Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

Say goodbye to last minute holiday stress with our simple make-ahead turkey gravy! Friends and family will be asking for the recipe for days to come, and you'll be patting yourself on the back for planning ahead.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups


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 medium carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 quarts chicken or turkey broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 fresh sprigs parsley
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 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
  • few grinds fresh black pepper


1 Roast the turkey wings and vegetables: Preheat the oven to 450ºF. In a roasting pan, combine the turkey, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sprinkle with the oil, and toss with your hands to coat with the oil.

Roast the turkey and vegetables, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat and vegetables are well browned.

Make Ahead Turkey GravyMake Ahead Turkey Gravy

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

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

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

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

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, if you like.

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

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 like this gravy should not separate upon reheating.