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Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

  • Author: Vanessa | Maple + Mango
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauces


Learn how to make the most delicious make-ahead turkey gravy recipe. Say goodbye to last minute stress!



Turkey Broth:

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
  • Turkey backbone and neck or 4 turkey wings and neck
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 34 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves

Turkey Gravy:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup unbleached, organic white flour
  • 6 cups turkey broth (made above)
  • Season to taste with Himalayan or sea salt, freshly ground pepper and 1-2 tsp of tamari


Turkey Broth:

A delicious turkey broth is the key to this gravy.  Once the broth is made, you can easily make the gravy.

  1. Brown the turkey pieces:  Heat a large pot over medium/high heat.  Add the oil, followed by the turkey pieces and cook until browned while turning occasionally.
  2. Add onion, carrot and celery:  Stir in onion, carrot and celery and cook until starting to brown.
  3. Add water and herbs:  Pour in water and add the thyme, garlic and bay leaves.
  4. Simmer and strain:  Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-4 hours.  Strain broth through a fine mesh sieve.  Allow to cool for a bit and skim the fat off the top.  Set aside 6 cups of broth for the gravy and store the remainder in the fridge.

Oven Method:  Alternatively, you can brown the turkey pieces and vegetables in the oven.  Place turkey pieces, onion, celery and carrot on a baking sheet and toss with some oil.  Roast for 1 hour in a 400F/200C oven or until browned.  Add everything, including drippings, to a pot and continue.

Turkey Gravy:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized pot over medium heat.
  2. Whisk in the flour for a few minutes until lightly golden.
  3. Slowly whisk in 6 cups of the turkey broth and simmer until thickened, while continuing to whisk occasionally (about 5-10 min).
  4. Season to taste with salt, pepper and tamari.  Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.  Reheat over low heat while whisking occasionally for smooth gravy.

Extra Flavour Boost:  Whisk in some turkey drippings for gravy so good that you will want to lick the plate!  On the day you roast your turkey, pour the drippings from the finished turkey through a fine mesh sieve into a measuring cup.  Skim off the fat and then whisk in some of these juices into your gravy while you are reheating it.


  • Turkey Pieces To Use:  If you spatchcock your turkey like I do, then you can use the backbone and the neck.  If not, purchase a few turkey wings to use in place of the backbone.
  • Storing + Reheating Tips:  Store in the fridge for up to 4 days or 4 months in the freezer (thaw in fridge overnight before serving).  Reheat gravy over low heat while whisking occasionally for a smooth consistency.
  • Gravy Issues:
    • Too Thick?  Add more broth (or turkey drippings before serving)
    • Too Thin?  Mix 1 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp flour and whisk into gravy
    • Lumpy?  Pour through a fine mesh sieve
  • Leftover Turkey Broth:  This recipe makes more broth than needed for the gravy.  Use the extra broth in your stuffing mixture or other sides, to thin out your gravy if required or to make a nice soup.
  • Make Chicken Gravy:  Follow the same recipe to make chicken gravy by replacing the turkey pieces with chicken pieces like chicken backs and wings.