If you’ve been reluctantly buying instant gravy mixes out of fear that making turkey gravy from scratch is too time-consuming or too complicated, let us assure you, it’s neither. This foolproof method for making silky smooth gravy requires very little effort and can be made while your turkey is resting. Maybe this year you let everyone at your table give thanks that your days of reconstituting gravy powder are over.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers loved that this turkey gravy is “thick and glossy”, and that the recipe was well-written and easy to follow, making it ideal for novices and gravy-making pros alike.

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Turkey drippings–If you don’t have quite enough drippings, you can substitute additional chicken or turkey stock.
  • Stock–You can use homemade or store-bought here, but if using store-bought, select a low-sodium or unsalted stock. If your turkey is well seasoned, your drippings may be a little salty and lower sodium stock will help to balance this out.
  • Butter–Stick with unsalted here to balance any excess saltiness in the drippings.
  • Chicken demi-glace–This is completely optional, but it will add exceptional depth of flavor to your gravy.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Simmer the drippings. Add 3/4 cup stock to the drippings in your roasting pan, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly reduced.
  2. Strain the drippings. Strain the drippings into a bowl or fat separator and discard as much fat as possible.
  3. Make the roux. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly until the paste is golden.
  4. Add the drippings and stock. Slowly whisk in the drippings and remaining stock, then add the demi-glace and sherry, if using. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm.

Common Questions

What are turkey drippings?

Turkey drippings are the fat and liquids rendered from the turkey during the roasting process.

How much gravy do I need per person?

For a turkey Thanksgiving dinner with mashed potatoes, plan on 1/3 cup per person. This recipe makes about 3 cups of gravy, which will serve 8 to 10 people.

Can I freeze gravy?

Yes. Gravy freezes well. Pour into airtight containers or resealable bags and freeze for up to 6 months. If you are frequently cooking for one, freeze individual portions in ice cube trays, then stash them in a resealable bag for whenever the craving strikes.

My gravy is too thick. How can I thin it?

Gently whisk a little extra stock or water into the simmering gravy until you reach the desired consistency. Conversely, if your gravy is too thin, let it simmer for a few extra minutes until it thickens more.

Helpful Tips

  • Leftover gravy can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat, or in the microwave, stirring frequently. If the gravy is too thick, thin it with additional stock or water.

More Great Gravy Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A person whisking gravy with a large metal balloon whisk in a metal roasting pan.

Classic Turkey Gravy

5 from 1 vote
Everyone needs a classic, foolproof, go-to classic turkey gravy recipe. This is it. And all it takes is pan juices or drippings from your turkey, stock, butter, flour, and 20 minutes of your time.
David Leite
Servings8 to 10 servings
Calories212 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


  • Drippings from one (12-to-18-pound) roast turkey along with its roasting pan (1/2 to 1 cup drippings)
  • 2 3/4 cups store-bought or homemade turkey or chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chicken demi-glace (optional but will help immeasurably)
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Place the roasting pan with the drippings on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Pour in 3/4 cup stock and bring to a brisk simmer, whisking or stirring to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the pan. Simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 1 minute.
  • Carefully strain the contents of the pan through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl or a fat separator. If your drippings are in a bowl, spoon off as much fat as possible.
  • In a saucepan pan set over medium heat, melt the butter. When it bubbles, add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour is golden brown and has thickened to a paste, 3 to 6 minutes.
  • Slowly whisk in the defatted drippings from the bowl or the fat separator. Whisk in the remaining 2 cups stock and the demi-glace, if using, and cook, stirring constantly, until the gravy is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the sherry, if desired. Taste and, if desired, season with salt and pepper, going easy on the salt as the stock may already contain quite a lot.
  • Pour the gravy into a warmed serving dish.



  1. Thicken or thin–If your gravy is too thick, thin with additional stock. If it’s too thin, simmer for a few extra minutes until it thickens to your desired consistency.
  2. Storage–Leftover gravy can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat over low heat or in the microwave, stirring frequently.
  3. Freezing–Freeze gravy for up to 6 months in a sealed container or resealable bag. For individual portions, freeze in ice cube trays.
The Best of Thanksgiving Cookbook

Adapted From

The Best of Thanksgiving

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 212 kcalCarbohydrates: 5 gProtein: 2 gFat: 20 gSaturated Fat: 9 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 28 mgSodium: 141 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2016 Williams-Sonoma. Photo © 2016 Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This turkey gravy was thick and glossy. The recipe easily serves 8 to 10 persons, unless everyone goes back for seconds or thirds, which they might!

I highly recommend using unsalted or low-sodium stock if you don’t have homemade on hand. The gravy was delicious but contained much more sodium than necessary.

This classic turkey gravy is a good starting gravy IF the drippings and broth are very flavorful.

The chicken demi-glace and dry sherry added a nice rich flavor. I felt the gravy was a little thin. Possibly another 1 1/2 tablespoons flour was needed. For my family, the gravy amount would serve 6 to 8, not 8 to 10.

This is an easy turkey gravy recipe that will surely be a member of any holiday feast. This is a very textbook recipe for gravy and essentially what I have been making for 25 years. It’s nice to see a recipe for it, though, for those who are new to gravy-making.

This was a well-written recipe for making turkey gravy that will consistently turn out perfectly and a very good guide for someone who might be unfamiliar with making gravy from scratch. I made this with a turkey and then used the leftover gravy in a turkey pot pie a few days later and it gave the pie filling tremendous flavor!

I didn’t use the demi-glace or sherry. Someone should advertise the added benefit of making gravy in your roasting pan is that it takes care of getting all those browned bits off so you don’t have to scrub them later!!

These instructions indeed produce classic turkey gravy for Thanksgiving, made while the bird is resting and the side dishes are getting their final warm-up before sitting down to dinner.

I followed the directions, though not in order. I found it easiest to start with step 2; cooking the flour in melted butter until nice and peanut-butter brown, then adding in the stock and whisking until smooth and incorporated. That stayed simmering on the stove while I went back to step 1 and deglazed my roasting pan, which had only meager drippings from our 10-pounder.

In step 3, adding the sherry and drippings with deglazing liquid to the gravy brought rich color and all the seasoning the gravy needed (be cautious if your drippings, like mine, taste salty). A few more minutes of simmering to achieve the correct consistency happens to take just enough time to gather the guests and admire the cook’s hard work, namely the perfect roast turkey, most of which was drizzled, draped, or drowned in this classic gravy.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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