How to Make Gravy

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There are lots of ways to make gravy from a roast. Some can get rather complicated. What we do is simple. You can easily build a luscious, lip smacking gravy from the pan drippings!

As soon as the roast is done cooking, we remove it to a cutting board to rest. While the roast is resting, we place the roasting pan and all of the drippings it contains on the stovetop and start making the gravy.

We’ll use either cornstarch or flour to thicken the gravy, the process is similar for both.

How to Make Gravy

Follow this ratio. For each cup of gravy you want, start with two tablespoons of drippings and fat, and two tablespoons of flour or cornstarch. (This will produce a rich and thick gravy. If you would like a thinner gravy, either start with one tablespoon each of drippings and starch, or add more liquid to thin the gravy.)

So, if you want to make 2 cups of gravy, remove all but 4 tablespoons of fat and drippings from the roasting pan (set aside for future use).

These instructions will be for the end result of 2 cups of gravy, but you can easily divide or multiply to adjust for how much gravy you want to make.

Recipe updated from the recipe archive, first posted 2005.

How to Make Gravy

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  • Cook time: 15 minutes

When you cook a roast, whether it's turkey, chicken, beef, or lamb, you should end up with plenty of browned drippings and fat from the roast when it's finished. The "drippings" are browned juices and fat. All of the flavor a gravy you make from the drippings comes from those browned bits. You need fat as a base for the gravy.

If you have pan juices, but they haven't browned at the bottom of the pan after the roast is done, you can put the empty pan back in the oven. Set the temp to 450 or 500°F and cook until the juices evaporate and begin to bubble and brown at the bottom of the pan.

In this approach to making gravy, we break up the drippings as well as we can with a whisk, but don't worry about any browned bits in the gravy itself. If you want, you can pulse the gravy in a blender to make it smoother, but we never bother. The browned bits are the best part!

Method

Making Gravy with Corn Starch

1 Remove the roast from the roasting pan. Pour off all but 4 Tbsp of the fat in the pan. If you don't have enough fat in the pan, add butter so that you have at least 4 Tbsp of fat in the pan.

While the pan is still warm, scrape the bottom of the pan with a metal spatula to loosen any browned drippings that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan. Place the pan on the stovetop on medium heat. (If you are using a roasting pan that won't work well on the stovetop, scrape up all of the drippings and fat and put into a large shallow sauté pan.)

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2 Dissolve 4 Tbsp of corn starch in the minimum amount of water needed to make a thin paste - about 1/2 cup. Pour into pan with drippings and use a wire whisk to blend into the drippings

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3 Stir with a wire whisk until the gravy begins to thicken. As the gravy thickens, slowly add stock, water, milk, or cream, or some combination to the pan (I like to use stock, my mother usually uses water). Alternate stirring and adding liquid, maintaining the consistency you want, for several minutes (about 5 minutes).

You will probably add about 3 to 4 cups of liquid all together. Taking into consideration the evaporation that is occurring while the gravy is simmering, you will end up with about 2 cups of gravy. Taste and season with salt if needed.

 

Making Gravy with Flour

1 Remove the roast from the pan. Remove excess fat leaving 4 Tbsp of fat plus juices and browned drippings in the pan. Use a metal spatula to scrape up any drippings that are sticking to the pan. Place the pan on the stovetop on medium high heat.

How to Make Gravy

2 Sprinkle 4 Tbsp flour on to the drippings. Quickly stir with a wire whisk so that the flour gets incorporated into the drippings. Let the flour brown a bit if you want, before adding liquid in the next step. (You can also start with a slurry of flour and water if you want.)

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3 Slowly add stock, water, milk, cream, or a combination to the pan, whisking vigorously to dissolve the flour into liquid. Allow the gravy to simmer and thicken, and continue to slowly add liquid until you have about 2 cups of gravy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Always taste first before adding more salt! It may not need it.)

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Showing 4 of 57 Comments

  • Steve

    2tbsp cornstarch per cup is WAY too much…

  • Mark

    Yours is simple and easy, yes. I like to add a mirepoix and roux. Both can be made in advance. Between brining and cooking my turkey and making the gravy, mine can become a three day project. I put all the turkey bones and scraps into the roaster add water and make a broth. You can crush the bones also releasing flavor from the marrow. I also add a spice sachet. Then I strain all the stuff out to get clear broth and add back the roux, chopped onions and tons of mushrooms. It is a lot of work but it is sooo good. You really need to have one person in charge of the turkey and gravy and somebody else making all the side dishes. It’s best if you have two turkeys so you can make the gravy the day before…you need to sacrifice a turkey to make it.

  • Roman Berry

    One quibble….it’s not 2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch. You use half the cornstarch (if that’s what you have to use) than if you were using flour. 1 Tbs cornstarch = 2 Tbs flour.

  • Soccer mom of 2

    I have made gravy both ways, using either flour or corn starch and find that the corn starch gravy doesn’t “reheat” as well. Stays gelatin like. I add milk to the flour and whisk. Works well every time.

  • Dawn

    Elise, once again, you are my heroine! This is my first Thanksgiving on a low FODMAP diet for severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and I was wondering how to thicken my gravy without flour. I worried that although I can use it, cornstarch may not work right, resulting in a kind of Chinese restaurant type clear sauce. Your recipe has reassured me that it is worth a try. Thank you!

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