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Make rich, savory Thanksgiving gravy with this easy trick

With these simple tips and tricks, your gravy will be the star of your Thanksgiving table

Mashed potatoes and gravy
Alice Day / Shutterstock

The condiment of all condiments — Thanksgiving gravy. If you’re anything like me, this deliciously savory sauce is for so much more than just the turkey and mashed potatoes. Everything on my Thanksgiving plate tends to get an enormously generous slathering of gravy, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

But perfecting the art of Thanksgiving gravy can be a tricky task. The road is full of many potential pitfalls — drippy and runny consistency, starchy lumps, and lack of flavor. We’ve all experienced these little Thanksgiving turkey travesties and they’re heartbreaking. Gravy should be nothing short of velvety smooth, rich and savory,packed-with-flavor perfection. So let’s learn how to make that happen.

Hot brown organic turkey gravy in a boat
Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Turkey gravy tips and tricks

  • For some reason, people are intimidated by making a roux. This is arguably the most flavorful and most effective way to thicken a sauce or soup, and when you have it down, it’s an absolute breeze to make. The trick to getting it right every time is to use equal parts butter and flour, and to make sure the butter is completely melted before adding in the flour. The longer you cook a roux, the more flavorful it will become; just be careful not to take it too far or it may become bitter.
  • Of course, the final flavor of your gravy will mostly depend on the flavors you’ve incorporated into your turkey. If you’ve used a lot of herbs and citrus, those will transfer beautifully to your gravy, so be sure to flavor your bird!
  • Acid is your friend when it comes to gravy. There’s a reason citrus is one of the most commonly used ingredients when roasting poultry. It’s delicious. Be generous in adding lemon (or even grapefruit or orange) juice to your gravy for an added zip of flavor.
  • Your roux should give you a velvety smooth gravy, but if for some reason, you end up with lumps, worry not. You can simply strain your gravy through a fine-mesh sieve and no one will be the wiser.
A giblet gravy in a gravy boat on a table cloth, surrounded by various dishes
Brent Hofacker / Adobe Stock

Turkey gravy recipe

This Thanksgiving gravy recipe is delicious as is, but it also creates a perfect base for any additional flavors you want to incorporate. If your gravy could use a bit more flavor, simply look to what you used to season the turkey. Adding in some herbs and other ingredients will help your gravy shine.

Ingredients

  • Drippings from your roasted turkey
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Pour turkey drippings into a large measuring cup and set aside. When the fat rises to the top, spoon off most of the fat and discard. Add enough stock to the measuring cup to equal 4 cups of the stock/drippings combination.
  2. If the roasting pan you used for the turkey will fit on your stovetop, place it directly on the stove. If not, scrape all the leftover brown bits into a large saucepan and place that on the stove instead.
  3. Melt butter in the roasting pan or pot and add flour, stirring until a thick paste (roux) has formed. Cook the roux until it has browned.
  4. Into the roux, add the drippings/stock mixture and whisk until well combined and thickened.
  5. Bring gravy to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer, cooking until the gravy has reached your desired consistency.
  6. While the gravy is simmering, add Worcestershire sauce, lemon, salt, and pepper.
  7. Serve warm and enjoy!

Easy vegetarian gravy (with onions)

If you’ve got vegetarians on your Thanksgiving dinner guest list, you can make a secondary gravy to fit their diet. Here’s an easy veggie Thanksgiving gravy recipe from Kitchen Treaty.

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon Tamari or soy sauce (optional)
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  2. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions, stirring occasionally until they are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Be sure to turn down the heat if they start to turn brown — you’re looking for translucent and tender onions, not golden.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and then stir in the flour. While cooking, stir frequently, for about 3 minutes.
  4. Gradually stir in the vegetable broth and continue stirring over medium heat. Cook and stir until you have a thickened gravy consistency, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Stir in the Tamari or soy sauce if you adding this ingredient. Add the salt and pepper to taste and serve.
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Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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