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Making Gravy from Scratch – It’s Easy to Make at Home and Tastier, Too!

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I have a confession to make: I’ve never made gravy of any kind from a packet. I’ve never served gravy from a jar. Not because I’m superior to anyone who has, but because I learned early on about making gravy from scratch. And I’m here to tell you how to make gravy from drippings as well as how to take a shortcut and make gravy in the Instant Pot. Spoiler: It’s not difficult!

turkey gravy in a white bowl with herbs

In fact, it’s downright easy. Gravy is simply thickened broth. That’s it. The best gravy starts with pan drippings, in my opinion, but you can also start with just a good flavorful broth. While this recipe calls for chicken or turkey stock, you can just as easily use beef broth if that’s what you prefer.

This is the perfect gravy recipe for topping mashed potatoes, or ladle some over pork chops.

How to make gravy from drippings

The fatty juices and sizzling bits on the bottom of the roasting pan from cooking a turkey or chicken will take your homemade gravy to a whole ‘nother level. To use the drippings, first remove the bird from the pan. Pour the juices from the hot pan into a heat-safe measuring cup. Allow to sit until the fat rises to the top.

Use a ladle to scoop the fat into a separate container. You’ll use this as the fat in the recipe, instead of butter. Don’t worry about getting every last bit of fat; a little bit left in the drippings is perfectly okay. Measure the remaining drippings and add enough broth to make four cups.

turkey gravy in a white bowl with herbs

Stove top gravy

If you’ve roasted your turkey or chicken in a flame-safe roasting pan, you can make your gravy right in that. One less dish to wash, plus the browned bits that are stuck to the pan will help add even more flavor to your homemade gravy. Alternatively, use a sauté pan or deep frying pan for this.

Measure four tablespoons of fat (pan drippings or butter) into the roasting pan. Set the pan over medium heat until fat is hot. Stir in flour using a whisk, mixing it well until the flour is completely combined with the fat and a bit bubbly. You’ve just made a roux, one of those cooking terms that sounds fancy but is really very simple!

Now slowly begin to pour the pan drippings/broth into the hot pan, mixing the liquid with the roux. This is where you want to really take your time, making sure the liquid combines with the roux to prevent lumps in your homemade gravy. Once the roux and liquid have become one, you can add liquid a bit more quickly. Continue stirring with the whisk until all of the liquid is added. Simmering for about five minutes will thicken the gravy further.

close up of ingredients -- herbs and flour -- in an instant pot (process photos)

Making gravy from scratch in the Instant Pot (and why you’d want to)

Now, making gravy from scratch in the Instant Pot is a bit different from the methods I learned. The bonus is that it’s done quickly and when the stovetop is overfull with holiday dishes warming, you can shift this one out of the way! If your kitchen boasts an Instant Pot, this is an easy way to get homemade gravy on the table. (If you don’t have one, ask friends to bring theirs. I bet you’ll use it for more than just gravy as you prepare a holiday meal!)

The process is similar to the stovetop method, in that you’ll combine the fat and flour to create a roux, then add the pan drippings/broth. The difference is that once those are combined, you’ll seal the Instant Pot lid and you can walk away for a few minutes.

turkey gravy in a white bowl with herbs

★ Did you make this turkey gravy? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★

Instant Pot Turkey Gravy

Instant Pot Turkey Gravy

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes

Homemade gravy is easy to make from scratch! You can make it on the stove top or use your Instant Pot. 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups turkey or chicken stock , (see notes)
  • 4 tablespoons butter , or fat from drippings
  • 6 tablespoons unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, (optional)
  • 1 sprig rosemary, (optional

Instructions

  1. Turn the Instant Pot on sauté mode. Put butter (or fat from drippings) into the inner pot and cook until butter is melted and starts to bubble.  
  2. Stir flour into butter until it's well combined and not lumpy. Add in the fresh herbs, if you're using them. 
  3. Slowly stir in the pan drippings/stock, making sure the roux and liquid are well combined and smooth. Turn sauté mode off.
  4. Close the Instant Pot lid and seal pressure valve. Cook on manual high pressure for four minutes.
  5. Use a quick pressure release, remove the lid, and stir gravy.
  6. If additional thickening is desired, turn back on to sauté mode and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Notes

Make your own stock for this recipe, or you can use pre-made chicken stock. 

How to make gravy from drippings:

First remove the bird from the pan. Pour the juices from the hot pan into a heat-safe measuring cup. Allow to sit until the fat rises to the top. Use a ladle to scoop the fat into a separate container. Measure four tablespoons of drippings into the pan in place of butter. 

Measure the remaining drippings and add enough broth to make four cups.

Making gravy from scratch on the stove top:

If you've roasted your turkey or chicken in a flame-safe roasting pan, you can make your gravy right in that. Alternatively, use a sauté pan or deep frying pan for this. 

Measure four tablespoons of fat (pan drippings or butter) into the roasting pan. Set the pan over medium heat until fat is hot. Stir in flour using a whisk, mixing it well until the flour is completely combined with the fat and a bit bubbly. 

Slowly begin to pour the pan drippings/broth into the hot pan, mixing the liquid with the roux. This is where you want to really take your time, making sure the liquid combines with the roux to prevent lumps in your homemade gravy. Once the roux and liquid have become one, you can add liquid a bit more quickly. Continue stirring with the whisk until all of the liquid is added. Simmering for about five minutes will thicken the gravy further.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 114Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 512mgCarbohydrates: 8gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g

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Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle.

5 comments… add one
  • Liz (Eight Acres) Oct 26, 2018, 8:47 pm

    Yes! Gravy from scratch is so easy and tasty, I never use a packet either. Thanks for sharing your method.

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 2, 2018, 1:47 pm

      Funny that we’ve learned to think that it’s difficult, isn’t it??

  • linda spiker Oct 30, 2018, 5:38 pm

    Looks fantastic! Thanks for the tips!

  • Lindsey Dietz Oct 31, 2018, 4:03 am

    LOVE that you give Instant Pot instructions, too! It’s easy to forget how full the stove can be on the big day, and this is so helpful!

  • Sarah Nov 19, 2018, 2:09 pm

    I love gravy, but no one in my house likes it. My goal in life is to add more gravy in my life, instead of only ever getting it when we eat out which is very rare, so being able to make it from scratch would be great.

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