Traditional Homemade Turkey Gravy


Thanksgiving without gravy is like the 4th of July without potato salad or Halloween without candy corn. It’s just not right. Gravy may not be the centerpiece on Thanksgiving day, but without it there is a massive hole in your little foodie heart. And let’s face the facts: gravy from a packet or jar is just NOT the same. Real Thanksgiving day turkey gravy should be homemade from the turkey drippings, just like Grandma has made for years! Here’s how to do it: 

Start with a stick of butter in a large sauce pan. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper on top and begin to melt it over medium to low heat.

Pour your turkey drippings and juices into a liquid measuring cup. You need 2 cups total, so if you are a bit short make up the difference with chicken broth. You can make this recipe with all chicken broth, but that rich gravy flavor comes from the turkey fat itself.

traditional homemade turkey gravy

As the butter begins to melt, slowly add in 1/4 cup of flour, constantly whisking it. Essentially, you are making a roux that will thicken your turkey gravy. Heat this for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

traditional homemade turkey gravy

Continue to stir the gravy as you pour in the turkey drippings. As you continue to cook the gravy it will slowly thicken. Stir continuously for several minutes until the gravy has reached your desired thickness. I use the spoon test to determine when mine is done. If it smoothly coats the spoon, it’s ready. If you like your turkey gravy thinner, just add more chicken stock.

Pour the gravy into a gravy boat and serve! Homemade turkey gravy isn’t going to get easier or more delicious than that! Gravy is always the last item I make for the dinner table because it tastes fresh off the stove, but if necessary, you can leave the gravy on the lowest heat setting to keep it warm while you pull the rest of Thanksgiving dinner together.

Do you have your turkey recipe yet? If not, try this Tuscan Style Roasted Turkey that has just 3 easy steps. And don’t forget the mashed potatoes! Try these Creamy Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes that have a secret ingredient that makes them irresistible! Happy cooking y’all!

Traditional Homemade Turkey Gravy

Heidi Davison
This is a recipe for traditional homestyle gravy, just like Grandma used to make. It's perfect drizzled over turkey, poured on mashed potatoes, or smothered on rolls.
4.50 from 4 votes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 -8


  • 1/2 cup 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 cups turkey drippings or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup flour


  • Slowly melt the butter over medium to low heat in a medium sized saucepan.
  • Sprinkle in the ground pepper.
  • As the butter melts, pour in the flour and whisk continuously to make a roux. Cook 2 minutes.
  • Slowly add in the turkey drippings or broth. Whisk constantly while it thickens.
  • Cook 3-5 minutes or until gravy reaches desired consistency.
  • Serve immediately.


Related in Category

Helpful Tips

Helpful Tips

Helpful Tips

Helpful Tips

  • 5 stars
    We did a Tuscan themed Thanksgiving this year and used this recipe. It was hands down the best turkey ever. I did do a dry brine the day before and did stuff it which only added depth and moisture. Every one is still talking about it! Thanks for the great recipe. Simple too!

    • Thanks for the feedback Laura! I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  • This gravy was fabulous! It was my first time hosting thanksgiving and it was a hit! Everyone loved it so I think I’ll keep it around for years to come 🙂

    • I’m so glad you found something you can use over and over again!

  • Holly Vogt says:

    4 stars
    Can you double the recipe. It sounds so good and easy but not enough for my family. Thanks.

    • Yes, totally! You can even freeze leftovers. Some like to freeze leftovers in ice cube trays for easy removal. They thicken soups and other sauces perfectly.

  • Do you stuff your turkey with lemons and if so, does it make the gravy taste odd?

    • I always put lemons, celery & onions inside my turkey & no it doesn’t make the drippings taste like lemon or bitter.

      • ok…I was a little worried about the lemons..thank you!

      • I like the idea of celery in there. I bet you could transfer the onions and celery to a big pot with the carcass and boil up some lovely broth for soups later on.

    • There are lemons stuffed in the turkey, but no it doesn’t make the gravy taste odd. I pour the drippings from the bottom of the pan into a liquid measuring cup after I have removed the turkey so there is not much lemon flavor there.

  • Do you pour your drippings into a fat separator first before measuring 2 cups turkey drippings?

    • I didn’t but I have heard of several who do. By the time I am making the gravy, everyone is eagerly sitting at the table waiting and I just want to make it real quick. I bet if you separated it it would be delicious!

    • 4 stars
      I always put my drippings thru a separator , I think besides the obvious (less calories) I like the mouth feel of the gravy way better. Less greasy like I guess.
      I know it sounds crazy since there are already a zillion calories in these meals 😜
      Gotta cut back somewhere! Lol

      • That is very true…this is certainly not a low calorie item! But it is Thanksgiving and a special treat!

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}