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turkey gravy in gravy boat 2
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4.77 from 13 votes

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

An excellent gravy can make all the difference to a turkey dinner. Take some pressure off by making this richly flavored turkey gravy a day or two before.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Sauces and Gravies
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 10 -12 servings
Author: Cheryl


  • 2 turkey wings (or legs, thighs) about 1.5-2 pounds
  • 4 carrots, peeled, cut into big pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into big pieces
  • 1 onion, peeled, cut into large pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper for sprinkling
  • 5 cups chicken broth (or 1 liter box plus 1 cup water)
  • handful of fresh thyme sprigs (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 3 tablespoon flour


  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • ROAST WINGS AND VEGETABLES: Place vegetables on a pan lined with foil and sprayed with oil. Drizzle oil on vegetables and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place wings on top. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour or until wings are brown and vegetables begin to caramelize.
  • MAKE THE BROTH: Place roasted wings and vegetables in a pot. Add broth, thyme (rosemary is good too), bay leaves, peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes. The broth will reduce to about 2 to 2 ½ cups. Discard the wings and vegetables (or nibble!), reserving half cup of the cooked carrots. Strain the broth into another container and set aside. I transfer the broth to a separator that allows you to pour off the broth with only the grease remaining at the bottom. If you don't have a separator, just skim the grease off the top of the broth.
  • MAKE THE GRAVY: In a separate pot, heat 3 tablespoons of oil on medium heat. Add flour and whisk to make a roux. Cook while stirring for 3-4 minutes until it just starts to turn light brown. Add the turkey broth and stir until thickened and smooth. Adjust seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, dried thyme or sage as needed. Gravy will be fairly thick - on purpose, allowing you to add another cup of juices from the turkey on the day of serving. Note 1. Store gravy in the fridge until ready for use. Before serving, heat the gravy on low, add more broth or turkey juices as needed.


  1. For extra sweetness and color (optional): I often blend in a half cup of the soft cooked carrots using an immersion blender
  2. Make Ahead: The gravy can be made several days ahead and kept in the fridge in a sealed container. Warm on stove over low heat. To keep hot while serving, pour into a gravy or coffee thermos. 
Nutrition values are estimates  - likely overestimated - as the calculator does not consider discarding the wings and vegetables. 
Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 278mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 4076IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg