Learn how to make this Traditional Tomato Gravy with bacon fat, diced tomatoes, cream, and a few other basic ingredients. Perfect on biscuits and so much more!
This Southern dish is seriously delicious. When that tomato gravy is made with bacon fat, it tastes a bit like having a BLT. Such a great tomato and bacon combination with so much flavor! It’s savory and creamy and a little tangy. Try serving it over biscuits or grits for a delicious Southern breakfast.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
Video: Traditional Tomato Gravy
What Is Southern Tomato Gravy?
This Traditional Tomato Gravy is a Southern classic that is perfect for serving over biscuits, toast, and more. It’s somewhere between sausage gravy and tomato soup, but thick enough that you wouldn’t mistake it for soup.
Can I Use Fresh Tomatoes?
The recipe below calls for canned diced tomatoes. But this recipe is also often made with fresh tomatoes. So good if you have them!
To do that, chop up some tomatoes. You want about 2 cups. Any liquid that accumulates as you’re cutting needs to go in there as well. And also, since fresh tomatoes have less liquid than canned tomatoes, you need to make up for that. To do so, put your chopped tomatoes into a 2 cup measuring cup. They should fill the cup, but there’s space around those chopped tomatoes so when you add liquid, that space gets filled. Add liquid until it is filling the cup. For the liquid you can use tomato juice, tomato paste or tomato sauce diluted with water, vegetable or chicken broth, or just water.
You can also use canned whole tomatoes, you’ll just have to squash them well in the pan to break them up. You can use 2 cups of tomato sauce instead of tomatoes if you prefer as well.
How To Make Tomato Gravy
You’ll melt the bacon fat into a skillet. Then add flour and whisk it until it forms a paste. That paste is called a roux and is the basis for many gravies and sauces.
Tip: Save the bacon drippings in a jar in the fridge or freezer whenever you cook bacon to have this flavor-boosting ingredient on hand.
Then you’ll want to cook that roux until it start to get a beige color, even a light brown. That gives it a nutty flavor. You’ll be whisking it fairly often as it slowly darkens. Have your broth ready to go because once it starts to darken, it gets darker quickly! Start drizzling in the broth a little at a time, whisking to keep it smooth. I often turn the heat off just before I start adding the broth so that it slows the cooking and I have more time to really make sure it’s smooth.
Once it’s all in, add in your tomatoes and also some salt and pepper. Stir over medium heat until it comes up to a simmer, the turn it down and simmer it until it’s thick enough that you see the bottom of the skillet as you swipe through it with your wooden spoon.
Stir in 1/4 cup of heavy cream and let it warm through for 30 seconds while you stir. Then it’s time to serve.
To make it vegetarian use butter and vegetable broth. To make it vegan, use olive oil, vegetable broth, and a thick unsweetened oat milk.
Serving Tomato Gravy
I love this gravy over biscuits, but there’s plenty of dishes it’s delicious with. Serve it over toast, scrambled eggs, grits, and more for breakfast. You could even have it with dinner with your rice, potatoes, or cornbread.
I can’t wait to hear what you were this tomato gravy recipe with, so let me know in the comments.
More Delicious Gravy Recipes
I have a whole collection of sauce and gravy recipes for you to enjoy. Most of them are really easy, but can totally elevate your meal.
Podcast Episode About Making Tomato Gravy
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this gravy, along with some other great tips, by clicking the play button below:
To use fresh tomatoes, you’ll want 2 cups of diced tomatoes and some added liquid. See more information on this in the article above.
- 3 Tbsp. bacon fat*
- 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- In a skillet, warm the bacon fat over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking often, until it turns a dark beige, or light brown color, 3-4 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Slowly drizzle in the broth, a little at a time, whisking to keep the mixture smooth.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes, salt, and pepper.
- Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick enough that you can see the bottom of the skillet for a moment when you swipe your wooden spoon through it, 2-3 minutes.
- Turn heat to low. Stir in the cream. Stir and cook for 30 seconds to heat through.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
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*If you don’t have bacon fat, or if you want to make this vegetarian, use 3 tablespoons of butter instead.