heat to medium-high. Add broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
Pan drippings in a roasting pan for making gravy.
  1. Pour the contents through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Using a large flat spoon, skim off and discard the layer of fat that floats to the surface, or pour the liquid into a fat separator and pour off the liquid, leaving the grease behind.
Pouring turkey gravy through a sieve.
  1. Transfer the liquid to a saucepan, place over medium-high heat, and simmer briskly. In a small bowl, add some of the liquid and the cornstarch and whisk together to make a slurry. Gradually whisk the slurry into the simmering liquid, then cook until the gravy thickens, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Thickening turkey gravy with a cornstarch slurry.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipes makes about 6 cups gravy, enough for twelve (1/2-cup) servings.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Browned bits = flavor: Make sure you get every last bit of the “fond,” the culinary term for the browned bits that cling to the pan after roasting.
  • Make the slurry: Don’t skip the slurry. If you  add dry cornstarch to hot liquid, it will clump.
  • White wine: For a splash of acidity in the gravy, add a little bit of white wine.
  • Chicken gravy: For chicken gravy, substitute pan drippings from a roasted chicken.
  • Let the meat rest: Making gravy is the perfect thing to do while the turkey rests before carving. Keep it warm, and by the time the gravy is done, you’ll be ready to carve it up.
A plate of roasted trukey, stuffing, vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cranberries.
Classic Midwestern ThanksgivingPerfect Roast TurkeyMashed Potatoes with Gravy, Classic Bread StuffingVegetable CasseroleRoasted Asparagus, and Cranberry Sauce with Apples.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use flour to thicken gravy?

My recipe is written with cornstarch, but you can certainly substitute flour. To substitute flour for the cornstarch, remove most of the fat from the roasting pan. Add the flour and cook, mixing with the drippings, until the raw flour smell disappears. Add the broth and scrape the bottom of the pan. No need to strain off the extra fat; just pour the gravy into a saucepan and continue with the recipe.

How can I add more flavor to this turkey gravy?

Flavor the gravy with a sprig or two of fresh minced thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, or marjoram. Add with the broth in step 2.

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Turkey gravy in a white gravy boat.

How to Make Turkey Gravy

Learn how to make Turkey Gravy from your pan drippings. It's luscious, lump-free, and perfect for drowning mashed potatoes, stuffing, and everything else on your plate.
Author: Meggan Hill
4.72 from 7 votes
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 12 servings (½ cup each)
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 801

Ingredients 

For the gravy:

Instructions 

  • After the roasted turkey has been removed from the pan, remove the rack and place the roasting pan with drippings over 2 burners and turn heat to medium-high. Add broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  • Pour the contents through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Using a large flat spoon, skim off and discard the layer of fat that floats to the surface, or pour the liquid into a fat separator and pour off the liquid, leaving the grease behind.
  • Transfer the liquid to a saucepan, place over medium-high heat, and simmer briskly. In a small bowl, add some of the liquid and the cornstarch and whisk together to make a slurry. Gradually whisk the slurry into the simmering liquid, then cook until the gravy thickens, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Pan drippings: If you don’t have pan drippings from a freshly roasted bird, substitute 6 tablespoons butter.
  2. Chicken broth: Homemade chicken broth, or turkey broth, if you’re one step ahead of things. If you like, you can simmer the neck and gizzards in water while the turkey roasts to make a quick version of turkey broth (discard the liver). Store-bought works, too.
  3. Cornstarch: My trick for making an easy gravy that’s also gluten-free.
  4. Yield: This recipes makes about 6 cups gravy, enough for twelve (1/2-cup) servings.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 801kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 98gFat: 41gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 325mgSodium: 6601mgPotassium: 1055mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 453IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 206mgIron: 5mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. Because I like the caramelized taste of roasting meats and poultry, a week or so before Thanksgiving I buy several pounds of turkey tails, which I roast until they are dark golden brown and very fragrant and then use to make turkey stock. It makes all the difference! For a big family there is never enough gravy, especially for a former Michigander. I even take a quart or two of stock to the hostess when I am lucky to be a guest. Then, of course, I offer to help with the gravy should she want it.4 stars

    1. Hi Marilyn, that sounds like a great idea! I am with you on that, there is never enough gravy! Enjoy – Meggan