This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.
Made with flavorful turkey drippings, this rich turkey gravy makes everything on your holiday table taste better.
This is my favorite turkey gravy recipe, 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 cookbook. It’s quick and easy enough to make while your 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 ½ cup, and then just stir in the drippings when your turkey is done.
What you’ll need to make Turkey Gravy
- Unsalted butter
- Yellow onions
- All-purpose flour
- Chicken broth with defatted turkey drippings
- Heavy cream
- Fresh herbs (such as thyme, sage, rosemary or parsley)
- Salt and pepper
Jump to recipe to see measurements.
Begin by melting the butter in a medium saucepan.
Add the onions.
Cook until very soft, about 15 minutes.
Whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.
Then whisk in your turkey drippings/chicken broth and Cognac.
Cook for about 5 minutes until thickened, then stir in the cream and fresh herbs.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remember, the gravy should be generously seasoned because turkey is very bland. And always taste the gravy with a piece of meat to be sure the seasoning is right.
You may also like
- Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- Thanksgiving Desserts Worth Saving Room For
- Best Buttermilk Biscuits
- Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Made with flavorful turkey drippings, this rich turkey gravy makes everything on your holiday table taste better.
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1½ cups finely chopped yellow onions
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- Defatted turkey drippings plus chicken broth to make 2½ 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
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until very soft and translucent, about 15 minutes.
- Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the turkey drippings/chicken broth and Cognac and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and fresh herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Gravy should be generously seasoned because turkey is pretty bland; I usually add at least ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, but it depends on how salty your broth and drippings are.) Transfer the gravy to a gravy boat and serve.
- Make-Ahead Instructions: The gravy can be made, without the turkey drippings, up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated. Use 2 cups of chicken broth and add about ½ cup defatted turkey drippings after cooking the turkey when you reheat the gravy. Note that the gravy will thicken up in the fridge; thin it to the desired consistency with water or chicken broth upon reheating.
- 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.
Yuck! Gluey and bland.
Wow! Everyone raved about this gravy! I was thrilled that I could make it a day in advance and just add the drippings when the turkey was done. My husband, who loves the leftovers, commented that they were better than ever with the addition of this gravy. My son took the recipe home!
Hi! A friend introduced me to your site, and I’ve made about five of your recipes so far. They are all so easy and delicious! I’m also getting your second cookbook for Christmas. I’m super excited about it! Anyway, my question is about the drippings. Can I make this without any if I just want gravy as a side for dinner? What would I substitute in their place?
Hi Sarah, so glad you’ve enjoyed the recipes so far enough to get the cookbook! Yes, you can make this without the drippings. Just use additional chicken broth. Hope you enjoy!
I loved the flavor of this gravy! I am a huge fan of fresh herbs and it did not disappoint. I have to say though, that I was not a fan of the texture with the onions…I chopped them extremely finely, but it still felt a bit off. I am thinking that next time I may blend the gravy in the Vitamix next time?
The flavor of the cognac was fabulous and I will DEFINITELY be using it going forward! I also may use this gravy with sauteed chicken breasts as a main dish!
Hi Heather, it’s perfectly fine to blend this in the Vitamix for a smoother texture. 🙂
Glad you liked it! Yes, you can definitely blend this in the Vitamix for a smoother texture.
This gravy is phenomenal! Seriously. I’m not a fan of giblet gravy. Found your recipe and followed it exactly. Best gravy I’ve ever made! Was skeptical of adding the brandy, but after making so many of your foolproof recipes, I added it. Goodness girl…..you can COOK! Love your recipes….always so easy to follow. Thank you for sharing your talent with us!
Wow this was surprisingly good! Best turkey gravy I’ve ever had. I did not add the brandy/cognac and tided my herbs up in a piece of cheesecloth because I don’t like the texture of fresh herbs in gravy. Wonderful, thanks for sharing!
I am a self-confessed gravy snob. So many gravies tried over the years with most having indifferent results at best. But hope springs eternal and I’m always up to trying something new…searching for that gravy treasure. And it seems that perseverance and patience does indeed pay off. At least it has with this recipe from Jenn. Wow, what a difference…it has a full and robust taste that I feel would satisfy the most ardent gravy aficionado. Thanks so much for the recipe…it’s a keeper in our household!
Hi Jenn. I made this before, and while delicious it came out very pale in color. Any recommendations for how I can get the gravy to a richer brown color like your photos? I’m planning to make this again for Christmas along with your dry-brined turkey. Thanks!
Hi Braden, The color comes from the drippings. Did you add them last time?
Thanks Jenn. I did add them, but maybe scooped too much of the fat off? Happy Thanksgiving
I don’t think it would have anything to do with the fat. The drippings on the pan should be really dark (almost caramelized) which adds to the color of the gravy. Did you by any chance use a nonstick roasting pan for the turkey?
Hi Jenn, this turkey gravy recipe has double the amount of fat to flour ratio than most recipes, including the Ina Garten recipe that you adapted. Is this intentional or is it a misprint? And how do you think the recipe would turn out if I used a 1:1 fat/flour ratio? Thanks!
Hi Nancy, I took a look at the recipe, and unless I’m missing something, my ratios are the same as that in Ina’s recipe. The primary difference I see is that I call for 2 1/2 cups of turkey drippings/broth and Ina’s recipe only calls for 2 cups.
Your recipe calls for one stick of butter, which is 8 tablespoons, and 1/4 cup of flour, which is 4 tablespoons – thus a 2 to 1 ratio of fat to flour. Ina Garten’s recipe calls for 3/4 stick of butter, which is 6 tablespoons, and 6 tablespoons of flour – a 1 to 1 ratio. So I was questioning that fat-to-flour ratio and why it was higher or whether it was a misprint. Am I missing something here?
Hi Nancy, I think we must be looking at 2 different versions of Ina’s recipe. This is the one I’m looking at.
Ahh! Yes, that explains it. I noticed that the Ina Garten recipe with the 1 to 1 ratio calls for only one red onion while the Ina Garten recipe you based yours on calls for two onions, which probably explains the difference in the fat to flour ratios in her two recipes. Thanks so much!
Hello silly question but how do you de-fat the turkey drippings?
Not silly! I usually just skim it away with a spoon, but if you don’t have a fat separator you could use this creative method. Hope that helps!
I just made this in preparation for the big feast on Thursday- OMG, this gravy recipe is the best!! I didn’t have high hopes as mine is rather light in color compared to Jenn’s but it is absolutely delicious!! And, it’s already made 🙂 I will add the drippings from the turkey after it’s cooked. I bought the Big Easy air fryer you recommended. Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving!!
Can I use dry white wine or sherry instead of the brandy or cognac? I don’t have any experience with the two in the recipe so I don’t know how much they contribute to the flavor profile.
Hi Regina, I think either of those will work well, but I’d probably go with the wine. Hope that helps!
Hi Jenn! Would this gravy still taste good if I substitute the fresh herbs for dried herbs instead? We always have dried herbs on hand and lately the fresh herbs in a small packet at the grocery store have become more expensive.
Hi Lilee, Yes that’s fine – you’ll need 1 teaspoon total. Enjoy!
A little late, but I wanted to come on here and rave about this gravy. It was so easy and was wonderful paired with the Sausage Stuffed Turkey Breast. I prepared all of the Thanksgiving dishes this year and I felt like a pro! 🙂 Thanks to Jenn! I prepared the gravy ahead of time. I did need my husband’s help (he is the experienced cook) when it came time to serve; obviously, the gravy had thickened a little too much since I prepared it in advance. Hubby helped me get it back to the right consistency again by adding more broth (we didn’t really have any turkey drippings from the breast). I feel confident in gravy making now though, something I thought I would never learn as simple as it is!
The recipe calls for chicken broth. I’ve just noticed that our grocery store sells turkey broth. Should I use turkey broth rather than chicken broth?
Hi Laura, Either will work well; the quality of the broth is the most important thing.
I do not like onions or shallots at all. Is there any way I could skip them or substitute anything else?
Hi Randi, They add a lot of flavor, but you can just omit the onions.
Absolutely delicious and did not require tying up my oven all day. Definitely making it again for Thanksgiving.
i plan on making your turkey roll this Thanksgiving and I have a question: does the turkey breast roll create the drippings for the gravy? If not, what do I substitute?
The turkey breast doesn’t create much in the way of drippings. You can just use more broth in place of them. Hope you enjoy!
I’m sorry if this has been asked before – but I was wondering if I could use arrowroot powder instead of flour? I know arrowroot is more like a cornstarch but someone who will be here for Canadian Thanksgiving – is Gluten Free? Thank you
I have made this before and it is great
Yes, Barb, I think that should work. Happy Thanksgiving!
I realized I left a review for your sausage stuffing under the gravy recipe! lol. I made both! The gravy was delicious and my husband loved it. Thank you!
Another turkey day question: I want to make the turkey gravy today but won’t have the Turkey drippings til Thursday. How much chicken broth should I use til Thursday?
One more, can I make the sweet potato casserole and then refrigerate?
You’re the best and my go to,
Hi Ellen, I’d count on about 1/2 cup of turkey drippings, so 2 cups of broth. And yes you can definitely make the sweet potato casserole ahead and refrigerate. Happy Thanksgiving! ❤️
This was amazing. My family raved, said it was the best gravy they ever had. It was so helpful to make ahead and just reheat. The only problem was that I should have doubled the recipe to more for the leftover turkey!! Thanks for another great recipe.
I don’t want to add a extension to my browser. Please make it easier even if that means you don’t make as much from the extension app.
What is the purpose for forcing an app I do not need or want? Looking out for users of your site?
Hi, I’m not sure what you’re referring to as I don’t require an extension. Can you clarify?
Still using and enjoying your turkey gravy recipe for years! Others too. I usually cook my turkeys in the Big Easy with Cajun seasonings and save the drippings for the gravy. If I cook more than one turkey I’ll vacuum seal and freeze the gravy. Thanks for your recipes and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Amazing. 14 yrs looking for a good gravy and this was so simple and so delicious. It was POURING rain here all day but my sweet hubby drove out to buy brandy so I could follow recipe precisely. So glad he did! Jenn, this is that “where have you been all my life?” recipe for gravy! It totally makes the turkey .. and potatoes ….and sides come alive! Thank you!
I’m very confused about making the gravy ahead of time. Do you mix everything except the turkey drippings, together and refrigerate? Then when you go to make the gravy, you war it up in your pot and add 1/2 cup of drippings? Thank you so much and Happy Thanksgiving!
Yep that’s what I do. Enjoy!
This turkey gravy is absolutely delicious and super easy. Over the years I have tried multiple recipes with no luck. Jenn’s additional instructions on how to make it a couple days ahead and just add the turkey drippings right before you serve is so very helpful when you are hosting Thanksgiving. Thank you again for another fail-proof and absolutely delicious recipe!
How much salt roughly? Kosher or table? Thank you!
I usually add at least 1/2 teaspoon (table/regular) salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, but it depends on how salty your broth and drippings are.
Help! We don’t drink alcohol….is there a substitute for the brandy?
Hi Connie, It’s fine to leave it out. If it needs a little something, a bit of lemon juice will work.
If I double the recipe, how do I make sure I have enough turkey drippings? I don’t want my gravy to be diluted. Thanks- Bonnie
Hi Bonnie, if you double the recipe there’s not a whole lot you can do about the turkey drippings, you’ll just need to use more broth. (It will still be good!)
I typically make my own gravy every year, but came across this recipe and thought it would be nice to try something different. I always use corn starch as a thickener, can I sub this instead of the flour? It also needs to be GF and I’m not a fan of the GF flours.
LOVE your recipes, I’ve impressed my guests with them many times. Thank you!!!
Hi Tammy, so glad you like the recipes! I’ve never made this with cornstarch but I think it can work. You’ll need significantly less than the flour and I’d make a cornstarch/water slurry and add it at the end. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!
Can I make this a week ahead and freeze?
Sure, I think that should work. 🙂
Is it okay to use turkey stock instead of chicken broth?
Can’t wait to make the gravy at Thanksgiving. Glad to have found a no fuss recipe. Thanks for sharing. Your recipes are delicious and easy to follow.
Sure (and glad you like the recipes)!
Hi Jenn, I absolutely love this recipe and can’t wait to make it again this year for Thanksgiving. We have a large group to feed so I need to triple the recipe – are there any adjustments I should consider? Or will simply multiplying all ingredients by 3 do the trick? Thank you so much!
Glad you like it! Yes, you’ll need to multiply everything by 3. Just keep in mind that it will take longer to thicken so you’ll need to simmer it longer.
I was wondering if I could sub the Turkey drippings here with chicken schmaltz since I won’t be making Turkey for this thanksgiving ? And if so, how much ?
Thank you so much, I look forward to making this
Hi Mlak, I think that would work. I’d suggest adding 3 to 4 tablespoons. Hope you enjoy!
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!
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!
Delicious! The perfect gravy to complete your turkey. Easy to make, so flavorful & refrigerates really well for leftovers.
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.
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!
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!
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. 🙂
Can I make this without cream? Looks so good!
Sure, Erika – it should work.
If I make this tomorrow, do I need to freeze it or will it keep until thanksgiving?
Hi Liz, it should be fine. Enjoy!
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!
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!
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…)
Hi Judith, it’s perfectly fine to use broth and stock interchangeably in my recipes. 🙂
What do you think about substituting creme fraiche for the heavy whipping cream?
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!
So glad you like the recipes! You’ll need a total of 2-1/2 cups of broth for the gravy.
So I have made this gravy following Ina’s recipe, but omitted cognac as did not have. This year I am making your version and plan to use the cognac. This may seem like a silly question, but does the cognac cook off enough that the children can have this gravy? I’m sure it does, but wanted to check!
Not a silly question, but, yes, the cognac does cook off so it’s perfectly safe for kids. Hope you enjoy!
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.
I use this recipe every year, some with the cognac, some without. It is always delicious. Thank you!
Can your turkey gravy be made without the Cognac/Brandy without compromising the flavor?
Yes, you can omit it without a problem. Hope you enjoy!
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.