Turkey Gravy - Make Ahead

Total Time
Prep 3 hrs
Cook 0 mins

I got this recipe from a radio program. Makes Thanksgiving so much easier, and tastier too! This can be a light but creamy sauce, or a thicker, hearty gravy, depending on how you choose to finish it. In either case, it will have a full, rich flavor.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 -2 turkey wings (or neck and giblets from turkey, rinsed and patted dry)
  • 1 -2 tablespoon butter (or more, as needed)
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large celery rib, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (or 3 teaspoons, dried thyme leaves)
  • 1 -2 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts water
  • salt and pepper, as needed


  1. Cut the turkey wing into pieces with a heavy knife. (If using neck and giblets, cut the neck into three or four pieces. Trim the tough membrane from the gizzard. Rinse all neck pieces and giblets, and pat them very dry with paper towels.).
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter, and, when its foaming begins to subside, add the turkey pieces.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté over medium heat until golden brown - about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add the coarsely chopped vegetables and garlic, season again with salt and pepper, and continue sautéing (add small bits of butter if necessary to prevent scorching) until vegetables begin to color slightly - about 5 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle over the flour, and continue sauteing, stirring constantly, until the floured vegetables turn brown - about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the thyme, bay leaves and water to the vegetables, whisking or stirring briskly to incorporate flavors and prevent lumps.
  7. When the liquid begins to boil, lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  8. Strain the sauce and discard the solids. Reserve the sauce. You should have about 4 cups of sauce.
  9. *This sauce may be made ahead to this point. It may be served as-is, OR thickened before serving.
  10. Alternatively, pan drippings may be added before serving and additional thickening may be added at that time.
  12. Remove the roasted turkey and the cooking rack from the roasting pan; place the pan over two burners on the stove, heat adjusted to medium-high. Pour one cup of dry white wine (or dry vermouth) into the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer. With a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape the pan bottom to loosen the browned bits. Remove the roasting pan from the heat, and strain the liquid into a measuring cup, discarding the solids left in the strainer.
  13. Allow the liquid in the cup to stand so that the fat separates to the top - then, tilting the measuring cup, skim off the fat with a shallow spoon. Reserve the fat if you intend to thicken the gravy furthur while adding the pan drippings!
  14. De-fatted pan drippings (in the measuring cup above) may simply be added to the sauce, if no further thickening is desired. Whisk in the drippings, and allow sauce to simmer for a few minutes to develop flavors.
  16. Heat 4 tablespoons* of reserved turkey fat in a large saucepan until bubbling, then stir in an equal amount of flour (*use only half this amount of fat and flour if less thickening is desired for a thinner final gravy). Heat and stir the fat and flour mixture until bubbling - about 1 full minute, then gradually whisk in the defatted pan drippings, and finally, whisk in the finished sauce made ahead as described above. Reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer the drippings mixture with the sauce for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning with salt and pepper.
  17. NOTE: As the finished gravy is allowed to stand and cool, it will become thicker. To correct gravy that has become too thick, simply re-heat the gravy, adding water, turkey broth or chicken broth until it has thinned to desired consistency. Taste again for seasonings. A good idea: serve gravy in a warmed gravy boat or serving bowl.
Most Helpful

This was lacking until I added the drippings...but also I seemed to be out of bay leaves (facepalm) so I wasn't able to add that. I didn't use wings which I might do next time so only the neck and jiblets....the wings in addition might give it a bit more of the turkey flavor I was looking for.

Will definately make this again...with the wings, jiblets...and add the drippings... And for sure it was a time savor as everything was done already...also was able to skim the fat off the next day easily after being refrigerated over night :)

lollipoplane December 07, 2012

I am giving this one a 5 star rating! It was easy to make, made alot..taste was fabulous and saved me time in the kitchen when my house was full of guests. I did add my turkey drippings to it and made even more..so I had lots left over for pot pies and casseroles as well...thank you so much for this recipe I will use it for yrs to come :)

Leona L. January 08, 2009

Made this last year. Was looking for it again this year. Glad to make it again! Best gravy ever. Skipped the spices. Sauted the ingredients a long time in butter really brought out the flavor. Also great with drippings from a turkey that had been stuffed with carrots, celery, onions instead of stuffing.

The Scone November 26, 2008

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