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.

What you’ll need to make Turkey Gravy

ingredients

How to make Turkey Gravy

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!

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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

  • Wow! Absolutely delicious. I didn’t have Cognac so I substituted with White Wine. I didn’t get the lovely color the Cognac would have provided so I added just a dash of tamari. The flavor is incredible. I’m making your stuffed turkey breast later today and if it’s half as good as the gravy, well, I’ll be a happy gal. Thank you!

    • — Kim Ange on January 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • I took a chance to make this turkey gravy on Thanksgiving Day, knowing Jenn’s reputation and the ease in making it. It was FABULOUS! This will be my go to gravy from now on. Great job, Jenn!

    • — Lulu on November 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious! The perfect gravy to complete your turkey. Easy to make, so flavorful & refrigerates really well for leftovers.

    • — Jennifer O'Donnell on November 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • I have been cooking for 47 years and always made turkey gravy the way my mother and grandmother always did in TN. Sometimes they would add giblets and chopped hard boiled eggs and sometimes they would just make a smooth gravy. Since 2020 has been such an unusual year, I decided to cook our Thanksgiving meal a bit differently. Knowing it would be just my husband and myself, I felt comfortable trying a few unfamiliar recipes. The reviews for this gravy encouraged me to try it. My husband and I both loved it! Absolutely delicious! Luckily, I had cooked extra turkey in the morning to have for pot pies. I had strained the drippings and chilled them so the fat would congeal at the top. When I started the gravy, I discarded the turkey fat and used butter to cook the very finely chopped onions. I mixed my turkey drippings with enough homemade chicken stock for the correct amount. I used half fresh thyme and half fresh sage for the herb seasoning. I love the addition of the cognac and cream. I will always make this turkey gravy recipe from now on. It is a perfect flavor combination! Thanks again, Jenn.

    • — Jean Livingstone on November 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious. Made this as you suggested, for the rolled stuffed turkey breast. It was so flavorful and complimented everything! I used an immersion blender on it because my son hates seeing onions. It was just lovely! Will be my go to gravy recipe! Thank you!

    • — Jennifer Manley on November 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • We are having a quarantine Thanksgiving. 🙂 So I can’t run out to the store to get anything I may have missed. It was either delivered yesterday or we do without. And I forgot Cognac or Brandy. I was thinking of omitting…but we do have Bourbon or Dry Sherry on hand. What do you think… just omit, or would you use the Bourbon or use the Sherry? And it is Thanksgiving day, so hopefully you are having a wonderful day with your family. If you get this after the holiday I would still be interested in knowing. Thank you and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • — Michelle on November 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Michelle, So sorry I’m just seeing this. You can leave it out, or add Sherry or white wine. Any way you make it, it will be delicious. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 26, 2020
      • Reply
  • Can I make this without cream? Looks so good!

    • — Erika on November 25, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Erika – it should work.

      • — Jenn on November 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • If I make this tomorrow, do I need to freeze it or will it keep until thanksgiving?

    • — Liz on November 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Liz, it should be fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hello Chef Jenn – Since we are downsizing Thanksgiving this year 🙁 we are just skipping turkey all together and just purchasing a rotisserie chicken in its place that we will simply heat up. I will be making gravy a day or two ( at the most) ahead of time. 1) For chicken insead of turkey, would you recommend beef stock/broth or stick with the chicken stock/broth? 2) Also, since I won’t have drippings, is there any meat that you would suggest I stick in to add some depth? A piece of bacon or sausage for example? Thank you again for making me look like a good cook- your blog and cookbook are my go-tos!

    • — Chithra on November 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • In answer to your questions:
      1. I’d stick with chicken broth
      2. I don’t think you need to add any meat, but you can use the juices that come in the bottom of the roasted chicken container as the drippings.
      Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • I just “discovered” canned chicken and beef STOCK for my soups — more flavorful than broth. Is there a reason you specify broth in your wonderful recipes?
    (PS – I am up for adoption…)

    • — Judith Lynch on November 19, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Judith, it’s perfectly fine to use broth and stock interchangeably in my recipes. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Jenn,

    What do you think about substituting creme fraiche for the heavy whipping cream?

    • — Jeff on November 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 16, 2020
      • Reply
  • I am a huge fan and share your blog with everyone! I’m not a fan of making gravy- it never turns out right but this year I’m giving it a go with your recipe. If I make ahead, how much broth should I use ahead of time? Also making your stuffing and mashed potatoes. Thanks so much for helping me to bring my cooking confidence back!

    • — Jill C. on November 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! You’ll need a total of 2-1/2 cups of broth for the gravy.

      • — Jenn on November 12, 2020
      • Reply
  • This is my absolute Go To gravy recipe. I used to have fear and trepidation about gravy until I stumbled on this gem! I now modify it for Rouladen by using beef broth, and easily have two gravies at Christmas one veggie broth-based for my vegetarians, the other turkey for everyone else. This was the recipe that introduced me to once upon a chef, and now have the cookbook. Love the style of recipes. Thank you from a beginner cook.

    • — Beverley on December 25, 2019
    • Reply
  • I use this recipe every year, some with the cognac, some without. It is always delicious. Thank you!

    • — Ivory on December 10, 2019
    • Reply
  • Jenn,
    Can your turkey gravy be made without the Cognac/Brandy without compromising the flavor?

    • — Kathleen Schools on November 18, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yes, you can omit it without a problem. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 19, 2019
      • Reply
  • Incredible. Best gravy ever. Thanks again Jen!

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

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