Learn a few easy tricks to making smooth and savory turkey gravy.

By Carl Hanson
Updated October 06, 2020
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Aren't all those Thanksgiving dishes we work so hard on every year really just vehicles for savory turkey gravy? Don't let your drippings go to waste this year — use them to make an easy and flavorful turkey gravy for your feast. Here's how to make turkey gravy from drippings, step-by-step.

pitcher of gravy on a green table runner
Pictured: Chef John's Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy
| Credit: Allrecipes Magazine

How to Make Turkey Gravy from Drippings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups turkey broth, chicken broth, water, or a combination of broth and water
  • 1/4 cup reserved turkey fat
  • 1/2 cup water, wine, turkey stock, or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: fresh chopped sage, pinch of cloves, a sprinkle of thyme, and/or a touch of mace

Step 1: Make the base.

Heat 4 cups of turkey broth, chicken broth, or water--or a combination of broth and water--in a saucepan until hot but not boiling. This will be used as the base of the gravy; you'll be adding thickened turkey drippings (roux) for your final gravy.

Step 2: Make the roux.

whisking and cooking butter and flour in a pot to make roux
Photo by Meredith
| Credit: Meredith
  • To gather up the turkey drippings, first transfer the cooked turkey from the roasting pan and set it on a cutting board to rest. Remove as much grease or fat as possible from the pan using a spoon, ladle, or gravy separator ($25; Amazon). Reserve ¼ cup fat.
  • Place the roasting pan over two burners on the stove on medium heat. Deglaze the pan by adding ½ cup water or other liquid (wine, turkey, or chicken stock). Stir constantly and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits. Pour off the liquid from the roasting pan into a measuring cup or the saucepan of hot turkey broth.
  • Add ¼ cup reserved fat to roasting pan over medium heat. Whisk in ¼ cup all-purpose flour. Cook gently, stirring constantly, until the flour loses its "raw" smell and the mixture becomes golden in color. Cooking the flour enhances the thickening power of the roux and adds color and nutty flavor to the gravy.

Step 3: Combine the base and the roux.

Transfer the roux to a saucepan. Whisk in the hot turkey broth and pan drippings and simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until thickened.

Step 4: Season the gravy.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed gravy boat or serving bowl and garnish with fresh chopped sage. Other herbs and spices may suit your tastes as well; experiment with a pinch of cloves, a sprinkle of thyme, and a touch of mace.

How to Avoid the Lumps in Your Turkey Gravy

The trick to avoiding lumps is to cook together equal parts of flour with a fat, such as clarified butter, vegetable oil or grease. This mixture is known as a roux and serves as a thickener for gravy. As a general rule of thumb, a ½ cup of roux will thicken 4 cups of gravy.

Any type of liquid can be added to a roux to make gravy, including the broth or drippings from beef, pork, or chicken. If you're roasting a turkey, use the drippings from the roasting pan and turkey broth to make the gravy. Got gravy problems? For more gravy-making tips, check out how to make your gravy great.

Now that you have the gravy mastered, you'll need plenty of mashed potatoes. Here's how to make perfect fluffy mashed potatoes.

Check out our collection of Turkey Gravy Recipes.

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