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Learn how to make homemade gravy in this simple tutorial. It’s not hard to whip up one of the most iconic parts of Thanksgiving dinner yourself. This easy method takes just two ingredients – the drippings from a pan-roasted turkey and cornstarch.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Turkey drippings: You should get between ¼ and ½ cup of turkey drippings from the pan. Make sure to let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes and then transfer the drippings to a pot to make the homemade gravy. If you don’t have turkey drippings or enough, you can use butter.
- Cornstarch: Used for the slurry and thicken the gravy. Feel free to add more or less to your desired consistency. You can substitution with arrowroot starch.
- Water: The water is used to make the slurry with the cornstarch and also used to adjust the saltiness if the drippings were too salty. You can also use chicken broth, turkey broth or vegetable broth for a richer taste.
How to make homemade gravy
- Being super careful, pour the pan drippings into a saucepan big enough to hold all ingredients.
- After letting the drippings sit for at least five minutes -more is fine- Thanksgiving is hectic! – skim the fat off the top.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the water and the cornstarch until it is a smooth, lump-free mixture.
- Bring the drippings to a simmer and taste to determine their saltiness. This is especially important if you brined your turkey. Too salty? Add water until the flavor gets to an acceptable level of saltiness.
- Now, slowly – several slow, small additions at a time – whisk the slurry into the simmering drippings. Allow the gravy to come back to bubbling and thicken after each infusion of cornstarch/water mixture. You may not need all the slurry.
- Adjust for seasonings and keep on very, very low heat.
Tips for making gravy from scratch
- Put the drippings in a cool place to hurry the fat separation. Remember, when your fridge is full, a cold garage or screened-in porch can work, too.
- Use the frond for more flavorful drippings. Take a moment to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the roasting pan. Those nuggets – called frond – add flavor to the gravy.
- Capture all the yumminess: If your resting turkey yeilds more juice as it cools, add that deliciouness to the pan.
- Add slowly. Add the slurry in small increments to allow for thickening.
- Keep stirring. Constant stirring and energetic whisking is one of the keys to success.
Frequently asked questions
Think about ways to keep it warm but not so hot it will cook down or burn. If you have room on the top of the stove, keep on the lowest heat or use a double boiler or even slide off a burner to a place on the warm stove. Some use an insulated carafe or slow cooker.
If it tastes thin, you can add a tablespoon or so of butter. Thick but bland? First, try more salt. Umami flavors – a splash of soy sauce or Worchestershire sauce – will plus, it too. A bit of acid from splash of lemon juice or apple cider or other vinegar can offset richness.
If available, using chicken or turkey stock will add a layer of flavor. Another option is using half apple cider and half water for the slurry mixture.
If stirring and whisking have not solved the problem, you can run the gravy through a strainer.
Homemade turkey gravy adds next-level tastiness to the Thanksgiving table. And now you know exactly how to make it using only the drippings, cornstarch and water.
More HOMEMADE SAUCES:
- Vegan Mushroom Gravy
- Lebanese Garlic Sauce
- Tzatziki Sauce
- How to Make Marinara Sauce
- Baked Cranberry Sauce
- Cranberry Orange Sauce
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How to Make Gravy
- Turkey drippings about ¼ – ½ cup
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Carefully pour all drippings into a sauce pot and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Use a spoon to skim off the fat.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl to remove lumps.
- Bring drippings to a simmer, taste to determine if it is too salty. If too salty, add one tablespoon of water at a time until the flavor is where you want it.
- Slowly whisk in the slurry into the drippings a little at a time and allow for the gravy to come back to a boil and thicken before adding more. You may not need to use all the slurry. Save anything leftover for another use.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.