Homemade Gravy Recipe (with or without Pan Drippings)
The easiest homemade gravy recipe can be made with or without pan drippings! Scratch gravy uses mostly pantry staple ingredients, like flour and butter. This warm gravy is absolutely delicious poured over turkey, mashed potatoes, homemade biscuits, and so much more!
Gravy is the liquid gold of the food world.
It’s the perfect thing to elevate your Sunday roast. Extra delicious on fluffy mashed potatoes. It also happens to be quick and easy to make with our without pan drippings. Most gravy recipes don’t have that deep, rich umami flavor that makes it taste homemade. I like to add a couple of simple pantry staple ingredients to really elevate it. So even if you don’t have pan drippings, you can make this.
Ingredients for making homemade gravy:
- Pan drippings or stock: Pan drippings from a freshly roasted chicken, turkey, or roast are the juices collected at the bottom of a roasting pan. I use a fat separator to remove the fat and use the liquid drippings if there is a big oil slick on top. But this isn’t always the case. Add enough stock to make the full 2½ cups of liquid we need for this recipe.
- Sauces: You’ll need Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Both of these sauces add umami to the gravy recipe. The complexity of these ingredients helps flavor the gravy and give it that from-scratch taste!
- Bouillon Cube: You can use chicken or beef bouillon depending on the type of gravy you’re making.
- Butter: Butter and flour are the bases for our roux. About half of the butter can also be replaced with the fat from the pan drippings if you’ve got those on hand.
- All-Purpose Flour: Flour gets whisked into butter to create a roux. The roux is what thickens the gravy and adds body.
- Seasonings + Herbs: I use pantry staples like garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, kosher salt, and white pepper. If you don’t happen to have white pepper on hand, you can replace it with black pepper. I find that white pepper not only adds a more delicious flavor but it also makes the gravy look better! I also like to add a bouquet garni (just a fancy way of saying fresh herbs tied with kitchen twine) to the gravy as it simmers. This is my secret to giving a gravy that may not have been made with pan drippings that delicious, rich flavor! I use fresh sage, thyme, and rosemary sprigs and let them simmer in the gravy for a few minutes while it thickens.
- Heavy Cream: Some people use a pat of butter at the end to add shine. I’ve always added a tablespoon of cream right at the end. It won’t make your gravy creamy, but it will add that little spark that makes the flavors dance on your tongue! Feel free to omit this if you’re making a brown gravy recipe (using beef stock.) I’ve always added this to poultry gravies and it’s always such a hit!
How do you make gravy from scratch?
- Collect the pan drippings and make stock. Start by gathering any pan drippings you may have. If you don’t have any, just add the required amount of stock to a large measuring cup along with Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and the bouillon cube. Zap the stock in the microwave just long enough for the bouillon to melt into the stock. Set this aside for now.
- Making a roux from scratch. Add the butter (or fat collected from a roast) to a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the butter melts, sprinkle the flour, onion, garlic powder, and cayenne into the butter and whisk it. Allow the flour to cook in the butter for 1-2 minutes. You want to cook out the raw flavor from the flour and also want it to develop just a hint of brown color. You’ll know it’s done when it smells slightly nutty and deepens in color a tad bit. Then in a steady stream, pour half of the stock into the butter and flour mixture as you continue to whisk. You want to do this until no lumps remain in the gravy. Then add the remaining liquid. At this point, you can add the tied herbs and allow the gravy to simmer, and bring it to a boil. This will take about 3-5 minutes.
- Let’s make gravy. Then fish out the herbs (or leave them in till the end, your call) and stir in the heavy cream. Allow the gravy to cook for another 30 seconds before removing the pot from the burner. Serve over chicken, turkey, pork chops, mashed potatoes, or anything else you’d like!
How much flour do you use in a gravy recipe?
The flour to butter ratio for homemade gravy is 1:1. So for every tablespoon of flour you use, you’ll need 1 tablespoon of butter as well. Keep in mind that this isn’t a baking recipe, so you want to use the scoop and level method here. I usually just fluff the flour with a spoon and dip my 1/4 cup measure and fill it to the top. Then, just run a knife along the top to even it out.
How do you keep gravy warm until serving time?
If you are making the gravy recipe for a holiday gathering to serve alongside a Christmas roast, or a Thanksgiving turkey, you can simply store the gravy until you’re ready to use it. For a couple of years now, I’ve been making the gravy 1-2 hours ahead of serving time and storing it in the carafe. Simply transfer to a gravy boat when you’re ready to serve. You can also just serve it right from the carafe.
How to serve a homemade gravy recipe:
- Over a bed of mashed potatoes! I have a few different kinds to try! These asiago and roasted garlic, my quick 20 minute mashed potatoes, and of course, everyone’s favorite cheddar mashed potatoes.
- Over roasted chicken: 1-hour whole roasted chicken is ready in no time and you even get pan drippings out of the deal! There’s also my oven rotisserie chicken, and herb butter spatchcock chicken which would all work well with this gravy recipe.
- With fried chicken. A crispy fried chicken, with homemade mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, buttermilk biscuits, and coleslaw, would be the ultimate southern comfort food feast!
- With Thanksgiving Turkey: You can use the pan drippings from a homemade turkey if you’d like or you can even make the turkey gravy ahead of time and just use store-bought turkey stock/broth. Who doesn’t want their entire thanksgiving plate doused in gravy?
- Make beef gravy for seared steak. You can swap the stock and bouillon cube for beef and make beef gravy with this same recipe. It would be delicious over my garlic butter steak.
- Over appetizers and other potatoes! My homemade mashed potato balls would be so delicious dipped in this gravy recipe. And I honestly could even have this on baked potatoes.
Other holiday recipes:
- 19 Thanksgiving Sides + Everything You Need to Host Thanksgiving
- The Best Creamed Spinach
- Roasted Honeynut Squash Risotto
- Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Drip Biscuits
- Irresistibly Delicious Green Bean Casserole
- Roasted Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
- 2 ½ cups pan-drippings or stock (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: Worcestershire sauce AND low sodium soy sauce
- 1 chicken bouillon cube (or beef for brown gravy)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (see notes)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- A few sprigs sage, rosemary, and thyme (see notes)
- Pinch of cayenne, optional
- Kosher salt + white pepper
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream, optional
- MAKE STOCK: Add the Worcestershire, soy sauce, and bouillon cube into the stock and microwave until the liquid is warm enough for the bouillon to dissolve; stir to combine.
- ROUX: Add the butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne (if using) and cook the flour for 1-2 minutes to cook out the rawness. Then, in a steady stream as you whisk, pour in half of the stock. Continue to whisk until smooth. Then pour the rest in and whisk until no lumps remain. Add the herbs (tied with kitchen twine) to the gravy.
- YOU'VE GOT GRAVY: Allow the gravy to heat through and thicken, about 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust with salt (if it needs it) pepper, and cayenne as desired. Fish out the herbs. Stir the cream into the gravy. Serve warm over chicken, mashed potatoes, turkey, chops, or anything else you’d like!
- Pan drippings can be from roasted turkey, chicken, beef, or even lamb. Pour what you have into a measuring cup and add enough low sodium stock (chicken, turkey, or beef) to make 2½ cups. If you don’t have pan drippings, use 2 ½ cups low sodium stock.
- Fat drippings from a roast can replace up to 2 tablespoons of the butter. Be sure to use a fat separator to ensure that it’s just fat that you’re adding when making the roux!
- Fresh herbs If you don’t happen to have fresh herbs on hand, just replace them with ½ teaspoon of dried thyme when adding the onion/garlic powder. If you use fresh herbs, I tie them together with kitchen twine so that you can fish them out quickly.