How to Make Turkey Gravy

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Making a rich, flavorful turkey gravy is a must for enhancing your Thanksgiving feast or any meal featuring roasted turkey. Here's a detailed guide on how to create the perfect turkey gravy from scratch, including what you’ll need and step-by-step instructions.


  • Pan drippings from a roasted turkey
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (if needed)
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of low-sodium chicken or turkey stock (additional may be needed for desired consistency)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional extras: minced garlic, chopped herbs (such as thyme, sage, or rosemary), a splash of white wine, or a pinch of smoked paprika for added depth


  • Large skillet or saucepan
  • Wooden spoon or whisk
  • Fine mesh strainer (optional)
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Fat separator (optional)


  1. Collect the Drippings: After your turkey has finished roasting, remove it from the roasting pan and set it aside to rest. Pour the drippings from the pan into a heatproof bowl or measuring cup. The drippings are a mixture of fat and turkey juices that have cooked off during roasting and are packed with flavor.

  2. Separate Fat from Juices: Allow the drippings to settle for a few minutes so the fat rises to the top. Using a spoon, skim off the fat and reserve it. If you have a fat separator, pour the drippings into it, let the fat rise, and then pour off the juices, keeping the fat separated.

  3. Make the Roux: Heat a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the reserved fat (topping up with butter if you don’t have enough fat) to make up about 4 tablespoons. Once melted and hot, sprinkle the flour over the fat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk, cooking the mixture until it forms a golden-brown paste, about 3 to 4 minutes. This cooked mixture of fat and flour is called a roux, which will thicken your gravy and add a rich flavor.

  4. Deglaze and Add Liquids: If you're adding wine, pour it in now, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, which will add more flavor. Gradually add the reserved turkey juices and the chicken or turkey stock, whisking constantly to incorporate the roux smoothly with the liquids. Make sure there are no lumps.

  5. Season and Simmer: Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the gravy, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until it has thickened to your liking. If your gravy seems too thick, you can thin it with additional stock or water. Season with salt, pepper, and any additional herbs or spices at this point. Remember, the flavor intensifies as it cooks, so add seasonings gradually and taste often.

  6. Strain and Serve: For an ultra-smooth gravy, strain it through a fine mesh strainer into a serving bowl or gravy boat. This step is optional but recommended if you want to ensure all lumps and bits are removed. Check the seasoning one last time before serving and adjust if necessary.

  7. Additional Flavoring Tips: Enhance your gravy by sautéing a couple of cloves of minced garlic in the fat before adding the flour, or by stirring in finely chopped herbs just before serving. A splash of cream added at the end can also impart a luxurious richness.

This process yields a homemade turkey gravy that’s rich in flavor, silky in texture, and a perfect complement to the succulent meat of your roasted turkey. By using the pan drippings, you capture all the essence of the bird, and with proper seasoning, create a condiment that enhances but doesn’t overshadow the main star of your meal.

In sum, making turkey gravy from scratch is about building layers of flavor from the turkey itself and the aromatics you choose to include. Each step from making the roux to the final seasoning is an opportunity to customize your gravy to suit the tastes of your family and guests. Enjoy your cooking and have a wonderful feast!