Side dishes

Easy Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

This easy make-ahead turkey gravy is you’re secret to success for holiday entertaining. With pan drippings and homemade stock, it’s the real deal without the fuss.

For years, I would watch my mom make the turkey gravy; as soon as the turkey came out of the oven, she put the pan with all the drippings over the two burners on the stove and whisked to her heart’s content. She added the flour and the stock back and forth, chatting and smiling until she had this glorious golden brown gravy. She made it look effortless.

Of course, I tried to follow in my mother’s footsteps but could never master this. Nope. It sounds simple enough, but gravy is one of the last things you do before sitting at the table, and standing over the stove patiently stressed me out.

For me, Make-ahead ( anything! )is mandatory when entertaining, yet I needed to be convinced making it ahead would pass the bar and be just as delicious as Mom’s. It had to be as authentic as possible! No turkey gravy packets or boxed broth. They serve a purpose, and I use them, but not in my once-a-year turkey gravy!

This glorious gravy includes pan drippings and homemade turkey stock, and while that doesn’t sound time-saving, I promise you it’s easy and worth it. The oven and stove do all the work, allowing you to buzz around the kitchen or house, tackling your to-do list.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients for turkey gravy

Herbs ~ Use fresh. I love my herb garden in the fall and winter. Most stores have the herbs in packets, so you don’t need to buy huge amounts. I used the classics; Parsley sage, rosemary, and thyme.

Turkey ~ Use a combination of wings and legs. If your store doesn’t have them, you can use chicken.

Poultry Seasoning ~ A combo of aromatic herbs and spices that smells like thanksgiving! I use it in stuffing too.

Vegetables ~ Carrots, celery, and onions. The amounts in the instructions below are a guide line. Feel free to use a little more

Kitchen Bouquet ~ A browning and seasoning sauce. Optional, but I use it to deepen the color, not as a seasoning. Only a few drops are all you need. It’s a great pantry staple to have on hand.

How To Create Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F

  1. Roughly chop the carrots, celery, and onions into large pieces. No need to peel the carrots. Spread out on a sheet pan. Rinse and pat dry the turkey wings and place them on a sheet pan with vegetables.
  2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Toss everything until well coated, and place the turkey on top of the vegetables; place in the oven to roast for 20 -30 minutes or until the turkey is browned and the veggies are caramelized. This process mimics the cooking of a whole turkey!
  3.  Remove from oven, cool slightly, and add the turkey and vegetables to a large saucepan or dutch oven; add 2 cups of water and the bouquet of herbs. (tie the herbs in a bundle with kitchen twine) Cover and cook on low (simmer) for 30 minutes.
  4.  Turn off the heat, and cool slightly. Remove the legs and wings, set them aside if you want to use the meat, or discard them. Set a colander over a bowl and drain the liquid. You should have about 2 cups.
  5.  Add butter, flour, and poultry seasoning to the same saucepan on low-medium heat. Stir continually for about 30 seconds. You are cooking the flour to taste out, allowing it to have a subtle nutty aroma. Ta-da…you just made a roux! Pour in the reserved turkey stock, and whisk until smooth and there are no lumps of flour. Add salt and pepper, and continue to stir over medium heat until the gravy thickens slowly.
  6. Add a few drops of the Kitchen Bouquet, if using, until you have your desired color. Adjust seasoning to taste. Remove from heat, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the gravy to prevent a “skin” from forming.
Turkey gravy in serving bowl

Make Ahead Variations

For freezing ~ Let the gravy cool completely. Place in a large ziplock and lay flat, releasing as much as possible. This is a great way to freeze if you’re limited in freezer space. Freeze for up to 2 months.

Thaw in the refrigerator; reheat and whisk to smooth out.

For refrigeration ~ Cool completely, and store in a plastic or glass container, leaving a layer of plastic wrap directly over the gravy to prevent a “skin” from forming. Make ahead 3-4 days before the big day. Reheat in a saucepan.

What If My Turkey Gravy Is Too Thick

Adding a little chicken broth or stock will do the trick. I would avoid adding water; you don’t want to dilute all the luscious flavors.

What If My Turkey Gravy Is Too Thin

Remove a small amount of the gravy, about 1/4 cup, and put it in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of flour and whisk until smooth. Add back to the pan of gravy, constantly stirring until it thickens. You can keep doing this until you reach the desired thickness.

Turkey gravy in serving bowl with ladle and topped with parsley

Gratitude leads to happiness! Be thankful for what you have, not what you don’t have. Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

XX T

More Make Ahead Thanksgiving Side Dishes!

Rich & Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

Turkey Stuffing With Red Wine & Golden Raisins

Easy Brandied Cranberries

 

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Easy Make Ahead Turkey Gravy


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Teri Wallingford
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Cups 1x

Description

This easy make-ahead turkey gravy is you’re secret to success for holiday entertaining. With pan drippings and homemade stock, it’s the real deal without the fuss.


Ingredients

Scale

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound turkey ( wings and legs)

1 large carrot, cut into large chunks

1/2 onion cut into large chunks

4 ribs of celery cut into large chunks

2 sage leaves

2 sprigs of rosemary

2 sprigs of thyme

2 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/4 c butter

1/4 c flour


Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

  1. Roughly chop the carrots, celery, and onions into large pieces. No need to peel the carrots. Spread out on a sheet pan. Rinse and pat dry the turkey wings and place them on a sheet pan with vegetables.
  2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Toss everything until well coated, and place the turkey on top of the vegetables; place in the oven to roast for 20 -30 minutes or until the turkey is browned and the veggies are caramelized. This process mimics the cooking of a whole turkey!
  3.  Remove from oven, cool slightly, and add the turkey and vegetables to a large saucepan or dutch oven; add enough water to cover of water to cover the veggies and meat. Add the bouquet of herbs. (tie the herbs in a bundle with kitchen twine) Cover and cook on low (simmer) for 30 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat, and cool slightly. Remove the leg and wings, set them aside if you want to use the meat, or discard them. Set a colander over a bowl and drain the liquid. 
  5.  Add butter, flour, and poultry seasoning to the same saucepan on low-medium heat. Stir continually for about 30 seconds, giving it a subtle nutty aroma. Ta-da…you just made a roux! Pour in the reserved turkey stock, and whisk until smooth and there are no lumps of flour. Add salt and pepper, and continue to stir over medium heat until the gravy thickens slowly
  6. Add a few drops of the Kitchen Bouquet, if using, until you have your desired color. Adjust seasoning to taste. Remove from heat, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the gravy to prevent a “skin” from forming.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 -30 minutes
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: oven + stove top
  • Cuisine: American

3 Comments

  1. Krisay Beckley

    Absolutely the best gravy recipe! The one thing I look forward to every year!






  2. Paula Beckley

    I made this gravy! Love having a make ahead gravy, especially one that is so tasty!

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