It’s easy to make the best basic turkey gravy right in the pan – here’s how

The best basic pan gravy on top of mashed potatoes |
Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/Getty Image

Classic Thanksgiving turkey gravy is made using the rich, flavorful drippings that remain in the roasting pan after the turkey is done. It’s pretty simple to do, especially if you know a few little secrets.

Tips for the best turkey gravy

1. Traditional gravy is best made right in the roasting pan after the bird is removed. This means you get every last bit of flavor from the pan, AND you’ve got one less pot to wash!

2. Don’t be shy when scraping up the bottom of the pan. You WANT all those brown bits. They’re luscious explosions of flavor!

3. For this reason, we recommend a metal whisk versus a rubber one!

4. Give the liquid time to reduce. This concentrates the flavor of the gravy.

5. Yes, you need to buy a fat separator. They’re inexpensive, and one of the keys to a great gravy.

6. Don’t overcook your gravy. It should be thin when you stop cooking it, because it will thicken once you serve it. If you thicken it too much in the pan, it will be way too gooey to serve (like end up almost with a jello or mashed potato consistency). For help with some gravy issues, check out Got gravy problems? Get some quick fixes here!

7. When choosing the herbs for your gravy, keep in mind the herbs you used in your stuffing and other aromatic dishes. Use the same ones in order to best match their flavor profiles.

The best basic pan gravy



Yield 10


  • 3 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme and rosemary
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Take the turkey out of the roasting pan and set it aside on a platter to rest before carving. Leave the drippings in the pan and place the entire pan on a burner over medium heat.
  2. Add the broth and wine, if using.
  3. Whisk the mixture, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen all the turkey dripping bits.
  4. Reduce the mixture slightly by cooking for  another 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer the liquid to a fat separator and let sit for 5 minutes to allow fat to separate.
  6. Return about 2/3 to 3/4 cup of the fat to the roasting pan and increase the heat to medium-high.
  7. Whisk in the flour.
  8. Whisk continuously until the mixture starts to thicken and becomes smooth. This usually takes a few minutes.
  9. Gradually add the liquid back to the pan and whisk until smooth and you have reached your desired consistency, approximately 5 to 6 minutes.
  10. Add the herbs and whisk to combine.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.

MORE: Quick mushroom herb gravy