Gravy Recipe [With Photo Tutorial]

Step-by-step instructions with pictures for how to make a flour gravy that’s delicious and has the correct thickness every single time.  The ratio of flour to fat to stock is given as well as the method for how to combine everything to make it taste amazing.

Step-by-step instructions with pictures for how to make a flour gravy that's delicious and has the correct thickness every single time. The ratio of flour to fat to stock is given as well as the method for how to combine everything to make it taste amazing.

 

Making gravy used to be a mystery to me. I’d add flour to my roast’s drippings and maybe some broth or stock. Then season it up, stir it up and simmer it up. Sometimes it would be delicious, thick but not too thick, meaty but not overpowering. Other times, it would taste a bit like flour, water and salt. Too thin. Just plain not good.

I did some research, and started making notes about what I was doing. And writing down what worked and what didn’t. I’m going to tell you the stuff that work and what led to me being able to make perfect gravy every single time.

Plus, I put together this video to show you how quick and easy it really is!

Gravy isn’t complicated but if you want to be great at it you need to understand why you’re doing each step. What I’ve done is to put a very lengthy explanation here with pictures and all the info you need. It has the method and also the gravy ratio for how much fat to use with how much flour and how much stock or broth.

This post is going to tell you how to make a gravy using flour. All-purpose white flour. You would use a different method if using cornstarch or any other flour as a thickener.

At the bottom of this post there’s a shorter set of instructions in printable form that you can take into the kitchen with you.

If you have any questions, please put them in the comments below. I’m happy to answer and help you make the best gravy of your life, and I hope you’ll then keep making it for the rest of your life. It’s easy once you’ve got it down. Promise.

How To Make Gravy Perfectly Every Time:

Step#1: Make Good Drippings

Drippings are the liquid (fat and juices) that pool at the bottom of your roasting pan when you cook a large piece of meat or poultry. The thing is, sometimes you don’t get a lot (or any) drippings. So I’ve found a way to get nice concentrated meat juices no matter what.

(Side Note: It is totally possible to make gravy without drippings if you, for instance, are a vegetarian or aren’t making a roast but want gravy anyhow. The method is a bit different but the results are great. Learn how to make gravy without drippings here).

To make sure that I have lots of good drippings, even from a small roast, I put unsalted store-bought broth in the bottom of the roasting pan while the roast cooks. Just a quarter of an inch or so.

Drippings under a roast

I first explained how and why to do this when I did the instructions for How to Roast Pork Perfectly over here. But basically, that broth evaporates as the roast cooks. As it does, some of the broth is left on the sides and bottoms of the pan. Those bits caramelize there. Midway through roasting, add more liquid and it will wash those caramelized bits into your juices making them more delicious.

Also, by putting broth in the bottom of the pan I counteract something that can happen with roasts. Sometimes you get nice juices coming off of the roast. Other times, not as much. When there’s less they can sometimes burn a bit on the bottom of the pan. A mild caramelization of juices is fantastic. But too much and your drippings will taste burnt and then so will your gravy. Having the broth in the bottom of the pan stops the possibility of burning. Instead, juices that fall from the roast drop into the broth and mix in there.

Step#2: Separate the Juices

Pour all the juices from the roasting pan into a gravy separator.

Pouring drippings into a gravy separator

This is like a measuring cup with a long spout that goes right to the bottom of the cup. The fat of your drippings will rise to the top and the tasty juices will stay at the bottom.

Fat rising to top of a gravy separator

When you pour from a gravy separator, the spout is down at the bottom so it gets your juices out first, not your fat. (Although we are going to use some of that fat. Don’t you worry!)

Step#3: Get all the Flavor from the Pan

You need to get all of the flavor out of the roasting pan.

I use a spatula to make sure I’m getting all the browned bits and then anything else from the bottom of the pan.

Scrape the roasting pan

Unlike a lot of people, I don’t make my gravy right in the roasting pan. I find that it’s too big and is harder to incorporate the ingredients. Instead, just use that spatula like I said and make sure you get all the goodness out. After using the spatula, if there’s a lot of nice caramelization on the roasting pan, pour some wine or water (1/2 cup should do) in there and bring it to a simmer, stirring around and then add that to the juices in your gravy separator.

Step#4: Ratio of Fat, Flour and Liquid for a Perfect Roux Gravy

I should say that there are several different methods to make gravy. My favorite gravy is a flour roux gravy because I feel like I really have control of the amount I make and the eventual thickness. So that’s what I’m explaining here. The important thing to know when making a roux gravy is the ratio of flour to fat to liquid. The ratio I use is:

1.5 tablespoons fat to 1.5 tablespoons flour to 1 cup liquid, which yields 1 cup of gravy.

(Note: If you like your gravy thicker, go with 2 tablespoons of fat and 2 tablespoons of flour to 1 cup of liquid, which yields 1 cup of gravy).

What you do is decide how many servings of gravy you need and then work from that towards the above ratio to get your amounts.

Let’s figure our the amounts we need:

You’ll want 1/3 – 1/2 of a cup of gravy per person. So if you need 6 servings then you want 2-3 cups. I tend to go with the higher amount because my husband pours gravy over every single thing on his plate, and I like leftover gravy. (For ideas of what to do with leftover gravy, check this out!). But probably most people can go with the smaller amount.

For 6 people we need 3 cups of gravy so we’ll need:

  • 4.5 tablespoons of fat (that’s 1.5 tablespoons fat X 3 cups of gravy = 4.5 tablespoons fat)
  • 4.5 tablespoons of flour (that’s 1.5 tablespoons flour X 3 cups of gravy = 4.5 tablespoons flour)
  • 3 cups liquid (6 people X 1/2 cup liquid = 3 cups liquid)

Now that we’ve used our gravy ratio to get our measurements, we can make our roux gravy.

Step#5: Make the Roux

Use a measuring spoon to scoop the right amount of fat from the top of the gravy separator.

Get fat to make the gravy

Pour the fat into a medium sauce pan. Using the fat from the roast instantly give your gravy extra roast flavor. If you don’t have that much fat on the top of your gravy separator, or if you don’t really like this idea, go with unsalted butter. Put the butter in the medium sauce pan and melt it over low heat. Then remove it from the heat and proceed with the below.

Pur fat in saucepan

 

Add the same amount of flour to the sauce pan as you have fat (w’re going with 4.5 tablespoons of each for 6 people).

Add flour to fat to make a roux

Note: The following is NOT happening over the heat. You do this part at the counter.

Whisk the fat and flour together into a paste. I really like using a flat whisk like this because it gets right into the edges of the sauce pan. It’s one of my favorite tools in the world for all kinds of things, but especially for making gravies and sauces. (FYI, the paste you just made is called a roux. You can use a roux like this as a base for all kinds of sauces and soups).

Step#6: Make Your Drippings Tasty

Before you add any of the drippings to your roux, taste them. Sometimes a lot of salt or other seasoning from the outside of the roast gets washed off into your drippings. If they’re really salty, you need to know that before you add them to the gravy. Pour a little into a bowl and slurp. They should be meaty and flavorful but not salty.

If your drippings taste great, proceed with the step #7 below. If not, pour them into a large bowl, leaving the fat in the gravy separator (you don’t need this fat anymore. Discard it or save it for another use). To the liquid in the bowl, add unsalted store-bought broth or stock. If you’re making chicken, pork or veal gravy, use chicken broth. For beef gravy, use beef broth. You can instead use water or wine. Just make sure you’re not diluting the meaty flavor too much. If the meat flavor is very intense, water and wine will be great. If it’s less intense, you need that broth. Keep adding broth, stirring and tasting until your liquid has a nice unsalty flavor.

Step#7: Get The Right Amount of Liquid

Now make note of how much liquid you have. Remember, our goal this time is 3 cups of gravy so we’re going to need 3 cups of liquid. How much do you have? If it’s more than 3 cups, you’re not going to use it all. You can add the extra to your mashed potatoes instead of milk, or freeze it for later or discard it. If, on the other hand, you have less than 3 cups, then add to it. As noted above, you can use unsalted broth or stock, wine or water. Only go with wine or water if the drippings are very meaty flavored. If they’re not, stick with broth or stock. Make sure it’s unsalted though. Gravy can get salty quickly as it simmers and reduces. You want control over that salt as much as possible.

Step#8: Actually Making Gravy

Whisk about one sixth of your liquid into your butter and flour roux. You want a nice smooth paste.

Pour drippings into the roux slowly

Pour in a bit more and whisk it some more. You want it to be smooth after each addition. Do it a couple more times. Then you can go ahead and slowly stream in the rest of the liquid, whisking the entire time to make sure you don’t have any lumps. (If there are a few lumps, don’t worry. We’ll be straining it later).

Whisk until smooth

Step#9: Heat and Cook the Gravy

Once all of the liquid is in and it’s whisked and smooth put the sauce pan over medium high heat. Stir often until it comes up to a boil.

Heat to a boil

Reduce heat to low and simmer for a minute or two.

Step#10: Taste and Season the Gravy

Taste the gravy. What you want now is to check for seasonings. It might need a little salt and pepper. Add small amounts at a time because it can get salty quickly.

Season the gravy to taste

I also add poultry seasoning to chicken and pork gravies. Or whatever seasoning I put on the roast. I don’t like to add much though (about 1/4 teaspoon to 3 cups gravy) . I like the gravy to taste rich and meaty. I don’t want it to cover up the flavor of the other foods on my plate.

Step#11: Strain the Gravy (optional)

OK, one last step, and it’s optional. For reasons I don’t understand, my husband loves lumpy gravy. Well, maybe I do get it. I also like bits and pieces of tasty stuff floating in my gravy, though not so much lumps of flour. Whatever. Anyhow, if it’s just for us, I skip this. If it’s for company, I do it. I sit a fine mesh sieve over my gravy boat and stain the gravy in (if you’re worried about making a big mess getting it through there, strain it into a large bowl and then pour it into your gravy boat).

Strain the gravy using a fine mesh sieve

There you have it. That’s how to make a flour gravy using a roux perfectly, each and every time.

Perfect Gravy in a Gravy Boat.

Perfect Gravy Every Time

This recipe is for 6 servings but the ratio of flour to fat to liquid is given for calculating the amounts you need for any sized group.

Ingredients:

  • 4.5 Tbsp. butter or fat rendered from a roast
  • 4.5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups drippings from roast (fat removed) or unsalted broth
  • salt, pepper and seasonings to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter or fat in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat.
  2. Whisk flour into fat.
  3. Whisk in 1/2 cup drippings until smooth. Whisk in another half cup. Repeat until all drippings are used.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 minute. Taste and add salt, pepper and seasonings.
  5. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Serve warm.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click on one and then buy something, at no additional cost to you, I receive a small commission. All opinions are truthful and my own.
This post originally appeared in November, 2015 and was revised and republished in December, 2016.

13 Responses to “Gravy Recipe [With Photo Tutorial]”

  1. Tara — May 7, 2017 @ 6:52 pm (#)

    WOW! I initially came to your site to figure out how to do a whole chicken straight from the freezer! The gravy picture was on that page, so I clicked on it. I’m so glad I did! I immediately put a little chicken stock in the bottom of my roasting pan. Your instructions were perfect! No lumps, either. My husband raved about it. THANK YOU!

    • Christine Pittman — May 8, 2017 @ 8:23 am (#)

      Tara, So excited that it worked out well for you. I love that way of making gravy too!

  2. Carla — December 26, 2016 @ 7:06 pm (#)

    Thank you for this…my gravy turned out great! Knowing what to check for, when, and why was so enlightening! Now I know what to look for at each stage and how to make adjustments as needed. I feel like I really learned how to make gravy rather than just following a recipe.

    • Christine Pittman — December 28, 2016 @ 10:31 am (#)

      Carla, Thank you so much for your comment. That was exactly my goal with this post and I’m so happy to know that I reached it and that it helped you.

  3. Corri — November 8, 2016 @ 2:25 pm (#)

    Where has this been all my life? The world finally makes sense. Perhaps my gravy courage this year will finally be rewarded! I scour the internet and cookbooks every year, thinking I’ve finally got the right information, only to resort to the back-up can or sachet. This is the info I never found. Thank you!

    • Christine Pittman — November 10, 2016 @ 9:17 am (#)

      Corri, That’s so great to hear. Once you give it a try, come on back and let me know how it turned out for you.

  4. Jane Woods — September 29, 2016 @ 12:51 pm (#)

    If you do not have chicken broth only beef broth, not unsalted, can you adjust beef broth instead?

    • Christine Pittman — September 30, 2016 @ 11:02 am (#)

      Yes, you can use salted beef broth. But be careful about adding salt to your roast. The salt you add to the roast can get mixed with its juices and roll off into the broth. You might want to use half broth and half water to make sure things don’t get too salty. And taste the juices before you start making your gravy. If they are very salty you will want to dilute them.

  5. Laurie — February 9, 2016 @ 10:00 pm (#)

    You are the BEST!! I love cooking and always host Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners (especially for my Jewish husbands’ friends) every year and have been “winging it” until now. I read every word and must say… you have done your homework! I will refer to your post from now on. Thank you for sharing!!

    • Christine Pittman — February 18, 2016 @ 3:00 pm (#)

      Thank you so much, Laurie. I’m so happy to have been helpful to you!

  6. Jenna — November 11, 2015 @ 5:16 pm (#)

    Oh, my goodness, this makes me SO want Thanksgiving dinner right now! I’ve never made gravy before, but I’m definitely pinning for when I do! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Amy | Club Narwhal — November 11, 2015 @ 10:43 am (#)

    Oh man, this gravy really does look perfect–it is all about the drippings for me :)

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