How to Make Gravy

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!

  • Cook time: 15 minutes


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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  • Michael Armstrong

    Back when I worked in a kitchen, a sous chef taught me how to make gravy. He put in a dash of Tobasco sauce to serve as a flavor enhancer (not for its kick) sort of in the same way you use salt. You should try it. It makes a difference.

  • Charles W. Stanton

    Rather than whisk flour or cornstarch directly into the drippings, I’ve always started with a roux. (Light-to-medium works great. Use butter for the flavor, olive oil for a healthier gravy, or mix them for both.) I then whisk my mostly-fat-separated drippings with the roux and add other liquids/seasonings as desired. This approach is simple and ensures a tasty, lump-free gravy!

  • barbara

    For no lump gravy , I use the stock and drippings of whatever has been cooked, roast , turkey ,, etc. Pour it into a sauce pan. Use a jar with a lid, add about 1/4 cup of flour , or three heaping table spoons . To the flour, add “COLD” water about a cup. SHAKE WELL . Heat the drippings to a boil over medium high heat, pour in the desired amount of flour water,continually stir til gravy boils lightly and thickened to the desired consistancy . Season to taste.

  • Dave Hatfield

    I much prefer not to use either cornstarch or flour in a gravy. Both alter the flavor.
    Pour off excess fat from the roasting pan.
    Then simply put the roasting tin over high heat on your stovetop. Add a bit of wine (3-4 oz); white for chicken, veal or fish & red for red meats or duck. Deglaze the pan making sure you scrape off all the browned bits. Reduce until all the alchol has evaporated. Add full cream & reduce again. That’s it!
    If you need a bit more volume add a non-salty stock cube of the appropriate variety & increase the amount of wine & cream.

    Yes, its rich, but worth it!

  • Linda Falcon

    I make a roux for the basis of all gravies and I never go wrong.

  • Dave

    Hey Elise, I’ve watched my grandmother make gravy for years just eyeballing the ingredients. Since we normally have potatoes with the meal, she uses the water the potatoes have been cooked in (keeps some of the vitamins) and adds all purpose flour directly. When we’ve asked her how she knows how much to add, or when it’s done, she always says “just make sure that it’s boiled”. I know that it doens’t answer the question but she says it’s important to the texture and flavour to “cook the flour or the cornstartch in the gravy”. Her gravy is always delicious. Just thought I’d share that tip.

    • Mark

      Potato water is under appreciated. It’s just as important to have around as chicken broth. I always have chicken broth, vegetable broth and potato water in the freezer…homemade, not the dirty dishwater they sell in the stores.
      Works great for breads. I make a Jewish NY Deli Rye with potato water. Sometimes I’ll take the whole potato, put it into a blender and add water to make a paste and add that.

  • Denise

    For Turkey gravy use cream of chicken soup. Dilute with enough broth or pan drippings for desired thickness. Add chopped hard boiled eggs, some turkey bits. (giblets if you like that)Heat thoroughly. It’s like homemade!

    • Mark

      There’s a whole lot of goofy recipes on the internet. When I get the bug to make a particular dish I scrounge the internet for recipes. I try to come up with a consensus on how people make things and what they put in them. That’s helps me to weed out the weird stuff. One thing that I saw that was popping up often was cream of mushroom soup along with dry onion soup mix. So I made a batch and added some fresh onion and mushroom and put it over a chuck roast and put the whole mess into the slow cooker. Comes out pretty nice. I’m not a big fan of processed foods. I generally avoid them but I’m not fanatical about it.


    Use all the drippings, 2 cans Swanson’s Beef Broth. It will make about a quart of gravy.


    I was making a dish using pork chops when I used the drippings, flour, and chicken broth just to see if they would still make a great gravy. Even though I really don’t use much broth, they made a great gravy!

  • isabelle

    When I serve ham, I keep the bone and boil it in a couple cups of water for stock for gravy; or you can buy a small ham hock. I always make a roue with flour and lard (vegetable shortening does not allow the roue to brown). I then add the stock, and no added salt is required because the salt from the ham stock provides a deep, rich flavor.

  • Juee

    Tastes so good! my kids actually ate it!

  • Nick vanman

    For gravy I drain as much fat of baking tray as possible and mix corn flour in a small cup of water stirring as i pour of oil remants then add a stock cube and more water if needed, then again I am a man only learning these things but it tastes good.

  • maria

    For Turkey gravy use 1/4 wheat flour or 3 tablespoons put in the pan and roasted until it’s brown then put the turkey juice in the pan and keep stiring until its boiling and it gets thicken. Add salt for taste yum yum. Also what I do if you feel the turkey is dry what I love to do is take the turkey a part and put in the pan that’s full of gravy. Your mouth will feel juicy and not dry.

  • Anonymous

    I put soy sauce in gravy. it is not wheat free anymore, though.

  • emu fire

    Hi, I have always used vegemite in my gravy. It gives the gravy a lovely flavour.

    • tammie

      can you give me the recipe for your gravy please my mother in law makes it with vegemite but wont tell how much ect

    • Mark

      Ever tried marmite? I know there are Aussie and Brit versions of vegemite. Not sure if they are the exact same recipe.

  • K. Christopher

    I just tried out this recipe. I was in a pinch and didnt have plain flour, so I used pancake mix and garlic and salt and pepper for seasoning, and it actually worked well and gave it a slightly creamier thicker texture. I was worried the leavening agent in pancake mix would effect the ability to produce the roux and would result in a giant chicken flavored pancake. But if you work quickly and add your liquid a little early, and don’t brown the roux too long, it will make a delicious gravy.

    Very helpful recipe!

  • issachar5

    I sure appreciate your recipes. I tried to get such info from the Betty Crocker site and another cooking site, but they had no such information on how to make gravy from turkey drippings. When I saw the corn starch part, I remembered that my mother used cornstarch when making gravy. I look forward to trying to make gravy when I cook the turkey. It should bring back some fond memories.
    Thank you, from an old guy.

  • scott

    Thanks for the pancake idea! I was in a pinch as well and thinking about the pancake mix and figured someone must have tried it before.

  • amon

    They say cornstarch will make gravies last longer than flour? Is this true?

    Never heard that one before. ~Elise

  • Derek Blackburn

    I actually just made some gravy without any prior knowlegde really, I looked this up afterwards and thought I would share my results. I panfried two porkchops breaded porkchops in clarified butter and afterwards added in roughly a quarter of a cup of leftover chicken stock from some lentil soup I made yesteday along with approx. the same amount of whole milk, I used enough flour to thicken it up and added some mushrooms I had left over quarterd, I reduced it down to a gravy consistency and it was wonderful over the porkchops, albeit not very healthy I would imagine. Glad to know I was somewhere along normal lines though. I’m going to try the tabasco next time :).

  • Giulie

    I always make a roux for gravy, then add the turkey drippings and chicken broth and broth from the giblets and neck. Then (this is the great secret for delicious gravy) 1/4 to 1/2 cup dry sherry. Fabulous!

  • Tomarmo

    Hello, I like the recipe alot, We made Gravy the other night and the recipe was succeful.

  • Ms Fau

    I like to use the flour in cold water & shaken method best. Try adding a little Kitchen Bouquet to darken the gravy. Done this for years to rave results.

  • Lisa


    I used your Mom’s turkey recipe and roasted it breast side down. How great!!! Very tender. I noticed, also that there was less drippings with which to make the gravy. :(

    No matter. I had simmered the giblets, neck, heart and liver in a pot while the turkey was roasting. When my gravy called for water to be added, I added the “innards” stock and it was amazing. No need to salt or pepper (and I usually add both) the gravy; it was perfect just as it was.

    Thanks so much for the suggestions! You and yours ROCK!


    • Mark

      I flip my turkey half-and-half. For even cooking, I cook the first half breast down and the second half breast side up. If you have skin eaters, the breast side is better for browning. That’s not an issue for me as all the skin, bone and scraps go into the witch’s cauldron for gravy. I always brine my turkey (and chicken) and slice the turkey as thin as possible, about 1/8 inch thick slices. With gravy, the thin sliced brined turkey will not be dry! I also like to cut the breast meat away from the bird as one big intact piece of meat. That way I can put it on the meat slicer. That’s how I get those thin beautiful slices. Any thinner than 1/8th inch and turkey tends to fall apart.

      A 21 pound will yield about 4 1/2 pounds of breast meat. It may be more economical for you to buy a turkey without the thighs, wings and giblets. They sell them as “turkey breasts” but you’re still getting most of a whole bird. Then you can also buy just the breasts themselves which are the most economical and the easiest to cook option. Two alternatives if you don’t need or want the big bird. If you buy the shrink wrapped turkey breasts without the rest of the turkey, your gravy options will be limited but you’ll save a lot of money.

  • Cindy Fox

    Thank you! :) My husband is an awesome cook and so I try to be at least competent! I was unsure how to make gravy, although I know he uses cornstarch! It worked great! I will try the wine recipe in the comment one time when it’s just he and I. The kids have balked at winey flavored things. :)

    Thannks! :) c.

    • Mark

      Inside every mom is a chef trying to get out. I think my mom probably was an adventurous chef but with 7 kids I think she discovered that making something different was a thankless task, a fool’s errand perhaps. Needless to say we ate a lot of spaghetti with ground beef.

      Red wine can be reduced to make a nice sauce for beef.

      White wine like a pinot grigio is often used for fish and seafood.

      For some reason, French parents are better at getting their kids to eat things that American kids would never touch. I know somebody even wrote a book about it but I couldn’t tell you the author or title.

  • Joeleine

    I always drain my drippings then scoop off/out the little flour crunchies. Next I pour the drippings into a large saucepan, add a stick of butter, handful of onions a bit of salt and pper to taste. I bring this to a boil,while waiting for this to boil I mix White Lily flour with warm water and whisk till smooth, I then add a few drops of Kitchen Bouquet to get a lovely light brown or tan tone, once the water and drippings boil I whisk the flour and KB mixture very quickly then turn off the heat and continue to whisk. I adjust with chicken stock or buttered water if it thickens too much.
    This is a basic restaurant gravy recipe, great over rice and mashed potatoes

  • Christine

    I just wanted to thank you for these simple to follow instructions! I have tried to make gravy a few times and it always turned out terrible. After reading this and trying it…my gravy turned out AMAZING! I used the corn starch method. I finally figured out what I had been doing wrong all those other times and now I realize gravy isn’t as difficult to make as I thought it was!

  • Jen C.

    I made breaded fried pork cutlets and my new husband asked me to make gravy. I said,” oh boy I don’t know how to make it with fried pork drippings.”But all that you need is canned chicken stock,half and half,water and a few Tbs. of the grease drippings minus the bread crumb rocks he loved it!

  • Chris

    Can somebody please help me. I have always followed a similar recipe for gravy. My problem comes from the turkey drippings from the bottom of the pan, they are so burnt it gives my gravy a burnt taste. How can I fix this. If the drippings were not so burnt I really believe it would add more flavor.

    Perhaps you’re cooking your turkey at too high of a heat? We always start our out high for the first half hour and then drop the temp for the rest of the cooking so the turkey cooks more evenly. You might try putting a half a cup of water in the roasting pan to help moderate the temperature and give the drippings more of a chance not to burn. ~Elise

  • House Wife in Training

    I just made gravy successfully for the first time! My friends say it’s the best roast they have ever had! Thank you!!!!

  • Linda

    Can I reduce the marinade & use it in/as the gravy?

    Depends on the marinade. If you do reduce it, make sure to boil it for at least 10 minutes to kill anything the marinade may have picked up from being in contact with raw meat. ~Elise

  • Joyce

    Gravy without browning the flour first or making some sort of simple rioux is just a white sauce with flavorings, in my opinion. That’s why I’ve never made white gravies by shaking flour in a jar with cold water. I suggest that you limit this approach to instances when you already have flavorgul browned pan drippings. I’ll trade a lump or two every time for the flavor you get by taking the time to brown the flour.

    • Elizabeth Fitzmaurice

      I second that. It’s how my Mom always made gravy. I remember her teaching us girls and reminding us to be patient! We kept wanting to start stirring that flour way before she said it was ready. It takes time, patience and practice, but it makes the absolute best gravy. Full, rich flavor.

  • Kay

    I always have trouble getting my gravy to thicken, either browning the flour first or adding the flour to cold water. Could it be the fact that I use 2% milk instead of whole milk?

    You might try using a little corn starch. ~Elise

  • betty crocker is my hero

    steak and potatoes gravy ‘homemade’ style desired: what about the steak and potatoes? there isn’t even a few teaspoons of ‘drippings’ afterwards. all i have is chicken stock and flour (of course at a time like this!).. maybe worcester sauce or something? extra salt..

    and may i also suggest my dad’s homemade marinade for grilled steak (there’s nothing like a mouth watering marinaded filet mignon): put steak in bowl or dish to hold marinade in. add worcester sauce, soy sauce, teriaki sauce all in equal parts to cover 1/2 the height of the steak and some ground pepper. let it soak for about 1 hour or more(longer tastes better), flipping every 10-15 minutes. grill on medium/high heat, about 6-7 min. each side. enjoy! …oh, wait, i just need some gravy for my potaoes!??

    Sear the steak on high heat, with the steak slathered in butter. That should give you some drippings. ~Elise

  • Rheanna

    I lacked meat drippings so my Husband sugested a beef top ramen packet. It was salty and tasted like beef top ramen. But learned somthing important, don’t listen to my Husband.

  • Donna

    I’m allergic to corn & my husband to wheat. A great gravy solution is potato starch. Either start with a roux of butter or olive oil & potato starch, cook to get the “grainy” texture out of it & start adding stock or drippings. Another method is to add a bit of your cooking liquid to the potato starch & whisk until smooth, then add it back into the liquid you’re making gravy with. Makes a nice, silky sauce & it’s gluten-free.

  • Kate

    Thanks for teaching me how to make really tasty Thanksgiving gravy! I think I used a lot more cream than necessary…but got a lot of compliments from our guests.

  • Butch

    I bought a chicken from a farm by my house, plucked it’s feather, chopped it up, and then cooked it. When I tasted it I knew it needed something so, I decided it needed gravy. I decided to choose this one and it tasted delicous. Now every time i walk by the chicken farm I’ll be thinking about this gravy.

  • dannydan of Champaign!

    If one is to use flour, please keep a good, unadulterated product on hand then… TOAST the flour before you mix it into your stock, cream! You will be amazed for that little extra time of toasting how much more awesome flavor this adds! But I do I have a question, on ratios. Is the “1 to 2 tablespoons” sifted or un sifted? Sifted is a good 3tbls so this means that 2 tablespoons out of the bag/jar is a compacted 3tbls… tia! Love this site very much, thank you for your dedication! DD

  • Dick Saunders Jr

    Going with Gluten Free, I used buckwheat flour and it works great. doesn’t lump

  • Christine

    This is my go to recipe for delicious gravy – thank you!

  • 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!

    • Mark

      Very few people have ever heard of fodmap. I research food, everything from acrylamide to zilmax, so I know about IBS and fodmap although they don’t affect me personally. If you can find gluten free flour that would likely solve your problem although I can’t say if gluten free reduces the flours capability to act as a thickener. Two big fodmap criminals are onions and garlic. Two things that would be sorely missed from my gravy. Two alternative thickeners you might try researching…arrow root and xanthan gum. In higher quantities, xanthan gum acts as a laxative but shouldn’t be an issue for gravy. I haven’t found them listed specifically on any low fodmap lists but they may be worth looking into. Worst case scenario, forget about thickening the gravy altogether or just put what you got through a reduction process.

  • 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 have noticed this problem too, and have a solution. They suggest reheating the gravy and bringing it to a full boil, whisking vigorously. That will help to break down the starchy crystals from the flour or cornstarch, and reforms the network of amylose which normally helps to make a smooth, thick gravy. Of course, you may also need to thin the gravy a little with water or stock, if it has reduced substantially (from being kept warm) while waiting for the turkey to finish cooking! :)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Steve

    2tbsp cornstarch per cup is WAY too much…