Making gravy from turkey or chicken drippings is an essential culinary skill – especially for the holidays. Today, I’m going to share with you how to make gravy from drippings for a delicious, flavorful gravy that is way better than anything you can get out of a can!
Homemade Gravy from Drippings
While canned or packaged gravy can be good for lots of things – impromptu hot chicken sandwiches, adding into a crockpot recipe, or (my daughter’s favorite) a quick weekend batch of poutine – the one time that canned gravy is an absolute travesty is during the holidays.
If you’re already roasting meat, whether it be a chicken, turkey, duck, or even a roast, you already have most of what you need to create a delicious, flavorful homemade gravy. And even better? It only takes about 5 minutes!
Yup, those often-discarded fatty drippings that melt off the meat and drop into the pan are packed with all of the flavor you need for a mouth-watering, brown gravy.
This recipe is pretty classic and can be modified to whatever meat you are serving. You can also add your favorite seasonings, though that isn’t necessary if you seasoned your meat well.
I sometimes like to add a hit of acidity and heat by adding a couple ounces of the brine/juice that canned peppers are stored in – like banana peppers or pepperoncini peppers, but that’s not really authentic. It’s more a fun thing to do for a Sunday supper rather than a holiday meal when everyone is looking forward to “the classsics.”
Can I make this gravy in advance? While you can make this gravy in advance and warm it up, I find it’s always a bit thicker after it’s set, so be prepared to add a bit more broth or water to thin out the gravy. I would try to make it no more than 2 days in advance for the best texture and flavor, but it can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
Can this gravy be frozen? Yes! Store in airtight freezer containers or zip-top bags for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw completely before reheating.
How can I make gravy without drippings? If you’ve accidentally thrown out your drippings, or are just unable to use them, you can still make from-scratch brown gravy. In this case, you’re going to want to make a “roux” to replace the flavorful base of the gravy by sautéing some onion and garlic in butter, and then adding flour or cornstarch once the vegetables are browned. Cook The Story has a full tutorial on how to make gravy without drippings here.
How can I make this gravy more flavorful? I like to add a hit of acidity with a tablespoon or two of the brine from a jar of pepperoncini peppers. You can alternatively add your favorite seasonings – whether poultry seasoning, some homemade cajun seasoning, etc. Some people like to make a base of chopped vegetables like peppers, onions and garlic and then strain their gravy through a fine-mesh sieve.
Personally, I think if you’ve seasoned the meat that the drippings are rendered from well, you won’t need to add much additional seasoning to the gravy.
I’ve had a lot of questions about where I got the orange ceramic gravy boat seen in the pictures here – unfortunately, the store that I bought it from no longer makes them but I was able to find a similar pitcher here that would work well. (I prefer to serve my gravy in a gravy boat or small pitcher for ease.)
More Thanksgiving Recipes
- Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
- Anthony Bourdain’s Cranberry Orange Relish
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Streusel Topping
- Roast Turkey Breast
- Maple Pecan Pie
- One Hour Dinner Rolls
- Easy Baked Hasselback Potatoes
Ingredients for Homemade Gravy
- Beef or chicken broth (grab our recipe for homemade chicken broth here)
- Onion, minced (optional)
- Garlic, minced (optional)
- Olive oil (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Addition seasonings, as desired
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: if you don’t have quite enough of the drippings, you can add butter or another solid fat (duck fat, pork lard) to help reach the 2 cup mark – or just reduce the recipe increments.
Tip #2: I also like to add a hit of the acidic juice from a can of peppers if I already have them in the fridge – whether pepperoncini or banana peppers.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Gravy boats <– so much easier for serving and a pretty addition to your holiday table
How to Make Homemade Gravy
If using onion and garlic, sautee with 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. (This is a good idea if you didn’t use a lot of seasoning on your turkey to contribute to a more flavorful dripping.)
Scrape the drippings from your roasting pan and push through a fine mesh sieve to remove any leftover pieces of turkey. Add to the saucepan.
Heat until the drippings are hot, about 2 minutes, and then whisk in the flour.
Allow to cook, whisking occasionally, for 2 minutes.
Whisk in your broth until you achieve your desired consistency.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.
Grab your free printable for our easy homemade gravy recipe:
- 2 cups drippings
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 1-2 cups beef or chicken broth
- 1/2 onion, minced (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- If using onion and garlic, sautee with 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. (This is a good idea if you didn't use a lot of seasoning on your turkey to contribute to a more flavorful dripping.)
- Scrape the drippings from your roasting pan and push through a fine mesh sieve to remove any leftover pieces of turkey. Add to the saucepan.
- Heat until the drippings are hot, about 2 minutes, and then whisk in the flour.
- Allow to cook, whisking occasionally, for 2 minutes.
- Whisk in your broth until you achieve your desired consistency.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.
Tip: if you don't have quite enough of the drippings, you can add butter or another solid fat (duck fat, pork lard) to help reach the 2 cup mark - or just reduce the recipe increments.
Tip #2: I also like to add a hit of the acidic juice from a can of peppers if I already have them in the fridge - whether pepperoncini or banana peppers.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 189mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 16g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
This simple homemade gravy is easy and quick enough to whip up for any meal, but still tastes special enough for the holidays.