In a perfect world, you'd make turkey gravy with the flavorful drippings from your roast turkey. But sometimes that's not how things work out.

By Vicky McDonald
Updated August 27, 2020
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Credit: lutzflcat

When it comes Thanksgiving, there's nothing better than homemade gravy made with pan drippings from the roasted turkey. That's the ideal way to make gravy on Thanksgiving.

But, there are times when you don't have those precious pan drippings to work with. If you deep-fry or smoke your turkey, or decide to serve stuffed turkey breasts instead of a whole roast for instance. Or perhaps you're making a traditional roast, but don't want the hassle of making gravy on the day. And who hasn't lamented the fact that the gravy is all gone, when they eat leftovers. Well, the good news is that you can easily make gravy without those pan drippings.

Here are some quick and easy recipes, plus tips for adding extra flavor to your Thanksgiving gravy.

Lightning Gravy

This recipe is quick, quick, quick! A good chicken bouillon will go a long way to boost flavor. SANDS99 adds a few extra ingredients to amp it up even further, "I used twice the bouillon for stronger chicken flavor, then I decided to see how 'homemade' I could make it taste by adding basil, fresh ground pepper, celery salt, garlic powder, and 2 pats of butter. I think I could slide this past my own grandmother! ;-)"

Credit: Marianne

Mom's Brown Gravy

Marmite adds a huge depth of flavor. Look out for it in specialist grocery stores, World Market or Amazon. Melissa raves, "I love this gravy. I've made it several times, and it's always enjoyed by vegetarians such as me, and meat-eater guests alike. I add more marmite (probably double), as well as approx. 1 Tbs. powdered shiitake mushroom."

Quick Vegan Gravy

Soy sauce and miso paste bring some umami to this vegan gravy. You can easily make this sauce a little heftier with some butter instead of margarine, and some extra seasoning. Home cook karadegi says, "I added about 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning and it was 5-star! Everyone loved it, and it will be my gravy standard from now on!"

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

Roasted turkey wings supplies the unmistakable flavor for this top-rated recipe. It's a little more involved than the others, but is definitely worth the work. If you can't get turkey wings, many of our home cooks use chicken wings or chicken thighs instead. KXR173 raves, "This recipe is a life saver on Thanksgiving day. The gravy is DELICIOUS and it takes all the guesswork out of making gravy on the big day. You can make it long ahead of time and heat it in a crock pot all day or stove-top. No one will ever guess it isn't pan-roasted that day." To add even more flavor, skim the fat off the pan drippings from your Thanksgiving turkey and whisk the remaining liquid into the gravy.

Credit: lutzflcat

Flavor-Boosters for Gravy

Certain store-bought ingredients can add flavor fast. Here are some of our favorite ingredients that add a little something extra.

  • Chicken bouillon
  • Marmite
  • Soy Sauce
  • Miso paste
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Poultry seasoning

Browse our collection of Gravy Recipies.