The One Homemade Gravy Mistake You’re Making—and How to Stop
The best homemade gravy starts with one simple step that’s often overlooked. We'll teach you how to make gravy the right way once and for all.
Homemade gravy is so easy to make—really. In fact, turkey gravy takes just six ingredients to make, and that’s counting salt and pepper. Still, there’s a mistake that people commonly make when preparing homemade gravy, and it ruins the whole thing: they cook it in a pot from scratch, rather than in the pot with all the drippings and brown bits, which add so much flavor to the gravy. Don’t do that. For the most flavorful gravy, always make yours in the same pan you use for roasting your turkey. And another thing—make your gravy last. That way it will be hot and delicious when everyone sits down to eat.
Now that we have those issues out of the way, let’s talk about exactly how to make homemade gravy...
First things first, you roast your turkey. Once it comes out of the oven, transfer it to a carving board to rest for about 30 minutes. This will give the juices time to redistribute so the meat doesn’t dry out and your turkey stays juicy.
Next, drain the juices in the roasting pan into a fat separator (we like OXO Good Grips 2-Cup Fat Separator, $10; bedbathandbeyond.com) or bowl, and let sit for about 10 minutes so that the fat has time to rise to the top. (If you cooked your turkey with carrots and onions, set them aside as a snack or for serving.) Separating the fat is crucial in any gravy recipe because you want to end up with a silky gravy, not a greasy one. No fat separator, no problem. The fat will still rise to the top if you pour the pan juices into a bowl, which you can simply skim off with a spoon.
Because you’re leaving the gravy for last, this is the moment where the stovetop is clear from everything else. Place the empty (unwashed) roasting pan over two burners over medium-high. Pour in ½ cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, while scraping up all those browned bits at the bottom of the pan. The alcohol will evaporate in about 3 minutes.
Now it’s time to make a roux. Equal parts butter and flour to help thicken a soup or sauce (think mac ‘n’ cheese), in this case, gravy. Melt half a stick of butter (4 tablespoons) and whisk in ½ cup flour. Continue to cook while whisking until the mixture is golden and smells almost nutty, about 3 minutes. Then whisk in 4 cups chicken or turkey stock and the reserved pan juices (sans fat), you should have about 1½ cups pan juices to add. Simmer until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and you’re done. You just made homemade gravy! For the turkey recipe married to this gravy recipe, click here. If you’re looking for a vegetarian gravy bursting with flavor, try this one.