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Whether it’s for the holidays or just Sunday dinner—I beg you to please not use those highly-processed store-bought packets of gravy mix to make your gravy! The ingredient list is full of refined additives you would not cook with at home, even including “corn syrup solids.” No, thank you! Plus it’s SO super easy to make your own homemade gravy from scratch!
What are the 3 Ingredients for Easy Homemade Gravy?
Seriously, you can make homemade gravy with only 3 ingredients! Once you have the main recipe down, you can swap ingredients out to make a delicious gravy for chicken, beef, potatoes, and biscuits … you get the idea! Here are the 3 ingredients:
1. Broth or Pan Drippings
You’ll need a cup of liquid to act as your gravy base. I like to use the pan drippings to avoid waste; just make sure you remove the fat before starting (save that for your roux). If you don’t have enough drippings, add stock until you have 1 cup total.
Any kind of stock will work for gravy but I like to use something complementary. For example, beef stock with gravy for beef, chicken stock for chicken or turkey, etc. If you want to make a vegetarian brown gravy, opt for vegetable stock instead.
2. Gravy Made with Flour
The flour helps thicken the gravy without changing the flavor. I use whole wheat flour in all my recipes, including homemade gravy. You may also be able to use gluten free flour (again, whole grain), but some brands work better than others. Check out this gluten-free gravy and this Brown Gravy too!
3. Cooking Fat or Butter
Reserve 1 tablespoon of skimmed fat to make your roux. If you’re not using pan drippings you can also use 1 tablespoon of butter instead.
Bonus: Seasoning for Tasty Gravy
I only season my homemade gravy with salt and pepper, and it’s delicious! If you want to add more spices, avoid anything with large pieces (such as dried rosemary) to keep gravy smooth. Thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, paprika, and oregano all taste great.
How to Make Homemade Gravy from Scratch
Making gravy with pan drippings (from cooking your turkey, chicken, roast, etc.) results in the most flavor, but if you really want to make gravy quickly you can get it done in just two easy steps without pan drippings! The process is similar except you skip the first step and sub butter for cooking fat and broth/stock (store-bought or homemade chicken stock) for pan juices.
Here are the basic steps for each method, and you can check out the video and recipe below for detailed instructions.
With Pan Drippings
- Separate the pan drippings into cooking juices and fat.
- Combine the fat and flour to make a roux.
- Whisk in the cooking juices plus salt and pepper while reducing until thickened.
Without Pan Drippings
- Combine the butter and flour to make a roux.
- Whisk in your favorite stock (e.g. chicken, beef, or vegetable) plus seasonings and reduce.
What is the Basic Recipe for Gravy?
A basic gravy recipe can be made with: 1 tablespoon of fat or butter, 1 tablespoon of flour, and 1 cup of pan drippings or broth.
You can easily double or even quadruple this recipe to serve a crowd. It’s especially handy for making a large batch of turkey gravy at Thanksgiving! It may take longer to thicken though in larger quantitites.
How to Make Gravy Roux
A roux is a mixture of equal parts fat and flour. It’s used to thicken a variety of stews and sauces, including homemade gravy. For this recipe, you can either use some of the skimmed fat from your pan drippings or butter and whole wheat flour to make your gravy roux.
Here’s how to make a perfect roux for gravy every time:
- Don’t overheat your pan, medium-low heat is perfect.
- Cook for about 1-2 minutes while stirring, until darkened.
- Stir constantly and scrape the pan to avoid burnt flour.
- Break up lumps as you cook to avoid lumpy gravy.
- If your roux smells like burnt popcorn it’s overdone.
How to Make Homemade Gravy Video
Watch how I do it and then try it yourself … I guarantee gravy will start showing up on your table for more than just Thanksgiving dinner.
Kitchen Tools I Used in the Video
How to Make Homemade Brown Gravy Lighter or Darker
Two things give homemade brown gravy its color: how long you cook the roux and what stock or drippings you use for a gravy base.
For regular brown gravy, cook the roux until it reaches a medium brown color. If you’re having a tough time telling how done it is with whole wheat flour use your sense of smell: brown roux will smell like popcorn cooking. You can use any type of stock or pan drippings for brown gravy.
To make dark brown beef gravy, cook the roux even longer (but at a lower temperature) until it’s a dark color with a nutty aroma. Then use beef broth or beef juices to make your gravy.
Can You Freeze Homemade Gravy?
Yes! You can freeze it in air-tight storage containers or plastic zip-top bags, or in ice trays for easy portioning. For the best flavor and texture, use within 4-6 months.
Ways to Use Gravy
Pour your gravy over…
- Mashed potatoes (classic, or try my fancy Easy Duchess Potatoes Recipe).
- Fluffy homemade biscuits and eggs for breakfast, with a side of fruit.
- The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot or a roasted chicken.
- A hot sandwich with leftover chicken.
- Rice or pasta.
- Shepherd’s Pie or Chicken Pot Pie.