Homemade Turkey Gravy

4.99 from 84 votes
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Our Mom’s famous Turkey Gravy is made with rich, glorious turkey pan drippings and is the star of Thanksgiving dinner. Perfectly creamy and flavorful every time!

Top view of a Turkey Gravy boat next to a plate of mashed potatoes and gravy.
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients for Turkey Gravy
  2. It All Starts with the Bird
  3. Frequently Asked Questions about Turkey Gravy
  4. Use this Gravy for More Recipes
  5. Thanksgiving Sides
  6. More Delicious Gravy Recipes
  7. Mom’s Famous Turkey Gravy Recipe

If you know our mom, you know she makes a traditional Sunday dinner. Every. Single. Sunday. When we were growing up, she would alternate weeks between roast and turkey. Seriously, it was like Thanksgiving every other week. We were beyond spoiled. Our mother is the best cook we know. Everything she makes is perfection. But the thing she is most famous for is her turkey gravy. Anyone who has shared her table over the years asks for this turkey gravy recipe. Until now, we’ve never even written it down; it was just made to taste. But we finally got our mom to tell us step by step how she creates this savory, creamy gravy. It’s delicious overall the classic dishes: mashed potatoes, turkey, vegetables, stuffing, roasted carrots, just about anything.

Ingredients for Turkey Gravy

Our mom laughs because there’s no real “secret” ingredient to her famous homemade turkey gravy, just ingredients that probably everyone has around the house! So here’s what you need to make the most show-stopping gravy ever:

  • Turkey drippings – from a roast turkey. Use a liquid measuring cup to get all that rich, delicious broth that comes from the turkey for the best flavor. If you don’t have enough drippings, use turkey stock, chicken broth or chicken stock to supplement.
  • Gravy packet – usually a packet of dry gravy mix is included with the frozen turkey or turkey breast. If your turkey doesn’t have one, a tablespoon or two of chicken or turkey gravy powder works great too.
  • Chicken bouillon – Our mom uses Wyler’s chicken bouillon granules, but you could use cubed bouillon.
  • Pepper – to taste
  • Milk -you’ll need two cups of whole milk or you can use a mixture of milk and heavy cream for a thicker gravy.
  • Cornstarch – this is used to thicken the gravy. You can use all purpose flour too.
  • Water – to combine with the cornstarch to make a slurry which will thicken the gravy.
  • Salt – to taste
Turkey Gravy in a serving boat next to a dish of mashed potatoes.

It All Starts with the Bird

Of course to get those flavorful drippings you have to make the turkey! Luckily, we have a fool-proof, step-by-step guide for Making the Perfect Turkey. Our Thanksgiving turkey recipe is full of fresh herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, onion, and celery. As a result, your gravy will have all those delicious flavors and herbs mixed in as well.

Frequently Asked Questions about Turkey Gravy

What to add to turkey gravy to make it taste better?

As mentioned above, two things really make a fantastic turkey gravy. First, the turkey drippings from a well-seasoned turkey or turkey breast. When that needs a boost, chicken bouillon granules (we love the Wyler’s brand) is a seasoning that gives richness and flavor to turkey gravy.

How long will gravy last in the refrigerator?

If kept in the fridge, turkey gravy should be used up in a day or two. Spoon the cold gravy into a skillet and warm over low heat and the turkey gravy will resume its creamy consistency within a few minutes.

Can I freeze gravy?

If you run out of potatoes before you run out of gravy (that’s happened to us many times) this turkey gravy freezes beautifully in a freezer safe container for up to three months!

Is this gravy Gluten Free?

This recipe is gluten-free IF you leave out the gravy packet that comes with the turkey. The rest of the ingredients are completely GF and it will still taste delicious.

Read More: 25+ Traditional (and easy!) Sunday Dinner Ideas

Use this Gravy for More Recipes

Turkey gravy can be used for much more than drizzling over turkey. Try it in some of these succulent and mouthwatering recipes:

Turkey Gravy pouring on a plate of mashed potatoes and turkey.

Thanksgiving Sides

Our Thanksgiving Recipes and Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Sides are some of our mom’s most special recipes that hold so many beautiful memories. We are happy to share them with you:

More Delicious Gravy Recipes

No matter what you’re serving, there’s a scrumptious, savory gravy to go with it. Try a few of these favorites:

Turkey Gravy pouring on a plate of mashed potatoes and turkey.

Mom’s Famous Turkey Gravy

4.99 from 84 votes
Mom’s Famous Turkey Gravy is made from rich, glorious turkey drippings and is the star of Thanksgiving dinner. Perfectly creamy and flavorful every time!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Video

Ingredients

  • ½ to 1 cup turkey drippings from cooked turkey
  • 1 gravy packet included with the frozen turkey or turkey breast (optional, for a gluten free gravy, don’t use the packet)
  • 1 tablespoon Wyler’s chicken bouillon granules
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt (optional)

Instructions

  • After roasting a turkey or turkey breast in the oven, remove the turkey and leave the drippings in the roasting pan. Place the pan on the largest stove top burner on medium heat. If there is less than one cup of liquid in the pan, add enough water to make about one cup.  Whisk up any little browned bits that may have cooked to the roasting pan.  This adds delicious flavor to the gravy.  The heat from the stove helps loosen the browned bits on the sides of the pan.
    If you've used an aluminum pan to cook the turkey, don't place it on the stove after removing the turkey.  Add water to the drippings to make one cup.  Use a whisk or spoon to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
    Top view of cooked Turkey in a roasting pan for How to Cook a Turkey.
  • Pour the liquid from the pan into a 2 cup or larger tempered glass measuring cup or glass bowl.  The fat from the drippings will rise to the surface.  Skim off the fat with a spoon. Pour the remaining liquid through a wire strainer into a medium-sized saucepan. This will remove any turkey bits or fat and make a smooth, creamy gravy.
    Mesh strainer full of pieces from turkey drippings in a pan for Turkey Gravy.
  • If a gravy packet was included with the turkey, add it to the saucepan (if you want a gluten free gravy, don't add the packet). Bring the liquid to a simmer. Stir in the bouillon granules and pepper.  Gradually whisk in the milk and bring back to a simmer. At this point, taste the gravy. Add more bouillon and pepper if needed for flavor.  Do not add salt at this time.
    Pan of boiling drippings for Turkey Gravy.
  • In a separate, small bowl, combine cornstarch and water.  Stir until there are no lumps.  It should be nice and smooth.
    Slurry on a spoon for thickening Turkey Gravy.
  • Whisking the gravy constantly, slowly add cornstarch mixture a little at a time until the gravy is thickened to the consistency you desire.
    Whisking a pan of drippings while pouring slurry to thicken the Turkey Gravy.
  • Make the gravy slightly thinner than what you prefer because it will thicken a little as it cools. Taste the gravy again. If needed, add a little salt for flavor.
    Pan of Turkey Gravy with a ladle.
  • Pour into a gravy boat and serve.
    Turkey Gravy in a serving boat next to a dish of mashed potatoes.

Notes

For Gluten Free Turkey Gravy

  • Don’t use the turkey gravy packet that comes with the turkey or turkey breast.
  • This recipe makes approximately 4 cups of gravy when using a gravy packet.  If a gravy packet from the turkey is not used, this recipe makes approximately 3 cups.  

Nutrition Information

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 93kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 3gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 554mgPotassium: 104mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 99IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 71mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her beautiful three girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite recipe, its very nutritious, easy to prepare and very delicious. It the best Christmas recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    This gravy sounds almost like the one I make only I use water instead of milk. This Thanksgiving I will try the milk.

  3. 5 stars
    This is how my mom made it many years ago & I followed suit. I especially like the fact that you separate the gravy from the fat & strain it. Old school & the best! Great gravy!!!! Lol!

  4. 5 stars
    Easy peesy, I put cold water and cornstarch in a small 1/2 pint Mason jar and shake until smooth. Reserving leftover slurry in refrigerator, for stir-fry recipes

  5. 5 stars
    Love this gravy recipe!! So rich, creamy, delicious. Had a turkey dinner for out of town guests and now will be making this gravy for Thanksgiving.

  6. 5 stars
    After discovering this recipe as a subscriber a few years ago this quickly became my go-to gravy. Deep, flavorful gravy delicious on yummy sides like mashed potatoes or drizzled over a hot turkey sandwich (my personal fave!). Such a simple recipe it really is a no-fail way to make gravy every single time. Never disappoints!

  7. 5 stars
    This sounds delicious, I have never added milk to my gravy, I will have to give this a try this year. Anxious now for Thanksgiving so I can try.

  8. 5 stars
    I have never been a successful gravy maker, but this sounds incredibly easy and delicious!!! Thanks!!!
    Kimberly Rice

  9. 5 stars
    I have been looking for a perfect gravy for perfect mashed potatoes and turkey and this sounds like it and so easy to make wish me luck this year

  10. 5 stars
    This mirrors the way I was taught to make gravy too except my mother used flour. Thank you for instructions so everyone can make perfect gravy! Because many people don’t use a recipe it seemed a mystery to many.

  11. 5 stars
    This is seriously the only way I do my gravy now. The addition of milk adds so much richness and flavor. You guys have totally changed the way I do my Thanksgiving dinner. I use your turkey recipe, your gravy recipe, your pistachio fruit salad recipe and your coconut cream pie recipe. Happy Thanksgiving!!

  12. 5 stars
    Gravy is my favorite thanksgiving item. It goes with everything. And yours is the best!! This is a staple in our house.

  13. 5 stars
    I’ve used this gravy recipe the last two thanksgivings and my family loves it! We have to make three times as much for my gravy loving family! Thank you, and your mom for this recipe!

  14. 5 stars
    Once you get the potatoes, meat complete, just pour that gravy on and everything is so lucious. You just want to put it in everything. Then you grab all your rolls and pickup every bit of that precious, delicious gravy. What a way to finish off a wonderful meal.

  15. 5 stars
    I don’t always get that much drippings from the roasted turkey. Adding more chicken bouillon/ broth would fix that. And since I learned to make gravy from my Mother I follow her lead and use flour rather than cornstarch.
    There can never be enough gravy!

  16. 5 stars
    I never could get the gravy to be right even with the turkey’s instructions! You have made it beyond what I wanted! Can’t wait to have my hubby have this on Thanksgiving! Thank you so much!

  17. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I can cook and bake all kinds of things but when it comes to gravy, I’m just not interested in trying it. After it came out alittle lumpy I got discouraged. This step by step recipe has renewed my faith that it will come out delicious!

  18. 5 stars
    My family absolutely loved this gravy!!! I made it with the step-by-step pictures & directions so it was super simple!!!

  19. Lets face it, smooth gravy is the hardest part of Thanksgiving! The super fine gravy flour works wonders or if all else fails strain it ! Only you will know.

  20. 5 stars
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    I love the gravy recipe. It is going back to basics for me. I love making food from starch.
    I enjoy sharing all the comfort foods of the Thanksgiving holiday with family and close friends.
    This gravy recipe reminds me of treasured stored memories… of sitting around the dinning room table with my beloved mother. My mother took pride in the food she would cook and serve our family. I lost my mother, my dearest friend over 9 years ago.
    The recipe takes me back on how she made her gravy. The best part! My family would fight for the very last bit of it, scrapping the sides of the gravy bowl.

    Thank you for having this contest and thank you for sharing your delicious recipes.
    Many Blessing to all of you and your families. May your belly’s always be full!
    Kindest Regards,
    Gina Oeser

  21. I will definitely try this…but wondering if you could help me ,,,at Thanksgiving last year, we deep fried our turkey…of course we all want gravy! any suggestions on how to make gravy without pan drippings ????

    1. Sometimes the turkey will come with a packet of drippings, if you can find one that includes the drippings in a separate pack, that is definitely the way to go! Otherwise you will probably be best off getting a packet of turkey gravy if you are frying the turkey. I’m not sure how you can make a true homemade turkey without drippings. :/

  22. Hi Erica!

    Happy Thanksgiving! I just picked up one of these vintage Magnalite roasters (the 21″!) and for the price my husband is expecting his Thanksgiving dinner to be amazing. Could you help me out with a few questions I have about it?

    -How do you monitor the temp of the meat inside the pot? Seems like if I keep opening the oven and the pot to take the temp, it will really throw the temp off.

    -Would the small wire from a remote meat thermometer disrupt the seal of the lid enough to affect the roasting or could I use one?

    -Any idea approximately how long I might cook a 20 lb. turkey? I have read by some that these cook much faster than normal and I would like all of my food to come out about the same time.

    Thank you in advance!
    Jennifer

    1. Great questions.. as a rule of thumb they say 20 minutes per pound of turkey(at 350-degrees) but that can vary because you are using the magnate. A small wire from a remote meat thermometer shouldn’t disrupt the seal of the lid… If you are worried about it you can place some aluminum foil around were the wire is to keep the good seal– but really, it should be ok. 🙂 The meat thermometer is definitely the best way to go to make sure it isn’t over/under done. Hope this helps! Let us know how it turns out.

      We love that roasting pan– sometimes the turkey we get is too big to fit the lid over the top so we just cover the pan it with foil as best we can and place the lid on top of the turkey. You just want to trap in that heat/moisture as much as you can.

    1. Hi Jennifer– Thank you for pointing out that is was missing! I was able to fix the problem.. it should be there now 🙂

  23. 5 stars
    Oh wow! I MUST try this gravy! My girlfriend’s mother in law had the best gravy recipe ever but she passed away without ever passing it on and we’ve been searching for a replacement ever since. Nothing measures up! But, if you can eat this by the spoonful then I must give this a try!

    I know you don’t do measurements but can you possibly give me any idea at all as to how many cups of turkey drippings you’re talking about? I always make a 20 pound turkey so I am not sure how many cups of drippings a “small” turkey makes! Please help because I am definitely trying this on Thanksgiving this year!

    Thanks so much!
    Jenn

    1. For a small turkey, I only keep about a cup or two– which is usually all of the drippings available. If it seems like there is excess drippings I will discard some but usually I use as much of the drippings as I can because it adds the best flavor. I hope this helps! Let us know if it turns out like your girlfriend’s mother-in-law’s!

        1. You can definitely use the ground spices if you want. They will also taste great. When I use ground spices instead of fresh, I rub them between my hands before adding them to the gravy. This will bring out more of the flavors of the spices. Thanks for asking!

          1. You rub the spices (parsley, sage, rosemary) between your fingers to break them up a little. This releases more of the flavor of the spice.

          2. I’d heard of breaking up dried herbs and spices to release more flavor, but not the already-ground-into-powder ones. I learn something new all the time! 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. If there is excess grease, we will take it out but if there’s just a little bit we will leave it in… It adds a great flavor!

      1. 5 stars
        Hi. I am using my mother’s Magnalite roasterfor full 17 lb Turkey. Do you leave the cover on until almost the end of the cooking time and then uncover to brown the turkey? Connie

        1. Hi Connie– aren’t Magnalites the best? Yes, we will cover it for most of the time and then uncover to brown it for 15 minutes or so. It just holds in those juices beautifully! Sometimes the large turkeys don’t fit so we will cover tightly with foil and then place the lid over the top (because sometimes it shrinks and then the lid will fit in place as it is cooking). Hope this helps!

  24. Please make sure you get the right roaster. The name ‘Magnalite’. Is now owned by a different company than the company who owns the formula for materials used in original cookware! Please research! The http://www.wagnerware.com site is the correct manufacturer to receive cookware equivalent to the original. I am a careful consumer, no way connected to the company mentioned. I found Amazon.com reviews concerning this cookware will confirm this and provide further information. Be careful before you buy. Good luck. 🙂

  25. 5 stars
    Hi
    I came across your blog from Pinterest and was hooked! Went to EBay and bought the Magnalite 12 Q pot. Tonight I made your turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. OMGosh!!! Best meal ever! I have been making those for 20+ years and have never had it turn out so perfect. I “might” have even had a couple of spoonfuls of the gravy by itself! Thank you SOOOO much!

    1. I am SO happy to hear that you liked it!!!! I hear ya about the gravy.. I am frequently “tasting” spoonfuls of the gravy at a time! LOL I should seriously be a spokesperson for Magnalite because I can’t live without their roaster! So glad you found us! Please keep coming back for more recipes!

  26. 5 stars
    OH MY GOODNESS!!! My mom and I were trying to find something new and different for our thanksgiving dinner this year and so a couple of weeks ago, we tried this recipe, your rasp. cranberries, and your Island Pecan Pie. We were blown away! Now you have to know, we cook a lot and normally our thanksgiving food is pretty darn good, but this time, (I know we aren’t supposed to brag on ourselves) I believe this was one of the best meals I have EVER eaten. We have always used Magnalite roasters on our roasts and ham, and I have always wondered if you could do a turkey in one (we have always done ours in a bag) we just never have. Well we will never use a bag again! We passed on our knowledge from our attempt a few weeks ago to our extended family and they used the recipes yesterday too and everyone was raving about their dinners. You guys are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! We also made your fruit salad recipe, the one with the pistachio pudding, and also your coconut cream pie and we now have the perfect Thanksgiving meal! Thank you,thank you, thank you for making this the best Thanksgiving EVER! ( Tell your mom hello from Sister Reary (my mom). Have a Merry Christmas, here is hoping you can make my Christmas as good or better than my Thanksgiving!! 🙂

    1. Janelle– Thank you so much for commenting! I am so glad that your Thanksgiving dinner turned out so great… and that you used so many of our recipes! I told my mom “hello” from your mom and she said “Oh I LOVE her! They are such a wonderful wonderful family”… then went on to tell me what a talented and amazing family you have! Sounds like our two families need to get together and have a huge feast of some sort! Promise me that next year you will add our cranberry-sausage stuffing to the mix.. it is life changing. 🙂 I am dying that you have never used your roasting pan for turkey before! We seriously don’t make turkey without it! I am glad we helped you to find another use for it! We even use it on the stove-top to make stews and soups when serving a lot of people. It just has such good, even heating. Sheesh, look at me… I should just be a spokesperson for Magnalite. Anyway– Merry Christmas to your family as well! Tell your mom that OUR mom says “hi” back 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        Oh my Gosh!!! I know this is an older post but I’m hoping you see this. I was looking for a turkey gravy recipe and was confused by the “magic pot” comment. So reading on I discovered (I think) that you’re referring to the Magnalite roaster! Well my parents always had the large18” one and ALWAYS Cooked the turkey in it, my sister “borrowed “ it one year (as I ended up with it)
        And wouldn’t give it back!! So my MIL. Bought us one. Now my SIL loves it and cooked a large turkey stock in it (which I never did)
        Also my grandmother. Always made the pistachio fruit salad and I have never heard of that anywhere else until just now! How funny that those two things (which are not well known) are things we have in common as family recipes!!!
        Anyway just wanted to write that and thank you for sharing!

  27. I have one of those roasters-it’s the size of a VW. Barely fits in my oven. But it is fantastic and they come in different sizes.

  28. What size is your “Magic Pot”? I’ve been looking into buying one on eBay! I’m guessing the 18″ would be best for turkey baking.

    1. Mine is the 15″ which is perfect for a turkey breast (we have a smaller family)… when my kids get older I will definitely be upgrading to the 18″ or bigger!

  29. Hi Erica, it’s your Cars Fast Pass line pal 🙂 I love your blog, what size of magic pot or Dutch oven should I get?

  30. I’m interested in the “magic pot”. Can you buy it locally or is it online? Also what size of pot is yours? Thanks!