Easy Turkey Gravy Recipe

This Easy Turkey Gravy Recipe is a handy guide on how to make the best turkey gravy with turkey drippings.  Recipe includes instructions using both cornstarch and flour, as well as make ahead tips!

close up of turkey gravy recipe in white gravy boat

Gravy anxiety…it’s a real thing.  At least it is for me!  There’s nothing that I hate more than standing over a hot stove, anxiously trying to perfect my gravy while everyone is hovering around like vultures waiting for Thanksgiving dinner.

If you’ve hosted Thanksgiving dinner, you know what I’m talking about.

This easy turkey gravy is the perfect solution to all of your gravy anxiety (as well as mine!). šŸ™‚

I’ve been on a mission to get this recipe to you and it hasn’t been easy.  I’ve made TWO turkeys, two batches of turkey stock and two batches of gravy to perfect what I’ve learned over the past several years.

That’s a lot of turkey, and luckily we’re not sick of it yet. šŸ™‚

Why you’ll love this Turkey Gravy Recipe

  1. This recipe covers all of the bases to make perfect gravy, including making it with a flour slurry or roux, or cornstarch.
  2. You’ll learn how to make it in advance, either a few days before or weeks before, and how to reheat it from fridge or freezer.
  3. I’ve included tips on how to upgrade your gravy by using alcohol like wine, bourbon or sherry to deglaze the pan, or adding giblets or herbs.

overhead shot of turkey gravy recipe with turkey in the background

What you need to make perfect gravy

  1. Drippings:  the turkey drippings are where the real flavor comes from.  
  2. Fat:  skim the fat from the top of the turkey drippings to use in your roux-based turkey gravy.
  3. Homemade stock:  I stress homemade stock here!  It has so much more flavor, and contains gelatin from the bones, which gives the gravy its silkiness.  See my Homemade Turkey Stock recipe.
  4. Thickener:  Flour or cornstarch may be used to thicken this turkey gravy recipe.  
  5. Optional add-ins:  Alcohol for deglazing the pan, giblets and herbs such as rosemary, thyme or sage.  Bourbon is my alcohol of choice for deglazing the pan!

What are drippings?

turkey drippings collage

Drippings are the juices and fats that are released from the meat as it cooks.  The drippings are what gives your gravy amazing flavor and that silky mouthfeel.

Gravy can be made without drippings, but I prefer to make my turkey gravy with drippings.  If you’re not cooking a turkey, you can always substitute the drippings with the same amount of homemade stock and proceed as directed with the desired thickener.

How do you separate turkey fat from drippings?

The best way to separate the fat from drippings is by using a fat separator such as this one.  

You can also pour all of the drippings into a measuring cup and let it stand for a bit.  When the fat rises to the top, it can be skimmed off.

Deglaze your roasting pan!

Be sure to deglaze your roasting pan once you’ve poured off all the drippings to scrape up all of the brown bits from the pan.  Those bits will give your gravy even more flavor!

Deglaze the hot pan with about a half a cup of turkey stock, or use the same amount of white wine, bourbon or sherry and reduce down by half.  Pour or strain the liquid into the turkey drippings.

deglazed roasting pan and cornstarch slurry collage

How to make turkey gravy with flour

There are two ways to go about making this turkey gravy recipe with flour as shown below:

Roux-based gravy 

  • Cook equal parts flour and turkey fat for 1-2 minutes until browned and the mixture smells like shortbread. 
  • Slowly whisk in turkey drippings and stock to prevent lumps, and bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes.  Reduce heat and simmer until the gravy reaches the desired thickness.

Flour slurry

  • Cook the turkey drippings and stock over medium heat. 
  • Combine equal parts flour and water in a small bowl until a smooth paste is formed, then slowly whisk it into the hot stock mixture.  Bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer until the gravy reaches the desired thickness.

turkey gravy recipe in gravy boat with spoon inside

How to make turkey gravy with cornstarch

For a gluten-free gravy, prepare your turkey gravy with cornstarch.

  • Cook the turkey drippings and stock over medium heat. 
  • Combine equal parts cornstarch and water and stir until smooth. 
  • Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the hot stock mixture and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the gravy reaches the desired thickness.

Make ahead turkey gravy

  • Prepare this turkey gravy using one of the methods outlined above, and cool completely.  
  • Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, then gently reheat before serving time, thinning the gravy out with a bit more turkey stock as needed.
  • Freeze turkey stock up to a few weeks in advance.  Defrost in the refrigerator the night before you plan to serve it, then gently reheat before serving time, thinning the gravy out with a bit more turkey stock as needed.

Recipe tips and substitutions

  • Every year, I roast a turkey 1-3 weeks before Thanksgiving to make stock and gravy.  Not only does this make my life easier on Thanksgiving, but my family loves having an early turkey dinner. 
  • The amount of gravy this recipe yields will vary based on how long you reduce it down. You’ll end up with 2 1/2 cups for thicker gravy, or 3 cups for a thinner gravy.
  • Strain the drippings and brown bits if you’d like a smoother gravy.
  • Boil the giblets (neck, gizzard, heart and liver) in water for about one hour and chop them up if you’d like to include them in your gravy.
  • Add chopped herbs such as rosemary, sage or thyme if desired.

turkey gravy recipe with spoon pouring gravy into gravy boat

See all of my Thanksgiving recipes.

Serve your turkey gravy with these dishes:

Homemade dinner rolls by Joy Food Sunshine

Roasted turkey breast

Roasted turkey

Slow cooker stuffing

Spatchcock turkey

Yukon gold mashed potatoes

Easy Turkey Gravy Recipe

Yield: 2 1/2 - 3 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Learn how to make the best turkey gravy with turkey drippings.Ā  Recipe includes instructions using both cornstarch and flour, as well as make ahead tips!

Easy Turkey Gravy Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup turkey drippings (if you have less than 1 cup, simply use more turkey stock to make up the difference)
  • 2 cups homemade turkey stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional add-ins such as alcohol for deglazing, giblets or fresh herbs

Cornstarch Slurry

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch + 3 tablespoons water

Flour slurry

  • 6 tablespoons flour + 6 tablespoons water

Roux

  • 6 tablespoons flour + 6 tablespoons fat from drippings (if you have less than 6 tablespoons of turkey fat, use butter to make up the difference)

Instructions

  1. Pour the drippings from the turkey into a measuring cup or gravy separator. Let stand for a few minutes to allow the fat to rise to the top.
  2. Deglaze the roasting pan with 1/2 cup turkey stock and scrape up the brown bits from the pan. Pour into the rest of the drippings. *Alternatively, you can use 1/2 cup of alcohol such as white wine, bourbon or sherry, and cook until reduced by half. Bourbon is my personal favorite!

Gravy with Cornstarch (gluten free):

  1. Skim the fat from the top of the turkey drippings and discard.
  2. Cook the turkey drippings and stock over medium heat.
  3. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Slowly whisk the cornstarch slurry into the hot stock mixture, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the gravy has reached the desired thickness.
  4. Remove from heat and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Gravy with flour (slurry):

  1. Skim the fat from the top of the turkey drippings and discard.
  2. Cook the turkey drippings and stock over medium heat.
  3. Combine the flour and water together in a small bowl until smooth. Slowly add the flour slurry to the drippings and stock, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the gravy has reached the desired thickness.
  4. Remove from heat and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Gravy with flour (roux):

  1. Skim 6 tablespoons of fat from the top of the turkey drippings. If you don't have 6 tablespoons use butter to make up the difference. Cook with the flour for 1-2 minutes until browned and the roux smells like shortbread.
  2. Slowly add the turkey stock to the roux while whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Continue whisking until the mixture comes to a boil, then boil for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the gravy reaches the desired thickness.
  3. Remove from heat and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  4. Serve warm and enjoy!

Notes

  • Make your gravy in advance by cooling completely and storing in an air tight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or a few weeks in the freezer. If frozen, defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Gently reheat make ahead gravy, thinning out with more turkey stock as needed.
  • Every year, I roast a turkey 1-3 weeks before Thanksgiving to make stock and gravy.Ā  Not only does this make my life easier on Thanksgiving, but my family loves having an early turkey dinner.Ā 
  • The amount of gravy this recipe yields will vary based on how long you reduce it down. You'll end up with 2 1/2 cups for thicker gravy, or 3 cups for a thinner gravy.
  • This recipe does not include the prep and cook time for a turkey or stock as that is included in another recipe.
  • Strain the drippings and brown bits if you'd like a smoother gravy.
  • Boil the giblets (neck, gizzard, heart and liver) in water for about one hour and chop them up if you'd like to include them in your gravy.
  • Add chopped herbs such as rosemary, sage or thyme if desired.

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