Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

Rich, dark, and silky, this make-ahead gravy frees you up on turkey day! Learn how to make turkey gravy in advance and, turkey day will be smooth sailing. Be sure to share the recipe with friends and family!

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy in a gravy boat
Sally Vargas

How to Make Gravy in Advance without the Drippings

A typical Thanksgiving scenario: The turkey is out of the oven, and you've just finished making the mashed potatoes. Now, you're scratching your head, trying to remember exactly how Mom made her gravy (Mom cleverly took off for the Caribbean this year. Insult to injury: she took Granny with her).

Meanwhile, the entire family is milling around the kitchen asking how they can help, even though that ship sailed about four hours ago.

This year, however, you're on top of it! No running around with your hair on fire: The gravy you made weeks ago is in the saucepan heating on the stove (or in the microwave!) thanks to a little foresight.

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
Sally Vargas

Video: How to Make Turkey Gravy

1:25

How To Make Turkey Gravy

How to Make Gravy Ahead of Time

I wanted to pack just as much flavor into this make-ahead gravy as you'd get if you were making it after roasting your Thanksgiving turkey. So, I started by roasting some turkey wings with onions, carrots, and celery in the oven. This gives the stock you'll make, and the resulting gravy, a deep, roasted flavor.

After roasting, transfer the wings and vegetables to a stock pot, deglaze the roasting pan with chicken broth, and simmer with more broth to make an ultra-rich stock for your gravy.

While it definitely takes some time to roast the vegetables and make this stock, you'll be rewarded with the most flavorful gravy you've ever made. Also, this whole process is more hands-off time than actual work -- in other words, you can catch up on binge watching your favorite show while the stock is simmering.

After cooking down the stock, you can either leave it to chill overnight, so the fat solidifies, or skim off the fat immediately to make the gravy.

How Long Does Turkey Gravy Keep?

You can refrigerate your finished gravy for up to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 4 months.

How to Reheat Gravy?

When ready to serve, just reheat the gravy in a saucepan. There's no need to thaw: frozen gravy can be reheated on the stove-top over low heat, covered with a lid. And the good news: frozen gravy made without milk or cream (like this gravy) should not separate upon reheating.

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
Sally Vargas

Why Use Bone Broth in Turkey Gravy?

Let's be clear: this isn't just any gravy. When you use turkey parts in combination with bone broth, the resulting gravy is rich, dark and silky, with a glorious deep brown sheen.

While many people love sipping on nourishing bone broth, it's also great to add to your favorite soups, stews, and gravy, thanks to its impressive depth of flavor.

What to Do with Leftover Stock?

This method makes 1 to 2 cups more stock than you will need to make 6 cups of gravy. If you want to make less gravy, adjust the proportions of stock to flour and fat according to your needs, but make all of the stock.

The extra stock can be frozen for up to 4 months, or refrigerated for up to 5 days. It also comes in handy for last minute gravy or stuffing adjustments.

More Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes!

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 40 mins
Servings 18 to 20 servings
Yield 6 cups

Ingredients

For the stock:

  • 2 large turkey wings (about 4 pounds), or 4 pounds bone-in turkey thighs

  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch chunks

  • 3 mediumcarrots,scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 quarts chicken or turkey broth

  • 3 cups water

  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley

  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

For the gravy:

  • 1/2 cup reserved turkey fat

  • 1/2 cup flour

  • 4 cups turkey stock (above), plus more if needed

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Roast the turkey wings and vegetables:

    Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a roasting pan, combine the turkey, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sprinkle the oil, and toss with your hands to coat the turkey and vegetables.

    Roast the turkey and vegetables, tossing and flipping occasionally, for up to 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat and vegetables are well browned.

    Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
    Sally Vargas
    Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
    Sally Vargas
  2. Make the stock:

    Transfer the turkey, onions, carrots, celery and garlic to a large pot.

    Pour 2 cups of the bone broth into the bottom of the roasting pan and set the pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir with a flat wooden spoon to scrape up and release the brown bits.

    Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
    Sally Vargas

    Pour the broth, including any accumulated fat from the pan or vegetables that stuck to the bottom, into the pot with the turkey and vegetables. Add the remaining bone broth, water, parsley, thyme and bay leaf.

    Bring the stock to a boil over medium heat. Adjust the heat, so the stock maintains a gentle simmer. Simmer for 2 hours.

  3. Strain the stock:

    With tongs, remove the turkey wings and discard the skin and bones. (If the meat is not too dry, you can refrigerate it and use it in soup later.)

    Set a large strainer over a large container, and strain the stock into it. When the stock settles, skim off the fat with a ladle, transfer it to a bowl, and reserve it for making the gravy.

    Alternatively, if time permits, refrigerate the stock overnight. The fat solidifies and is easier to remove. Also, don’t be surprised if your stock turns into jelly overnight in the fridge. That’s a good thing!

    Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
    Sally Vargas
  4. Make the gravy:

    Reheat the stock if you have refrigerated it overnight.

    Spoon 1/2 cup of the reserved turkey fat into a large saucepan and set the pan over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour, and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes to cook the flour.

    Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
    Sally Vargas

    Slowly add 4 cups of stock while whisking the roux. Simmer, whisking often, until thickened, another 2 to 5 minutes.

    Add additional stock, if you like, to bring the gravy to the consistency you prefer. Add the salt and pepper and taste. Add more salt and pepper to your liking.

    Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
    Sally Vargas
  5. Freeze or refrigerate the gravy:

    Let the gravy cool for about 30 minutes and transfer it to a storage container.

    Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 4 months. Reheat in a saucepan when ready to use. Frozen gravy made without milk or cream should not separate upon reheating.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
270 Calories
14g Fat
7g Carbs
28g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 18 to 20
Amount per serving
Calories 270
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 572mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 39mg 3%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 382mg 8%
*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.