This turkey gravy is made from scratch in 15 minutes! Full of flavor from turkey drippings, this is the BEST turkey gravy recipe. Don't have pan drippings? Use chicken stock instead!
I love Thanksgiving food, especially turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy! My grandmother always made the best homemade gravy and inspired me to make it using drippings from our Thanksgiving turkey. This turkey gravy recipe is very simple and I guarantee you will never go back to store-bought!
About This Recipe
This turkey gravy whips up so quickly while your roasted turkey is resting. It is easy to get it onto the dinner table before the food gets cold. Not just for meat and mashed potatoes, I love drizzling it on my stuffing, too! Make sure you print the recipe and save it for every year!
Most of the flavor for this recipe comes from your turkey drippings. The rest are staples. Below is a list of ingredients you need to make turkey gravy.
- Juices from roasted turkey, or chicken broth - When you roast a turkey, there are juices left in the bottom of the pan encompassing all of the flavorful herbs and spices you used to dress your turkey. Do not toss it! Use it for this turkey gravy instead. The flavors you used in your turkey will all come together beautifully in this gravy. If you don't have pan drippings, then simply use chicken broth instead.
- Fat drippings, or butter - We also use fat drippings from the turkey juices. So, before you measure out the liquid broth, pour the juices from the roasting pan into a heat-proof measuring cup and let it cool until the fat rises to the top. Skim off that fat and use it! (If you don't have juices from a roasted turkey, you can use butter for the fat and broth for the drippings. You may need to add additional spices and herbs since you won't have all of that extra flavor from the turkey drippings.)
- Heavy cream - An optional ingredient for this gravy, cream makes it creamier but can also help tone down the spices from a spicy-injected roasted turkey (I'm talking to you my Louisiana Cajun friends!)
- Flour - Like most gravy recipes, we're starting with a roux of fat and butter which is what thickens the sauce. In this case, the flour is whisked with the fat drippings (or butter, if you're using it instead).
- Salt and pepper - Use this sparingly! There should be a ton of flavor already from the turkey drippings that you shouldn't even need additional salt and pepper. If using butter instead of fat drippings and mostly broth instead of the juices, then you'll need the extra S&P.
Click here or scroll to the bottom of this post for the full ingredients and instructions.
How to Make Turkey Gravy from Scratch
I am not lying to you when I say this recipe is so very simple! Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the step-by-step on how to make turkey gravy. After transferring your roasted turkey to the cutting board, the general steps are as follows:
- Strain all of the juices from the roasting pan into a large measuring bowl through a fine mesh strainer. Discard what's caught in the strainer.
- Let the juices set in the measuring bowl on the counter top for about 2 minutes. The fat/oil will rise to the top and the broth will sink.
- Skim the fat from the top (about 3 tablespoons) and transfer to a medium saucepan.
- Measure the remaining broth in the cup and add chicken broth to make 2 cups, if necessary. Cover broth in measuring cup with foil to keep warm; set aside.
- Heat the fat over medium heat until sizzling. Whisk in the flour and continue to cook while whisking until lightly browned.
- In a thin stream, slowly pour the broth into the sauce pan with the roux. (Make sure the broth is still hot before adding it to avoid lumps.)
- Bring mixture to a low boil while constantly whisking. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- OPTIONAL: To make a creamy gravy, add heavy cream in a slow thin stream and heat through on medium-low heat.
My grandmother would just plop the roasting pan on top of the burner and whisk her gravy ingredients right in the pan. This way she was able to scrape up all those browned bits. I do not recommend this, because the pan is so big it's hard to combine it all evenly and get a good roux started. She somehow magically made it work, though!
Top Tips and Tricks
- Add water or broth to the pan. Sometimes we do not end up with quite enough turkey drippings to equal 2 cups, so if I remember I will add a cup of water or broth to the roasting pan before roasting my turkey. Or, add the broth later like instructed in the recipe below. Either way works!
- Use a fat separator. It is simple enough to skim the fat off the top of the broth, but some people love using a fat separator to make it really easy.
- Keep heat at medium low, no higher. Do not let your burner heat get too high, or your gravy may separate. Use a lower heat setting. I typically use between medium and low.
- Add more spices, if necessary. If you use broth instead of pan drippings, then you might want to add a few more spices to your gravy such as dried rosemary, thyme and parsley.
How to Thicken Gravy
Some people like a thicker gravy while others prefer a thinner consistency. There are a few different ways to thicken gravy.
Add a cornstarch slurry to the gravy.
To do this, just mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with tow tablespoons of water then slowly stir it into the gravy until you reach your desired consistency.
Let the gravy rest.
As the gravy sits and cools, it will naturally thicken a little. It won't thicken a ton, but maybe just enough to your liking.
Use more fat and flour for the roux.
If you know right from the start you want a thicker gravy, then use 4 tablespoons of fat (turkey drippings or butter) and 4 tablespoons of flour.
Add the optional heavy cream.
The cream in this recipe will create a slightly thicker and definitely creamier gravy.
Storage and Leftovers
Store: Keep leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Reheat: You can reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Freeze: Place in a freezer friendly container and freeze up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in fridge and reheat as stated above.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
Get ready for a Thanksgiving feast with these favorite holiday recipes!
- Easy Pumpkin Pie
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Cinnamon Roll Turkeys
- Broccoli Cheese Casserole
- Pecan Pie
- Cornbread Dressing
Eat It, Rate It, Share It!
Made it and liked it? Leave a star rating, take a photo and tag me on social media @seededtable so I can share it!
This recipe was originally published November 2020 and updated with new recipe photos November 2021.
Turkey Gravy Recipe
- mesh strainer
- measuring bowl
- sauce pan
- 2 cups hot drippings/juices from turkey in roasting pan
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ¼ to ½ cup chicken broth , if necessary
- ¼ cup heavy cream (OPTIONAL)
- salt and pepper , to taste
- Transfer turkey from roasting pan to rest. Pour all of the juices from the roasting pan into a large measuring bowl through a fine mesh strainer. Discard what's caught in the strainer.
- Let the juices set in the measuring bowl on the counter top for about 2 minutes. The fat/oil will rise to the top and the broth will sink. Skim the fat from the top (about 3 tablespoons) and place the fat in a medium sauce pan.
- Measure the remaining broth in the bowl and add warm or room temperature chicken broth to make 2 cups, if necessary. Cover broth in measuring bowl with foil to keep warm; set aside.
- Heat the fat over medium heat until sizzling. Whisk in the flour and continue to cook while whisking until lightly browned. In a thin stream, slowly pour the 2 cups of broth into the sauce pan. (Make sure the broth is still hot before adding it to avoid clumps.)
- Bring mixture to a low boil while constantly whisking. Continue to simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Taste it first! May not be necessary!)
- OPTIONAL: To make a creamy gravy, add heavy cream in a slow thin stream and heat through on medium low.
- If making homemade gravy without first roasting a turkey, use 3 tablespoons of butter in place of the fat drippings to make the roux, and 2 cups chicken broth (heated in the microwave) in place of the roasted turkey juices.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only.