No pan drippings? No problem. You can make turkey gravy ahead of time using ingredients you likely have on hand.
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A white china gravy boat on a saucer filled with brown gravy
Pictured: Savory Turkey Gravy
| Credit: Dianne

When it comes to Thanksgiving, many folks prefer to make homemade gravy made with pan drippings from the roasted turkey. That's often considered 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. Well, the good news is that you can easily make gravy ahead of time without those pan drippings.

How to Make Gravy Without Drippings

You can easily emulate that rich, meaty flavor you get from pan drippings using ingredients you likely have on hand. To make a good turkey gravy without drippings, you'll need to make a roux, or a combination of flour and fat that acts as a thickener for the gravy. Add a flavorful broth and some aromatics, and you've got yourself a Thanksgiving gravy that rivals gravy made from drippings. The following recipe has been adapted from Veronica Harper's Savory Turkey Gravy. It makes enough for about four people.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (for gluten-free gravy, substitute 1 tablespoon cornstarch)
  • 2 cups turkey stock (for vegetarian gravy, substitute with vegetable broth)
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt

Instructions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until slightly brown.
  2. Whisk in flour and cook until the mixture is lightly browned and bubbling, and no lumps remain.
  3. Gradually whisk in the turkey stock, stirring up any of the roux stuck to the bottom of the pan. Season with remaining ingredients.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

How to Make Turkey Gravy Ahead of Time

If you want to save yourself the stress on the day of, consider making the turkey gravy ahead of time. Once you've made it, allow it to cool, then poor it into an airtight container or plastic bag.

  • If you're making it more than three days in advance, freeze it and thaw overnight when you're ready to enjoy. To reheat, simply whisk it in a saucepan over low heat until the the ingredients are reincorporated and heated through.
  • If you're making it less than three days in advance, you can store it in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy. Again, reheat by whisking it in a saucepan over low heat until the the ingredients are reincorporated and heated through.

Optional Gravy Additions

Certain ingredient add-ins can add more of that rich, meaty flavor you're looking for. Here are some of our favorite ingredients that add a little something extra.

  • Soy sauce
  • Miso paste
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Bouillon
  • Minced onion and/or garlic (add when you melt butter for roux)

More No-Drippings Turkey Gravy Recipes:

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