Food 101: How To Make Basic Chicken/Turkey Gravy From The Pan

Thanksgiving is around the corner, so that means one thing is on most chef’s minds: turkey. Turkey is quintessential to a Thanksgiving meal, and yet where would it be without the sweet nectar that we know as gravy? That sauce made from pan drippings and spices can take any meat from good to awesome instantly, and it requires minimal effort to make in most cases. There’s a couple of slightly different ways to make it, but they all utilize the same basic ingredients and general preparation once you acquire the aforementioned drippings. Making gravy from scratch is easy and tastes a lot better than jar gravy, so it’s definitely a skill you should keep in your cooking holster.

First things first, all gravies start off with one very important ingredient: drippings. I know I keep saying it, and I know it’s a fairly unpleasant word, but as far as I can think there aren’t any other synonyms I can come up with for it. If you’re new to this, it’s basically all the juices and spices leftover in the pan after you finish cooking a meat. This being Poor Couples Food Guide, where we specialize in chicken, we’ll be talking in terms of chicken. Despite that, you can use this method and recipe for virtually any meat you want. To start, you can get your drippings from two major methods, roasting in the oven or pan-frying/sauteing on the stovetop. We’re gonna devote this post to the latter and save roast chicken gravy for another day.

Basic Chicken Gravy Recipe

  • Pan drippings from de-glazed chicken pan
  • 1 cup chicken broth stock
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp herb of your choice (Thyme, sage, tarragon, rosemary, etc…)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Additional water, salt, pepper to taste
  1. After removing all your meat from the pan, de-glaze the pan using wine, hard cider, or another de-glazing agent. Stir to scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower heat to low and let mixture come to a low simmer.


    Basically chicken glue.

  2. Combine the flour into your chicken broth and mix well until the all flour is completely dissolved, with no chunks left. Add this pasty mixture to the saucepan and begin stirring it until it it’s blended in.


    Admittedly, it looks really friggin’ gross until it’s mixed together.

  3. Next add in the herbs, salt, and pepper and whisk these until well-blended as well.


    At least now it looks like gravy!

  4. At this point the gravy is almost done, it just needs to cook more until it’s thickened.DSCF4537
  5. Continue cooking the gravy on medium heat for several minutes, whisking periodically so that it doesn’t burn. Eventually it will become thick (like a gravy, duh) and is more or less finished. As a rule of thumb, run your whisk or spoon across the pan, and if it leaves behind a streak like so, it’s finished.


    If the gravy just slides back together instantly, continue cooking.

  6. To finish the gravy off, all you need to do is taste it! If it seems good, you’re all done. If it seems TOO thick, add in a little water to stretch it out. If it needs salt or pepper, add that in as well in 1/4 tsp measurements until it tastes right. Keep stirring and cooking it until it matches your personal taste.
  7. Pour into a gravy cart or pitcher, and you’re all done!DSCF4544

Fortunately this entire process goes really quickly. It shouldn’t take you more than 5-10 minutes total, so it won’t add much onto your prep time. Gravy is phenomenal and goes well with almost all meats. It delivers the essence of the meal you cooked, in liquid form, which is fantastic for people with mouth surgery/injuries since it goes down smooth.


  • Since gravy making happens naturally after finishing cooking your meat, and due to it getting made pretty quickly, you can easily do this as your cooked food sets and cools a bit right after you remove it from the pan. If you have help, you can have someone set the table while you make the gravy. By the time you finish, it’ll be time to eat anyway since your food will have finished cooling enough to eat.
  • Theoretically, you can make this without chicken broth or stock, using water instead in a pinch. It won’t taste as powerful but you can definitely get away with it if you’re out of broth. Additionally, there’s many gravy-starters that you can dissolve in water in the event you’re out of stock as well.
  • Obviously you can make any gravy with this as well. Substitute the drippings and/or broth for whatever you’re cooking, be it pork, beef, mushroom, etc…
  • Come on, you gotta make biscuits or mashed potatoes with it.

Posted on November 20, 2014, in Food 101 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.


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