Turkey Gravy From Drippings
Homemade turkey gravy from drippings is a rich and flavorful sauce made from the fat of roasted turkey plus turkey or chicken broth and flour. It’s the perfect gravy to pour over your Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing!
With Thanksgiving next week, we need to talk about the most important recipe you’re going to make – turkey gravy from drippings.
After all, homemade turkey gravy is the foundation to every Thanksgiving meal.
Drippings are the natural juices and fat that come out of meat after being roasted in the oven. They collect in the bottom of the pan, begging to be turned into a pan gravy.
You do NOT want to throw these away. These drippings are full of flavor like you wouldn’t believe. And nobody wants to waste food, either.
By making turkey gravy from drippings, you can develop an easy, rich and flavorful sauce that ties your whole holiday meal together.
Whether you’re making Thanksgiving dinner for two with a small turkey tenderloin or roasting a whole turkey for your extended family, this easy turkey gravy is going to be your new best friend at the table.
Ingredients For Turkey Gravy From Drippings
To make your turkey gravy recipe from drippings, gather the following ingredients:
- Drippings: The juices left behind after your turkey is done roasting
- Butter: Extra fat needed if you don’t have enough drippings
- Broth or stock: Ideally you want to use turkey, but you can also use chicken.
- Flour: Thickens the gravy by creating a roux
- Salt: Flavors the gravy. If it tastes bland or flat, add more salt.
- Milk: Adds a bit more creaminess
What if I can’t find turkey stock?
I was shopping last weekend in the soup aisle when I heard a couple saying “I can’t find turkey broth! Now what?!”
Store-bought turkey stock isn’t very common. Your choices are to make homemade turkey stock or buy chicken broth.
Nothing wrong with that!
How To Make Gravy From Turkey Drippings
Here’s how to make gravy from turkey drippings:
- Melt fat from drippings and butter directly in the roasting pan, scraping up any brown bits left in the pan.
- Stir in flour to form a roux and cook for 1 minute or until lightly brown.
- Slowly whisk in broth then bring to a boil. Cook until it starts to thicken.
- Stir in the milk. Taste and add salt as needed.
Can I make gravy without drippings?
Whether you’re making gravy ahead of time and not able to wait for the meat drippings or you simply don’t have any, you can make it without! Refer to my gravy without drippings recipe to learn more.
How To Store Turkey Gravy
Got leftover gravy? Store it in an airtight container or jar for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. You may need to thin it out with some broth when reheating.
How To Separate Fat From Drippings
If you have a large amount of drippings, such as from roasting a whole turkey, you want to separate the fat from the liquid first.
You can do this by transferring the drippings to a measuring cup and let sit for about 15 minutes or until the fat rises to the top. Skim off the fat with a spoon.
If you have the time and can let it sit overnight, the fat will actually solidify, making it so much easier to skim.
Add this fat to your pan for your gravy base. Add enough butter to equal the amount of fat called for in the recipe.
Now if you’re making a smaller dinner, such as turkey tenderloin, then you’re only left with about a tablespoon of drippings.
In this case, I didn’t bother separating the fat; I just added it all to the pan along with the butter.
Can I double this gravy recipe?
Because I cook smaller cuts of meat on this blog, my gravy recipe uses drippings from my stuffed turkey breast and turkey tenderloin, meaning it’s a small amount. Roughly 1-2 tablespoons.
If you’re making a full turkey, you’ll have more drippings, so you’ll have to adjust the recipe accordingly.
The easiest way to do this is measure how much drippings you have then multiply the recipe. For example, if you have 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) drippings, you’ll multiply my recipe by 4.
How To Make Gluten Free Turkey Gravy
Sometimes you don’t want to make turkey gravy with flour. Sometimes you need a gluten free gravy to accommodate food allergies on Thanksgiving Day.
You can easily make turkey gravy using cornstarch, but the process is slightly different than using flour.
Instead of making a roux, make a slurry of water and cornstarch. This ensures your gravy isn’t lumpy. If you added dry cornstarch the same way you do with flour, you’d be left with lumps.
Stir the slurry into the hot fat then stir in the broth. Bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, the gravy should thicken up.
Turkey Gravy From Drippings FAQ
Yes, make your gravy up to 2 days in advance then refrigerate. Reheat it gently on the stove, whisking in more broth to thin it out as it’ll greatly thicken overnight.
Gravy gets lumpy when you don’t whisk vigorously while slowly stirring in the broth. Use an immersion blender to fix lumpy gravy. Don’t have one? Strain it through a fine mesh strainer.
The easiest way to thicken a gravy is to cook it longer as it’ll reduce and thicken naturally. If you’re in a hurry, create a slurry by mixing equal parts cornstarch and water then whisk into simmering gravy.
What To Serve With Turkey Gravy
Still planning your holiday menu? Check out these favorite Thanksgiving recipes:
- Stuffed Cornish Hen (just in case you don’t want turkey this year)
- Stovetop Scalloped Potatoes
- Au Gratin Potatoes For Two
- Cranberry Sauce
- Green Bean Casserole Without Mushroom Soup
- Sweet Potato Casserole For Two
- Small Pumpkin Pie
- Pan drippings from turkey breast
- Up to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour* (see Note to substitute cornstarch)
- Up to 1 cup turkey or chicken broth/stock
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- Salt, to taste (preferably kosher)
- Transfer drippings from the bottom of your roasting pan into a measuring cup and refrigerate 15 minutes. The fat should float to the top.
- Skim fat off the top and place back into the roasting pan. For bone-in turkey breast, you should have 2 tablespoons fat. If you don't have enough, add enough butter to equal 2 tablespoons total fat.
If you're roasting a whole turkey, you'll have more drippings so you'll need to adjust the ingredients accordingly. The steps are still the same.
- Add enough broth to the liquid drippings to equal 1 cup.
- On the stovetop over medium heat, melt the fat and butter directly in the roasting pan (or clean saucepan), scraping up any brown bits left in the pan.
- Stir in the flour to form a roux (paste) and cook for 1 minute or until lightly brown.
- Slowly whisk in the broth mixture and cook until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. It'll thicken after it cools so you may want to pull from the heat before it finishes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the milk. Taste and adjust for salt.
Gravy will thicken as it cools, so you may need to reheat and thin it out with more broth until smooth and pourable again.
Refrigerate leftover gravy for up to 5 days. Reheat and add more broth to thin it out.
- For a gluten free gravy, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl then add to the melted fat in the pan.
- Need drippings? Make my Stuffed Turkey Breast then come back and make this gravy.
- Don't want drippings? Check out Gravy Without Drippings and Mushroom Gravy.
- Planning your holiday menu? Check out Thanksgiving Dinner For Two for recipe pairings.
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