While the turkey is roasting, it releases tons of concentrated flavors into the pan. Learn how to turn the pan drippings into a rich, flavorful homemade turkey gravy.
Turkey gravy is the glue that binds the Thanksgiving meal together, and can improve almost everything on the plate. Even if the turkey comes out a little dry, the potatoes a bit lumpy, and the stuffing a tad bland, a drizzle of homemade turkey gravy can fix it all and save the meal.
How to Make Turkey Gravy
Once you have roasted the turkey, it’s time to prepare the side dishes and make the gravy while the bird rests. This classic turkey gravy comes together in just 15-minutes.
You can find the full, printable recipe at the bottom of the page, but these are the steps to make a flavorful turkey gravy quickly using the pan drippings, flour, and seasoning.
Step 1: Extract the Pan Drippings
After removing the roasted turkey from the oven, use a turkey baster to suck out about a cup of pan drippings from the bottom of the roaster. Be careful, the drippings will be hot. Squirt the drippings into a heat-resistant measuring cup, and set aside to allow the fat to rise to the top. Cover the turkey and let it rest while you prepare the gravy.
Step 2: Make the Roux
Skim off 1/4 cup of the fat from the drippings and add it to a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Use the turkey baster to suck out the fat, or tilt the measuring cup, and spoon the oil layer at the top.
Once the fat is hot, add flour, and cook while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the flour begins to browns and smell toasted.
Step 3: Add the Pan Drippings
Skim and discard any remaining fat from the measuring cup, strain the drippings though a fine-mesh strainer, and add turkey stock or water to measure 2 cups.
To prevent lumps, is important that the drippings are still warm before adding to the roux. If it has cooled down, heat it briefly in the microwave.
Gradually add the warm turkey drippings to the saucepan while stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add the poultry seasoning, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and continue to stir and cook until thickened and bubbly. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste.
That’s it! You’ve made homemade turkey gravy from scratch. This recipe makes about 2 cups of gravy, enough for generously drizzling on about 8 plates filled with turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing.
Tips for Avoiding Lumpy Gravy
Make sure your turkey stock and drippings are warm before adding the roux so everything combines well. If you are using prepared turkey stock, heat it before adding to the pan, and whisk vigorously until combined and smooth.
If you end up with lumpy gravy anyway, simply strain the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve before serving.
Turkey Gravy without Drippings
If you are making turkey gravy without the drippings, use homemade or store bought turkey broth or stock, and replace the fat from the pan gravy with 1/4 cup of butter.
Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
You can make gravy ahead of time and simply reheat at serving time. Since you won’t have the turkey pan drippings to work with, grab some turkey legs or wings at the grocery store, make a turkey stock early in the week, refrigerate to separate the fat from the stock, and proceed with the recipe.
Turkey gravy can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight and reheat slowly over low heat while stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from separating.
Homemade Turkey Gravy
- 1/4 cup fat from pan drippings
- 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 cups turkey stock or a combo of meat juices and water
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- After roasting the turkey, use a turkey baster to pull out about one cup of the pan drippings, and squirt it into a large measuring cup. Set aside to let the fat rise to the top.
- Skim off 1/4 cup of the fat and add to a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. To skim, tilt the measuring cup, and spoon of the oil layer at the top.
- When the fat is hot, sprinkle in the flour, and cook while stirring, for a few minutes until golden in color, about 2 minutes.
- Skim and discard any remaining fat from the measuring cup, and add turkey stock or water to measure 2 cups. To prevent lumps, is important that the drippings mixture is still warm before adding to the roux. If it has cooled down, heat it briefly in the microwave.
- Gradually add to the saucepan and whisk constantly to combine and prevent lumps.
- Add the poultry seasoning, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk and cook until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, and keep warm until you are ready to serve. Makes about 2 cups of gravy, about 8 servings.
- Too Thick: Add a splash of warm water or turkey stock.
- Too Thin: Combine equal parts softened butter and flour, and then whisk into the boiling gravy.
- Too Lumpy: Strain the gravy through a fine-mesh strainer.
- Too Bland: Add more salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning to taste.
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