Table of Contents
  1. How do you make gravy?
  2. Watch how to make this homemade gravy recipe:
  3. How to Make Homemade Gravy Recipe

Homemade gravy. Who knew those two words could hold so much meaning. In my opinion, making gravy is a lost art. Like so many other foods, I tend to see gravy in the canned food aisle or in purchasable packets that just need the addition of water. If this is your first Thanksgiving and you’re stressed, maybe gravy deserves a shortcut. But if you’re not making gravy because you’ve never made gravy before, or the mere thought alone strikes fear in your heart, let’s give it a try this year!

Growing up, I took gravy for granted. I never realized the finesse and skill my family possessed to mix together a gravy with such ease. Often, we see memes of gravy being poured over dry, tasteless meat. Instead of being the butt of a joke, gravy is the ultimate way to reduce food waste. Instead of throwing out the drippings from a turkey or chicken, which have the most condensed flavor, they’re made into a well-seasoned sauce.

Brown colored homemade gravy being poured out of a white gravy boat onto a pile of white mashed potatoes sitting one plate with other holiday side dishes and turkey all on wood surface

How do you make gravy?

The easiest gravy is simply a combination of drippings, stock, and thickening. It’s not many ingredients, but if the ratios are off, you’re left with a too-thick gloppy gravy or too-thin water-like sauce.

First component: Stock

For stock, you have many choices:

  • Go all the way and make turkey stock from the neck fortified with chicken stock.
  • Use chicken stock that you have on hand.
  • Use the leftover water from cooking potatoes for mashed potatoes as my grandma does. Potato water has a lot of starch left over from the potatoes, so it will be somewhat cloudy from the starch. The potato water can be saved from previously boiled potatoes if kept in the freezer – another bonus tip from Grandma Alice.
Spoon holding mashed potatoes covered in brown colored gravy with plate in background

Second component: Thickener

The next important part is the thickener. Flour and cornstarch both work but have slightly different outcomes.

Flour is only part starch and will take twice as much as cornstarch. It gets cooked into the fat and then thinned down with stock. Once thickened, the flour will produce a gravy cloudy.

Cornstarch, on the other hand, is pure starch. To use, it needs to be mixed with a cold liquid and poured in slowly to the drippings. Cornstarch will leave the gravy clear and shiny with a clean texture.

Third component: Drippings

Drippings are the liquids that pool in the bottom of a roasting pan. After roasting, pour the drippings into a fat separating measuring cup (or another measuring cup). Allow to sit for 10 minutes, which will allow the fat to float to the top of the container.

It’s important to know that you should never salt the gravy before it’s made. Usually, the turkey is seasoned well enough that more salt is unnecessary.

Top down view of plate filled with Thanksgiving dishes including white mashed potatoes topped with homemade gravy with extra gravy in white container to the side all on wood surface

Optional add-in

To enhance the sauce, I add a bit of cognac. Cognac is a brandy that complements the robust flavor of the drippings and gives that “zhoosh” that you cannot place but will make everyone want your gravy. Or the recipe at the very least!

Here’s to making a homemade gravy this Thanksgiving season!

Watch how to make this homemade gravy recipe:

YouTube video
Top down view of brown colored homemade gravy in a white gravy container with extra food sitting on white plate and extra side dishes around all on wood surface

How to Make Homemade Gravy

4.56 from 9 votes
While it may be a little bit overlooked when it comes to Thanksgiving, making a homemade gravy doesn't need to be forgotten! Three necessary components come together to form a luscious sauce that's the perfect topping for the holiday!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 24 servings


  • 1 cup pan drippings from roasting turkey
  • 2 cups potato water (or stock)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp cognac (optional)


  • Start by pouring all the turkey drippings into a fat separator or large measuring glass. Allow the drippings to sit for 15-20 minutes or until the fat separates from the stock in the drippings.
  • Add the drippings back to the roasting pan with the browned bits remaining from roasting the turkey. If the drippings do not reach 1 cup, add stock to supplement. Set the roasting pan with the drippings over medium heat. Using a whisk, work up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer. If using, whisk in the cognac.
    1 cup pan drippings from roasting turkey, 2 tbsp cognac (optional)
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch and potato water (or stock) until smooth.
    2 tbsp cornstarch, 2 cups potato water (or stock)
  • Whisking constantly, slowly add the combined stock and cornstarch to the drippings mixture. Thin with more potato water/stock or thicken with more slurry as needed. Taste for seasoning.


Serving: 2tbspCalories: 88kcalCarbohydrates: 1.3gProtein: 0.5gFat: 8.7gSaturated Fat: 3.9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 3.7gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 9.2mgSodium: 75.2mgPotassium: 21mgFiber: 0gSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 0.2IUVitamin C: 0mgCalcium: 0.6mgIron: 0mg
Course Toppings
Cuisine American
Difficulty Easy
Method Cooking

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I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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    1. Hi Kerry,
      I sometimes use a good, dry white wine – usually from the same bottle I will serve with the meal.
      This recipe is fabulous without the alcohol, so you can totally skip it!
      Happy Thanksgiving from Hilton Head Island, SC.

  1. The easiest, most delcious, foolproof gravy recipe EVER!! I was cooking for 4 instead of the usual 24 @ Thanksgiving so I roasted a turkey breast. Knowing there would be little drippings in the roasting pan, I started with some low-sodium chicken stock along with the carrots, onions, celery, & garlic. I added the remainder of the chicken stock to the pan after removing the turkey breast scraping up the fond. Added the Cognac – Oh My! Then I added the potato water slurry! Just Fabulous … Love your videos!

  2. Hi Kaleb. I loved the Christmas tree that you decorated with your mom. I went out and bought all new decorations for my tree this year you inspired me so ! Thank you.

  3. 5 stars
    I have never been able to make perfect gravy-UNTIL now~

    Thank you so much for the video and recipe that works with every main dish.

    I love your videos!


  4. 5 stars
    First time trying and it worked! Great tip to separate the oil. I didn’t have an official tool but put in mason jar and scooped out fat once separated. I added 2 cups stock to dripping.Noticably better!