The Only Gravy Recipe You'll Ever Need (2024)

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With our recipe, you'll never struggle to make delicious homemade gravy again.

By

Elise Bauer

The Only Gravy Recipe You'll Ever Need (1)

Elise Bauer

Elise founded Simply Recipes in 2003 and led the site until 2019. She has an MA in Food Research from Stanford University.

Learn about Simply Recipes'Editorial Process

Updated March 04, 2024

17 Ratings

The Only Gravy Recipe You'll Ever Need (2)

In This Recipe

There are lots of ways to make gravy from a roast. Some can get rather complicated. What we do is simple. You can easily build a luscious, lip smacking gravy from the pan drippings!

As soon as the roast is done cooking, we remove it to a cutting board to rest. While the roast is resting, we place the roasting pan and all of the drippings it contains on the stovetop and start making the gravy.

We’ll use either cornstarch or flour to thicken the gravy, the process is similar for both.

The Only Gravy Recipe You'll Ever Need (3)

Cornstarch Versus Flour for Gravy

What's the difference between using cornstarch or flour to make your gravy? Cornstarch does have more thickening power than wheat flour (because it's pure starch, while flour has some protein in it). So usually you need a little less cornstarch than flour for the equivalent thickening power.

That said, we are using equal amounts for either flour or cornstarch in this method because we vary the amount of liquid we add and we reduce the gravy by simmering it, to get to the desired thickness.

Cornstarch also has this property that if you cook it in the gravy too long, it will lose its thickening power and the gravy will become thin again. It will also lose some thickness if refrigerated and reheated. If that happens, you'll have to add more cornstarch slurry and heat the gravy to thicken it up again.

If you use flour, you'll want to brown the flour a bit in the fat before adding liquid. Browning adds more flavor to the gravy and gets rid of the raw flour taste. You're basically making a roux.

We find that a flour-based gravy holds up better and reheats better later, which is why we tend to prefer using flour over cornstarch to make gravy unless we have a guest who is eating gluten-free.

The Only Gravy Recipe You'll Ever Need (4)

How Much Flour or Cornstarch to Use to Make Gravy

Follow this ratio. For each cup of gravy you want, start with 2 tablespoons of drippings and fat, and 2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch. (This will produce a rich and thick gravy. If you would like a thinner gravy, either start with one tablespoon each of drippings and starch, or add more liquid to thin the gravy.)

So, if you want to make 2 cups of gravy, remove all but 4 tablespoons of fat and drippings from the roasting pan (set aside for future use).

These instructions will yield about 2 cups of gravy, but you can easily divide or multiply to adjust for how much gravy you want to make.

The Only Gravy Recipe You'll Ever Need (5)

Can You Freeze Gravy?

Freeze gravy in freezer-safe containers or zip-top bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. To reheat, place in a pot over medium heat on the stove and cook, whisking, until it reaches a full rolling boil.

Freeze any unused drippings for future shortcut gravy when you're serving things like mashed potatoes or meatloaf.

How Long Can Gravy Be Refrigerated?

Store gravy in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, place in a pot over medium heat on the stove and cook, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a full rolling boil.

Lumpy Gravy? Here's a Fix!

If you end up with lumps in the gravy, puree it with an immersion blender right in the pan. Or transfer it to a blender or food processor. Alternately, run it through a strainer and leave the lumps behind.

Making Gravy in a Skillet or Saucepan

This recipe calls for making the gravy directly in a roasting pan, but if your pan won’t fit on the stove or is too shallow to make gravy, you can make it in a skillet or saucepan.

Remove the roast from the pan. Pour the drippings into a measuring cup and transfer 4 tablespoons of the fat in the saucepan or skillet you'll be using for the gravy (reserve the extra fat and juices).

Then, scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the roasting pan with a metal spatula and transfer them to the skillet or saucepan. Don't skip this part. Those brown bits will bring a lot of flavor to the gravy.

Finish they gravy by following the directions in Step 3 and beyond for either flour or cornstarch. Don't forget to add the savory pan juices to your gravy for an extra flavor boost.

More Recipes Begging for Gravy!

  • Mom's Roast Turkey
  • Roast Chicken With Carrots
  • Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
  • Hot Turkey Sandwich
  • Turkey Meatloaf

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

How to Make Gravy

Prep Time3 mins

Cook Time15 mins

Total Time18 mins

Servings8 servings

Yield2 cups

When you cook a roast, whether it's turkey, chicken, beef, or lamb, you should end up with plenty of browned drippings and fat from the roast when it's finished.

The "drippings" are browned juicesand fat. All of the flavor a gravy you make from the drippings comes from those browned bits. You need fat as a base for the gravy.

If you have pan juices, but they haven't browned at the bottom of the pan after the roast is done, you can put the empty pan back in the oven. Set the temp to 450°F or 500°F and cook until the juices evaporate and begin to bubble and brown at the bottom of the pan.

In this approach to making gravy, we break up the drippings as well as we can with a whisk but don't worry about any browned bits in the gravy itself. If you want, you can pulse the gravy in a blender to make it smoother, but we never bother. The browned bits are the best part!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fat drippings (see recipe note)

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or cornstarch

  • 3 to 4 cups stock, water, milk, cream, or a combination

Method

Making Gravy With Flour

  1. Remove all but 1/4 cup of fat from pan:

    Remove the roast from the pan. Remove excess fat leaving 4 tablespoon of fat plus juices and browned drippings in the pan.

  2. Scrape up the drippings and place the pan on the stovetop on medium heat:

    Use a metal spatula to scrape up any drippings that are sticking to the pan. Place the pan on the stovetop on medium high heat.

    If you are using a roasting pan that won't work well on the stovetop, scrape up all of the drippings and fat and put into a large shallow sauté pan.

    The Only Gravy Recipe You'll Ever Need (6)

  3. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of flour onto the drippings:

    Quickly stir with a wire whisk so that the flour gets incorporated. Let the flour brown a bit if you want, before adding liquid in the next step.

    (You can also start with a slurry of flour and water—equal amounts flour and cold water whisked together—if you want.)

    The Only Gravy Recipe You'll Ever Need (7)

    The Only Gravy Recipe You'll Ever Need (8)

  4. Whisk the gravy while slowly adding liquid:

    Slowly add stock, water, milk, cream, or a combination to the pan, whisking vigorously to dissolve the flour into liquid.

    Allow the gravy to simmer and thicken, continuing to slowly add liquid until you have about 2 cups of gravy. (You'll probably need to add 3 to 4 cups of liquid.)

  5. Taste and season:

    Taste first and then add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

Making Gravy With Cornstarch

  1. Remove all but 1/4 cup of fat from the pan:

    Remove the roast from the pan. Remove excess fat leaving 4 tablespoons of fat plus juices and browned drippings in the pan.

  2. Scrape up the drippings and place the pan over medium heat:

    Use a metal spatula to scrape up any drippings that are sticking to the pan. Place the pan on the stovetop on medium high heat.

    If you are using a roasting pan that won't work well on the stovetop, scrape up all of the drippings and fat and put into a large shallow sauté pan.

  3. Make the cornstarch slurry:

    Dissolve 4 tablespoons of cornstarch in the minimum amount of water needed to make a thin paste—about 1/2 cup.

  4. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the pan and whisk while slowly adding liquid:

    Stir with a wire whisk until the gravy begins to thicken. As the gravy thickens, slowly add stock, water, milk, or cream, or some combination to the pan (I like to use stock, my mother usually uses water).

    Alternate stirring and adding liquid, maintaining the consistency you want, for several minutes (about 5 minutes).

    You will probably add about 3 to 4 cups of liquid all together. Taking into consideration the evaporation that is occurring while the gravy is simmering, you will end up with about 2 cups of gravy.

    If the gravy isn't thick enough, make more cornstarch slurry and whisk it into the pan.

  5. Taste and season:

    Taste first and then add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

    Did you enjoy this recipe? Let us know with a rating and review!

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
115Calories
8g Fat
7g Carbs
3g Protein

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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories115
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g10%
Saturated Fat 2g12%
Cholesterol 9mg3%
Sodium 172mg7%
Total Carbohydrate 7g3%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg1%
Calcium 4mg0%
Iron 0mg2%
Potassium 130mg3%
*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.

The Only Gravy Recipe You'll Ever Need (2024)

FAQs

What is the formula for gravy? ›

A traditional roux uses roughly an equal amount of flour and fat, but gravies often call for a bit more flour than that, to ensure the gravy is thick enough. (The classic ratio for gravy is three:two:one, so 3 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons fat, and 1 cup of hot stock.)

Can you make gravy with just flour and water? ›

(You can also start with a slurry of flour and water—equal amounts flour and cold water whisked together—if you want.) Whisk the gravy while slowly adding liquid: Slowly add stock, water, milk, cream, or a combination to the pan, whisking vigorously to dissolve the flour into liquid.

Is it better to make gravy with flour or cornstarch? ›

Making a roux with flour and butter “boosts flavor and gives the gravy a silky texture and rich flavor,” she says. Flour also gives the gravy a traditional opaque look, she adds, whereas cornstarch will make the gravy shiny and clear.

What can you add to homemade gravy to make it taste better? ›

Bonus: Seasoning for Tasty Gravy

I only season my homemade gravy with salt and pepper, and it's delicious! If you want to add more spices, avoid anything with large pieces (such as dried rosemary) to keep gravy smooth. Thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, paprika, and oregano all taste great.

What to add to gravy to make it better? ›

Soft, fragrant, sautéed vegetables lend a sweet, earthy, warm flavor to your store-bought gravy. Use any combination of onions, leeks, shallots, celery, carrots, and mushrooms cooked in butter, olive oil, or pan drippings. When the veggies are sufficiently sautéed, stir in your jarred gravy and simmer on low.

What happens if you put too much flour in gravy? ›

Gravy gets a jelly-like texture due to too much thickener. Too much flour, for instance, can result in a gummy consistency (particularly when left overnight in the fridge). Reheating with additional liquid can often help soften things up.

What happens if you use self raising flour in gravy? ›

Can I substitute self-rising flour for all purpose flours for making gravy? - Quora. Yes you can—with no change in outcome. Self-rising flour adds baking powder (which in a “closed” loaf cause a cake or biscuits or other bread to rise due to the generation of CO2 when heated.)

What happens if you put too much cornstarch in gravy? ›

It should look like gravy. So if you added too much cornstarch, you can always dilute it. with a little bit more chicken stock or water. If you're thinking it too much, it looks like pudding.

What thickener is best for gravy? ›

Similar to flour, cornstarch is another ingredient that can be used to make gravy thicker. With cornstarch, making a slurry is also an option, but with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch whisked into cold water. Again, you'll want to add the slurry in increments so you don't over-thicken the gravy.

How do you add richness to gravy? ›

Milk and cream add richness and flavor; they can round out or mellow any sharper flavors that develop along the way. Finishing a sauce or gravy with butter will thicken the gravy and add a velvety texture—a surefire way to up your gravy game.

What is the best ingredient to thicken gravy? ›

If your gravy is on the skimpy side, you can thicken it quickly with flour or cornstarch. But don't add your thickener directly to the gravy, which will create lumps. Instead, try stirring in three or four tablespoons of flour or cornstarch into a small amount of cold water until you have a smooth paste.

Why is my gravy not tasty? ›

If the gravy lacks oomph, adjust seasoning as necessary with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. If you used canned stock instead of homemade, the gravy might not be as flavorful. Homemade stock, even made with chicken stock rather than turkey, will produce a superior gravy—so it's worth the effort.

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