Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

I know that with Easter coming up many people have ham on the brain and so it’s easy to wonder why I’m over here blabbering on about turkey.  I have hosted and attended Easter dinners where both ham and turkey were popular offerings so it doesn’t seem fair for ham to have the whole show.  Lamb and lasagna have long been traditions for one family I celebrated Easter with for years, without a ham in sight.  Not only in my family, but in other families that I’ve celebrated holidays with, it seems like the goal is for the host to serve enough food that we could be trapped in the house for weeks without needing to worry about nourishment, so long as the refrigeration holds.

As I mentioned yesterday it’s possible that you want to make a small turkey dinner without tying up (or even turning on) the oven, whether or not you’re entertaining and whether or not it’s a holiday.  Turkey for no reason at all always seems to taste a little better than turkey for Thanksgiving or Easter, I think.  It’s also possible that you’re serving a big turkey dinner and would rather not deal with having to whip up a gravy from pan drippings while your guests wait and the turkey is quickly moving from “well-rested” to “ice cold.”  It’s entirely possible to make delicious turkey gravy without roasting a whole turkey, and without keeping your guests waiting. Make-ahead turkey gravy solved the gravy dilemma for me at Thanksgiving, when fried turkey plus crock pot turkey breast equals zero pan drippings for gravy.  It’s every bit as fantastic as gravy you make after roasting a whole turkey, and roasted turkey wings take most of the responsibility for that.  Make-ahead gravy does take some planning ahead as you’ll make a turkey stock and that stock will need to refrigerate for at least two hours (but better to let it sit overnight) before proceeding.  At first, the gravy may seem very thin but have no fear- it will thicken considerably and quickly once it’s off the heat.  You can add a small amount of cornstarch mixed with water if it isn’t thick enough for you, but (as I learned the hard way when making this in the past) a little cornstarch will go a long way toward thickening this.  It’s a pretty forgiving gravy, though and if you over-thicken it, thin it out with some chicken or turkey stock until it has a nice, pourable consistency.

turkey gravy

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy


to make the turkey stock:

  • 2 turkey wings
  • 4 ribs of celery (including leaves), roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 6 C. water

to finish the gravy:

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 C. turkey stock, strained and defatted (from ingredients above)
  • 1/2 C. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt to taste


Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large Dutch oven or roasting pan, roast the turkey wings, celery, onions, and garlic for 2 hours.

Remove from the oven and add the water to the turkey and vegetables (if you used a roasting pan, pour the vegetables and turkey into a large pot, add the water, and then proceed).

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the mixture over low heat for 1 hour, uncovered.

Strain the stock over a bowl with a minimum 4 C. capacity, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Remove the fat that has accumulated on top of the stock.

In a large pan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour.

Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 2 minutes to cook out the flour taste.

Whisk in 2 C. of the turkey stock and cook until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

If the mixture does not thicken enough (give it at least 20 minutes on the stove and remove it from the heat for 5 minutes before deciding if it’s thick enough), dissolve 1 tsp. of corn starch in 1 tsp. of cold water and slowly whisk it into the gravy.

Whisk in the milk, cider vinegar, and salt to taste.

Makes 2 1/4 C.

Source: Noble Pig


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