Gravy Recipe

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Introduction: Gravy Recipe

About: I've worked for Instructables off and on since 2006 building and documenting just about everything I enjoy doing. I am now the Creative Programs founder and manager for Autodesk and just finished building o...

My gravy recipe will make a delicious sauce made from the pan drippings that are created when you roast meat. This is an Instructable on making a turkey gravy recipe that's perfect for Thanksgiving, but can also be used whenever you've got some drippings that you'd like to put to good use. Turning drippings into gravy takes only a few minutes, can be done on the stove top, uses only flour and water as ingredients, and is a worthwhile addition to any savory meal.

Pass the gravy Instructable please. 

Step 1: Gather Materials

To make gravy you need a few simple things:

  • drippings (1/2 cup not including fat)
  • cornstarch of flour (1 or 2 tablespoons)
  • broth (1 cup of chicken, turkey or beef - whatever flavor you like)
  • ice water
  • mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • saucepan

Having a fat separator like the one pictured below is optional. They are super helpful for making gravy, but you can also just spoon off the excess fat manually.

If you have less drippings then I did, that's fine, my drippings are from a pretty big turkey. Just use whatever you have available. You can always add more broth to increase your gravy volume.

Step 2: Pour Drippings Into Pan and Heat

If you are using a fat separator, pour off as much of the meat juices as you can, stopping before you pour out any solids or fat. I had about half a cup.

If you don't have a fat separator, simply use a spoon to skim off the top layer of fat from your juices. It will be easier to skim off the fat if you have the drippings in something tall and narrow (like a drinking glass) and harder to do this if your fat in something wide (like a bowl).

Begin heating up the juices, but try not to burn or boil them. Try starting off with a medium to low heat and adjust as necessary.

Step 3: Create Thickening Slurry

The juices on their own will be too thin to make gravy with, so you'll need to add in something to thicken the mixture up. The most common way of doing this is to make a thickening paste called a slurry using flour or cornstarch. Here I'm using cornstarch, but flour is certainly the more conventional way.

Cornstarch has almost twice the thickening power of flour, so use about half of much. Also, another nice perk about cornstarch is that it's almost impossible to end up with lumps, a common occurrence in gravies using flour, and, it's gluten free!

Mix about one tablespoon of cornstarch with 1/2 cup of ice water. Whisk it thoroughly in a bowl for a few seconds until it's an even white liquid. You're probably asking yourself, "this doesn't look very thick, what's up Noah?" Patience, patience, the cornstarch has to be heated to above 200 degrees F before it thickens.

  • You may need to make more or less of this mixture depending on how much gravy you're making.

** It doesn't really matter how much meat juice you've got to start, you can keep adding your thickener if you've got a lot of juices.

Step 4: Add Slurry and Broth

With the heat turned down low, slowly add the cornstarch slurry to the drippings. Using a whisk or wooden spoon, mix the cornstarch and water into the juices and continue stirring. The juices will remain fairly thin and cloudy for a minute or two until the proper temperature is reached, at which point, the mixture will thicken significantly. Take care not to boil your gravy.

While stirring, slowly add in the stock and balance the gravy with the thickening mixture until you've got the amount of gravy that you want, at the desired consistency. There aren't really absolutes with making gravy, but expect to add in most of the thickener that you've prepared if you've got about 1/2 cup in juices and another cup of added stock. If you need to thicken your gravy further, no problem, just mix up some more slurry and add it in little by little.

Follow the general guidelines of: heating it slowly on a low flame, adding more thickener if it's too thin, adding more stock if it's to thick, keeping it from boiling, and stirring constantly.

Step 5: Pour Into Gravy Bowl and Enjoy

Once you've got the gravy at the right consistency, it's done!

If you're making a flour based gravy, be sure to cook your sauce long enough so that you can no longer taste the raw flower in your gravy. This is less of an issue with cornstarch, but still something to watch out for. Taste test the gravy from time to time - you'll easily notice when the flour or cornstarch is done cooking. If you taste a powdery flavor in your mouth, it's not done yet.

Pour the gravy into a gravy boat or bowl and enjoy with your favorite roasted animals.

** Special restaurant tip discovered from comments to this Instructable **

Place a small pad of butter on top of the gravy if you're not going to serve it immediately. The butter will melt and prevent a skin from forming on the gravy, a usual occurrence when gravy is allowed to stand for a bit. It also adds good flavor.

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    41 Discussions

    Yumm, thanks for the tips.

    Another way to remove excess grease from the drippings is to float paper towel on top of the grease, the grease will soak into the towel and you can lift it out. A bit messy so do it over the sink, but it works great. Next time invest in a seperator!

    Hmmm, well I wasn't going to comment on this until I started reading the comments so here goes (comments are not in any order just as they come to mind. "Gravy" is never made with cornstarch it is made with flour. And as holly-g stated it's called a roux when you mix fat (any kind) with flour. Slurry is something entirely different. Anything with cornstarch is a "sauce" and if you don't know the difference you might as well stop reading now. Also in my family on both sides turkey gravy is more white then brown and contains the giblets from the paper bag found inside of the crop of the turkey. You get your stock from cooking the giblets and then dice the giblets. Using another pan to make the gravy is unnecessary and dirties another pan and by now you've probably dirtied every pan you own. Just use the roasting pan on top of the stove. Skim as much fat out of the pan as you can. Add your turkey stock (make this ahead so it has time to cool) having removed the giblets, dice them and set aside. OK roasting pan on the stove apply medium heat until the dripping and whatnot are getting hot. Start sprinkling flour (BTW Wondra flour if a great thing for first time gravy makers, it is modified in such away as to limit bad gravy experiences and is easier to use). Sprinkle flour into the heated drippings stirring all the time keep adding flour slowly and stirring until you have a fairly thick paste (about like tooth paste). Then start adding the stock all the time whisking away (if you have a stick blender this is the time to dig it out) the better you keep it stirred the less likely you'll have lumpy gravy and with a stick blender lumps don't stand a chance. As soon as you get the consistency you think you want, turn the heat down to a simmer and let it simmer and reduce down to where it is thicker then you want your gravy. Then add the giblets, taste test and if it needs salt and or pepper add a little. So now you have gravy with giblets that is a little too thick so you add a little whole cream or half and half and if you can't bring yourself to cream then milk will pass, this will add richness and results in a great consistency.

    The main trick with making gravy is practice. I've been making gravy for 50+ years I'm 65 now and I didn't get to the perfect every time until I was at least 25. It's like making scratch biscuits or pie crust. Yeah you can measure but there are factors that measuring will not compensate for, like humidity, what kind of flour, where it was grown and when.

    7 replies

    Had I come across this article three years ago I would have told you that you are wrong... in that cornstarch makes for a fine and tasty gravy.. the only difference being you do not have to cook the cornstarch like flour to remove the "flour" taste. In my 48 years of cooking I have made thousands of gravies using a variety of thickeners from potato water to roots and I have found cornstarch makes a perfectly acceptable gravy.

    Correct me if I'm wrong,but isn't "Wondra" made with cornstarch???

    As I recall Wondra is made from a specially treated flour that has been heat treated in effect par-cooking the flour. I suppose it is something like pan searing flour. I don't believe there is any cornstarch in it.

    Oilitright, I stand corrected...thank you ☺

    come make it at my house it was nasty the other day dang dogs would not even eat it ...

    lol

    +1 for this comment. Every word is gospel. This is the way my family has done it for at least four generations now. I learned from my father, who learned from his mother/my grandmother, who learned from hers, etc. The only thing about this that I do differently is the way the flour (never cornstarch) goes in--I never add dry to wet, always wet to dry. I put a couple of tablespoons of flour in a small measuring cup and add small amounts of the warm (not yet hot) drippings/stock to it, mixing well between additions to get a very thick paste to start with. You are trying to use barely enough liquid to hydrate the flour uniformly to start. I then work this paste to get the lumps out, stirring while adding more liquid in small additions until I end up with a smooth, soupy (like melted ice cream) flour mixture. Then pour the mixture back into *simmering* pan of goodness while stirring and be assured a lump-free result. If the mixture doesn't smooth out satisfactorily (usually too much liquid too fast), I just toss it and start again, but haven't ruined the gravy trying. Also, don't add the entire mixture back to the simmering drippings/stock pan in one shot, start with about half and see how thick it starts to get--you can always add more if it's not quite getting there, and you should leave a little headroom to simmer for a few minutes to cook the flour taste out, during which time it will reduce and thicken more. Sounds time consuming but I get it done in about 60 seconds from dry flour to final simmering, and I haven't had to apologize for lumps in years. Also, don't salt until you've gotten the consistency you want and are ready to serve--the simmering/reduction at the end will intensify saltiness, so if you salt to soon, you could end up with beautiful looking but way salty gravy.

    Sounds like we end up with the same deliciousness just slightly different techniques. Tomorrow I am making three turkeys. One will be roasted in the oven, one is getting deep fried and a third my favorite method in a very unusual smoker which combines smoking, convection and steam. Fortunately I'm only doing the turkeys, friends and family are taking care of everything else. Except of course the gravy!

    A little caramel coloring sauce like Gravy Master can give it that deep brown color. I like fresh ground pepper, and a little bit of salt, unless there's salt in everything else on the menu (especially stuffing).

    1 reply

    Great instructable, nice clear "how to." Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who has to know "why." You emphasize not letting the gravy come to a boil; I've always brought it to a boil, why is that wrong? I also lean toward using a roux rather than a slurry, but that's just personal preference.

    2 replies

    Some people prefer light color gravy so I guess that is why not letting it boil. Personally I prefer my gravy dark, so I brown my flour well, especially if it is sausage milk gravy for breakfast.

    I always let it boil - thats how you cook the flour!

    You dont want it to BURN, but thats different from 'boil'.

    A simpler way to make the thickening slurry is to put all the ingredients into a clean jar and shake. This eliminates any possible lumps.

    Yeah piks! Use the turkey fat for roux best ever!!! gobble gobble

    "it's almost impossible to end up with lumps" ... if you put it into cold water!

    If you make a mistake and put it straight into your gravy, you're going to have lumpy gravy!

    why did the gravy go from bein a golden-brown colour and then in the last slide it was suddenly brown? Thanks.

    1 reply