A professional chef shows you how to make gravy from drippings! This easy gravy recipe makes a thick, rich, robust gravy that can be made with roasted chicken or roasted turkey pan drippings. You can also make it with butter for an equally delicious homemade gravy.
Making lump-free, flavorful gravy is easier than it seems! You can use this basic recipe to make gravy from pan drippings from roasted chicken, turkey, roast beef or even pork! I made this recipe for my Thanksgiving Menu 2022 but it is also phenomenal poured over creamy mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuits or roasted meat.
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Why are there lumps in my gravy?
There are two main reasons for lumpy gravy.
- You added the stock too fast. Slowly whisking in the stock a ½ cup at a time will gradually loosen the roux and will ensure a smooth, lump-free gravy.
- You tried to thicken the gravy by adding flour straight to the liquid. The flour will clump and therefore no amount of whisking will remove it. It is best to try to avoid this situation by adding the liquid slowly initially.
How to thicken gravy?
Overall, the best way to thicken a gravy is to make a cornstarch slurry. Mix 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water and whisk into hot gravy. Boil at least one minute to boil out the taste of the cornstarch. Repeat if necessary. If you don’t have cornstarch, you can do the same process with arrowroot, tapioca flour or potato starch.
How to make Gravy from Drippings?
- Set roasting pan over 1-2 burners and add about 1 cup stock. Bring to a boil and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Pour through a sieve into a bowl or large measuring cup. Allow the fat to separate.
- Skim off the fat from the stock. You need a ¼ cup. If you don’t have enough, make up the difference with melted butter.
- Combine equal parts fat and flour in a sauce pot. Bring to a boil and whisk continuously. Brown the roux and boil at least 1 minutes.
- Slowly add the stock from the roasting pan to the roux, whisking constantly. Add a little at a time to avoid lumps. You will need about 2 cups of stock total. Taste and add salt a little at a time.
- Boil to reduce slightly. Serve immediately or cool and store.
- Pan drippings: These can be the pan drippings from roasted chicken, turkey, roast beef or pork. The key to making gravy from pan drippings is to add stock or water to the bottom of the roasting pan before cooking and again during cooking as needed. You just need the surface to be covered so that the drippings don’t burn as they hit the hot pan.
- Chicken Stock: I use homemade chicken stock or an unsalted organic chicken stock. Some store-bought stocks have a lot of salt and this can make your gravy too salty when combined with the drippings. (My tutorial on homemade chicken stock is very useful this season!)
- All-Purpose Flour: The best way to thicken gravy is to start with a roux, which is a mixture of flour and melted fat. All-purpose flour is only preferable because it is what you are most likely to have on hand. You could use whole-wheat flour or bread flour if that is what you have.
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt brings out all the other flavors and furthermore pulls everything together. Adjust to your preference, however I wouldn’t suggest omitting.
- Cracked Black Pepper: Freshly cracked black pepper will certainly add a little depth and heat if you add enough! It is altogether completely to your taste.
How to Make Gravy from Drippings with Substitutions
- Stock: Choose a stock that matches the flavor profile of your dish. Use veal or beef stock for beef dishes and correspondingly chicken or turkey for poultry.
- Fat: If you don’t have enough pan drippings or perhaps you just want to make gravy, use butter instead!
- Flour: All-purpose flour is only preferable because it is what you are most likely to have on hand. You could use whole-wheat flour or bread flour if that is what you have.
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Make Gravy from Drippings
Store gravy in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or freezer. It also stores nicely in the freezer in zip-top freezer bags.
It will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.
Gravy freezes beautifully! Freeze it in zip-top plastic bags for easy portioning and meal-prep. Simply thaw and reheat only what you need!
You can make as large a batch as you desire. It's possible that you might need to add melted butter to get the quantity of fat needed for the roux. You want to keep the same proportions as the recipe to minimize the risk of a thin gravy.
The best way to reheat homemade gravy is to slowly warm it in a pot over low heat. Bring the gravy to a boil. Add additional stock as needed to thin. It can also be reheated in the microwave.
Chef Lindsey's Recipe Tips
Salt slowly. I use unsalted chicken stock to minimize the risk of an overly salted gravy. Once I have added all the stock, I taste for seasonings. Add a kosher salt slowly because gravy is one of those dishes that is very easy to over salt.
Easy Gravy from Pan Drippings
- Pan drippings from a turkey or chicken
- 1 cup Chicken Stock (or turkey stock, more as needed)
- ¼ cup Fat (skimmed from pan dripping)
- ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- Black Pepper (to taste)
- The key to making gravy from pan drippings is to add stock or water to the bottom of the roasting pan before cooking and again during cooking as needed. You just need the surface to be covered so that the drippings don’t burn as they hit the hot pan.
- Remove the bird and the roasting rack from the roasting pan. Place pan over two burners or just one if you just cooked a chicken.
- Add an additional 1 cup of chicken or turkey stock to the roasting pan. Bring to a boil and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Turn off heat.
- Place a large bowl or liquid measuring cup on a towel. Place a strainer inside the bowl or cup.
- Carefully pour the liquid from pan through the strainer and into the cup. Discard contents of strainer.
- Allow the fat to rise to the surface in the measuring cup. Carefully skim off the fat and place into a separate measuring cup. I use a small ladle to skim the fat from the surface. Press it just below the surface and the fat will run over the edge and into the ladle. You need a ¼ cup of fat.
- If you don’t get enough fat from your pan drippings, make up the difference with melted butter.
- If there is more than a ¼ cup of fat from the drippings, continue skimming the rest of the fat from the stock. The stock will be your liquid in the gravy and we don’t want to add extra fat. You want to end up with about 2 cups of stock. If you don’t have enough, make up the difference with more hot chicken or turkey stock.
- In a medium sauce pot, add the ¼ cup reserved fat and the ¼ cup flour. Using a flat bottomed whisk, whisk together the fat and flour, cooking over medium heat. This is called making a roux. This roux will be the thickener for the gravy.
- Cook the roux until it has browned and boiled for at least 1 minute. Once it is a nice golden brown, slowly add stock about a ½ cup at a time. Continuously whisking while slowly loosening the gravy.
- While whisking, pour in the rest of the stock. It will be loose. Don’t be stressed!
- Allow the stock to simmer on low until the desired consistency is reached. Don’t forget that it will continue to thicken as it cools. Taste and season with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Use immediately or you will need to reheat and then add more stock.
Before You Go!
Check out our other delicious, chef-developed recipes for Sauces + Condiments!
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