Homemade Turkey Gravy:
How to Make a Basic Turkey Gravy
Sure, turkey is great. But for many (like yours truly) it's a wonderful homemade turkey gravy that makes a special meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
We all look forward to all of the good food that is a part of every holiday season. After all, it is the food that makes the holidays for a lot of people-- especially during Christmas and Thanksgiving. And for many people, the holidays would be the holidays without having a big, golden, glossy turkey sitting on the table.
But having your Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey without a gooey-and-wonderful (and homemade) turkey gravy to go along with it would just be a holiday tragedy.
This page provides a recipe and a general overview of making homemade turkey gravy. But you can find in-depth, step-by-step instructions for using turkey drippings to make gravy right here!
Store Bought Gravy Vs. Homemade Gravy
While you can pick up a jar or can of gravy at your local grocery store, the truth is that store-bought gravy just isn't as good as homemade gravy. In fact, most good cooks would probably not even think of using store-bought gravy for a holiday meal!
Experienced cooks tend to have a favorite simple turkey gravy recipe that their whole family loves-- and probably dreams about all through October and November. I know I do.
That said... sometimes gravy goes wrong. Lumps form, flavors are off, or it just doesn't come together. My suggestion? Have a jar of quality store-bought gravy at the ready (or make your own make ahead turkey gravy to have on hand), just in case something goes awry.
How to Make Turkey Gravy: The Basics
New to making gravy? There are two common ways to make gravy that most cooks use for their favorite homemade turkey gravy. One way to prepare it is with broth or stock, using cornstarch as the thickener
. The other way is with milk or broth, using flour as the thickener
. Both are effective, but will give you a different texture for the finished product.
Every time you make turkey gravy, you're going to need these three essential ingredients:
- Flour or cornstarch
- Turkey or chicken broth and/or pan liquids
- Seasoned fat (from the turkey) and/or butter
One rule of thumb to go by when making gravy is that for every cup of gravy you want to make you will need:
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or flour
- 1 tablespoon of fat (drippings or butter)
- 1 cup of broth
Click here to find some roast turkey recipes to start out with!
Basic Homemade Turkey Gravy with Cornstarch
Turkey gravy made with cornstarch tends to have a slicker mouth-feel and a more translucent appearance. Making it can be as simple as mixing broth with cornstarch. The turkey gravy recipe that follows is one of the most popular ways to make cornstarch turkey gravy:
Ingredients and Instructions:
To make broth for your cornstarch turkey gravy, boil your turkey neck, giblets and heart with four cups of chicken broth, 1 chopped onion, and herbs and spices to taste. Boil for 30 minutes. Reduce heat.
In a small cup, mix together 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with small amount of cold water to make a mixture the consistency of milk. Add this cornstarch mixture to your simmering broth. Cover the pot and simmer the gravy for 40 minutes or until turkey neck meat separates easily from the bone. Remove neck, heart and giblets, and either chop and add to the gravy or discard.
You can also add some of the browned bits and pieces from the turkey roasting pan for added flavor.
Basic Homemade Turkey Gravy Recipe with Flour
When you make a turkey gravy with flour, the finished product will have a thick, creamy mouth-feel and a denser texture. Most people tend to prefer the texture of gravy made with flour, as it's less slick than cornstarch-based gravy and more creamy. The recipe below makes a rich and flavorful flour-based turkey gravy recipe.
Instructions and Ingredients:
When your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey has finished cooking, remove it to a platter and keep warm. Pour turkey drippings and pan liquids into a measuring cup, including any browned bits in the roasting pan (discard large bits of skin).
To make gravy, scrape about 2 tablespoons of fat drippings from the top of your pan liquids. Discard any unused fat that floats to the top of the liquids, but save any broth/liquids from your turkey.
In a saucepan, mix together your 2 tablespoons of fat (add a bit of butter if you don't have enough fat) and 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook over medium low heat until golden. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of liquid (use all of you pan liquids and add chicken broth to make 2 cups total). Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
Want more details on how to make turkey gravy? Check here for step by step instructions.
Cornstarch or Flour: Which to Choose
Everybody has their own preference about what kind of homemade turkey gravy they like-- gravy thickened with cornstarch, or gravy thickened with flour. The above should give you enough information to figure out which you like best. Me? I prefer the creamier (rather than slick) texture of a flour-thickened gravy. But perhaps you like something different. Experiment and figure out what you and your family like best.
And it really doesn't matter. Pour any of these homemade turkey gravy recipes all over your meat and mashed potatoes... and get ready to experience a little bit of holiday heaven.
You can also check here for more recipes for homemade turkey gravy.
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