Turkey Gravy

Tested & Perfected Recipes

The best homemade gravy to compliment a simple roast turkey.

turkey gravy

This is my favorite gravy and I serve it every year with my Thanksgiving turkey — in fact, it is what makes my Thanksgiving turkey. The recipe is modestly adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style. My only changes were to significantly reduce the salt, increase the broth so it’s not quite so thick and add a sprinkling of fresh herbs which complements my very simple roast turkey. I usually make it while my turkey rests but if you want to get a head start, you can make it without the turkey drippings (reducing the broth by about a 1/2 cup) and just stir the drippings in when your turkey is done.

ingredients

Begin by melting the butter in a medium saucepan, and add the onions.

cooking-onions-in-butter

Cook until very soft, about 15 minutes.

soft-onions

Whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.

whisk-in-the-flour

Then whisk in your turkey drippings/chicken broth and Cognac.

whisk-in-the-drippings-and-broth

Cook for about 5 minutes until thickened, then stir in the cream.

adding-cream

Add the fresh herbs.

stir-in-fresh-herbs

Then season to taste with salt and pepper. Remember, the gravy should be generously seasoned because turkey is very bland.  Always taste it with a piece of meat to be sure the seasoning is right. That’s all there is to it…Enjoy!

 

Turkey Gravy

The best homemade gravy to compliment a simple roast turkey.

Servings: yields about 3 cups
Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onions (from 2 small onions)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Defatted turkey drippings plus chicken broth to make 2-1/2 cups
  • 1 tablespoon Cognac or Brandy
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (such as thyme, sage, rosemary or parsley)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until very soft and translucent, about 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the turkey drippings/chicken broth and Cognac and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until thickened. Stir in the cream and fresh herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper (I usually add at least 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, but it depends how salty your broth is.) Transfer gravy to bowl or gravy boat and serve.
  3. If you make the gravy ahead of time, it may thicken up; you can thin it to the desired consistency with water or chicken broth.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1/3 cup
  • Calories: 143
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Saturated fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 357 g
  • Cholesterol: 31 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Yes, this is a keeper. I did stick-blend the onions into the gravy as I didn’t chop them small enough. It was great. Thickened it at the last minute with an arrowroot slurry as we had gluten free people dining with us. Thank you, Jen. This was really good as were your mashed potatoes.

    • — Diana on November 24, 2018
    • Reply
  • Have you ever pureed the gravy before serving? I didn’t chop my onions small enough and I’m wondering if it’ll ruin it if I puree it. I’ll add the turkey drippings tomorrow. I made this last year and it was a big hit.

    • — Abbie on November 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • I haven’t, Abbie – I’d probably just leave it alone. The onions will be so soft, I don’t think it will be an issue.

      • — Jenn on November 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • Can you substitute the all purpose flour for the King Arthur gluten free flour?

    • — Gina Brewer on November 20, 2018
    • Reply
    • Sure – that should be fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 20, 2018
      • Reply
  • when you say 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs then you list 4 herbs does that mean you do about 1/4 tsp of each type of fresh herb mixed together to get 1 full tablespoon? I have never used fresh herbs…how to do I figure out how much I need?

    • — Terri Betts on November 19, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Terri, you can use all 4 of the herbs I list in the recipe, or only 1 or 2. If you use more than one type of herb, you can break it up any way you want as long as it totals 1 Tbsp (which is the equivalent of 3 tsp.). Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 19, 2018
      • Reply
  • This gravy is amazing!!! I went a little crazy this year and decided to practice my turkey a week in advance, mainly to try a new gravy recipe (last year was a gravy fail.) This is IT, the perfect gravy. The only change made was to strain out the onions after simmering the broth and instead add some meat from the neck. I checked out both this recipe and the original recipe from Ina Garten, and I definitely think this is a step above. Thanks Jen!

    • — Maaike Kahn on November 18, 2018
    • Reply
  • I’m hoping to make the gravy but don’t have alcohol on-hand. Would omitting it significantly affect the finished product? If so, do you have any recommendations for a good substitute? Thank you!

    • — Adam on November 16, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Adam, you can just omit the alcohol – it won’t have a big impact on the taste.

      • — Jenn on November 16, 2018
      • Reply
  • We always cook a large turkey breast on the grill for Thanksgiving, so there really aren’t any usable drippings for gravy. In the past, I have either roasted turkey neck/legs/veggies a few days ahead and used the drippings from that for gravy (too much effort for the end result!) or purchased “good” pre-made gravy from our local deli or grocery. Do you have any suggestions about how to make your gravy without having any drippings? Or am I just chasing rainbows!

    • — Jane on November 14, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Jane, You’re not chasing rainbows – It’s fine to replace the drippings with more chicken broth. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 14, 2018
      • Reply
  • This looks like a great recipe! Could you use dried onion flakes instead of fresh onions or would it change the flavour too much?

    • — Sylvia on October 29, 2018
    • Reply
    • I’d stick with the fresh onion here. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 30, 2018
      • Reply
  • Holy smokes! I switched this around a bit to make it with roast beef and put beef broth instead of chicken and omitted the liquor. It was AMAZING! My whole family, including teens loved it. Easy and full of flavor!

    • — Kerry on January 17, 2018
    • Reply
  • I used the drippings from a turkey I cooked on the “Big Easy”.
    I’ve never been able to make a gravy until I tried your recipe! This was the best gravy I’ve ever tasted, thank you. I used fresh thyme and white wine because they were available. I’m going to use this for chicken also.
    Your recipes are delicious!

    • — Mark on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
  • I made this gravy (minus the drippings) the day before Thanksgiving and then added the drippings on Thanksgiving while the turkey was resting. Several people commented on how delicious it was.

    It certainly made Thanksgiving easier to get a lot of the work done the day before, as I also made the potatoes and stuffing ahead of time using your recipes. So thank you yet again for some great recipes.

    • — Kevin on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
  • Loved it. Never put onions in my turkey gravy before, but it was a smash hit!!! Thank you as always.

    • — Heather Kohlhagen on November 29, 2017
    • Reply
  • Dear Jen,

    I was wondering if this gravy would go well with a roasted goose, with the fat drippings from the turkey being subbed for goose fat and the chicken stock.

    • — Malak Abu Shakra on November 29, 2017
    • Reply
    • Definitely!

      • — Jenn on November 29, 2017
      • Reply
  • Made this for Thanksgiving and loved it! This is really the best gravy. Before adding the cream and herbs, I used an immersion wand to break down the onions and then even strained the remaining small onion pieces out – trying to accommodate picky guests who don’t like onions. They loved it and didn’t even know. I added rosemary for the herbs. This will be my new go-to gravy recipe, thanks!

    • — Kaylie on November 28, 2017
    • Reply
  • I chopped onions in food processor-they became almost liquidy, still cooked- never got that caramel onion taste- contuinued with recipe- it came out tasting very much like onions- any way to save it?

    • Hi Emmanuelle, Unfortunately there’s no way to salvage it. You have to be really careful when chopping onions in a food processor because, as you mentioned, they can become puréed and almost liquid — and then they won’t cook properly. The best way is to pulse in 1-second intervals until just chopped.

      • — Jenn on November 22, 2017
      • Reply
      • Thank you very much Jenn- I will start over today- Have a great Thanksgiving- I am also making a few of your pies…

  • Can this be doubled easily or better to make 2 separate batches ? I have a lot more people this year!

    • — Jill on November 21, 2017
    • Reply
    • Sure, Jill – no problem to double it. Happy Thanksgiving!

      • — Jenn on November 21, 2017
      • Reply
  • Wondering if there would be enough pan juices from your rolled stuffed turkey breast recipe to use to make this gravy? I have ordered your book and can’t to receive it!

    • — Cathy on November 17, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Cathy, Thanks for your support with the cookbook! Regarding the pan juices, there will be some (and I always add them to my gravy) but not a ton because the breast is pretty lean.

      • — Jenn on November 17, 2017
      • Reply
    • What I have done is just buy some turkey wings or a drumstick and roast them ahead of time and make my own broth! Then make the gravy as she does above minus the onions! Smash hit!

  • I made this last year and it was a huge hit! Can I substitute whole milk for the cream? I will not be using cream this Thanksgiving except for the gravy. My family loves your brussels spouts and kale salad so much that I won’t be cooking brussels sprouts with cream this year. I like it that you can make both ahead of time!

    • — Wendy Schoenburg on November 15, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Wendy, I’ve never tried this with whole milk, but I think it would work. (It’s also okay to just omit the cream.)

      • — Jenn on November 15, 2017
      • Reply
  • How far in advance can I make the gravy?

    • — Candi Rittenberg on November 14, 2017
    • Reply
    • It would be fine if made a day or two of time. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 15, 2017
      • Reply
  • Best gravy I’ve ever made! This was a huge hit at Thanksgiving. I used the drippings from a turkey that I had brined so when it came time to add chicken broth I used unsalted. We didn’t have any cognac or brandy on hand so I just omitted it from the recipe.

  • My first time making gravy, so I had a store bought as a back up, but I didn’t tell anyone which was which, and everyone “gobbled” mine up! easy and delicious! another hit from Once Upon A Chef!!!

  • Best gravy I’ve ever had!! I also liked being able to make it the day before…added the drippings the day of….so easy to make…no lumps either!! I did put it in the blender since my guests prefer “smooth” gravy…will make this again!

    • — Wendy G Schoenburg
    • Reply
  • Outstanding! I made a few minor adjustments to this recipe. I omitted the congnac/brandy as I did not have any on hand. I used a fine milled flour as I’ve had problems in the past with lumpy gravy. Last, I brined my turkey beforehand and seasoned it with a dry rub prior to roasting so I did not need to add any salt to the recipe. I would definitely urge you to taste the gravy before adding any salt. If I hadn’t it would have been ruined.

  • tried this for first time at thanksgiving with 12 people…another winner! simple, tasty. thank you

  • Do I have to use cognac?

    • You can leave it out Kathy, or wine is a good substitute.

      • what kind of wine would you recommend, Jenn?

        • — Wendy on November 19, 2017
        • Reply
        • Hi Wendy, Any dry white wine that you could enjoy drinking would be fine here. No need for anything fancy.

          • — Jenn on November 19, 2017
          • Reply
  • We have always had great results brining our turkey and will be doing it again this year. Would I need to make any adjustments in this recipe regarding the drippings or just be sure to taste and not overdo the salt?

    • — Wendy G Schoenburg
    • Reply
    • No Wendy, I don’t think you’d need to make any adjustments, but as you said, I’d definitely be careful not to overdo the salt.

  • Dear Jenn,

    I would like to make this gravy but I am ordering the Turkey this year and don’t have turkey dripping. . . can I just replace with something else or just use the chicken broth?

    Gracias,

    Sara

    • It’s perfectly fine to replace with more chicken broth, Sara. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • This looks so delicious!! Some of my guests prefer a “smooth” gravy and I don’t know if they would like the tiny pieces of onion…Would you recommend putting the gravy in a blender then adding the herbs?
    Thank you.

    • — Wendy G Schoenburg
    • Reply
    • Sure Wendy, that would work.

  • Hi Jenn, I want to use this recipe, but just found out that one of my guests is gluten free. Is there anything that I could substitute the flour with?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Julie, You can just replace the all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Can you provide the nutritional info? Thanks!!!

    • Just added it!

  • Hi Jenn,
    How much gravy does this make? We will have lots of people this year for Thanksgiving, so would you suggest doubling this?

    Thanks, Marie Frank

    • Hi Marie, This should make approximately 3 cups of gravy.

  • Hi Jenn,

    I was wondering. . . I am not making the turkey this year but still would like fresh gravy, can I substitute the turkey drippings with only turkey stock or chicken stock? :/

    Thank you

    Sara

    • Hi Sara, You can. It won’t have the same deep flavor but will still be very tasty.

  • This is an amazing, and simple, gravy recipe. I am looking for a really good gravy to serve with a beef roast. Could this recipe be adapted for beef? Thanks.

    • Hi Paula, you could use this for beef and make no changes, or you could replace the turkey drippings with beef drippings and use beef broth instead of chicken broth.

  • I am planning on making turkey for Christmas Day and I always add white wine and some chicken stock to the roasting pan when I start roasting the turkey. I am considering making this gravy and wanted to know if I can skip the cognac since I have wine in the pan drippings when the turkey was roasted. Thank you for your advice

    • Yes Celeste, I think that would be fine!

  • My mom opens a jar of gravy for Thanksgiving, so I never have gravy on my turkey or mashed potatoes at her house. This year I decided to make gravy at home before heading to her house. This was simple, delicious & will be on our table from now on. I used dried herbs and cut back a little per your answer to a previous reviewer’s question.

  • This has been my go-to turkey gravy recipe for the last few years. I stopped looking for another. Tasty, no fuss, easy.

  • Made this ahead for Thanksgiving & added some defatted drippings while turkey rested…best gravy ever! Also made your Sweet Potato Casserole and your delicious Kale & Brussel Sprout salad- rounded out a great holiday meal- Thank you!

  • I don’t have cognac, but I have Grand Marnier which says it’s a blend of cognac and orange. Do you think that will be ok? Have you ever tried it?

    • Hi Abbie, I’ve never tried it but I think it will work just fine.

      • It was amazing. Best gravy EVER.

  • My sister-in-law introduced me to this recipe and there”s no turning back! I love this gravy recipe and have used it for beef and pork as well. I use 1/2 dark biato gravy thickener and 1/2 flour which I find gives better flavour and a richer taste and consistency. I do not add salt to the gravy as there is plenty of seasoning already with meat
    /poultry drippings. Try fresh basil as the only herb. Rave reviews every time.

  • Hi, can dried herbs be used? If so, in what quantity to fresh?

    • Hi Steven, Yes, you’d want to cut the amount by about a third, as dried are stronger in flavor than fresh.

  • I want to make gravy for mashed potatoes on Easter. We’re doing a ham though. Can I leave out the turkey drippings, or would that change the taste too much?

    • Hi Kay, You can…won’t have the same richness or deep flavor but will still be very good.

  • What kind of herbs would you add to this gravy?

    • Hi Linda, I like to use a combination of thyme, sage, rosemary and parsley.

  • I was completely floored when I tried this recipe for the first time, made by my sister in law Beverley last week. Amazing, unbelievable, incredible! This truly is THE BEST EVER GRAVY! This is now MY gravy (try it with fresh basil). THANK YOU BEVERLEY AND THANK YOU Once Upon A Chef .

    • Fresh basil works beautifully as an herb. Also. I use sweet onion (Vidalia) .Thanks Beverley for turning me on to this gravy as well!

  • With Christmas around the corner, mom always cooks a turkey for Christmas day. I have always been the one to cook the gravy. For the most part it usually turns out ok. I wanted to try this recipe and see how it was. I was very satisfied and I will be making this for the family this year. People might think gravy is gravy but you should give this a shot. It’s simple and the flavor is outstanding!!

  • This was my first time making a meat gravy and it was so easy. I did not use the Cognac but the flavor was still really nice. Thank you for your easy to follow instructions.

  • I made this gravy for my Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone raved about it! I left out the cream because some guests had dietary restrictions, and it was still delicious. I served it with leftovers for the next few days, and it tasted as good as it did on Thanksgiving. Love your recipes–keep them coming!!

  • Very easy and very good, thank you!

  • Wondering about a kosher turkey gravy. I don’t like using the “fake” dairy products. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Mimi, I think this recipe would work well with margarine, and you can omit the cream no problem. Or if that doesn’t appeal, you could always just serve the turkey with the pan juices.

  • Can I prepare this the night before then add the drippings the next day when they turkey is done?

    • Hi Ruth, Absolutely! Just reduce the broth by about 1/2 cup. Hope you enjoy it!

  • How important is the Cognac?

    • Hi Caroline, A little cognac or wine adds a boost of flavor, but the gravy is still delicious without it.

  • how important is it to add the onions?

    • Hi Alice, It is very important…they give a lot of flavor.

  • If we can’t add dairy to it, would it even be worthwhile to try this without the cream (and replacing the butter with oil or margarine)?

    • Hi Susan, Unfortunately, probably not. The cream isn’t an issue, but there is a whole stick of butter in this recipe, which adds a lot of flavor. Sorry!

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