Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

Rich, flavorful, lump-free gravy is at the top of the agenda for everyone cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Am I right?

“Debi, how do you make your gravy?” is a question I get from my cooking class students and friends every year.  In talking with people about gravy making, I’ve learned its a huge source of stress for many.  Please don’t give up and buy that pre-made stuff in a jar. Good gravy is 100% important on Thanksgiving.  You can totally do it, and I will show you how.

My trick? I actually have a few tricks:

  1. I don’t make gravy on Thanksgiving day.   I make the gravy ahead of time by roasting turkey legs and wings. I make a spatchcocked turkey that roasts on a bed of stuffing, so all of those delicious turkey drippings aren’t available for gravy making. They are busy melting  into the stuffing and creating those crispy little edges that are so good.
  2. I toast the flour before making the gravy (instructions follow). Toasting the flour adds a warm flavor to the gravy.
  3. Add the stock slowly, and keep whisking to keep it smooth. Don’t walk away from your gravy pan until it is finished. 

    Follow my Make Ahead Turkey Gravy recipe and you will be a star in your kitchen (not to mention a little less stressed).



Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
Serves: 6 cups
  • 1 pound turkey wings, legs or neck pieces, cut into small pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 5 fresh sprigs thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, toasted***
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the turkey pieces on a rimmed baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer the roasted turkey pieces to a platter; reserving drippings in a small bowl.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over medium high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to pan; saute, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown (about 8 minutes).
  4. Add the stock, thyme, bay leaves, and roasted turkey pieces. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a medium simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes to enrich the stock with roasted-turkey flavor. Strain the stock into a heat-safe bowl, and keep warm.
  5. Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour, and whisk until the mixture is smooth, toasted and golden in color. Slowly pour in the warm broth, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a simmer. Continue to cook, still whisking, until the gravy is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Let the gravy cool to room temperature. Transfer it to an airtight container or resealable plastic freezer bag, label and date, and freeze for up to 2 weeks.
  7. To serve, reheat the frozen gravy in a saucepan or a microwave. Be sure to whisk vigorously as the gravy heats up to keep lumps from forming. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  8. **The gravy can be served right away instead of frozen. Or refrigerate it in an airtight
  9. container for up to 2 days.
  10. ***To toast flour, place in a dry saute pan over low heat; stirring frequently until flour turns light brown.





One thought on “Make Ahead Turkey Gravy”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.