You'll take the stress out of making gravy this Thanksgiving with this recipe for make-ahead Turkey Gravy. You can prepare this rich gravy up to two days in advance, then reheat and thin using the pan drippings from the turkey just before serving.
Homemade Turkey Gravy
I think, part of the reason people fret over making gravy is, it's typically made just before serving the entire Thanksgiving meal. The worry about it being lumpy, or not turning out just right, is a real concern when the kitchen is bustling with activity and so many other dishes need your attention, too. Easy recipes like this make-ahead gravy, are key during the busy holiday season, since they can be prepared in advance, leaving time for the cook to enjoy the day, as well.
Turkey Pan Drippings Give Authenticity to the Flavor of this Make-Ahead Gravy
This rich gravy is perfectly flavorful all on it's own and can be used anytime that gravy is on the menu. It's particularly handy for the holidays, and I wanted to mention a few helpful hints for gravy making success.
- If you're unable to find turkey stock at your local market, no worries, use chicken stock instead. Stock is more flavorful than broth and will give a more full bodied flavor. If you'd like to go the extra mile and make your own, checkout this recipe for Homemade Turkey Stock from Taste of Home.
- When melting the butter, I like to let it brown ever so slightly to bring out the nutty flavor of the milk solids to add depth of flavor. Be careful when doing this, and give it your full attention so the butter doesn't burn.
- I have found that dividing the flour in this recipe helps prevent clumps, hence the reason it's added separately.
- It's normal for the gravy to congeal and solidify a bit when chilled making it necessary to add additional liquid when reheating. Add pan drippings from the turkey 1 Tbsp at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
- When reheating this gravy on Thanksgiving day, skim the fat from the turkey drippings and use the pan drippings to thin and reheat the gravy. Doing so, will bring the flavor palate full circle and tie everything together. No pan drippings? Just use extra stock, broth or even cream to thin when reheating.
- You can, of course, use this same recipe to make gravy from the turkey pan drippings in the same amount. To do so, skim the fat and strain the drippings after baking the turkey. Use additional chicken stock, if needed, to equal the 32 ounces needed then proceed with the recipe as written. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.
Make the Gravy in Advance and Enjoy the Festivities
Thanksgiving Day isn’t about gifts for our family, it’s about chatter and mountains of great food. And, giving thanks, of course. We typically enjoy our meal mid-afternoon which gives ample time to explore desserts later in the day and even a leftover turkey sandwich, if desired. We enjoy appetizers like my Fully Loaded Hot Pimiento Cheese Dip and Praline Pecan Brie en Croute before the meal. Then, for dessert, the sky’s the limit but, you can count on Pumpkin Cream Pie and Pound Cake for certain. Don’t stay in the kitchen this year, make as many dishes as you can in advance then sit back and make some memories of your own. You may also enjoy this recipe for make-ahead Homemade Chicken Stock from the Barefoot Contessa.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 4 Tbsp butter
- ½ cup all purpose flour divided
- 1 32 oz container turkey or chicken stock
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- ½-1 tsp poultry seasoning adjust to your taste
- 1 tsp browning sauce i.e. Kitchen Bouquet
- In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup turkey stock with ¼ cup flour until flour is dissolved. Set aside.
- In a large deep skillet or saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium, and sprinkle with ¼ cup flour. Whisk together until butter has absorbed the flour. Cook for 1 minute.
- Whisking constantly, add the turkey stock gradually until fully blended. Whisk in reserved stock with dissolved flour in a steady stream. Add salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and browning sauce.
- Increase the heat to medium-high whisking constantly, bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat to simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Add fresh thyme. Mix well. Set aside to cool.
- After cooled, place into an airtight container and chill. May be made up to 2 days in advance.
- To reheat: Place into a saucepan over low heat. Skim the fat from turkey pan drippings. Add pan drippings 1 Tbsp at a time to thin gravy. Repeat until your desired thickness is reached. Serve warm garnished with additional pepper and thyme, if desired..