Homemade Turkey Gravy (can be made ahead!)

Nothing takes a turkey dinner to the next level like Homemade Turkey Gravy! It’s deceptively easy to make and this recipe can even be made ahead!
A green gravy boat pouring the best turkey gravy on turkey breast on a thanksgiving dinner plate

Try some of my other awesome turkey recipes to go with this gravy: Roast Turkey Thighs for Two, Orange Rosemary Whole Roast Turkey and Citrus Brown Sugar Smoked Turkey Breast.

Turkey Gravy

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I don’t know about you, but when the gravy is really, really good, it’s my absolute favorite part of the Thanksgiving dinner. To the point that I want to drown my whole plate in it and drink it with a straw. It’s the most delicious compliment to any traditional meal (especially mashed potatoes!) and it’s actually super easy to make easy turkey gravy from scratch. You don’t even need pan drippings (although I’d always encourage you to add them for even better flavor!).

A close up of mashed potatoes on a grey plate with easy turkey gravy in the middle of them and greenbeans on the plate in the background.

Tips for how to make turkey gravy

  • Don’t go crazy chopping your veggies super small, you’ll be straining them out anyway!
  • Let the pan get super hot before adding the turkey pieces- you want to hear a sizzle when you add them to the pan sot hey get a nice, golden brown sear.
  • Once the broth is done simmering medium low heat you can season with salt, cool to room temperature and store for up to 3 days before thickening it into gravy (or freeze it and that when you need it!).
  • I strain it twice through a fine mesh sieve to try and make it as smooth as possible.
  • You can run it through a fat separator if you prefer, but you don’t have to.
  • The butter and flour creates a roux- while it cooks, be sure to keep a close eye on it and whisk frequently so it won’t burn.
  • Once it’s thickened, you can hold the gravy on warm until you’re ready to serve, just be sure to stir it periodically.

A green gravy boat full of make ahead turkey gravy with a platter of turkey and an orange napkin in the background.

What are giblets?

Giblets are the organs in the turkey, they include the liver, heart, gizzard and neck.

Should I add the pan drippings?

I strongly encourage you to add them. You can still turkey gravy without drippings but the dripping take the flavor to the next level.

Can I make this without the alcohol?

Sure- just substitute with water.

How do you thicken gravy?

I make a roux and add the turkey broth to that to thicken it. If it’s not thick enough for you, you can always make a slurry of flour and water and whisk that into the gravy until it’s thicken to your desired consistency, but go slow and let it simmer for a few minutes to cook out the flour flavor.

Can you make turkey gravy ahead of time?

Yes- I typically make the broth ahead and thicken it just before serving, but if you want to make it completely in advance, just whisk a little broth into it during reheating to loosen it up.

Can you freeze turkey gravy?

Yes, it will last 6 month in an air-tight container.

A gravy boat pouring gravy on turkey breast with green beans and mashed potatoes on the plate and a platter of turkey in the background.

Ingredients for making this turkey gravy recipe

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Turkey pieces (I used the wings, giblets, and backbone)
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh sage
  • Peppercorns
  • White wine
  • Water
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Salt

Ingredients to prep ahead:

  • Cut onion
  • Cut celery
  • Peel garlic
  • Wash herbs

Helpful tools:

  1. Chef’s knife
  2. Cutting board
  3. Cast iron dutch oven or this kind of dutch oven
  4. Ladle
  5. Wooden spoon
  6. Measuring cups
  7. Measuring spoons
  8. Sieve

A ladle full of turkey gravy being lifted from a gravy boat full of turkey gravy with a platter of turkey in the background.

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Homemade Turkey Gravy
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins

Nothing takes a turkey dinner to the next level like Homemade Turkey Gravy! It's deceptively easy to make and this recipe can even be made ahead!

Course: Condiment, dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: turkey gravy
Author: Jessy Freimann, The Life Jolie
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 4-5 raw turkey pieces (I used the wings, giblets and backbone)
  • 1 large onion, cut into large chunks
  • 3-4 ribs celery, cut into large chunks
  • 3 large cloves fresh garlic, smashed
  • 1-2 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 8 whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or water if you don't want to use alcohol)
  • 8 cups water (or more- you want to make sure the turkey is fully covered)
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or more to your taste)
  1. Heat a large heavy-bottom dutch oven over medium high heat and spray with olive oil cooking spray.

  2. Once the pan is hot, add turkey pieces. Cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side (do this in batches so you don't overload the pan). Once each side is browned, remove from pan.

  3. Add additional cooking spray if necessary and add onions and celery to the pan.

  4. Saute for 4 minutes, stirring often.

  5. Add garlic, peppercorns and fresh herbs and saute for 2 mote minutes, stirring often.

  6. Add wine and deglaze the pan. Cook for 2 minutes.

  7. Add turkey pieces back into the pan and fill with water so everything is completely covered.

  8. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour.

  9. Run broth through sieve twice. Cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator until ready to thicken and serve.

  10. When ready to serve, melt butter in large pot over medium heat. While butter melts, heat broth in a separate pan over medium heat.

  11. Once butter is melted, add flour and whisk until no lumps remain.

  12. Cook 2 minutes, whisking often.

  13. Whisk in broth and simmer until thickened.

  14. Add salt and taste. Add additional salt if needed. Serve immediately.

A thanksgiving plate with mashed potatoes and gravy up front and turkey and green beans in the back of it.

If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it 🙂 I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions! And if you make this please tag me on Instagram with @thelifejolie so I can share it <3

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