A rich flavorful gravy is the perfect addition to any meal.
Below I am sharing, step-by-step, exactly how to make gravy. The method below ensures it’s rich in flavor with or without drippings. This recipe works for chicken, beef, or turkey gravy!
This is the perfect perfect mashed potato topper and will truly be the star of your meal!
Ingredients for Gravy
A delicious homemade gravy is easy to make and needs just 4 ingredients; fat, flour (or starch), broth, and seasonings. I like to cook my gravy right in the pan that meat was cooked in, any little brown bits in the pan are huge flavor boosters (plus less dishes to wash)!
Fat: Fat comes from the meat drippings if you have them (or read below for a substitute). Be sure to separate the fat and the broth/juices; the fat will be a layer on top of the drippings (image below).
Starch: Starch is used to thicken the gravy. I most often use all-purpose flour for gravy although it can be thickened with cornstarch too.
Broth/Drippings: This is the bulk of the gravy. Use drippings or juices from the meat if you have them. If not, use pre-made or boxed broth. Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a gravy separator to separate the fat from the broth. You can also skim the fat from the top of the drippings with a spoon.
Seasonings: This can be almost anything you love from fresh herbs to poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, or spices. I’ve included my favorites below.
Notes for Great Gravy
- The most flavorful fat comes from the pan drippings.
- Use a gravy separator (pictured above) to easily separate the fat or skim it off the top with a spoon.
- If you don’t have enough fat in your drippings (or don’t have drippings) substitute butter.
- Combine the fat with flour to create a roux. This roux will add flavor as well as thicken the mixture.
To Make Gravy with Flour
It’s easy to make gravy with flour! The method below will help ensure no lumps.
- The flour will thicken the gravy. Mix equal parts fat and flour (eg. 1/2 cup fat and 1/2 cup flour). Cook the flour and fat for at least 1 minute before adding broth/drippings. This gets rid of any starchy flavor.
- Stir in broth a bit at a time whisking after each addition. Once the broth is thickened let it boil at least 1 minute.
- Season with salt & pepper and fresh herbs.
Tips for Broth/Drippings
Add 3-4 cups of liquid for each 1/2 cup fat/flour. You can substitute broth with either bouillon or stock cubes mixed with water.
- Use broth, stock, or drippings (that you’ve skimmed the fat from) to make up the base of the recipe. Store-bought broth can be used for gravy.
- Add a little bit of broth over medium heat whisking after each addition. It will be thick and almost paste-like at first but will smooth out.
- Allow it simmer at least 2 minutes to allow flavors to blend and gravy to thicken.
Seasonings for Gravy
- Once the gravy has thickened, taste and season with salt & pepper.
- Fresh herbs can be added shortly before serving (parsley, rosemary, and thyme are good options).
- Cooked (or canned) mushrooms can be added to make a mushroom gravy.
Note: When making gravy with flour, the flour can also be shaken into cold milk/water for thickening instead of making a roux (as I do for my easy turkey gravy recipe). Either method will work based on personal preference.
To Make Gravy with Cornstarch
When using flour you’ll need to make a roux meaning to cook the flour and fat together and then add liquid. To thicken gravy without flour you can use cornstarch. The method is different and uses a slurry (instead of a roux) which means combining cornstarch and cold water/broth and add to boiling liquid.
- Bring drippings to a boil along with additional broth if needed.
- Combine equal parts cornstarch and cold water or broth in a small bowl.
- Add to boiling broth while whisking until broth reaches desired consistency.
- Simmer at least 2 minutes and season to taste.
Making gravy from scratch is basically the same regardless of what type of meat you’re using.
- Poultry Gravy (chicken/turkey): Great with roast chicken. Use chicken broth and season with poultry seasoning, thyme, sage and/or rosemary.
- Brown Gravy/Beef Gravy: Use beef broth/stock. Rosemary and caramelized onions are great flavor boosters.
- Sausage Gravy: Use the fat from the sausage to create the roux. Sausage gravy uses milk in place of broth or stock.
How to Make Gravy
- ½ cup fat from turkey or meat drippings or unsalted butter
- ½ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 3-4 cups liquid (skimmed meat drippings and extra broth if needed)
- 1 tablespoon parsley and/or fresh herbs to taste, optional
- salt & pepper to taste
- Once your meat is cooked, remove it from the pan and strain drippings through a fine sieve. Discard any solids.
- Allow the drippings to rest a few minutes and you will see a separation of the fat and drippings.
- Spoon ½ cup of the fat into a saucepan (add butter if you don't have enough fat). Add flour and poultry seasoning to the fat in the saucepan and cook 1-2 minutes over medium heat.
- Slowly whisk in the liquid (drippings and/or broth) a little bit at a time whisking after each addition until smooth. It will seem very thick at first and will gradually thin out.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat while whisking. Boil 1-2 minutes.
- Taste gravy, and season with salt & pepper as needed. Stir in parsley or other fresh herbs and serve
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Hi David, you can see all of our Crock Pot recipes here!
Question: how do I make a turkey or chicken gravy brown. While I have no issues with a light coloured gravy, I have family members that don’t think gravy is *really* gravy unless it’s dark brown, like a beef gravy. To make things even trickier, I can’t use commercial gravy browning due to high sodium levels.
Hi Penny, you could try cooking the roux longer so it is darker in color, but it will change the flavor of the gravy. You could also try adding Kitchen Bouquet which is low in sodium. I hope this helps!
When I don’t have enough drippings I use Better than Bouillon paste Poultry flavoring. I does wonders.
Thank you for sharing that great tip Shirley!