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Save Your Turkey Drippings: How to Make a Rich Thanksgiving Gravy

a big gravy boat filled with homemade turkey gravey
Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Using canned gravy is a crime when you have all-natural juices from your roasted turkey right in front of you. Learn how to make the best scratch gravy using turkey pan drippings.

How to Make Gravy from Scratch

It’s convenient to grab a can of the already-made stuff, but throwing together a quick gravy right before serving your feast is also really quick and easy. When natural juices flow from your Thanksgiving turkey, ditching that flavorful liquid is sinful. This year, try making a delightful gravy. You might never turn back. Here’s how we do it.

Save the pan drippings: The best time to make a gravy is after you’ve taken your fully cooked turkey out of the oven to let it rest. Allowing your turkey to rest for at least 20 minutes gives it time to reabsorb the juices for tender results.

Using a turkey baster, pull up at least two cups of the turkey drippings. Once the fat rises to the top, use a spoon to skim the fat and place it in a separate small bowl.

Make a roux: A roux is made from equal parts fat and flour. If you have enough skimmed fat to make up ¼ cup, then use that; if not, add enough butter to make ¼ cup. Melt your fat in a pan on medium heat, and whisk in a ¼ cup of flour. Let it cook on medium heat for a few minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.

Add the pan drippings: While continuously whisking, slowly add in your two cups of turkey drippings. If you’ve collected some turkey bits in your drippings, add that extra flavor right into the gravy as well.

Season the gravy: The turkey drippings make for the perfect mouthfeel and rich flavor, but seasoning your gravy gives it that extra boost. You can use any roasted garlic and herb seasoning, or even seasoning salt.

Additional Tips for Making Gravy

While our simple recipe above is more than enough for a delicious gravy, here are some bonus tips to ensure you wow your guests.

  • Add in chicken or turkey stock if you don’t have enough turkey drippings to make up two cups. While natural drippings always make the best gravy, supplementing with stock is a great idea to keep in your back pocket. If you plan on frying your turkey, use already made stock.
  • Pour the pan drippings liquid right into a fat separator to ensure you’re fully separating the flavorful juices.
  • If you make a roux using just butter (no skimmed fat), allow your butter to cook until it turns brown, and then whisk in your flour. By doing so, you’ll create a brown roux that provides for a nutty-tasting and soul-satisfying gravy.

That’s all there is to it! Instead of dumping some pre-made gravy in a pan, you can make a perfectly-matched gravy from your turkey and really showcase the flavor of your bird.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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