How to Make Gravy

Never struggle to make homemade gravy again! Use our easy gravy recipe with photos and step-by-step instructions. Works for turkey, chicken, pork, or beef.

How to Make Gravy
Elise Bauer

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 from scratch
Elise Bauer

Cornstarch Versus Flour for Gravy

What's the difference between using cornstarch or flour to make your gravy? Cornstarch does have more thickening power than wheat flour (because it's pure starch, while flour has some protein in it). So usually you need a little less cornstarch than flour for the equivalent thickening power.

That said, we are using equal amounts for either flour or cornstarch in this method because we vary the amount of liquid we add and we reduce the gravy by simmering it, to get to the desired thickness.

Cornstarch also has this property that if you cook it in the gravy too long, it will lose its thickening power and the gravy will become thin again. It will also lose some thickness if refrigerated and reheated. If that happens, you'll have to add more cornstarch slurry and heat the gravy to thicken it up again.

If you use flour, you'll want to brown the flour a bit in the fat before adding liquid. Browning adds more flavor to the gravy and gets rid of the raw flour taste. You're basically making a roux.

We find that a flour-based gravy holds up better and reheats better later, which is why we tend to prefer using flour over cornstarch to make gravy unless we have a guest who is eating gluten-free.

How Much Flour or Cornstarch to Use to Make Gravy

Follow this ratio. For each cup of gravy you want, start with 2 tablespoons of drippings and fat, and 2 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 yield about 2 cups of gravy, but you can easily divide or multiply to adjust for how much gravy you want to make.

ladeling gravy
Elise Bauer

Can You Freeze Gravy?

Freeze gravy in freezer-safe containers or zip-top bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. To reheat, place in a pot over medium heat on the stove and cook, whisking, until it reaches a full rolling boil.

Freeze any unused drippings for future shortcut gravy when you're serving things like mashed potatoes or meatloaf.

How Long Can Gravy Be Stored in the Refrigerator?

Store gravy in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, place in a pot over medium heat on the stove and cook, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a full rolling boil.

Lumpy Gravy? Here's a Fix!

If you end up with lumps in the gravy, puree it with an immersion blender right in the pan. Or transfer it to a blender or food processor. Alternately, run it through a strainer and leave the lumps behind.

Making Gravy in a Skillet or Saucepan

This recipe calls for making the gravy directly in a roasting pan, but if your pan won’t fit on the stove or is too shallow to make gravy, you can make it in a skillet or saucepan.

Remove the roast from the pan. Pour the drippings into a measuring cup and transfer 4 tablespoons of the fat, plus the juices and browned drippings, in the saucepan or skillet you'll be using for the gravy. Then, scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the roasting pan with a metal spatula and transfer them to the skillet or saucepan. Don't skip this part. Those brown bits will bring a lot of flavor to the gravy.

Finish they gravy by following the directions in Step 3 and beyond for either flour or cornstarch.

More Recipes Begging for Gravy!

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

How to Make Gravy

Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 18 mins
Servings 8 servings
Yield 2 cups

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°F 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!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fat drippings (see recipe note)

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or cornstarch

  • 3 to 4 cups stock, water, milk, cream, or a combination

Method

  1. Simple Tip!

    If using cornstarch instead of flour, dissolve 4 tablespoons of cornstarch in the minimum amount of water or stock needed to make a thin paste, about 1/2 cup. In Step 4, add the 3 to 4 cups of stock, water, milk, cream, or a combination to the pan and bring it to a simmer. Then whisk the cornstarch mixture into the pan and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

    Remove the roast and the excess fat from the pan:

    Remove the roast from the pan. Remove excess fat leaving 4 tablespoons of fat plus juices and browned drippings in the pan.

  2. Scrape up the drippings and place the pan on the stovetop on medium heat:

    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
    Elise Bauer
  3. Add the flour:

    Sprinkle flour onto the drippings. Quickly stir with a wire whisk so that the flour gets incorporated. 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.)

    making-gravy-method-6
    Elise Bauer
    making-gravy-method-7
    Elise Bauer
  4. Whisk the gravy while slowly adding liquid:

    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, continuing to slowly add liquid until you have about 2 cups of gravy. (You'll probably need to add 3 to 4 cups of liquid.)

  5. Season, if needed:

    Taste first and then add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

how-to-make-gravy-vertical-b-1600
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
115 Calories
8g Fat
7g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 115
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 9mg 3%
Sodium 172mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 130mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.