Learn a few easy tricks to making smooth and savory turkey gravy.
How to Make Turkey Gravy
Step 1: Make the base
- Heat 4 cups of turkey broth, chicken broth, or water–or a combination of broth and water–in a saucepan until hot but not boiling. This will be used as the base of the gravy; you’ll be adding thickened turkey drippings (roux) for your final gravy.
Step 2: Make the roux
- To gather up the turkey drippings, first transfer the cooked turkey from the roasting pan and set it on a cutting board to rest. Remove as much grease or fat as possible from the pan using a spoon, ladle, or gravy separator. Reserve ¼ cup fat.
- Place the roasting pan over two burners on the stove on medium heat. Deglaze the pan by adding ½ cup water or other liquid (wine, turkey, or chicken stock). Stir constantly and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits. Pour off the liquid from the roasting pan into a measuring cup or the saucepan of hot turkey broth.
- Add ¼ cup reserved fat to roasting pan over medium heat. Whisk in ¼ cup all-purpose flour. Cook gently, stirring constantly, until the flour loses its “raw” smell and the mixture becomes golden in color. Cooking the flour enhances the thickening power of the roux and adds color and nutty flavor to the gravy.
Step 3: Combine the base and the roux
- Transfer the roux to a saucepan. Whisk in the hot turkey broth and pan drippings and simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until thickened.
Step 4: Season the gravy
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed gravy boat or serving bowl and garnish with fresh chopped sage. Other herbs and spices may suit your tastes as well; experiment with a pinch of cloves, a sprinkle of thyme, and a touch of mace.
VIDEO: How to Make Turkey Gravy
Want to see how it’s done? Here’s Chef John, sharing his tips for getting the best roast turkey gravy ever. He also shares a secret ingredient that balances out flavors in the gravy.
Avoid the Lumps
The trick to avoiding lumps is to cook together equal parts of flour with a fat, such as clarified butter, vegetable oil or grease. This mixture is known as a roux and serves as a thickener for gravy. As a general rule of thumb, a ½ cup of roux will thicken 4 cups of gravy. (See Making Roux for more information.)
Any type of liquid can be added to a roux to make gravy, including the broth or drippings from beef, pork, or chicken. If you’re roasting a turkey, use the drippings from the roasting pan and turkey broth to make the gravy.
Now that you have the gravy mastered, you’ll need plenty of mashed potatoes. Here’s How to Make Perfect Fluffy Mashed Potatoes.
Got gravy problems? Fix lumpy, thin, or salty gravy: How To Make Your Gravy Great.
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