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Beef Gravy Recipe without drippings (5 minutes)

If you don’t have pan drippings and still want a rich, velvety, flavorful gravy for your roast, hamburger steak or French fries, you can make this beef gravy recipe without drippings in 5 minutes. Quick, simple and essential if you’re a gravy lover.

If you’re worried about lumps, blandness, too thin, too thick – don’t be. You will nail the perfect gravy. And you can forever ditch those gravy packets! 

spoon of beef gravy over pot

I love gravy. Some call it a brown sauce, pan gravy, brown gravy, meat gravy or just gravy. I call it comfort food 🙂 It adds wonderful flavor to whatever you serve it on. 

I’m always surprised when people forgo an easy homemade gravy because they think it’s too hard to make. It isn’t. This is truly an easy recipe. It takes minutes with just 3 key ingredients:

  • oil or butter instead of meat drippings. If you have pan drippings from a roast, though, go ahead and use them. They add excellent flavor. 
  • beef broth – canned, boxed or even bouillon base. 
  • flour mixed with the oil (which makes a roux) for thickening. Some gravies use a cornstarch slurry instead. I will add this method to the recipe notes for a gluten-free version. 

You can step it up a notch with other seasonings if you like – up to you.

Why make beef gravy without drippings?

Beef drippings are the meat juices and fat that accumulate at the bottom of the pan when cooking a beef roast.

Dishes such as poutine and hamburger steaks simply don’t create any drippings. That’s the main reason to make an easy gravy recipe without drippings.

Other reasons are to avoid having to separate meat juices and fat/grease or if you want to make gravy ahead of time.

beef gravy in gravy boat

FAQ- fixing gravy problems

How do you make gravy not lumpy?

To prevent lumpy gravy, make a smooth paste with the flour and oil (called roux) before adding broth. Then whisk in a small amount of broth with the roux until smooth, before adding the rest of the broth.

If your gravy is lumpy, use an immersion blender to smooth out lumps (or whisk rapidly). Alternatively, strain the gravy through a fine mesh sieve. If the gravy becomes too thin, thicken it with a slurry of cornstarch (or flour) and water.

How do I thicken gravy?

The rule of thumb to make gravy is to use 2 tablespoons of flour per 1 cup of broth. You can add a little extra flour for a thicker gravy which can easily be thinned out if needed with a little extra broth or water.

If you find your gravy is not thick enough, mix a smooth slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or flour) with 1 tablespoon water in a small cup and add it slowly to the simmering gravy until you achieve the desired thickness.

How do I make gravy thinner?

Add more broth or water. This may be needed if gravy sits around or is stored in the fridge.

How do you fix bland gravy?

Start by adding salt which is always a flavor enhancer. And try adding more seasoning such as thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce or a splash of wine or sherry.

What to do with beef gravy (or leftover gravy)

Here are a number of ways to use your homemade beef gravy.

How to make beef gravy without drippings

beef broth, thyme, flour, oil, seasonings
Basic ingredients: beef broth, flour, olive oil (or butter), thyme, salt, black pepper
roux in pot
Make a roux by heating oil (or melting butter) in a saucepan and adding flour. Stir for 2 minutes on medium heat until it forms a smooth paste and turns just slightly darker. Don’t let it burn or get too dark.
broth added to make gravy in pot
Whisk in broth and thyme a bit at a time and cook for about 3 minutes until smooth and thickened.
beef gravy in pot
Taste and adjust seasonings. At this point, you can add salt, pepper and, if you like, a dash of Worcestershire or soy sauce or garlic or onion powder.
beef gravy in bowl with spoon p1
The beef gravy can be made ahead and warmed up when you need it.
spoon of beef gravy over pot p
Enjoy your amazing gravy.

Tailor To Your Taste

Broth options

Just a note that we have no affiliation with any brands. 

  • Although broth, bone broth and stock are all different, for purposes of a beef gravy recipe, all of these are fine.
  • I use Campbell’s undiluted beef broth in a 10 ounce can. It’s easily available where I live. I find it has deep rich flavor and I like that I can adjust the depth by adding less water than what is called for. This achieves a richer taste. I find many ready-to-use broths too watery or thin tasting. Campbell’s beef broth also has a version with 30% less salt which is fine too. Again, just add a little less water. 
  • If you can’t find a good liquid broth, try Better Than Bouillon roasted beef base. It’s like a paste and has much less salt than the cubes and powders. 
  • To make vegetarian gravy, use mushroom or vegetarian broth and a few of the flavor add-ins.
  • For a chicken or turkey gravy, switch to chicken broth.

Flavor add-ins

  • Add fresh herbs like thyme. Dried thyme is fine too. 
  • Green onions or shallots are a great way to add flavor. Finely chop them and add a tablespoon or two to the heated oil/butter before you add the flour.
  • Add a pinch of onion or garlic powder or a dash of Kitchen Bouquet browning and seasoning sauce
  • Try a small amount (e.g. 1/2 teaspoon) or Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce. 

Finishing touches

  • Add a small splash of red wine or sherry.
  • Some cooks whisk in a small pad of cold butter for a velvety rich finish. Do this at the very end of cooking the beef gravy. 

Gluten-free gravy

  • For a gluten free gravy, use the cornstarch slurry method instead of making a roux with flour and fat. Instructions are in the recipe notes.

Need a chicken or turkey gravy recipe instead?

Swap the beef broth for chicken broth or chicken stock. That’s it. 

Make Ahead

  • Beef gravy without drippings can be made a couple of hours or a few days ahead. If refrigerating, store it in an airtight container. 
  • To freeze, place the cooled gravy in a sealed zipper lock bag or airtight container and freeze it for up to 4 months. Defrost before using. 
  • Rewarm gravy on the stove or in the microwave. If too thick, add a bit of water or broth. 
spoon of beef gravy over pot
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Beef Gravy Recipe (without drippings)

If you don't have pan drippings and still want a rich, velvety, flavorful gravy for your roast, hamburger steak or French fries, you can make this beef gravy recipe without drippings in 5 minutes. Quick, easy and essential if you're a gravy lover. Ditch the gravy packets! 
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Gravy and Sauces
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon oil Note 1 (or half butter, half oil)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tbsp fresh)
  • 1 1/2 cups (354ml) beef broth, Note 2 if using undiluted full strength broth like Campbell's in a can (recommended), use 1 cup broth and 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • MAKE ROUX (FLOUR AND OIL): Put 2 tablespoons oil (or butter, half butter/half oil or fat drippings) in small saucepan. Heat to medium heat. Stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons of flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until the roux starts to turn a very light brown. This will get rid of the raw flour taste. Don't let it get too dark or burn. (It should be a loose paste. If too dry, add a bit more oil). Note 3 for gluten free gravy.
  • FINISH GRAVY: Add half of broth. Whisk until smooth. Add rest of broth and thyme. Whisk. Cook about 3 minutes until gravy has thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings (salt, pepper, more thyme). Note 4 for added flavorings.
    Gravy will thicken on standing or in fridge. To loosen, add a splash of water or broth.
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Notes

  1. If you have meat or pan drippings (the juice and fat in the pan after roasting), feel free to use them instead of the oil or butter. They will add great flavor. If there is a lot of meat juice mixed with the fat, it’s best to pour the mixture into a fat separator and use just the grease. Otherwise you may get lumps. 
  2. Broth options: Taste the broth before using it to see how salty and flavorful it is. If not very flavorful, see ‘adding flavor’ below.
    • If you don’t have liquid broth, use a broth/stock powder, base or cubes with water according to the directions on the package. 
    • For a vegetarian gravy, use vegetable broth or mushroom broth. 
    • For chicken or turkey gravy, use chicken broth. 
  3. To make gluten free gravy: use a cornstarch slurry instead of making a roux with flour and fat. Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Pour it into simmering broth and stir until thickened.
  4. To add more flavor (options): 
    • Start with adding more salt – a flavor enhancer.
    • Add 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions to the heated oil/butter before you add the flour.
    • Add a pinch of onion or garlic powder or a dash of Kitchen Bouquet browning and seasoning sauce
    • Try a small amount (e.g. 1/2 teaspoon) or Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce. 
    • Add a splash of wine or sherry.
    • Some cooks whisk in a small pad of cold butter for a velvety rich finish. Do this at the very end of cooking the beef gravy. 
  5. Make ahead
    • Beef gravy without drippings can be made a couple of hours or a few days ahead. If refrigerating, store it in an airtight container. 
    • To freeze, place the cooled gravy in a sealed zipper lock bag or airtight container and freeze it for up to 4 months. Defrost before using. 
    • Rewarm gravy on the stove or in the microwave. If too thick, add a bit of water or broth. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates and will depend on how much beef gravy is used.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Beef Gravy Recipe (without drippings)
Amount Per Serving (0 g)
Calories 57 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Sodium 417mg18%
Potassium 37mg1%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 3IU0%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 6mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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2 Comments

  1. Great review! For gluten free gravy I replace the flour in the roux 1:1 with glutinous rice flour. Turns out great!

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