Make Ahead Turkey Gravy is the key to a low stress Thanksgiving! You can make gravy ahead of time and save yourself one more thing to do on Thanksgiving Day.
Why you should Make Your Gravy ahead of time
When it comes to Thanksgiving, making gravy is one of my least favorite parts. By the time the turkey comes out of the oven you have been cooking for hours, everyone is hungry and you just want to get dinner on the table. That is why I LOVE this make ahead turkey gravy recipe. You can do all the work weeks ahead of time, and when it’s turkey time, you just quickly reheat the gravy. Genius!
Making Turkey Gravy without drippings
This is also great for times you don’t have turkey drippings, for example, if you are grilling or smoking your turkey. You can still have delicious turkey gravy without drippings. You are basically getting drippings ahead of time from turkey parts – wings and thighs work well for this. Be sure you use bone in, skin on turkey pieces.
How to make Turkey Gravy
This Make Ahead Turkey Gravy doesn’t take any shortcuts – you make your own turkey stock using turkey wings or thighs and aromatics. Bonus – you will probably have some extra turkey stock and meat. You can freeze it or use it to make turkey soup.
- Roast turkey parts with aromatics – roast bone in, skin on turkey wings or thighs with onions, carrots and celery. You are trying to get turkey drippings similar to what you would get on Thanksgiving from roasting a whole turkey.
- Make turkey stock – deglaze the pan with wine (or broth), making sure you get all the browned bits. Combine the roasted turkey and vegetables in a pot with some chicken stock and simmer until you get a rich stock. Strain the stock and allow fat to rise to the top (this is easiest if you can chill the stock overnight, or you can use a fat separator)
- Make and freeze turkey gravy – use the turkey fat from the top of the stock to make a roux with flour. Slowly whisk in hot turkey broth until desired thickness is reached.
How to Freeze and reheat Turkey Gravy
- After allowing gravy to slightly cool, transfer it to a freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 4 months.
- One to two days before using gravy, place in fridge and allow to thaw.
- When ready to use gravy, reheat in a sauce pan over low heat, whisking frequently. Add additional broth if needed to reach desired consistency.
For the Turkey Stock
- 4 lbs Bone in Turkey Thighs or Wings
- 2 medium onions cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 medium carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 celery stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 cups chicken or turkey broth
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 cups water
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
For the Gravy
- 1/2 cup turkey fat
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups turkey stock above, plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large roasting pan, toss the chopped onion, carrots and celery with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
- Place turkey parts on top of vegetables. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 90 minutes, until turkey is cooked through and browned.
- Transfer turkey and vegetables from the roasting pan to a large stock pot. At this point you can remove some meat from the bones and set aside for another use, but leave some on for the stock.
- Place roasting pan over two burners on medium heat. Add the wine and deglaze the pan – stir to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. If you need more liquid, use some chicken stock. When bottom of pan is clean, pour liquid into stock pot with the turkey parts and vegetables.
- To the stock pot, add the chicken stock and water, as well as the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for several hours. Check frequently and add more water if needed.
- When done simmering, strain stock through a fine mesh sieve, discarding solids.
- At this point you can refrigerate your sock if you have the time. This will make the fat separate so you can easily remove it to use for the roux. If you don't have time, use a fat separator or allow fat to rise to the surface and skim it off.
- When ready to make gravy, make sure the turkey stock is hot. If you have refrigerated it, reheat it before using.
- Add 1/2 cup of fat to a sauce pan (if you don't have enough turkey fat, you can make up with difference with butter). Sprinkle on the flour and stir together, cooking for about two minutes.
- Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of hot stock, whisking to remove any lumps. Continue to add stock a little at a time, whisking constantly. When all 4 cups are added, bring gravy to a simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened. If it is too thick you can add more stock until desired consistency is reached. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- At this point, gravy can be served right away or stored and refrigerated or frozen.
- To store gravy – allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a freezer safe container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and in the freezer for up to 4 months.
- To reheat gravy – Thaw frozen gravy in the refrigerator for one to two days. Reheat in a sauce pan over medium heat, whisking until hot. If needed, you can add more hot chicken or turkey stock to thin gravy to desired consistency.
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