Easy Homemade Brown Gravy (no drippings needed!)

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This easy brown gravy recipe has only FIVE ingredients, is made without drippings, and is perfect on meatloaf, potatoes, or whatever you like to pour gravy over!

brown gravy dripping off a spoon

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As much as I love the packets of powdered gravy, I wanted to graduate to homemade gravy. A version I could make from scratch without drippings, because I never have those.

brown gravy in a saucepan

My first gravy-making experience was as a dipping sauce for my turkey & stuffing egg rolls and while it was delicious, I wanted a darker, beef gravy for meatloaf and mashed potatoes and came up with this recipe that is so good & so easy!

If you’re serving turkey, check out my make ahead turkey gravy!

Ingredients needed to make brown gravy from scratch

Brown gravy is made of onion, butter, beef broth, water, and corn starch. That’s it! Minimal ingredients and so easy to make.

ingredients & whisk laid out to make gravy

Possible gravy additions

Want to jazz up your gravy? Here are some additions that would be really good:

  • Mushrooms (or try my easy mushroom gravy)
  • Fresh herbs – thyme, sage, parsley…
  • Splash of wine
  • Splash of soy sauce – will darken the gravy & add flavor

How to make brown gravy without drippings:

  1. STEP ONE: First, to a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the minced onion. Cook and stir until the onion is tender.
  2. STEP TWO: Next, add the beef broth and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
  3. STEP THREE: Then, in a small bowl, make a slurry by adding the water and cornstarch and mixing together until smooth. Once fully mixed, pour the slurry into the gravy & stir to distribute and thicken.
mashed potatoes & gravy in a white dish

How to thicken brown gravy

You’ll make a slurry of water and cornstarch then add it to the beef broth. That is what thickens it up beautifully. If you don’t have cornstarch, you can substitute flour.

How long does gravy last?

Gravy should be used within 2-3 days of making it. Any longer than that, you’ll want to either freeze it (up to a few months) or toss it.

brown gravy in a gravy boat

Equipment used to help you make gravy

  • Sauce Pan – A good non-stick, dishwasher safe covered sauce pan is a great addition to the kitchen.
  • Silicone Spatulas – I love these one-piece, heat safe, silicone spatulas. I use them daily.
  • Onion/Vegetable Chopper – This chopper makes dicing onion easy and tear-free.
  • Gravy Boat – There are so many pretty gravy boats! My local HomeGoods store had many to choose from and most were around $5.
gravy on a spoon over a gravy boat
brown gravy dripping off a spoon

Easy Brown Gravy (no drippings!)

Melissa Williams | Persnickety Plates
This easy brown gravy recipe, made without drippings, is perfect on meatloaf, potatoes, or whatever you like gravy on!
4.35 from 64 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 2 cups
Calories 156 kcal


  • 4 Tablespoons onion minced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch


  • To a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the onions and cook and stir until tender.
  • Add in the beef broth and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Make a slurry by adding the water and cornstarch to a small bowl and mixing together with a fork.
  • Pour the slurry into the saucepan and cook for 1 minute or until thickened.
  • Pour into a gravy boat & serve!



Store covered in the fridge for 2-3 days.


Serving: 1gCalories: 156kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 3gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 996mgPotassium: 159mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 350IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  1. Krystal Arrington says

    5 stars
    This was such an easy gravy to make!! It turned out really good, my new go to brown gravy

  2. Diane Hudson Harris says

    How about chicken gravy? Same recipe only chicken stock? Thanks

    • Melissa Williams says

      Yep! I’ll add that one to my to-do list 🙂

  3. Bea says

    4 stars
    When I don’t have drippings, I used this recipe to make beef gravy. I recently found “Bisto” on Amazon, and I have to say, it’s the best “instant” gravy I think I’ve ever had. I now even add it to my gravy made with drippings (in the place of corn or potato starch).

  4. Rosanne Massman says

    5 stars
    HI melissa,
    This is exactly the way I make it (with one TINY change). I skip the water.. I just reserve a 1/4c of unheated broth to make the slurry. So yummy. Now I need to go make your meatloaf recipe (Ii’s been a few years for me, as well).

    • Melissa Williams says

      I like that idea! Let me know when you try the meatloaf 😊

  5. Rhonda says

    5 stars
    Just made this for the second time and added baby Bella mushrooms and plan on serving over pork chops tonight!

  6. Darlene says

    5 stars
    This was a great recipe. I used flour instead of cornstarch. It was so good.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Terri says

    5 stars
    Sounds delicious. I’m making your Meatloaf with brown gravy tonight. Of course you have to make the gravy cause it’s the star of the dish. Such a simple recipe and sooo good. My mom made gravy with flour but the cornstarch is much better. It really enhances the beef flavor. A++

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