Includes easy to follow step by step instructions for making gravy. Start with pan drippings from any meat and make deliciously simple homemade gravy.
The foundation of gravy: pan drippings
Do you know what pan drippings are? The little bits of seasoned goodness left behind when roasting or pan frying meat is what we call pan drippings.
In these photos we had cooked our favorite country fried steak recipe and what you see is what remains after almost all of the oil has been drained off. These are the pan drippings.
You could also make your gravy from a beef roast that has been cooked on the stovetop (pot roast) or in a roasting pan in the oven. Baked or fried chicken leaves behind the flavorful beginnings of homemade gravy too, as does a roasted turkey.
Maybe it’s not the most beautiful sight to you, but we see lots of flavor in this brown “mess”.
Step 2 of making gravy
Next you will want to mix liquid and thickener. We used plain water in this illustration, but you could certainly use broth or stock. Do you know the difference? We have a post that explains what that difference is as well as how to make stock.
If you use broth or stock just be sure to check before adding any more salt. We don’t want you to end up with gravy that’s too salty.
If you like a creamy gravy you could use milk instead of water or stock. Or, use a combination. Try it different ways and see what your family likes best.
The thickener we always recommend is all purpose flour. We know that many people make gravy with cornstarch, but here in the south flour is king! We think cornstarch is actually too smooth. It’s better suited for making sauces.
Mix the liquid and flour together and stir until no lumps remain. A good rule of thumb on proportions is about 2 Tablespoons of flour for every cup of liquid. Two cups of liquid and 4 Tablespoons of flour should be about right for a 10-12 inch skillet or a roasting pan, but you can adjust to your needs.
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The next step
Add the combined liquid and thickener to your pan with the pan drippings. Letting the pan cool a bit prevents the gravy from thickening up too fast.
Not using a non-stick surface ensures even more flavorful pan drippings are left behind.
The last step in making gravy
Turn the heat under your pan to about medium and stir constantly. Be sure to get every little bit of pan drippings off the bottom and sides of the pan. A full sized whisk is a great tool to use here.
Keep stirring until the gravy has thickened. Depending on how fast your stove heats up this can take anywhere from 2 minutes to 7 or 8 minutes.
That’s it! You’ve not got basic, flavorful gravy to serve with your meat, over mashed potatoes or rice, or over biscuits. Our signature 3 Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuits would make the perfect place to spoon some of this gravy. That’s the best of all worlds right there!
Can gravy be made ahead of time?
A lot of people ask this question. The answer is absolutely yes! Gravy is perfectly fine made before you actually plan to serve it.
If it’s going to be more than an hour or two it should be refrigerated. Then you can safely keep it for several days before serving.
When it’s time to serve just heat it over medium low to low heat, stirring frequently. If it got a little too thick you can add water, stock, or milk a bit at the time until it’s the consistency you want.
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Gravy is not exclusively a southern treat, but it is well loved here in the south. For an in depth look at our favorite cuisine be sure to check out Southern Food: Then & Now.
How to Make Gravy from Scratch
- 1-3 Tablespoons pan drippings from cooking meat
- 2 cups water, stock or broth, or milk
- 4 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Let pan with pan drippings cool.
- Mix flour and liquid together in a separate container and stir with whisk until no lumps remain.
- Add flour/liquid mixture to pan with pan drippings and turn heat to medium.
- Stir constantly, making sure to scrape bottom and sides of pan to incorporate all pan drippings. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
- When gravy is thickened reduce heat to keep warm or turn heat off and reheat at serving time.
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