The Unsung Hero of Every Thanksgiving Dinner Table!
While Thanksgiving preferences can be preeetty controversial (stuffing or dressing?…mashed potatoes or mac & cheese?…marshmallow-laden sweet potatoes or savory sweet potatoes?…pumpkin or pecan pie?), I think there’s one thing that we can all agree on: every Thanksgiving table needs a rich, lusciously creamy turkey gravy.
If you’ve never prepared turkey gravy before, know that it’s honestly a seriously simple process! For whatever reason, people get really worried about gravy & the potential for lumps or bumps, but there’s truly no need to be intimidated. This is an easy turkey gravy recipe, & it’s the perfect starting point if you’re a beginner!
This gravy comes together quickly in the 20 minutes that it takes for your roasted turkey to rest before carving. (ICYMI, resting your turkey is a super important part of cooking a Thanksgiving turkey. While your bird rests, it’s going to get extra juicy, tender, & finish cooking up to its proper temperature.) So pour yourself a glass of wine & enjoy the amazing smell of your roasted turkey as you whisk away making gravy!
(By the way, if you’re looking for a super-flavorful & tender Thanksgiving turkey recipe, check out my Lemon Herb Butter Roast Spatchcock Turkey & my Spatchcock Maple Glazed Turkey! These dishes are game-changers this holiday & will fill your kitchen with the amazing aroma of lemon herb or fresh maple syrup. So cozy!)
Easy Turkey Gravy Recipe Highlights
You will love this turkey gravy recipe because it’s…
- Rich & flavorful. We’re making this turkey gravy with turkey drippings, the flavor-packed juices that drip from the bird as it’s roasting. Turkey drippings add a whole new level of flavor to your gravy. (& if you’ve seasoned your turkey with butter, herbs, or maple syrup, you’ll get a hint of these flavors from the drippings as well!)
- Seriously EASY! How many times can I say this? This is an incredibly easy turkey gravy. If it’s your first time making gravy, don’t sweat it – this is going to be a breeze!
- Ready in minutes! You’ll love how quickly this gravy comes together. We’re only working with a few ingredients here, & most of the hard work has already been done by roasting the turkey (those turkey drippings are everything in this recipe!).
Pure Thanksgiving goodness! ♡ Read on to learn more about this Easy Turkey Gravy recipe, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
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Homemade Turkey Gravy Ingredients
You’ll only need a handful of things to make this gravy recipe. It is super easy, after all!
Note: full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
You will need…
- Shallot – This bulb vegetable is aromatic, like onions & garlic…basically, it’s a flavor bomb that starts this gravy recipe off strong. Finely dice your shallot & have it ready – we’re going to start by sautéing the shallots in butter & get your kitchen smelling amazing.
- Dry white wine – Wine helps deepen the rich flavor in this turkey gravy recipe. Grab a bottle of dry white wine like Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, or Sauvignon Blanc from your wine collection for best results!
- Flour vs. cornstarch. Both flour & cornstarch are thickeners that can turn our delicious turkey drippings into a more gravy-like texture. Cornstarch has more thickening power than flour, so you can use less of it & achieve a thicker, shiny texture quickly. BUT we’re skipping the cornstarch here. We’re using flour to make a roux that’s ideal for that rich, creamy, luscious texture we know & love in gravy. It’s the best thickening agent for our easy turkey gravy.
- Turkey Stock. This is easy to buy at the grocery store. Or, as you become a master of all things turkey, you can even make your own (it’s pretty easy too)!
- Turkey drippings – The most important ingredient for this recipe – irresistible turkey drippings!
Ingredient Spotlight ⇢ Why use turkey drippings?
Turkey drippings contain the BEST flavors from your roasted turkey. Using turkey drippings to make gravy creates a rich flavor that just can’t be replicated. What could possibly taste more deliciously turkey-like than turkey drippings?!
Think about it…turkey drippings are made up of all the goodness from your roasted turkey: a combination of all those turkey juices as the bird roasts in the oven AND the flavors of the seasonings you used on the bird, whether that was some herb butter, fresh lemons, or a maple glaze. Everything combines, dripping off your piping hot roasted turkey & gathering in the roasting pan just waiting to be turned into some delicious turkey gravy.
Since all of this flavor is built right into your roasted Thanksgiving turkey, turkey drippings make creating a rich & flavorful gravy incredibly easy. Plus, when we use turkey drippings we’re not putting any part of the roasted turkey to waste. Making something completely delicious out of turkey drippings puts this by-product to the best use possible. Who knew so much value was waiting for you at the bottom of the roasting pan?!
How to Make Easy Turkey Gravy from Drippings
Let’s talk about how to make turkey gravy. Specifically, how to make turkey gravy from drippings (because there’s no other way to make turkey gravy in my book!).
A roasting pan & a whisk are two kitchen tools you’ll want to have handy when it comes time to make your gravy. A roasting pan is easy because you’re already cooking your turkey in one! The roasting pan has all of the unbelievable flavors from your roasted turkey just waiting to be used for turkey gravy. Don’t let your turkey drippings go to waste – save that roasting pan! Keep it on your stove once the turkey comes out of the oven.
We’re also going to keep things simple & make our easy turkey gravy right in the roasting pan. Because why create more dishes to wash on Thanksgiving? The less cleanup, the better.
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Turkey gravy step-by-step instructions:
- Collect turkey drippings. Those beautiful turkey drippings are just waiting to be transformed into the best gravy. Start by transferring them from the roasting pan to a large liquid measuring cup. You’re going to notice a layer of fat collecting at the top of the liquid – just take a spoon & use it to skim most of the fat off & discard. (But do save some – it’s delicious!) At this point, you should also remove any turkey bones or spent vegetables from the roasting pan.
- Cook aromatics. It’s time for that aromatic shallot to shine! After placing your roasting pan over low heat, melt your butter & add your diced shallots. Cook them for just a few minutes until the shallots are softened & golden, not crispy & browned.
- Make a Roux. Now’s the time to build & simmer the turkey gravy. Start by sprinkling flour over the roasting pan, whisking constantly. A darkened roux is going to form, which is just a fancy way to say a mixture of flour & fat. The roux gives our gravy its thickness. Add the wine, reduce the liquid, then add the turkey stock & those delicious turkey drippings. Make sure you keep whisking! This stirring is going to help the gravy get the consistency it needs. When it’s reached the creamy texture you want, you’re all done!
- Serve & enjoy! Keep your gravy warm until it’s ready to serve & then get ready to pour it alllll over your plate. If a film forms at the surface of the gravy while it’s staying warm, no worries! Just give it a good whisk to incorporate it back into the gravy.
Turkey Gravy FAQs
If your gravy isn’t coming together as expected, don’t sweat it. This easy turkey gravy recipe is very forgiving & easy to troubleshoot! Some gravy questions I get asked a lot are….
What do I do if my turkey gravy is too thick?
That probably just means you used too much flour or there’s a lot of fat. All you need is more liquid! Whisk in some of your turkey or chicken stock, a few tablespoons at a time, until the gravy is thinned out to your liking.
What do I do if my turkey gravy is too thin?
If your gravy is more of a runny, watery texture then you’ll need to add more thickener. We used flour as a thickener when we made a roux at the beginning of this easy turkey gravy recipe. Resist the temptation to just sprinkle more flour in the gravy at this point… that’ll leave you with clumps!
2 ways to troubleshoot turkey gravy that is too thin:
- Make another roux, separate from the gravy you already have. No sweat, you already know how to do this! Sprinkle some flour over the fatty goodness from your turkey drippings & whisk it together. Then, whisk this new roux into your turkey gravy.
- Create a slurry with cornstarch & cold water. This is a simple quick fix if you’re REALLY having a hard time getting your gravy to thicken. Once you mix the cornstarch with cold water, whisk this slurry into the gravy in small doses. It’ll only take a small amount to make your turkey gravy thicken up!
Does the color of my turkey gravy matter?
The color of turkey gravy can vary widely from light to dark brown – & it’s all mostly dependent on the spices & seasonings used to make your turkey. So don’t worry about it. Light or dark, your gravy is going to be delicious no matter what.
& there you go! That’s all you need to know about how to make turkey gravy from turkey drippings. My favorite word on Thanksgiving is EASY – & this gravy definitely lives up to its name. Quick & simple. Rich & flavorful. That’s the best kind of turkey gravy recipe!
I can’t wait for you to try this Easy Turkey Gravy recipe! It works beautifully every time, creating a rich & flavorful gravy that everyone at your Thanksgiving table will go crazy for! If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!
Planning the Best-Ever Thanksgiving Menu? 🙌🏼 You’re in the right place! Be sure to try my Best-Ever Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage & Mushrooms, Best-Ever Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic, or Best-Ever Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta & Pine Nuts. ♡ Happy cooking!Print
This Easy Turkey Gravy recipe uses turkey drippings to take all of the rich, mouthwatering flavor from your roasted turkey & create a turkey gravy worthy of pouring all over your holiday dinner plate! This homemade turkey gravy is very easy to make – the perfect recipe for beginners! – & will complete your Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, or holiday dinner table.
- roasted turkey pan drippings (see Recipe Notes)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dry white wine (see Recipe Notes)
- 2–3 cups turkey stock/broth or chicken stock/broth
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- Roast turkey according to Recipe Directions. Once roasted, very carefully transfer the turkey to a cutting board or large flat surface. Tent with foil & set aside to rest at room temperature while you prepare your easy turkey gravy.
- Turkey drippings: Transfer the turkey drippings from the roasting pan to a large liquid measuring cup. Use a spoon to skim off most of the fat & discard. If your turkey is butter roasted, there will be a lot of fat – leave some of it in for flavor, but you definitely don’t need it all for a rich turkey gravy. Remove any spent roasting vegetables or turkey bones from the roasting pan & discard.
- Cook the aromatics. Place the roasting pan over two burners on your stove over low heat. Add the butter & shallots. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened.
- Build & simmer the turkey gravy: Sprinkle the flour over the whole roasting pan and cook, whisking constantly, until a darkened roux forms, 2-3 minutes. While whisking constantly, slowly pour in the white wine. Let the mixture bubble & reduce slightly. Pour in the turkey drippings & stock; you’ll want 4 cups total liquid so the amount of stock you use will depend on how much drippings you have (if you have 1 cup drippings, use 3 cups stock; if you have 2 cups drippings, use 2 cups stock, etc.). Continue to whisk until the gravy reduces to your desired thickness. Taste and season with salt and ground black pepper as needed; this will vary based on the amount of salt in your drippings & your stock so use your judgement.
- Serve: Turn the heat to low to keep the gravy warm until you are ready to serve; if a film forms at the surface just give it a good whisk & it will incorporate back into the gravy in no time. Enjoy!
- Turkey drippings: Since turkey drippings contain the best flavors from your roasted turkey & result in the most flavorful turkey gravy, you need turkey drippings for this easy gravy recipe. If you’re looking for an easy roasted turkey recipe, check out my Lemon Herb Butter Roast Spatchcock Turkey or my Spatchcock Maple Glazed Turkey. They’re both seriously amazing & result in the best drippings for turkey gravy.
- Troubleshooting Turkey Gravy: The nice thing about gravy is it’s pretty forgiving! You can play with a couple of variables to achieve just the right texture & consistency:
- My gravy is too thick! ⇢ You just need more liquid! Whisk in some of your turkey or chicken stock a few tablespoons at a time until it’s thinned out to your liking.
- My turkey gravy is too thin! ⇢ You simply need to thicken. If the gravy is slightly too thin, just crank up the heat, letting it simmer until it’s thickened up a bit – be sure to whisk constantly to prevent burning. If your gravy seems way too thin, add a thickening agent. The best option is prepping a quick cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch with cold water. Whisk the slurry into the gravy little by little – it only take a small amount to make your turkey gravy thicken up!
- Storage & Reheating: Leftover turkey gravy will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through.
Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Megan McKeehan
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