Turkey Gravy - How To Make Turkey Gravy
Homemade gravy, made using the pan
drippings and meat juices from the roast turkey, is an essential part of
a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The secret to a good gravy is to skim
off most of the fat from the drippings so the gravy isn't greasy
tasting. Following the below instructions, anyone can easily make
perfect turkey gravy.
What are giblets?
The giblet bag in the turkey you buy
usually includes the heart, liver, gizzard (a part of the turkey's stomach), and neck.
Make a turkey giblet stock:
I usually make this
stock for the gravy the day before Thanksgiving to save time. I have
used chicken parts and made this stock well in advance of Thanksgiving.
The stock freezes wonderfully. Learn how to make
Homemade Turkey Stock or
Homemade Chicken Stock using a cooked rotisserie chicken.
While the turkey is in the oven cooking (or the day
before you cook the turkey), cover the giblets, wing tips, and neck bones with water in a large
pot. If desired, add a stalk of chopped celery, a chopped carrot, some parsley, and a
chopped onion (with its peel as the onion skin gives the broth a golden color).
Add about 4 cups of water; let simmer approximately 1 hour.
Remove from heat and strain broth; discard cooked
vegetables and reserve this giblet broth for making your gravy.
Either discard giblets or, if
desired, pick meat from neck and wing tips; finely chop all giblets and meat; add to turkey stock when making the gravy.
After the turkey is done roasting:
Remove the cooked turkey and rack from the
roasting pan. Transfer turkey to a cutting board with a lip to collect juices and let the turkey rest before carving. While the
turkey is resting, make the gravy.
Place roasting pan (with the drippings and
fat) over two (2) burners on your stovetop over medium heat (always make the gravy in the same pan you used to roast
Skim and discard any excess fat from the juices in the roasting pan.
See Turkey Gravy Ingredients below for amount of fat to use in your gravy.
An easy way to remove the fat is to pour the turkey juices and fat into a
cup or bowl. The fat will float to the top of the bowl. Skim off all but about 3 to 4 tablespoons fat (the amount you need to make your
gravy) and return it to the turkey roasting pan; discard the remaining fat.
Using a heavy spoon, scrape all the dark drippings and any crunchy bits from the
sides and bottom of roasting pan. Leave them in your roasting pan as these are what add great flavor and a nice
rich color to the gravy.
Add the turkey giblet stock, that you previously
made, to the roasting pan to add additional rich flavor to the turkey gravy recipe below.
Turkey Gravy Recipe:
Condiments and Sauces,
Yields: serves many
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 10 min
For each 2 cups gravy desired - use 3 tablespoons fat, 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, and 2 cups of liquid.
Use salt and pepper to taste.
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 to 3 cups liquid (juices)*
3 tablespoons Turkey fat*
Salt and pepper to taste
* Use the reserved poultry juices
from the turkey with either vegetable juice, potato juice (from boiling potatoes when making mashed potatoes), prepared turkey/chicken stock, and/or water. I
always save some of the water from boiling the potatoes. Any type of liquid can be added to make gravy,
but always use the juices/drippings from the roasting pan and prepared turkey stock (see above) to make
your turkey gravy. Add other liquids as needed for flavor and quantity of gravy.
I like to make a
Homemade Chicken Stock
in advance of Thanksgiving to use in the gravy.
** If you don't have
enough fat from the turkey, add some butter.
After you have removed the turkey from the oven and set it aside to rest, place roasting pan
(with the drippings and fat) over two (2) burners on your stovetop over medium heat
(always make the gravy in the same pan you used to roast the turkey).
Before making the gravy, heat the liquid (juices) you will be using until just boiling, then
reduce heat to low to keep the liquid warm.
No More Whisking Lumps out of the Gravy
Mixture - Make a Slurry or
In a separate container with a lid, shake together
the all-purpose flour needed and about 2 cups cool water. Adding this
thickened slurry (flour mixture) to the reserved pan juices helps to prevent lumps from
forming when making your gravy.
Once the liquid, drippings, and the fat in the pan are lightly bubbling, slowly add the
above slurry mixture to the gravy pan, stirring constantly.
When the mixture starts to thicken, immediately
stop adding the remaining flour mixture. You may not need to use the the
entire flour mixture depending on how much or little drippings were in the pan. If lumps do
develop, you should be able to use a wire whisk to remove them.
Cooking the Gravy: Simmer gently about 10 minutes to cook the flour
all the way through (undercooked flour gives off a raw taste).
Add salt and pepper (and any other seasonings you desire) to taste.
Serving the Gravy: Pour the gravy into a warmed sauceboat, gravy boat, or wide-mouthed pitcher for serving. Remember that gravy will
continue to thicken after it has been removed from the heat.
Since I usually make a large amount of gravy for my family, I have found that glass beer
pitchers make a good serving container. Always place a plate under the serving container to catch any drips.
Gravy Troubleshooting Tips:
Gravy is greasy - If gravy seems
greasy, a fat separator should eliminate this problem. If you discover that your gravy is
oily toward the end of its preparation, skim off as much fat as possible with a wide-bowled spoon.
Gravy is doughy - If gravy has a
doughy or chalky taste, make sure the flour has been cooked long enough. When the flour is added
to the pan drippings or butter, whisk constantly while the mixture
cooks until it turns a deep golden brown and smells nutty. If the
gravy tastes floury when you’re almost finished, turn up the heat to
maintain a rapid simmer for several minutes; then thin it again with
more stock or water if necessary.
Lumpy gravy -
Don't worry if
your gravy has lumps. Just strain the gravy just before serving, using a fine sieve; discard
Another quick method is to place the lumpy gravy in your food
processor or blender and process until smooth. This is my favorite technique.
Thin gravy -
If gravy is too thin (not thick enough), simmer over medium-high heat, allowing the liquid to reduce more.
Thin gravy can be easily thickened by adding a mixture of either
flour and water or cornstarch and water, which has been mixed to a smooth paste. Add gradually, stirring
constantly, while bringing to a boil.
Continue to cook
and stir to eliminate the flour flavor.
You can also blend 1 teaspoon of flour per cup of cold water, and then mix
into the prepared gravy. Continue to cook and stir to eliminate the flour flavor.
Thick gravy - If gravy is too thick, gradually whisk
in additional stock or water (a little at a time) into the gravy until it reaches desired
If gravy lacks flavor, you should adjust seasoning as necessary with coarse salt and freshly-ground pepper.
If you use canned stock instead of homemade, the gravy might lack depth of flavor.
Homemade stock, even made with chicken rather than turkey, will produce a superior gravy - so it’s
worth the effort. A trick that I use, is to cook a whole chicken in water a day or two before Thanksgiving for our dinner. I use the
chicken meat for that night's dinner and refrigerate the chicken stock until Thanksgiving day to use in my gravy.
Salty gravy - If the over salting is severe, the gravy must be repaired by increasing the
quantity of gravy. Prepare another batch of gravy, omitting all salt. Blend the two batches together.
Gravy too light in color -
If you brown the flour well before adding the liquid when making gravy, you will avoid
pale or lumpy gravy.
You can also make dark gravy with un-browned flour by making a
dark roux. A roux is a thickener made from equal amounts of fat and flour. Heat the fat, add
the flour, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the roux becomes a deep
brown. When making gravy with the roux, it will not thicken as well, so you will need more of it.
If all the above tips fail in getting your gravy to brown to a
rich color or you just want a quick and easy solution, add 1/8 teaspoon instant coffee granules and stir to blend.
Additional Turkey Hints & Tips:
Turkey Basics - How to purchase, stuff, and
roast a turkey - Choosing a fresh or frozen turkey - How to thaw a frozen turkey - How to prepare turkey for stuffing.
Thanksgiving Planning - Stress-Free Thanksgiving - How to plan and prepare your Thanksgiving dinner in advance without stress.
Thanksgiving Dinner Menu - Check out some ideas and recipe for your Thanksgiving dinner menu.
Guidelines for Brining Poultry - The secret to juicy chicken breast is simple - brine them before grilling or
baking! It's very easy and economical, and requires no special cookware.
Guidelines For Roasting a Whole Turkey - Learn how to safely and easily prepare
and roast your turkey.
Advice on Stuffing a Turkey Safely - As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday draws near, learn how to safely
stuff your turkey.
Using a Cooking or Meat Thermometer - Have you ever cut into a turkey to see if it has finished cooking? Cooking thermometers take the
guesswork out of cooking, as they measures the internal temperature of your cooked meat and poultry to assure that a safe
temperature has been reached, harmful bacteria have been destroyed, and your turkey is cook perfectly.
Making Perfect Turkey Gravy - Hints and tips for making that perfect turkey gravy.
Handling Leftovers Safely - Leftover foods are cooked foods that you or your family do
not eat within 2 hours after they are cooked. Improper handling or storing cooked food is one of the most common causes of
food poisoning in the home.
Let's Make Turkey Stock - My favorite thing to do the morning after Thanksgiving is to make homemade turkey stock from the turkey carcass.
It is so easy to do and so delicious! The turkey stock can be used for a delicious soup or frozen for future use.
Cajun Fried Turkey
Oven Roasted Turkey
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