The Best Gravy Boats for Every Mess-Free Pour

The holiday MVPs are versatile tools for everything from BBQ sauce to your next brunch's coffee creamer.

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The Rundown
The signature glaze is nonporous, and nonreactive, making it chip, scratch, stain, and odor resistant.
It holds 24 ounces of liquid, is crafted from classic white porcelain, and is microwave- and dishwasher-safe.
The 16-ounce capacity is ample for a family dinner, and the cupped ladle makes for elegant serving.
The hinged lid with an anti-drip spout makes it a cinch to refill, and pouring is mess-free.
If you are traveling for the holidays and tasked to bring the gravy, this is the choice.
Since it's fired in a kiln, each piece has unique variations in color and speckling, lending an artisan look to the humble vessel.

There is a certain amount of nostalgia attached to gravy boats—maybe you have your grandmother’s and break it out for holiday meals, maybe you appreciate the formality of one in your tablescape, or maybe you just love the quirky shape. But gravy boats have so much more to offer. They make great vessels for warm maple syrup awaiting fluffy banana pancakes. They are the perfect shape to dole out dressings and sauces without the mess. Or they even make lovely sponge holders.

Whether you are looking for a large capacity style to feed the masses, a delicate porcelain model that also serves a decorative function, or an heirloom you can pass generation to generation, there is a gravy boat to fit the bill. Be sure to consider whether whatever is inside needs to maintain temperature, if ease of cleanup is important, and what details make the most sense for you.

“Look for insulated gravy boats—they keep sauce hot while on the table. Stoneware gravy boats, like the ones made by Le Creuset, are solid options," says Devan Cameron, chef and author of Braised & Deglazed. "And, a gravy boat with a lid will keep the sauce warmer and prevent a skin from forming on the top.”

From insulated pitchers that hold temperature for hours to stoneware options that add a touch of elegance to your table, these are the best gravy boats.

Best Overall: Le Creuset Gravy Boat

le creuset gravy boat

What We Love: Doesn’t absorb odors, durable, variety of colors, easy to clean

What We Don’t Love: Difficult to pour if full

Le Creuset has been inspiring fans since 1925 with its durable, colorful, glazed stoneware. Its gravy boat is another addition to the collection. Available in six colors, the 12-ounce stunner is safe in the microwave, dishwasher, oven, broiler, and freezer. And, the signature glaze is nonporous, and nonreactive, making it chip, scratch, stain, and odor resistant.

Like other Le Creuset products, the gravy boat can withstand temperatures from minus 65 up to 500 degrees, and the thick stoneware, though not insulated, retains heat well. But, if your gravy gets cold before you are ready to serve, just pop this in the microwave for a quick reheat.

Material: Stoneware | Capacity: 12 ounces | Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best Budget: HIC Hotel Gravy Sauce Boat with Saucer Stand

HIC-Hotel-Gravy-Sauce-Boat-with-Saucer-Stand


What We Love:
Large capacity, microwave safe, includes saucer for catching drips, affordable

What We Don’t Love: Wide pour spout

There is a lot to love about my budget pick. The Harold Import Company (HIC) Hotel Gravy Boat holds 24 ounces of liquid, is crafted from classic white porcelain, and is microwave- and dishwasher-safe. Plus it comes with a saucer for all those pesky drips that might ruin a tablecloth.

"When I am looking to purchase a gravy boat, one thing I tend to look for is an opening that is quite wide so it's easier to pour the gravy into it without making a mess," says Christine Pittman, cookbook author and founder of COOKtheSTORY.com. "Another nice feature of gravy boats is one that comes with a saucer underneath to catch any drip that happens while pouring."

The understated style matches any tablescape from grilling outside to a fine dining party, and the deep well keeps liquids secure. HIC has been making fine porcelain serveware that easily transitions from microwave to table to dishwasher since 1965. Its durable construction naturally retains heat and is easy to clean. Grab this piece when serving au jus with your prime rib roast, or bourbon sauce with bread pudding—the easy-grip handle, and pour-spout design make this an instant classic.

Material: Porcelain | Capacity: 24 ounces | Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best with Ladle: Upper Midland Products Stainless Steel Gravy Pourer

Upper-Midland-Products-Stainless-Steel-Gravy-Pourer

What We Love: Ladle makes controls pour, affordable, attractive 

What We Don’t Love: Stainless not heavy duty

There is something classic about the stainless steel, lamp-shaped gravy boat with a ladle. Some have silver pieces that resemble this, but Upper Midland has produced an heirloom look with durable stainless steel construction. The 16-ounce capacity is ample for a family dinner, and the cupped ladle makes for elegant serving.

Stainless steel goes with any dinnerware, and the stable base keeps it from tipping over. As with other stainless steel products, hand washing is recommended, and be sure to give it a thorough dry to stave off any water spots. 

Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 16 ounces | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but hand wash recommended 

Related: The Best Saucepans

Best with Lid: Comforty Stainless Steel Double Insulated Gravy Boat with Hinged Lid

Comforty-Stainless-Steel-Double-Insulated-Gravy-Boat-with-Hinged-Lid

What We Love: Superior heat retention, drip-free spout, ample size, attractive

What We Don’t Love: Difficult to clean

If you are looking for maximum heat retention, a double-insulated, lidded option like the Comforty jug is a great choice. And the satin stainless steel exterior is an attractive addition to any table. "My favorite gravy boat is actually a stainless steel one," says Pittman. "I've had such great use with it as it's super wide and holds a good amount of gravy for serving a meal for a small gathering!"

This model holds 16 ounces of hot or cold liquid and maintains temperature for a long time. The hinged lid with an anti-drip spout makes it a cinch to refill, and pouring is mess-free. The manufacturer says this is dishwasher-safe, but with any insulated item, it is better to handwash to ensure long life. Hand washing also helps you reach any lingering food debris that could grow bacteria. The jug-style also lends versatility—use it for coffee creamer at family breakfast, or melted butter at your next clam bake.

Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 16 ounces | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but hand wash recommended

Best Insulated: Rorence Stainless Steel Double Insulated Gravy Boat

Rorence Stainless Steel Double Insulated Gravy Boat

What We Love: Superior heat retention, drip-free spout, ample size, comfortable grip

What We Don’t Love: Difficult to clean

The Rorence Double Insulated Jug is not the prettiest gravy boat option, but it will hold your sauce's temperature and pour easily. If you are traveling for the holidays and tasked to bring the gravy, this is the choice. It functions as a coffee thermos with a comfortable handle and double insulation to ensure liquids maintain hot or cold temperatures for a long time. 

This stainless steel model holds 16 ounces of liquid, has a hinged lid with a drip-free spout for easy refilling, and an ergonomically designed plastic handle for a comfortable grip. The Rorence Gravy Jug allows cooks to prepare sauces ahead and still have them hot when they reach the table. The manufacturer says this is dishwasher-safe, but with any insulated item, it is better to handwash to ensure long life. Hand washing also helps you get all of those nooks and crannies that hide food debris. 

Material: Stainless steel, plastic lid | Capacity: 16 ounces | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but hand wash recommended

Related: The Best Roasting Pans

Best Large Capacity: Mason Stoneware Gravy Boat

mason-stoneware-gravy-boat

What We Love: Elegant, versatile, sturdy. affordable

What We Don’t Love: Small pour spout

Sometimes you just want a gravy boat that matches your dinnerware, and that is why I bought the Mason Stoneware Gravy Boat. The modern, clean-lined design is crafted from durable stoneware with a smooth, reactive glaze, making it a reliable vessel for syrups, salad dressings, and yes, gravy. 

This server is safe in the dishwasher and microwave safe, holds an ample 24 ounces, and makes an elegant addition to any table. Since it's fired in a kiln, each piece has unique variations in color and speckling, lending an artisan look to the humble vessel. The matte, ivory finish is versatile with any dinnerware, and the heavy-duty construction makes it good for everyday use, as well as special occasions.

Material: Stoneware | Capacity: 24 ounces | Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a durable, easy-to-clean option, our top choice is the Le Creuset Gravy Boat (view at Amazon) because of its scratch and odor resistant glaze, variety of colors, and thermal resistance.  If you need one guaranteed to keep gravy hot for hours, try the Rorence Stainless Steel jug (view at Amazon) for superior heat retention, and ultimate portability.

What to Look for When Buying a Gravy Boat

Material

Ceramic gravy boats are fairly common. Porcelain and stoneware servers tend to be durable and elegant. They also retain heat better than glass or non-insulated stainless steel. Some come in a variety of colors, are often dishwasher and microwave safe, but can be vulnerable to chips and scratches.

Glass is more in the vintage realm. It holds heat less than ceramics, but longer than uninsulated stainless steel. Some modern vessels are crafted from glass that has been treated to be microwave and dishwasher safe, most will match any dinnerware set, and you always know when the boat is getting low. 

Stainless steel gravy boats can be insulated and non-insulated. If you are looking for a budget version of the sterling silver heirlooms, stainless is the choice. Non-insulated versions have the shortest heat retention span, and cannot be put in a microwave. 

An insulated gravy boat looks more like a thermos with its double-walled construction, lid, and tall profile. If you are looking for a classic style, this is not it. But, if you are looking for the best heat/cold retention, this is the choice. Liquids maintain temperature for long periods of time, and these vessels are very portable if you are traveling for the holidays.

Design 

When you break out the white linen tablecloth, drips and stains are problematic. The best design feature to prevent this is a saucer that can be used while pouring to catch any dribbles. It is cumbersome to pass around the table, but worth it to prevent spillage.

Ladles also aid in mess-prevention. A good-sized ladle helps control the amount served and allow you to scoop rather than pour. In the absence of a saucer or ladle, look for a spout that allows a controlled pour, not too wide as the liquid will gush out.

Temperature is another consideration when purchasing a gravy boat. Nobody wants to serve cold gravy, and the congealed skin that forms on room-temperature sauce is unappealing. For this you may want to consider an insulated version or one that has an attached warmer. The insulated versions are practical, especially for longer dinner parties when you need liquids to maintain temperature. The tradeoff is they are not as elegant or charming in aesthetics as other options.

FAQs

Can you use gravy boats for other sauces and dressings? 

Yes, of course! Gravy boats do not need to be single-use tools. They make wonderful maple syrup servers, work well with dressings and broths, and are an elegant addition to any sauced dessert. They function as vessels for any liquid, especially anything poured at the table.

How can you keep gravy warm during your meal?

You have spent hours cooking the perfect holiday meal, and the gravy needs to be hot when your guests pour it lavishly over their mashed potatoes but serving right off the stove is not convenient. The easiest choice is to use an insulated, lidded, carafe. They keep gravy piping hot for hours. 

Other materials offer varying levels of heat retention, but the best method is to get it piping hot before it transitions to the table. Like cheesecake, sauces benefit from water baths. If you have an immersion circulator, use it. If you do not, you can put your gravy in a large glass measuring cup or even a Mason jar and set it in a vessel of very hot water. It delicately heats the gravy throughout. I often use the Mason jar I will store the leftovers in, alleviating one more dish, and they withstand high heat. You can also look for microwaveable gravy boats if you don’t mind getting up from the table to give it a zap when it starts to chill.

Why Trust Simply Recipes?

Carrie Honaker is a food writer who believes there is a sauce for everything. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she has whisked thousands of gravies, dressings, and sauces. She loves her Mason Stoneware Gravy Boat for its classic design and versatility. Her work has appeared in many publications including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.

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