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How to make classic turkey gravy

Love and marriage?

Horse and carriage?

For me, it’s turkey and gravy

Gravy with turkey, mashed potatoes, and dressing is an integral part of any Thanksgiving meal.  Rich, dark, flavorful gravy, made from scratch with turkey drippings.

One of the many special memories I have as a kid is watching my mom make gravy in the same roasting pan as the turkey (I still have her roasting pan.)  and I’ve followed her method ever since.

How to make classic turkey gravy

I’ve had people say they are a little afraid of making gravy, but it’s really easy.  Just follow me ~ and mom.

How to make classic turkey gravy

How to Make Classic Turkey Gravy

This is easy method to make classic turkey gravy promises tasty results and silky texture.

Equipment you need (some of these I shared at 10 Essential Tools for Your Holiday Cooking):

roasting pan 

How to make classic turkey gravy


How to make classic turkey gravy

wooden spoon

How to make classic turkey gravy

jar with screw-top lid

How to make classic turkey gravy


How to make classic turkey gravy

The gravy is made after you’ve removed the turkey from the roasting pan and set aside, tented with foil to rest for 30 minutes.


drippings from roasted turkey
3  cups  turkey or chicken broth (I use Swanson’s Low-sodium chicken broth.)
1/4 cup cornstarch
kosher salt and pepper — to taste
fresh herbs, such as parsley or sage — finely chopped


1.  Pour drippings from roasting pan into large measuring cup. Use a defatter, if available.   Place 1/4 cup fat from drippings into the roasting pan. To drippings in measuring cup, add enough broth to make 4 cups.
2.   Place roasting pan over two burners.  Add the drippings/broth to the pan and heat over medium-high heat, scraping up the fond with a wooden spoon.

How to make classic turkey gravy

TIP: fond is French for “base” and commonly refers to the browned bits and caramelized drippings of meat and vegetables that are stuck to the bottom of a pan after sautéing or roasting. This is what gives the gravy flavor and color.

3.  Make the slurry: in a jar with a screw-top lid, combine the cornstarch with 1/2 cup water, shaking to thoroughly combined.

How to make classic turkey gravy

How to make classic turkey gravy

How to make classic turkey gravy

TIP: a slurry is a thin paste of water and starch (usually cornstarch or arrowroot), which is added to hot preparations (such as soups, stews and sauces) as a thickener.

4. Add the slurry to the broth, whisking to combine.  The gravy will now start to thicken. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until smooth. Turn heat down to low. Continue cooking 3 to 5 minutes until smooth and rich color.

How to make classic turkey gravy

5.  Taste and season, taste and season.  If the gravy tastes flat, it needs more salt. Don’t be afraid to season with kosher or sea salt. Pick up the salt between your fingers and thumb.   Once it tastes right, stop adding the salt and add white or black pepper. If desired, add chopped herbs of choice (I like thyme.).

6.  If desired, to get a silky smooth gravy, strain through sieve to remove any bits of fond or herbs.

TIP: you can transfer the gravy to a saucepan to keep warm on low heat, stirring occasionally.  If it gets too thick, add in a little more broth and stir.  Check again for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

TIP: gravy should pour in a steady stream, about the consistency of heavy cream.

How to make classic turkey gravy

Wasn’t that easy? Making your turkey gravy shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.

Now take a deep breath.  While the designated turkey carver carves the turkey and your guests put the side dishes on the table and the wine pourer pours wine, transfer the gravy to a pretty gravy boat.

How to make classic turkey gravy

Have a sip of wine, sit down and give thanks for all your blessings.

A friend recently shared this quote that I love: “Feeling gratitude without expressing gratitude is like wrapping a present without giving it.”

Here’s a Thanksgiving poem for you

“May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
and your pies take the prize,
and may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!”

Sorry, couldn’t resist that.

Have a thankful, grateful, and safe Thanksgiving.

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