Learn how to make gravy without drippings today. This easy homemade gravy recipe makes a perfect batch of gravy every time, with a handful of simple ingredients. Perfect for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Do you need to make gravy, but don't have drippings? Maybe you're deep frying a turkey this year, or want to make gravy the day before Thanksgiving to free up space on the stove.
Don't worry! You can make a great tasting gravy without drippings. Plus, this gravy is easy to make ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze until the big day.
I've also included my "Thanksgiving gravy" which includes a handful of extra ingredients that add flavor and depth to your gravy. Serve alongside a batch of creamy mashed potatoes.
Or, try my new spicy cajun gravy, made with your favorite hot sauce!
What are drippings?
Drippings are the fat that has dripped off of your meat while cooking.
If you're making gravy for your Thanksgiving turkey, for example, you'd reserve the fat and juices that collect in the bottom of the turkey pan.
After allowing the fat and juices to separate, you'd then use a portion of the fat (instead of butter that we use in this recipe), and the juices (instead of, or in addition to, a stock or broth), to make your gravy.
Using drippings and juices from meat you've just made is an easy way to add tons of flavor to your gravy. The drippings will include any flavor you've seasoned your meat with, as well as flavorful juices from the meat itself.
Ingredients and substitutions
Broth or stock - any flavor of broth or stock will work in this recipe. Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, or vegetable broth will all work great. If you're using low sodium broth, you may want to add additional seasoning, like a dash of poultry seasoning, dried sage, or dried thyme (assuming you're steering clear of added salt). Or, try my Thanksgiving gravy variation included in the recipe card.
Unsalted butter and salt can be substituted with salted butter.
Flour is needed to make a roux. This is what thickens your gravy. Be sure to whisk well to get rid of any lumps.
Additional seasoning - A basic gravy is seasoned with salt and pepper. Additional seasoning that works well in gravy: dried thyme, dried sage, Italian seasoning, or poultry seasoning. Try adding a pinch at a time and taste testing to find the perfect flavor for you.
For added depth of flavor, try the Thanksgiving variation in the recipe card. This version includes minced onion, garlic, and poultry seasoning.
For a hot gravy, try my spicy Cajun gravy recipe.
Whisking is an extremely important step in making a good gravy. This ensures that your gravy remains smooth and lump free. I like to use this oxo flat whisk for sauces and gravies, but any regular whisk will work.
Making a roux
In a saute pan or saucepan over medium heat, melt your butter. Add your flour and pepper, and whisk until combined and no lumps remain.
What you've just made is called a roux. A roux is equal parts of butter and flour mixed together. A roux is used to thicken sauces, gravies, and soups.
Making your gravy
To make a gravy, slowly add your chicken broth to the roux, whisking constantly. This ensures that your gravy does not get lumpy. Your gravy will look thin at this point - this is normal. Next, allow the gravy to cook down and thicken.
Cook your gravy until desired thickness is achieved. The longer you cook your gravy, the thicker it will become.
If your gravy feels like it's sticking to the bottom of the pan, turn the heat down slightly - your pan may be too hot. Continuous whisking will also help to prevent your gravy from sticking to the pan.
Seasoning your gravy
I like to leave the salt for last. Two reasons - your broth or stock will likely already contain some sodium. Also, everyone has a different taste for salt, and I'd like for you to season it to your tastes. You're the one enjoying this homemade gravy, after all.
Remove your gravy from the heat and do a taste test. If it needs more salt, add more until you are happy with the taste.
Shown is a Le Creuset 12 ounce Gravy Boat in White, which fits one batch of gravy perfectly.
How to store gravy
Here's the best part about this recipe. Your gravy can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
You can also freeze gravy for up to three months. I like to store my gravy in glass mason jars.
When freezing any liquid, be sure to leave at least an inch of space at the top. Liquids will expand in the freezer, so you'll want to give it a little extra space when filling your container.
If frozen, transfer your gravy from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before serving to thaw.
How to reheat gravy
Pour your gravy into a saucepan and warm over medium heat. Whisk until warmed through.
You may need to add a small amount of water to thin your gravy, as it will continue to thicken as it cooks.
Adding more broth or stock will add more sodium to your already seasoned gravy, which is why I suggest adding water instead. Otherwise, you may end up with an over-seasoned and salty gravy.
Shown here with my Creamy Mashed Potatoes. I also love to make gravy to pair with Southern Cornbread Dressing.
Now that you know how to make gravy, you may want to add some extra flavor. I like to call this version my Thanksgiving Gravy, but it's great for any time of year. You can find both versions in the recipe card below.
To make my Thanksgiving gravy, you'll be adding onion, garlic, and poultry seasoning. Don't have poultry seasoning? Try adding a combination of thyme, rosemary, and sage instead.
If you don't like a lumpy gravy (from the onions and garlic), pour gravy through a fine mesh sieve before filling your gravy boat.
How To Make Gravy Without Drippings
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth, or stock
- ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
Thanksgiving Gravy (optional additions)
- ½ small onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- In a saute pan or saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
- Whisk in flour and pepper until no lumps remain. Cook for one minute.
- Slowly add broth to pan, whisking continuously. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until desired thickness is achieved, while whisking continuously.
- Remove pan from heat and season with salt to taste.
- In a saute pan or saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add minced onion and cook until softened and lightly browned. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
- Whisk in flour and pepper until no lumps remain. Cook for one minute.
- Slowly add broth to pan, whisking continuously. Add poultry seasoning and whisk to incorporate. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until desired thickness is achieved, while whisking continuously.
- Remove pan from heat and season with salt to taste.
- Gravy can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to 3 months.
- If frozen, transfer your gravy from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before serving to thaw.
- Reheating gravy: Pour gravy into a saucepan and warm over medium heat. Whisk until warmed through. Add water as needed if gravy is too thick.
- Don't have poultry seasoning? Try adding a combination of thyme, rosemary, and sage instead.
- Chicken broth can be substituted with any type of broth you have on hand, like turkey, beef, pork, or vegetable broth.
I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty this gravy was. It was easy to make, and looked like I had spent hours simmering bones and collecting pan drippings. I used the vegetarian Better Than Bouillon paste for the broth, so didn’t need any additional salt.
I will definitely make this again when I find myself with enough turkey to make sandwiches, but no leftover gravy.
My first time too. Easy and delicious!!!
I added a little bit of gravy master to give it some color.
I’m giving this five stars because I have never been able to make a delicious gravy from scratch. Truth is, I always relied on packets and jars. The thought of using the drippings just didn’t work for me. I used this recipe, substituting the butter for olive oil. I used white whole wheat flour and unsalted chicken stock. It was the poultry seasoning, minced onion, and garlic, and the black pepper that made this gravy the best. I did add a lot more chicken stock to make it thinner, and I added some fine sea salt sparingly. Oh, and I sprinkled quite a bit of dried parsley at the end. Honestly, this was the best gravy I’ve ever made. I will use this as a base for chicken and turkey pot pie. A great revelation for me and a great find. Thank you!
Thanksgiving version is super easy and tasty. I made ahead and left sprigs of fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary and sage) in the gravy until we were ready to reheat and eat and turned out lovely.
Thanks for this! I had a last-minute Thanksgiving and this was perfect.
simple to prepare, delicious with sliced breast and mashers. I always add the savory spices.
This really was an easy, delicious recipe and alternative to a gravy with drippings. The addition of the poultry seasoning made a big difference I wound up tripling the recipe because we have a big crowd coming for the holidays.
Sally in WA
Perfect quick gravy! I made this for dinner tonight after realizing I was out of gravy packets. I'm glad I was and that I made this instead. Soooo much better! Thank you for sharing!
This gravy rocks! Doubled the recipe - no problem. I also added 1/8 tsp onion powder, garlic powder and italian seasoning with the flour/pepper and used Better than Boullion Chicken flavor. SO GOOD!! This is my new go to recipe for gravy without drippings - thank you!
This recipe is amazing! Thank you for posting it. Since we’re smoking our turkey we won’t have pan drippings. You would never be able to tell that it wasn’t made from pan drippings.
Has anyone ever substituted wondra instead of all purpose flour? Any suggestions on doing that?
Hi Emily, I haven't tried making this recipe with Wondra. However after a little research, it looks like flour could be substituted with Wondra at a 1:1 ratio. Here is a beef broth gravy using Wondra (beef broth could be substituted with any broth you have on hand): https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/beef/beef-broth-gravy.html
I've never made this gravy recipe, but I use Wondra every time I make gravy, so I'm sure it will work here. It whisks up so much easier than flour. I'm looking forward to using this gravy recipe this year on my turkey breast.
Do you think I can use an immersion blender instead of straining the gravy?
Yes, that would also work!
Oh my goodness! So easy & so tasty! I used the better than bouillon chicken broth with the Thanksgiving version. I used a lot less onion than it called for and it still came out very tasty! I tried this out yesterday as I was looking for a gravy to make for Thanksgiving next week. This is it!!! I will triple it next week for Thanksgiving Dinner and will make it one day ahead of time! Thank you so much for this recipe!!!!
I'm sorry to say this, but it tasted overly much like flour. I will keep looking for a good gravy recipe.
Hi JD, it sounds like maybe the flour wasn't cooked long enough. If you have a finished batch of gravy that tastes too floury, one solution is to place it back over medium heat and continue cooking for another five minutes or so, adding more broth as needed to thin the gravy out.
Can you use turkey broth instead of chicken broth? Since its turkey gravy? Just wondering why chicken broth
Hi Berri, any type of broth can be used in this recipe. I use chicken broth because it is much more common at grocery stores - sometimes I can't find turkey broth at all. If you have turkey broth on hand, it will work great!
Marie Elene Flood
This is now my go to gravy
Best one I’ve tried
Yum. Love the subtle qualities.
I am going to try this this week and wonder if I could double or triple the recipe successfully, to have 4 or 6 cups of gravy. Thanks!
Hi Karen, I have doubled this recipe before without issues. You should be able to triple it as well!
Thank you very much! Happy holidays to you. If the gravy is amazing I'll be back to let you know.
I just didn't care for this. Tasted of to much onion to me. Thank you anyhow.
This recipe saved our Thanksgiving meal today! I followed the Thanksgiving Gravy recipe and it was perfectly flavored. Will make again the next time we do not have the turkey or chicken drippings.. Thank you!!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe!
I made this today for Thanksgiving. I added some giblets (chopped up boiled chicken thighs for me). It was perfect!
Melissa L Wamsley
Great recipe. I used better than bouillon chicken broth and made the Thanksgiving gravy. I saited the onions a little longer so my gravy would have more color. Turned out delicious. Very creamy and smooth.
I'm excited to try this recipe! If I make it ahead of time, can I add some of the turkey drippings while I'm re-heating it? I'm making Alton Brown's turkey recipe, which is known to be excellent but also people have said that you get very few drippings, so I wanted to make sure I have a recipe that doesn't require a lot of drippings. Just wondering if I can add whatever drippings there are though.
Hi Emily, that should work just fine! I would wait to add salt to your gravy until you add your drippings, just in case you get enough seasoning from the drippings alone. Enjoy!
Thank you so much for the advice, and this recipe! It came out really delicious! I made it the night before, and then reheated it Thanksgiving day after the turkey came out. As the turkey recipe said, it didn't produce many drippings, but I poured what drippings there were into this gravy, and it gave it a little extra color and flavor. Thank you for the great & adaptable recipe!
Ypu can also add some chicken broth (I use about 3/4- 1 carton) to the bottom of your roasting pan to help prevent the drippings from cooking off. When the turkey is done, pour the broth/ drippings into a fat separator and make gravy from that, adding additional broth if needed. I do that with Alton Brown's recipe and it ensures you get the most out of any drippings.
This turned out delicious, made fried chicken and wanted gravy for my mash potatoes, the onion was the star flavoring in this for me, I ended up straining it due to impossible tiny lumps of flour (never had luck with that) lol I will be saving this recipe!!
Something that helps me if there are lumps in the gravy, is putting it in the blender and pulsing until the lumps are gone!
Just like Thanksgiving!!
Made this gravy tonight using some homemade chicken stock and it turned out very tasty. 🙂
Glad to hear you enjoyed it!
Never made gravy before, this was surprisingly easy. I made the Thanksgiving version with mashed potatoes for dinner and it was so good. Thanks!