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There are two secrets to making turkey gravy without drippings: toasted flour and brown butter. Together, they create a roux that delivers the same rich depth of flavor as even the most delicious roasted turkey drippings.
Turkey gravy elevates holiday meals by adding moisture and buttery richness to warm turkey slices, hot mashed potatoes and dressing or stuffing. It's what pulls all of the flavors on the plate together.
It's essential at the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables, but there's no need to limit this delicacy to just twice a year. This quick, convenient method using just 3 simple ingredients plus salt and pepper means you can make flavorful gravy from scratch without drippings any time you like.
Ingredients You Need to Make Turkey Gravy Without Drippings
- Chicken Broth: or turkey stock
- All-Purpose Flour: sifted if lumpy
- Butter: salted or unsalted
How to Toast Flour
Many people don't realize that toasting flour is even an option, but it’s one of the best-kept secrets behind adding flavor to recipes like homemade pasta, breads, pizza crusts, and, of course, homemade gravy!
The best part is that it’s very easy to do. Simply toss a cup of flour into a pan, turn the stove up to a moderate heat, and whisk it for 3 to 5 minutes (depending on how well-toasted you want it to be). The result is a deep, nutty taste. But don’t toast your flour until you’re ready to use it — ideally, you should use it right away.
How to Make Brown Butter
Turning butter into brown butter is a straightforward process, but it results in a nutty, caramelized ingredient used in all kinds of sweet and savory recipes. You don’t even need any other ingredients — just salted or unsalted butter, a pan, and a spoon or spatula.
First, cut the butter into equal pieces to help it cook evenly. Then add the butter to a skillet over medium heat and stir until it sizzles and starts to foam; continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it turns a golden brown with darker brown flecks.
A word of warning — there’s a thin line between brown butter and burned butter, so don’t stop stirring and don't walk away from the pan. Once the foam has subsided and the butter has deepened in color with some darker brown flecks at the bottom and exudes a nutty aroma, remove it from the heat and transfer to a heat safe bowl if you're not using it immediately to make a roux. Don't leave the brown butter in the hot pan on its own or it will burn.
Feel free to embellish the recipe any way you like by adding fresh herbs, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, or any of your favorite gravy additions.
How to Reheat Leftover Gravy
Spoon leftover gravy into a small or medium saucepan (depending on the amount you have to reheat) and set over low heat. Bring to simmer slowly, stirring often, adding more stock or broth to thin if necessary. Once hot, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Yes! You can make turkey gravy 3 to 4 days in advance when stored in the refrigerator or freeze for 4 to 6 months and reheat before serving. (See reheating instructions above.)
No problem! You can make delicious gravy without drippings using toasted flour and brown butter instead as the base of the gravy.
Either will work to thicken gravy, but toasted flour stirred into a roux with brown butter adds a lot more flavor than neutrally flavored cornstarch.
Add more stock or broth to thin gravy as desired, but note that doing so may dilute the flavor so you may need to adjust the seasoning as well.
To avoid lumpy gravy, be sure to sift your flour before toasting if it's lumpy and whisk constantly once you add the roux to the simmering broth. But don't panic if you end up with lumps in your gravy. Just pour it through a mesh strainer, using a spoon or rubber spatula to press it through, and discard any solids (lumps) left behind. Reheat the strained gravy and serve.
- Dry Brine Turkey
- Turkey Roulade with Garlic and Herbs
- Mashed Red Potatoes
- Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
- Cornbread Dressing
- Brioche Rolls
How to Make Turkey Gravy without Drippings
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring chicken broth to simmer. While it comes to simmer, toast flour in a dry skillet until light golden brown; transfer to a small bowl. Wipe out skillet.
Add butter to same skillet; cook stirring constantly over medium heat until butter, melts, foams and turns a golden brown with darker brown flecks.
Immediately stir in toasted flour. Add butter and flour mixture all at once to simmering broth, whisking constantly, Cook and stir over medium heat until thick, smooth and bubbly (adding more broth to thin as desired). Season to taste with salt and black pepper and serve.
Turkey Gravy without Drippings
- 2 cups chicken broth or turkey stock, or more for thinner gravy
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour sifted if lumpy
- ¼ cup butter cut into 4 1-tablespoon size pieces
- Bring chicken broth to simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, add flour to a dry skillet over medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly for 3 to 5 minutes until it's toasted to a light golden brown. Immediately transfer to a small bowl (to keep from over-browning) and wipe out skillet.
- To same skillet, add butter. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat until it begins to sizzle and foam at the edges. Continue stirring for 3 to 4 to minutes until the butter turns golden brown, has deeper brown flecks and smells nutty. As soon as it reaches this point (do not allow the butter to burn - recipe note #1), add toasted flour and whisk or stir until smooth; add mixture all at once to simmering chicken broth in saucepan. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat until smooth, thickened and bubbly; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
- If your butter burns, pour it out and wipe out the skillet. Then start again at step 3.
- If you end up with lumps in your gravy, strain them out before serving.
- You can easily double or triple this recipe.