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Turkey Gravy

Turkey Gravy

The turkey and dressing may get all the attention, but it's gravy that makes the meal. Our three-step, do-ahead recipe helps everything taste better.


Drippings and Assembly

  • 1–2 cups skimmed and strained roast turkey drippings
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Preparation

Turkey Stock

  • Great gravy begins with the Make-Ahead Turkey Stock. If you want to make one from scratch, do it now (or anytime, for that matter, since turkey wings are available year-round). In a pinch, store-bought stock will work.


  • Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Reduce heat to low; whisk until roux is golden brown, about 2 minutes.

  • Do Ahead: Roux can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool, cover, and chill.

Drippings and Assembly

  • Bring 6 cups Make-Ahead Turkey Stock to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add turkey drippings. (If you're short on drippings, skim fat from pan and add 1–2 cups water. Scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon; strain liquid into stock.) Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in roux. Reduce heat to low; simmer gently 5 minutes for gravy to thicken and flavors to meld. You're done!

Recipe by Mary-Frances Heck,

Nutritional Content

16 servings, 1 serving contains: Calories (kcal) 50 Fat (g) 4 Saturated Fat (g) 2.5 Cholesterol (mg) 10 Carbohydrates (g) 3 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 1 Protein (g) 1 Sodium (mg) 40Reviews Section

Cream gives this gravy, which is straightforward to prepare, a velvety lushness that your guests won't soon forget.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large turkey wings
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 10 cups cold water
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic (Optional)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Combine onion, carrots, celery, and vegetable oil in a large roasting pan and toss to coat. Place turkey wings on top of vegetables

Place roasting pan in the preheated oven and cook until the turkey wings are browned and vegetables are caramelized and softened, 45 to 60 minutes.

Transfer turkey wings and vegetables to a large stockpot. Place the roasting pan over a stovetop burner on medium heat. Pour 2 tablespoons cold water into the pan and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer mixture to the stockpot and add 10 cups cold water, thyme, and garlic.

Bring turkey wing mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until meat falls off the bone, about 3 hours. Skim off turkey fat throughout the process and set aside 2 tablespoons.

Strain turkey stock and reserve 6 cups of stock discard all the solids.

Heat butter and 2 tablespoons reserved turkey fat in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and cook, whisking continuously, until it begins to smell like cooked pie crust, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly pour in turkey stock, whisking continuously. Increase heat to high and simmer until thick and warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.

What Do I Need To Make Turkey Gravy?

Gravy is made with five simple components:

  • Fat. This is what combines with the flour and creates the roux. For the best gravy make sure to gather as much of the turkey drippings as possible and place in a container. You an use a gravy fat separator, a bowl, or a glass measuring cup. Let it the fat separate and use this to make your gravy. Any additional fat needed can be made up with butter.
  • Flour. This is what thickens the gravy. When mixed in with the fat (see above), it creates a roux which is the base of the turkey gravy.
  • Liquid. The liquid is what determines the overall consistency of the gravy whether it’s thick or thin. This is often the part of each gravy recipe that you need to “eyeball”. You can always add more but you can’t take it away so go easy here. I like to use the turkey dripping so I get the best flavor. If I run out, I supplement with turkey stock.
  • Butter or Cream. This is kind of my secret ingredient for the creamiest gravy imaginable. It doesn’t take a lot of butter or cream to get rich, creamy gravy that will have your guests asking what did you do??
  • Salt and Pepper. This is possibly the most important component of good gravy – the seasoning. I love a lot of fresh ground black pepper in my gravy. But this is really where your own tastes come into play. Grab a spoon and get to tasting! Do not add salt and pepper before you’ve tasted the gravy. It may already be plenty salty, you won’t know until you try!

Special equipment

You can store gravy in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. In most cases, it will reheat nicely, either in the microwave (make sure to stir every 30 seconds to one minute to heat it evenly and prevent a skin from forming) or in a saucepan over very gentle heat (stir or whisk often). If anything does go wrong, just remember that lumps can be fine-strained or blended out, and an overly thick gravy can be thinned with a little stock or water (an overly thin one, conversely, can be thickened by simmering briefly with a little extra cornstarch slurry).

​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

To make an easy turkey stock, add the water, turkey neck, heart, gizzard, onion, and bay leaf to a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer for 2 hours.

​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Turn off, strain, and reserve turkey stock.

​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

When the turkey is done, carefully remove it from the roasting pan, and transfer it to a serving platter to rest, loosely cover with foil. While the turkey is resting, remove the fat from the roasting pan.

​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Put 4 tablespoons of the fat in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, until golden, about 5 minutes.

​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Add the turkey stock, a cup at a time, while whisking. Bring this to a simmer, whisking often. Scrape any browned bits and juices from the bottom of the roasting pan into the gravy. If you used cut up onions, celery, etc., in the pan, those can be added also for extra flavor.

​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Reduce the heat and simmer the gravy for about 10 to 15 minutes.

​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Strain out the vegetables, if used, add the sage, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

How to Make the Best Turkey Gravy

Yield: 8 servings

prep time: 5 minutes

cook time: 15 minutes

total time: 20 minutes

This is simply the most perfect gravy for your Thanksgiving turkey using pan drippings! So rich, so smooth and so easy!


  • Pan drippings from Easy Thanksgiving Turkey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Strain pan drippings through a fine-mesh sieve discard solids and reserve 2 1/2 cups pan drippings set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and thyme until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
  3. Gradually whisk in reserved pan drippings. Bring to a boil reduce heat and simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in parsley season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Serve warm.

Did you Make This Recipe?

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Porcini Gravy: Simmer 1/2 ounce (1/2 cup) dried porcini mushrooms and 4 cups Rich Turkey Broth in a stockpot over low 20 minutes. Strain stock finely chop and reserve mushrooms. Use porcini-infused broth in place of Rich Turkey Broth in Best-Ever Turkey Gravy stir finely chopped mushrooms into gravy.

Chipotle Gravy: For a lightly spicy flavor, stir 1 minced seeded chipotle chile in adobo sauce into 2 cups Best-Ever Turkey Gravy.

Pimentón Gravy: For a smoky bite, stir 1 teaspoon smoked paprika into 2 cups Best-Ever Turkey Gravy.

This can happen if there’s too high a ratio of fat to flour. If you’re using turkey drippings be sure to skim the fat off before adding the drippings to the gravy. To do this let the drippings sit for a few minutes until the fat rises to the top and then skim it off.

If you want some additional “mouth feel” to your gravy that comes from a higher fat content, you can always add in some additional butter at the very end. Simply whisk in some cold butter into the warm gravy and whisk until it’s fully incorporated.

If your gravy has already broken, skim off the fat that has floated to the top of the gravy then vigorously whisk it until it’s emulsified. You can also blitz it in the blender.


Using gravy as gravy might be obvious, but it can go over more than just biscuits (not that there’s anything wrong with getting on the biscuits-and-gravy train). If you’re looking for other options, think poutine (the Canadian favorite of fries topped with gravy and cheese curds). Simply warm up gravy on the stove—thin it out with a little more stock or water if necessary—then drizzle at will.

Or use poutine at the inspiration to make a gravy-topped burger. No fries? How about poutine-inspired nachos: drizzle gravy over tortilla chips topped with melted cheese (we’d love a pickled jalapeño in there too).