Easy Make-Ahead Gravy Base
Yield: 2 cups base (or about 4 cups gravy once pan drippings are added)
A quick, lump-free base to which pan drippings are added for a deliciously stress-free gravy. May be prepared up to 4 days in advance.


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour (may use all-purpose GF flour if needed)
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey broth or stock
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground sage (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pan drippings from a turkey or chicken (about 2 cups)


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour.

    Cook over medium-high heat until the flour is incorporated and white bubbles begin to form on the top of the mixture (also know as “roux”).

    Cook the roux for 2-3 minutes after the bubbles have formed, whisking constantly. I aim for a blonde-colored roux, which is a shade or two lighter than peanut butter. (Helpful hint: if you’re on the fence about how dark to let the mixture turn, err on the side of lighter than darker. Color equals flavor, however, a dark roux actually has less thickening power, plus any amount of burned roux will make for undesirable gravy.)

    Gradually whisk in the broth, followed by the thyme and sage, whisking constantly until the gravy is thickened and comes to a boil.

    Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. (Amount of seasoning will depend on broth or stock used, personal preference, and how much salt is in the pan drippings to be added later-and you can always add more later.)

    At this point, you may use this as a barebones shortcut gravy right away, or cool, cover and refrigerate the gravy base for as long as 4 days. Reheat it in a pot that will accommodate the pan drippings, if using. In that case, when the turkey is done, skim off the fat and pour the drippings into the gravy base-aim for about 2 cups.  Adjust seasoning to taste and enjoy.


If you have fresh herbs on hand, you could use a scant teaspoon of minced fresh thyme and a half teaspoon of minced fresh sage. You could also soften a minced shallot in the butter before adding the flour and making the roux.  
For added savory flavor, sautéed mushrooms may be added.
A splash or two of cream may be stirred in at the end for added decadence.
If you enjoy giblets, you could add some minced, cooked giblets to the gravy. My mom likes to simmer them in a small pot with just enough water to cover (along with the turkey neck) to thoroughly cook them and then add that cooking liquid to the pan drippings.
For a shortcut vegan gravy, use vegan butter (like Earth Balance) and vegetable stock. In this case, the addition of sautéed onions and mushrooms would provide depth of flavor.
My family likes that this gravy isn’t too thick. If you prefer a thicker gravy, however, you may add an extra tablespoon each of butter and flour when starting the roux.
If you’d like an extra smooth base with no visible herb pieces, you may pour the gravy through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing to extract all the flavor.

More recipes at FountainAvenueKitchen.com