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How to Make Gravy Like You Know What You’re Doing

By Sarah Walker Caron
Created September 5, 2019
Easy Gravy
Are you in charge of the gravy this year? If drippings duty has you feeling grave, follow these steps for the easiest way to make authentic, homemade gravy from scratch.

When I was a little girl, my grandfather took care of the gravy making. He used the drippings from whatever meat my grandmother was serving and heated it over the burner until it was just right. Then he would take his trusty silver cocktail shaker and combine flour and water in it, pouring it into the drippings little by little until it was just perfect.

Are you in charge of making gravy this Thanksgiving? Here’s how to take the loose, flavorful drippings or broth and make it into a perfect, thick gravy.

Pick a Thickener
Typically, gravy is thickened with either cornstarch or flour. Both have their pros and cons. Cornstarch is easy as it doesn’t clump when it hits hot liquid. But you have to be careful, because cornstarch will thicken over the course of a few minutes—and if you add too much, you will end up with gel-style gravy. On the other hand, flour makes that thick, opaque gravy that you are used to seeing, but is finicky and clumps easily. There are pros and cons to both, but both will make a good gravy.

Mix Thickener with Equal Parts Water
Mix the thickener with water in a tightly sealed container (like grandpa’s cocktail shaker) and shake well until combined Make sure the flour or cornstarch fully incorporates with the water. Start with roughly a tablespoon each of the thickener and water.

Heat Your Gravy Base
This might be drippings or stock or even boxed broth—any of these options will create a good gravy. If you go the canned broth route, toss in a few fresh herbs while you are heating it up—this will allow for more flavor to infuse into the broth, giving you a tastier gravy. You want to heat the base to boiling and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Whisk in the thickener/water mixture a little at a time. If you are using cornstarch, stop adding more when the gravy starts to feel ever-so-slightly heavier. It will thicken more on its own. If using flour, add more until you reach the desired consistency.

Season as Desired
Once your gravy has reached a nice thickness, taste and season to make sure it’s salty and flavorful enough. Then transfer your gravy to a cute little gravy boat and get ready for the compliments.