How to Make Lump-Free Gravy

How-To, Learn, Thanksgiving

How to Make Lump-Free Gravy

Nothing accompanies turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing quite like savory, creamy gravy—it’s as eagerly anticipated as the bird itself! Gravy is especially delicious when made from the turkey pan drippings left behind after roasting your bird, which are thickened with a roux (a mixture of butter and flour) and enhanced with turkey or chicken stock. You can also flavor the gravy with sherry, Madeira or other wine. Learn how to make lump-free gravy with our step-by-step tutorial below.

How to Make Lump-Free Gravy: A Step-by-Step Guide

You’ll need the following ingredients (see note below for yield details):

  • Melted unsalted butter, optional
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • About 1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper


Pour off the pan drippings
Evaluate the pan drippings and darken them if necessary by cooking them over high heat for a minute or two. Pour the drippings from the pan into a fat separator and let stand for a few minutes until the fat rises to the top. Note: If you don’t have a fat separator, simply skim and discard any fat from the juices.
Degrease the pan juices
Pour the light brown pan juices into a large glass measuring cup; reserve the fat in the separator. You should have about 2 cups of juices. If you’re short, add stock to the pan juices to make up the amount.
Make a roux
Place the roasting pan on 2 burners over medium heat. Measure out 3 tablespoons of the reserved fat and add it to the pan. If you’re short, add melted butter to the pan to make up the amount. When the fat is hot, sprinkle in the flour.
Cook the roux
Using a flat whisk, whisk the flour into the hot drippings until smooth, since you ultimately want your gravy to be lump-free! Let the mixture bubble until the raw flour smell is gone, about 1 minute.
Deglaze the pan
Increase the heat to medium-high. Pour the stock mixture into the pan and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom and sides of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the gravy, whisking often, until it has thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, about 10 minutes.
Evaluate the consistency
The gravy should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. If the gravy is too thick, thin it with more heated stock or water. If it’s too thin, continue to simmer until the desired consistency is reached.
Adjust the seasonings
Stir in the salt and pepper and taste the gravy. If it tastes a little dull, stir in more salt or pepper until it tastes nicely balanced. If desired, pour the gravy into a saucepan through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any undissolved pan drippings. Keep warm over very low heat until ready to serve. Savor the fact that you’ve made perfect, lump-free gravy this Thanksgiving.


Note: Plan on about 1/2 cup gravy per serving. If you want to alter the yield, for every 1 cup of liquid, use 1 1/2 tablespoons each of fat and flour to make the roux.


See more gravy recipes here. 

20 comments about “How to Make Lump-Free Gravy

  1. Diana

    We are smoking a turkey, therefore I will not have any pan drippings. How do I make my gravy?

    1. Matt

      If you don’t mind not having wings, take off the wings before smoking (or after if you wish), or if you want a fully intake turkey buy turkey wings and make a turkey stock (turkey wings, onion, carrots, celery, peppercorns, and herbs parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leafs. Simmer for an hour or two until it tastes like turkey. Personally i’d add a little malty beer too to compliment the smokiness of the turkey, or a couple cranberries to counter balance the richness of the smoke. OR cranberry beer, best of both worlds). If you want a richer stock/gravy, the day before, take the turkey wings, rub them with a little oil, put them onto a roasting pan, and put them in the oven until they are a deep gold, then put them straight into a pot (with any stuck on bits in the pan) and then make stock. Then make a roux, whisk the roux into the strained turkey stock, reduce, season and voila gravy.

    2. Mel

      Way too much work. 3 tablespoons of room temperature butter mixed with 3 tablespoons of flour then heat in sauce pan stirring to keep smooth and add water or stock and simmer to thicken

      1. BettyDunworth

        Mel, your recipe is fine for “everyday” gravy. Not for Thanksgiving! Make it special. 🙂

      2. Andrecia Vespa

        I’m with you Mel. Any “homemade” gravy is special. Everyday gravy is purchased in a jar (preserved.)

  2. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Ashley0525

    You would make a gravy in much the same way. Melt 3 TBS butter in a sauce pan, I let it start to brown to help develop flavor. Add 3 TBS flour and whisk in, cook for about a minute to cook off the raw flour, the consistency will be wet mud or wet sand. Slowly whisk in 1.5 to 2 cups of good quality (warmed) stock. I keep a product called Better Than Bouillon in my fridge, it’s a paste you can find with the regular bouillon cubes. (Heat 2 cups of water and dissolve bouillon in hot water before adding it to your roux). I keep chicken, beef and vegetable on hand, you can whip up a quick gravy any time. Add salt and pepper to taste. Practice using half the recipe. Add stock to thin out a thick gravy, or water if your flavors got too intense. Another great trick is if your gravy is too thin, make another flour/butter roux in a separate pan and add your thin gravy to that to ‘restart’ your gravy.

  4. Allanda

    You can use the neck bone and giblets (not the liver) that you remove before you smoke your turkey to make your own turkey stock. Brown them in a pan for 3-4 minutes on each side, add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat to low, and continue to simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. You probably won’t get much fat off of it, but you will get the yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

  5. Matt

    WAY too much work… Leave all the juices and fat in the pan, make a flour (or cornstarch) and water slurry, put a mesh strainer in the pan juices, pour the slurry into it, whisk together while the stainer is in the juices, this will break up all clump and/or when you take out the strainer the lumps go with it. Once you remove the stainer, keep whisking to dislodge any tasty bits from the pan, reduce if necessary, season and done (or if you insist, do a final strain to get rid of any tasty bits that didn’t break up).

  6. Lorrie Burkes

    Something to mention – if you brine your turkey your pan drippings end up being super salty! Ruined my gravy that year 🙁 Not sure what or if that can be fixed.

  7. Lisa

    I want to make gluten free gravy for a guest this Thanksgiving. If I substitute corn starch for flour do I need to adjust proportions?

    1. Rachel J

      Lisa, I have found that using rice flour for gravy works better than cornstarch. Also, just an FYI, but if your guest has celiac disease have you talked with them about how you’ll prepare dishes? 2 members of my family have celiacs disease, one of them being my daughter, and we never eat anything that someone else has prepared for us. They always have good intentions but too many times my poor daughter has ended up sick. Cross contamination is very hard to avoid, especially if you’re not already in the habit of cooking/baking GF.

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