Homemade Gravy Without Meat Drippings is an easy from scratch gravy recipe made without meat drippings so you don’t have to wait for the meat to be done. You can even make gravy ahead of time, reducing stress for holiday dinners such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We are only a few days away from Thanksgiving! So far I’ve given you dessert ideas, ranging from Pumpkin Pie For Two and Small 6 Inch Pumpkin Cake to Pumpkin Cheesecake and No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Now that I have you all hyped up on sugar, how about I share something savory? Once a year, I make Homemade Gravy Without Meat Drippings for Thanksgiving.
Wait, what? You mean you don’t have to wait for the Thanksgiving turkey to be done in order to make gravy? That’s right – you can now make gravy ahead of time with my Homemade Gravy Without Meat Drippings recipe!
How do you make the best gravy from scratch without drippings?
Instead of using classic meat drippings, you make a roux using flour and broth.
In this case I use chicken broth to go with my Cornish Hen with Homemade Classic Stuffing, but you can easily adapt it to match your dinner, such as beef broth for beef pot roast or vegetable broth for mashed potatoes.
Why make homemade gravy without drippings?
When it comes to learning how to properly make gravy, you use meat drippings for the flavor, but what happens if you don’t have any?
For example, if you wanted to make a quick gravy for mashed potatoes, you may not be making any meat for the main course. Especially if you’re vegetarian. Vegetarians should not be denied gravy.
Or you cook for 1-2 people and simply not going to make a giant pot roast or a whole turkey. And if you do make a small meat for your main course, you may not have enough drippings.
Or you have a giant meal like Thanksgiving where you can take all the help you can get for making recipes ahead of time. Traditional homemade gravy from scratch is a last minute recipe since you can’t do anything until the meat is done.
By using flour and broth, you can prepare it ahead of time then reheat it for serving.
If you’re worried about lack of drippings means lack of flavor, don’t be! Frying the onions adds a huge boost of flavor in addition to the broth of your choice.
The more flavorful your broth is, the more flavorful your gravy will be. That’s why I use broth instead of water.
You can use any type of broth to complement your dish. I typically use chicken, but feel free to use turkey, beef, vegetable, mushroom, pretty much whatever you want.
The best way to serve gravy is over mashed potatoes. Above is my Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
I put actual garlic cloves in with the potatoes while they are boiling, which gives the dish a very strong garlic flavor.
You can also make Cheddar Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes to use up any canned pumpkin you may have leftover from making pumpkin pie.
The best part about making gravy without meat drippings is you do not have to wait until your dinner is done cooking to make the gravy.
Maybe for a normal dinner that wouldn’t be a big deal, but this is Thanksgiving we are talking about!
You already have a million things going on – prep this, cook that, carve this, serve that.
When everything in the oven has about 15 minutes left, I start the gravy. That way, when everything is ready, the gravy is ready too.
However, if you don’t want to deal with making gravy during cooking, you can make this the day before and refrigerate
It will thicken greatly when it is cold, so right before serving, put it in a small saucepan and heat until smooth and pourable again. You may need to stir in a little more broth to thin it out.
Now that you have the best gravy recipe, check out my Thanksgiving Dinner For Two post to plan the rest of your Thanksgiving menu!
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup broth or stock, any flavor
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Once hot, add the onion and a big pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and and salt and cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in the broth/stock and cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk. Serve while hot.*
You can make this ahead of time since no meat drippings are needed. It will gel up in the fridge, so when you are ready to serve, heat it back up in a sauce pan and whisk until smooth and hot. You may need to add more broth/stock to thin it out.
How to Make Gravy from Scratch
Of course none of that helps you know how to make gravy. My point is that we just tend to buy convenience foods without thinking. Homemade from scratch often doesn’t take much more time, is cheaper, and definitely yummier. Society seems to be losing the ability to be independent of the local supercenter and I fear that one day a hostile government will come in and take over merely by confiscating boxed pudding and jarred gravy.
The technique is the same whether you are making cream gravy or brown gravy so this recipe will show you how to make gravy of any sort you like.
Best Tips for How to Make Gravy
- Don’t use margarine! Use real butter (not whipped), bacon fat, or drippings from the meat. Use oil if you must but don’t use margarine! Please!
- Go easy on the salt. You can always add more once it’s done.
- Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Yes, even in the cream gravy. It’s supposed to be “freckled”.
- Be sure to cook the flour in the fat for at least 2 minutes while stirring constantly. This will get rid of any raw flavor.
- When you add the liquid to the fat and flour mixture do it slowly while whisking with your other hand. Whisk quickly and all of the lumps should whisk right out. Do not let it scorch – there’s no coming back from that.
- If you’re worried about lumps in the gravy just strain the gravy as you pour it into the serving bowl. With practice there won’t be any lumps to strain out.
- Use evaporated milk or whole milk for your cream gravy. Do not use non-fat or low fat. Please, this is GRAVY.
- DO NOT dilute your gravy with water. Dear God.
- Strain any pieces of meat or vegetable out of your stock before making brown gravy.
- Always taste and adjust
Step by Step Turkey Gravy From Scratch
You’ll find the giblets and heart and liver in that paper bag inside the turkey. Some people add the liver to the simmering water but I don’t like the flavor. Do what you want about that. Learning how to make gravy is largely a matter of experimenting to see what you like best.
- Cover the neck and giblets and heart with water.
- Add 1 onion, peeled and cut in half as well as 1 peeled carrot, 1 stem of fresh rosemary, and 2 stalks of celery.
- Simmer covered until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are soft.
- Remove the vegetables and strain the stock to remove meat and vegetable matter – some people like to just blend the vegetables up with the broth for a heartier gravy. Others chop the cooked giblets, heart, and neck meat up and add it to the gravy. You’ve got options.
- Use as directed in the recipe.
Homemade Gravy FAQs
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about making gravy from scratch. If you can’t find you’re answer here go ahead and ask in the comments and I’ll get back to you.
Pretty much just like you make it with cream or milk.
- Collect the juices and the fat from the meat you are roasting or use prepared stock.
- Let the fat separate and skim it off.
- Add the fat to a heavy saucepan.
- Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the meat juices and/or stock until you get a smooth gravy.
How Can I Make Quick Gravy?
If you don’t have meat juices and fat from roasting you can still make a great gravy with butter and store bought stock –
- Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Bacon grease works well, too.
- Add flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes until the mixture is a light tan but don’t let it brown.
- Add broth, salt and pepper .
- Continue to stir for 3 minutes or until it thickens.
Can You Make Gravy with Flour and Water?
Not really – you need at least a little meat, chicken, or vegetable stock to give it flavor. Bullion is an inexpensive way to flavor your gravy.
Can You Make Gravy Out of Cornstarch?
You sure can. Usually people make it with flour but you can use cornstarch as well. Here’s how –
Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water until smooth. Stir into the pan of stock and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. It should thicken in about 1 minute. Substitute 1 tablespoon cornstarch for every 2 tablespoons flour to thicken gravy. There’s no need to make a roux.
Can You Use Baking Powder to Thicken Gravy?
You May Need…
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A balloon whisk is great for most things but once you use this weighted ball whisk for gravy you’ll be hooked. It takes much less effort!
Basic Gravy Recipe
Here’s that homemade Southern gravy recipe. Potatoes, biscuits, spoons…. it’s all good with gravy! If you like this recipe please give it 5 stars. Thanks!
- 1/4 cup fat bacon fat is preferred — no it's essential — if you are making cream gravy
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk, chicken stock, turkey stock, or beef stock
- Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Add the fat to a heavy skillet, melting it if it's solid.
- Whisk in the flour until no lumps remain.
- Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until it starts to brown and smell a little like roasting pecans.
- Whisk in the milk or stock, a little at a time, stirring until smooth and no lumps remain.
- Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes or until it thickens.
- Taste and add salt and pepper plus any other herbs and seasonings you'll be using.
Calories 83 Calories from Fat 66 Total Carbohydrates 3g 1% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Now that you know how to make gravy give these other Restless Chipotle favorites a try!
From left to right: Hatch Chile Pimento Cheese, Damntastic Texas BBQ sauce, Homemade Fig Jam
Check out the other great recipes on the Meal Plan Monday roundup!