Homemade Turkey Gravy is so easy to make and absolutely delicious, especially when you use the leftover drippings from your Thanksgiving turkey. You can embrace the giblets stored inside your turkey and use the them to make a delicious giblet gravy, or leave them out if you want a turkey gravy recipe without giblets in it.

Turkey gravy in a white gravy boat being poured over turkey slices on a plate with cranberry sauce and broccoli.

We had TWO turkeys at Thanksgiving dinner when I was growing up. My mom usually hosted and we’d always have at least 30-50 people there. Mom would make one turkey and my Grandma would make the other, and they would both use the turkey drippings to make the best homemade turkey gravy!

They say the star of Thanksgiving is the turkey, but I’d argue that the Turkey Gravy and cranberry relish really make or break the meal! I’m all about “sauces” and dips and those two things are top favorites on my entire Thanksgiving plate.

I love to make a big well in my homemade mashed potatoes for the gravy, I love it over my Turkey, and I love it lightly drizzled on stuffing. Everyone always loves a smear of leftover gravy and cranberry sauce on our turkey sandwiches the next day, too.

How to make turkey gravy:

Homemade gravy is so easy and delicious.  Below are steps for making turkey gravy with or without the giblets.

What are giblets?

When you buy a turkey (or chicken), you will find the neck, heart, liver, and gizzards from the bird stored inside its cavity.  Before cooking your turkey, you should remove the giblets and set them aside.  You can use the turkey giblets to make the best homemade turkey giblet gravy!

What are drippings?

Drippings are what’s left in the roasting pan after cooking the turkey.  This includes fat that has melted and any bits of meat that have fallen off.

A saucepan with turkey gravy with giblets and a wire whisk.

How to make turkey gravy with drippings and giblets:

When you remove your giblets from the turkey, rinse them with cold water and store them in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.

When you are ready to make your giblet gravy, place all of the neck, heart, liver, and gizzards of the turkey in a sauce pan, cover them with water and bring it to a boil.  Simmer the giblets 1 hour.

Remove the giblets, save the water, and chop the giblets into small pieces.

Boiled giblets on a cutting board next to another photo of the giblets chopped into small pieces.

When you have taken your turkey out of the oven, pour the drippings into a bowl.  Allow the fat to separate and skim it from the top of the drippings.

Add about one cup of the drippings to the roasting pan or a sauce pan.  Whisk in about ½ cup of flour and make a roux by allowing it to turn to a golden brown color.  Add broth and more drippings, stirring until it thickened, and add the giblet meat.  Season the gravy with salt and pepper and make sure to taste it to be sure it has the flavor you are looking for!

Step-by-step photos for making turkey gravy with turkey drippings, broth, flour and giblets.

 

How to make turkey gravy without giblets:

To make turkey gravy without giblets, throw the giblets from the turkey away and make turkey gravy using the drippings from the pan.

A white plate with slices of turkey covered in gravy, broccoli, and cranberry sauce.

Storing and Making Ahead of Time:

To store:  Store leftover gravy in a sealed container for 2-3 days.

To Make Ahead:  Make the gravy as directed.  Allow it to cool and store it, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  To reheat, pour it into a saucepan and add a couple tablespoons of chicken broth or water to thin it (use your best judgement for how thin/thick you like it).  Heat it on medium low heat until warmed through (about 15 minutes).

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Recipe

Turkey gravy in a white gravy boat being poured over turkey slices on a plate with cranberry sauce and broccoli.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 20 mins
Save Recipe

Ingredients
 
 

  • drippings from roasted turkey
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or turkey or vegetable broth)
  • salt and pepper , to taste
  • giblets and neck of uncooked turkey , optional

Instructions
 

  • Place the neck, heart, liver, and gizzards of the turkey inside a medium size sauce pan.  Cover the giblets completely with water and bring the water to a boil.  Once boiling, simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is cooked through.
  • Next, use a slotted spoon to remove the giblets from the water and set them aside. At this point you can decide to discard the liquid from the giblet water or save a little of it to use at the very end of making your gravy if you need to make the gravy thinner. Otherwise you don't need this liquid).
  • Once the giblets have cooled, remove the livers and discard them (they add a really strong taste and flavor not many people like). Use your fingers to remove any meat from the turkey neck. Add the meat to the rest of the giblets and discard what's left of the neck. Then dice the giblets into small pieces and reserve them for the gravy.
  • When you have taken your turkey out of the oven, pour the drippings (what’s left in the roasting pan after cooking the turkey.  This includes fat that has melted and any bits of meat that have fallen off) from your turkey roasting pan into a large bowl.  (Tip the pan away from your body and be careful not to burn your self)!
  • Now let the drippings sit for a minute, allowing the fat to naturally separate from the rest of the drippings.  You will notice that the fat will rise to the top, leaving the drippings and liquid on the bottom.  Use a large spoon or ladle to skim (remove) most of the fat from the top of the the drippings. 
  • To make the gravy, use a large sauce pan and add 1 cup of drippings to the pan. 
  • Add ½ cup flour to the pan and whisk together until it makes a smooth paste. (At this point, you'll need to use a little of your own judgement.  You want a pasty consistency.  If yours seems a little greasy, add more flour).
  • When you have found the right consistency, whisk the mixture slowly over the heat as it begins to brown.  You are creating a roux.  
  • Once you get a nice golden brown color, add 4 cups of chicken broth and 1 additional cup of drippings.
  • Allow the gravy to cook, whisking constantly for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until thickened.  Then add the giblet meat.
  • At this point, decide for yourself if you like the consistency of the gravy. If the gravy is too thick, add giblets broth or drippings liquid.  If gravy is too thin, cook for about 10 minutes. If it's still thin, add a cornstarch slurry (mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water and then add to the gravy). Continue heating until gravy thickens to desired consistency.
  • Once your happy with the consistency of your gravy, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and enjoy!
  • Store leftover gravy covered, in the refrigerator.

Notes

Find all THANKSGIVING recipes HERE.
To Store: Keep leftover gravy in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
To Make Ahead:  Make gravy as directed and allow it to cool. Store covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  To reheat, pour gravy into a saucepan and add a couple tablespoons of chicken broth or water to thin it (use your best judgement for how thin/thick you like it).  Heat it on medium low heat until warmed through (about 15 minutes).
*Gravy recipe adapted from the Pioneer Woman

Nutrition

Calories: 25kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gSodium: 18mgPotassium: 58mgCalcium: 3mgIron: 0.3mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is my new go-to recipe for Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey. I made the turkey and the gravy for our pre-Christmas dinner with the family and it was a hit! Very moist and full of flavor! Thank you so much!

    1. 5 stars
      Great gravy! I had only made sausage gravy before so I was apprehensive, but these instructions were clear. I followed the recipe exactly for the giblet-in version. This produced enough highly-flavored gravy for 8+ people on turkey, potatoes, and dressing.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m a senior citizen, but had never before made gravy or stuffing from scratch.
    This recipe was fantastic! Both the gravy and stuffing got not only compliments but requests for multiple servings as well as carry-home boxes.
    You can’t get a better review than that!

  3. I’m confused about how you can make the gravy ahead of time, since the drippings won’t be available until the turkey is done.

    What can I do without the drippings? Do I just mix 4 cups of chicken broth with 1/2 cup of flour ahead of time? Then on the day of, I reheat it with 2 cups of drippings?

  4. I started cooking by helping my grandmother make the the graveyard in the late 50’s. My family always liked gravy to be “darkish” which was accomplished by adding a little Kitchen Bouquet Browning and Seasoning Sauce. I have also found that a little left over coffee can do the trick! God Bless!

  5. In step 1 you say to boil the liver. But in step 3 you say to discard the liver. What’s the point of boiling it then?

  6. The flavor was good, but I skimmed all the fat from the drippings, and so my roux never got that toasty golden brown. Next time I’ll include a few tablespoons of the fat.

  7. 5 stars
    First time cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I used this gravy and the Easy No-fuss turkey recipe. Both the Turkey and Gravy were perfect. I left out the giblets and only used dippings from the pan and turned out incredible. So easy. Thanks so much!

  8. 5 stars
    I ama a half Italian half American woman who lives in Italy and started cooking a Thanksgiving turkey only three years ago to honor my American roots. I have always made only corn bread and salads, but since I once cooked a turkey following your recipe I can’t let anyone else do it. Easy and very good! Thank you, my Thanksgivings have become more delicious ever since

  9. I am a 45 year old woman who has never cooked a turkey, much less made an entire Thanksgiving meal (My family are all excellent cooks, so I have been relegated to “salad maker” and “drink bringer”!). My infant daughter and I couldn’t make to see family this year, so I decided this was my time to go for it! I cooked a 15lb turkey using your Easy No Fuss recipe, and made the Turkey Gravy, Sausage Cranberry Pecan Stuffing, and Sauted Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans. Everything turned out wonderful! I can cook! Honestly, I think it was the tastiest Thanksgiving meal I’ve ever had (and *I* made it all!). What a fantastic day. Thank you so much for these recipies- easy to follow, lots of pictures, helpful tips, just perfect for this novice cook. I sent pictures to the whole family and have a newfound excitement about cooking from scratch. Truly- thank you.

  10. Question, so do you discard the turkey broth that you made from boiling the neck and giblets? Then when you make the gravy you use the chicken broth/ stock on the roux? Is that right?

    1. Yes, discard the water from cooking the giblets and use the turkey dripping from roasting your turkey and chicken broth.

  11. I am making the gravy for the first time, MIL usually makes, but COVID! Can I use the water from cooking the giblets instead of the broth? I won’t be adding the meat to the gravy tho. Also can you use cornstarch instead of the flour? I’d love to make it ahead, so I can spend more time with family!

    1. Hi Leslie, if you don’t have the broth from the turkey then I would substitute chicken broth. (The water from the giblets wont be flavorful enough on it’s own–you definitely need broth :-).)

  12. Sounds great. Excited to try this. What do you do with the giblet water? Do you use that instead of chix broth? Thank you!

  13. Any tips to get more drippings from the turkey pan? I’ve followed these recipes around 5 times already (and I love them) but I always feel like i rarely get any drippings and when I do it’s mostly fat! I was wondering if you had any advice! Thanks in advance!

    1. The liquid you get is sort of case by case depending on your turkey, vegetable rack at the bottom, etc. Just get as many drippings as you can, use chicken broth and it will be flavorful and yummy!

  14. I am making Thanksgiving dinner for the first time this year, and I am extremely nervous, but also excited to try this gravy recipe and your turkey recipe! I realized I read the gravy recipe wrong the first time. Is it possible to use the water that the neck and giblets are cooked in? I was planning to use the water, but discard the neck and giblets after cooking, or should I just use the broth and drippings with no water?

  15. Quick questions, I’ll be making this gravy for someone who is both gluten free and allergic to corn (ibs). Could I substitute arrowroot or tapioca flour for the regular flour? And if so would the measurements be the same?

    I’m looking forward to using both your turkey and turkey gravy recipes for Thanksgiving this year!

    1. I haven’t tested it but yes it will be around the same! The great thing about gravy is it’s really easy to adjust the consistency as you make it!

  16. I love this recipe! I don’t know how you can make the gravy from drippings a couple days ahead though because then your turkey will be cooked and you obviously don’t wanna reheat the turkey. just a thought that crossed my mind. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Your recipe isn’t clear what to do with this giblet water. Are you supposed to add this to the drippings. Is this what you mean when you refer to add the liquid? You also don’t specify the typical quantity of this. Thank you.

    1. No, you can discard the giblet water or you can save some of it to use after you’ve made the gravy and want to thin it out at all.

  18. I have a question: does adding the giblet meat back in make the gravy have meat chunks? I love the idea of a deeper flavour but not of a chunky consistency. Thank you!

  19. 5 stars
    This gravy is by FAR…the absolute best EVER…!!!
    It is incredibly quick and easy to make!
    Simply put…there is NO other better..!

  20. 5 stars
    Gravy is always the part of Thanksgiving dinner that I worry about – will it be runny? lumpy? salty? etc… I used this recipe yesterday and got rave reviews! Thank you for a great recipe that I will use year after year!

  21. 5 stars
    Amazing!! This was my first year taking care of the turkey for dinner. Between your steps and this incredible recipe it was a hit with everyone! The skin was a nice warm brown, the meat was juicy and flavor packed, and my house is going to smell delightful for days to come! Thank you so much for taking the time to put this all together and sharing it! Happy Thanksgiving!

  22. 5 stars
    I made the version with no giblets and I used Wondra instead of flour….. it was amazing! This was my first year making gravy from scratch so I bought jarred gravy just in case and I’m excited to say I didnt need it!

  23. 5 stars
    I used this recipe for turkey and gravy for the first time today and everyone was impressed! I’ve never made a turkey before and this was really EASY! It took 4 hrs for an 18lb bird and it came out very moist. Thank you so much. I will definently use this again.

    1. Yes, it is not an even swap. You will use less cornstarch. I would start with 3 Tablespoons stirred into milk to make a slurry.

  24. Is there an adaptation if I don’t have drippings? I will have the giblets but we deep fry our turkey (so no drippings).

  25. Looking forward to making your gravy. Do have a question about making ahead… what do you use in place of the turkey drippings since Turkey won’t be cooked until day of?

    1. If you wont be using turkey drippings in the gravy, just use chicken broth and add 1/2 teaspoon or so of poultry seasoning, for extra flavor. Enjoy!

    2. You can make gravy without chopping up the giblets but still use the giblets to season the water that you’re going to need. Just bring them to a light boil and cook for a while to season the water that you will then use for the gravy. If you have a dog cutting up the giblets is a nice Thanksgiving treat for your furry friend.

    1. I’m afraid the gravy will curdle/separate when frozen. However, it will keep well in refrigerator 3-5 days.

  26. “We had TWO turkey’s at Thanksgiving dinner …” You may note that even Grammarly marked “turkey’s” as incorrect since the plural form would have no apostrophe. It ain’t rocket surgery.

    1. Whoops, an honest mistake, but thanks for the grammar lesson. Also, I believe the expression is “it’s not rocket science”. 😉

      1. @Michael McPherson…you don’t need to be an asshole. And ain’t? How about “isn’t” if you want to be the grammar police? Troll. GTFOH.

  27. If you are boiling the neck, heart, liver, and gizzards of the turkey, does that become the 4 cups of broth or is the 4 cups broth added in addition?

    1. Hi Mark,
      No, I use a separate 4 cups of broth and only use the left over liquid from the giblets if you need to make it thinner near the end of cooking!

  28. 5 stars
    Best gravy I’ve ever made, and it was just as easy as using a packet. Thank you for the clear instructions.

  29. 5 stars
    OKay honestly I never leave comments. Like ever. However, this recipe was simply amazing. If I could give it 10 out of 5 stars I would. Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ll be using this every year from now on!

    1. Thank you so much Layla! I’m so happy to hear that and I really appreciate you taking the time to comment on your experience! Happy holidays 🙂

  30. 4 stars
    Tried the Turkey gravy without giblets and it was a success. Very happy with it. I needed to tweak the flour for more servings which made it a bit hard since I’m not a great chef and have little cooking experience with making things from scratch.

  31. 5 stars
    I made this for yesterday’s meal and we all loved it! I just didn’t tell anyone what the bits were! Thank you for such an easy simple but delicious recipe!

  32. 5 stars
    I followed your recipe and it was really good. I had no trouble at all. It turned out smooth and delicious. I left the liver in because I am a closeted liver lover.lol

  33. I just have a quick question about the turkey gravy.. Since you’re getting the drippings from a hot turkey, do you not need to apply heat to the saucepan when adding the flour and added drippings for thickness? I just wasn’t sure if there was any extra heat there or not. Thank you!

    1. Yes you should still have the heat on, the flour needs the heat to cook and the residual heat won’t cut it. Otherwise it will taste like raw flour! I know this is a year old comment but I figured if someone sees it and has the same question I would respond 🙂

  34. This recipe looks so amazing! I have never, ever in my life had to cook a turkey, ever. To say I am a bit nervous is an understatement. I have a couple questions. I think I need to brine my turkey, what are your directions on that please, because sadly I have never done that either. My mom usually does the cooking of the turkey, but she passed away Sept 2017. Last year no one felt like celebrating so we had it catered. This year I am attempting to fill her shoes. Also I have to cook and carve it at my house then drive it about 10 min way.
    Questions:
    How to brine?
    How to carve the turkey, I do not have an electric knife.
    Is it okay to do the cranberry relish in a blender as I do not have a food processor?
    I have a 12 pound turkey, at what temperature and how long do I need to cook it?
    I am sorry to bother you with this questions, I would give anything to be asking my mom, but I do not have that option, so any insight you could give me would be appreciated. God Bless you and your family!

    1. Hi Jessica, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s passing, and I really hope I can help calm your fears about cooking the turkey because it’s actually pretty simple! The most important factors are making sure your turkey is thawed in time and given time to rest at room temperature before going in the oven, and also to make sure not to overcook it (use a good thermometer to test it and take it out of the oven when the thigh meat and breasts reach 160 degrees)! Have you seen my post and recipe for Easy Thanksgiving Turkey? https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/easy-no-fuss-thanksgiving-turkey/
      It’s a great resource, and here is a link to a live video I did on facebook this week walking you through the entire process, and answering questions: https://www.facebook.com/tastesbetterfromscratch/videos/1485697671533369/ !
      I do NOT brine the turkey–it’s very unnecessary if it’s a good-quality store-bought turkey (like butterball)–they are pre-brined these days.
      As you’ll see in my post, turkey’s take about 13-15 minutes to cook per pound and they cook at 325 degrees F, so you should plan on about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to cook your 12 pound turkey.
      Here’s a great video tutorial on how to carve a turkey with just a regular good-quality knife- https://www.allrecipes.com/video/440/how-to-carve-a-turkey/
      Also, Pulsing the cranberry relish in your blender will work really well! Be sure to cut the orange into pieces.
      Your 10 minute travel time will work perfectly for the turkey, which should really rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving anyways 🙂 Cover it well with tinfoil while it rests to keep it warm.
      Good luck and I would love to hear how it goes!