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Chicken Gravy Without Drippings (8 minutes)

Yes, you can definitely make a delicious, flavorful chicken gravy without drippings. This is a quick and easy recipe that requires just a few ingredients and a few minutes. And we have all the fixes for when things don’t go perfectly. 

Make the basic version or build the flavors with a few extras. Up to you. Just do yourself a favor and ditch the packaged gravy!

chicken gravy with ladle scooping gravy over bowl

A basic chicken gravy includes a few simple ingredients – oil (or butter), flour, broth, salt and pepper. For a more flavorful gravy, I like to add green onions, thyme or poultry seasoning, a bouillon cube and even a splash of sherry.

Why make chicken gravy without drippings

Drippings are the juices and fat that accumulate at the bottom of the pan when cooking a meat or chicken roast. It’s true that meat drippings add wonderful flavor to gravy. But they are not always available to use when you need gravy. 

Here are 5 good reasons why you might need to make chicken gravy without drippings. 

  1. You don’t want to spend hours making a ‘from scratch’ gravy.
  2. You want to make gravy ahead of time for a big dinner event. 
  3. You just bought a rotisserie chicken at your local grocery store and the family loves delicious gravy with it.
  4. You used the sous vide cooking method for a turkey or chicken which produces no drippings. 
  5. You’re serving creamy mashed potatoes or fries and some people simply have to have a good gravy with them.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

broth, oil, flour, thyme, sherry, green onions, salt, pepper

Broth: Use chicken, turkey or vegetable broth (or stock) in a can, box or in a bouillon cube or paste form. My preference is an undiluted full strength broth like Campbell’s in a can because I can use less water than called for which adds more intense flavor. My other favorite paste/bouillon brand is Better Than Bouillon. We have not affiliation with these brands. Taste the broth before using it to see how salty and flavorful it is. If the broth doesn’t have much flavor, add extra seasonings.

Seasonings: I like to start with sautéeing green onions which adds great flavor. I also like to add thyme or poultry seasoning. Since many broths don’t have deep flavor and we’re not using drippings (unless you have some), it’s a good idea to add a bouillon cube or a teaspoon of bouillon paste. Other options are garlic powder, onion powder and even a splash of sherry (instructions are in the recipe card).

Roux: This is a paste of flour and oil (or butter) you make to thicken the gravy. The recipe card has a gluten free version where you use a cornstarch slurry instead of a flour-based roux. If you do have pan drippings, go ahead and use them instead of the oil or butter.

Step by step

chopped green onions and oil in saucepan

Sauté chopped green onions. This is optional but adds great flavor.

flour, green onions and oil in saucepan

Make a roux. Heat oil (or melt butter) in a sauce pan, add flour and stir for 2 minutes until it forms a smooth paste and turns a light nutty color. Don’t let it get too dark or you will get a burnt taste.

chicken gravy in saucepan

Add half the broth and whisk until smooth. Add seasonings and the rest of the broth. Whisk until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings.

chicken gravy in bowl with fresh thyme

If you like a smooth gravy without any onion bits, strain it through a mesh sieve. Add fresh herbs if you like.

Troubleshooting gravy problems

Lumpy gravy: If your gravy is lumpy, whisk rapidly or use an immersion blender to smooth out lumps. Alternatively, strain the gravy through a fine mesh sieve. I like to do this if I have added onions.

Too thin: If you find your gravy is not thick enough, mix a smooth slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or flour) with 2 tablespoons water in a small cup and add it slowly to the simmering gravy until you achieve the desired thickness. Repeat if necessary.

Too thick: Add more broth or water. You may need to thin out the gravy as it thickens when sitting around or stored in the fridge.

Too pale: If you like your gravy a little browner, add a little bit of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce e.g. 1/2 teaspoon.

Lacks flavor: To boost the flavors, use additional seasoning like a bouillon cube for more depth of flavor or onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper. You can also add a splash of sherry or fortified wine to the roux (and cook for a minute to mellow the alcohol). For rich flavor, use butter instead of oil, adding drippings (if you have any) or a splash of cream.

Recipe FAQ

How do you thicken gravy?

There are two ways to thicken gravy. I prefer the roux method.
1. Make a roux (flour and butter or oil): The rule of thumb is to use 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons butter/oil per 1 cup of broth. You can add a little extra flour for thick gravy and less flour for thinner gravy. I suggest going with more flour as it’s easier to thin it out if needed with a little extra broth or water.
2. Make a cornstarch slurry: mix a smooth slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water in a small cup and add it slowly to the simmering broth. This method is best if you need a gluten-free gravy.

How do you prevent lumpy gravy?

To prevent lumpy gravy, make a smooth paste with the flour and oil (called roux) cooked together before adding broth. You can have sautéed green onions in there as well. Then whisk in a small amount of broth with the roux until smooth, before adding the rest of the broth.

How much gravy do I need per person?

For 6 people, you will need 2-3 cups of gravy. Figure 1/2 cup/118 ml per person for a very generous serving, likely with some leftovers. About 1/3 cup/78 ml is a more typical portion.

How can I make a vegetarian gravy?

Substitute vegetable broth or vegetable stock for the chicken broth in the recipe.

What is the difference between condensed chicken broth and chicken broth?

Condensed chicken broth is undiluted. You have to add water to it. Chicken broth is sold as a finished product where water is already added. Here’s a good article on condensed chicken broth vs chicken broth – and when to use them.

What needs chicken gravy!

Here are a few examples of recipes where an easy chicken gravy (or leftover gravy) is an excellent addition.

Shortcut

Shave off a few minutes by skipping the initial sauté of green onions. Then the gravy will take only 5 minutes!

Make ahead gravy

  • This easy gravy recipe 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 in medium-low heat or in the microwave. If too thick, add a bit of water or broth. Frozen gravy may separate – just whisk it well and it will smooth out perfectly when reheated.

Other gravy recipes

chicken gravy in gravy bowl

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks!

chicken gravy with ladle scooping gravy over bowl
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Chicken Gravy Without Drippings (8 Minutes)

Yes, you can definitely make a delicious, flavorful chicken gravy without drippings. This is a quick and easy recipe that requires just a few ingredients and a few minutes. And we have all the fixes for when things don't go perfectly. 
Prep Time1 min
Cook Time7 mins
Total Time8 mins
Course: Gravy and Sauces
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil or unsalted butter Note 1 (or half butter, half oil)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions (optional) (about 2 green onions)
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or poultry seasoning
  • 2 cups chicken broth or chicken stock, Note 2 plus extra for thinning if needed
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • fresh herbs .e.g thyme, chives, rosemary optional

Instructions

  • BUILD ROUX AND FLAVOR: Heat 2 tablespoons oil or butter (or use half of each) in small saucepan on medium heat. If using, add chopped green onions and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons of flour, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 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. Whisk. Cook about 3 minutes until gravy has thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour into a gravy boat or thermos and serve.
    Note 4 – add more flavor. Note 5 – troubleshooting problems.
    Makes about 2 cups of gravy.
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Notes

  1. If you have pan drippings from a roast (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: Use chicken broth or stock, turkey stock or vegetable broth in a can or box. My preference is an undiluted full strength broth like Campbell’s in a can because I can use less water than called for which adds more intense flavor. Taste the broth before using it to see how salty and flavorful it is. If the broth doesn’t have much flavor, see #5 for adding flavor.
    • If you don’t have liquid broth, use bouillon cubes or paste and make a broth with water according to the package directions. My favorite is Better Than Bouillon brand.
    • For a vegetarian gravy, use vegetable broth or mushroom broth. 
    • For a beef gravy, use beef broth (check out our full post on beef gravy without drippings in 5 minutes)
  3. To make gluten free gravy: use a cornstarch slurry instead of making a roux with flour and fat. Add broth to the sautéed onions if using and bring to a soft boil. Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Pour it into simmering broth and stir until thickened. Repeat if needed to thicken more. 
  4. Options to add extra flavor:
      • Add more salt – a big flavor enhancer
      • Add a teaspoon of bouillon paste or a bouillon cube.
      • Add a pinch of onion powder or garlic powder 
      • Try a little bit  e.g. 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce. 
      • Add a splash of sherry or fortified wine to the roux (and cook for a minute to mellow the alcohol).
      • Add a splash of cream for a richer, creamier gravy. 
      • Some cooks whisk in a small pad of cold butter for a velvety rich finish. Do this at the very end of cooking the gravy.
  5. Troubleshooting problems: 
    • Lumpy gravy: whisk rapidly or use an immersion blender to smooth out lumps. Alternatively, strain the gravy through a fine mesh sieve.
    • Too thin: f you find your gravy is not thick enough, mix a smooth slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or flour) with 2 tablespoons water in a small cup and add it slowly to the simmering gravy until you achieve the desired thickness. Repeat if necessary.
    • Too thick: Add more broth or water. You may need to thin out the gravy as it thickens when sitting around or stored in the fridge.
    • Too pale: If you like your gravy a little browner, add a little bit of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce e.g. 1/2 teaspoon.
  6. Make ahead, freeze, reheat
    • The gravy can be made a couple of hours or up to 3 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 in medium-low heat or in the microwave. If too thick, add a bit of water or broth. Frozen gravy may separate – just whisk it well and it will smooth out perfectly when reheated. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates for just less than 1/2 cup/118 ml gravy – a generous portion. Additions like sherry or cream are not included.

Nutrition

Serving: 0g | Calories: 73kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 582mg | Potassium: 33mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 42IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!
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