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Make Ahead Turkey Gravy Recipe

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Smooth, rich turkey gravy can be made in advance so you don’t need to wait on the turkey to finish cooking to make the gravy with drippings. Instead, roast turkey legs on top of onions, carrots, and celery and then simmer them in stock before turning it into a silky homemade gravy to pour over all the things!

spoon lifting turkey gravy from a gravy boat.

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

My homemade brown gravy has been very popular over the years but that is a brown gravy, perfect for meatloaf and other beef dishes.

I wanted a turkey gravy to use over turkey (obviously), mashed potatoes, stuffing, and everything else on Thanksgiving.

The problem is, many gravy recipes are made with drippings and in order to make them, you have to wait for the bird to be done. No one wants a mad dash to make the gravy while the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner is ready and waiting on the table.

This recipe solves that problem by making it the day (or days) before you need it so it’s ready to go.

Why you’ll love this Make Ahead Gravy for Turkey

Great Recipe – This perfect turkey gravy is easy, velvety, and ideal for pouring over all the things.

Simple Ingredients – You need just a few ingredients to make a flavorful gravy.

Time Saver – Making the gravy ahead of time leaves you free to focus on other things. Like desserts.

gravy pouring from a boat onto mashed potatoes.

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Ingredients you’ll need

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.

  • Turkey Legs – One pack of turkey legs. They usually come with 3.
  • Onion – A yellow onion is pretty universal and gives great flavor.
  • Carrots – Large carrots, washed and peeled, or baby carrots will work if that’s what you have.
  • Celery – A few stalks of celery, washed. You’re using the “holy trinity” to get the most flavor into the gravy.
  • Steakhouse Seasoning – I use Kinder’s Buttery Steakhouse seasoning which is a blend of salt, onion, garlic, peppers, and butter flavors. You can find it at the grocery store or order on Amazon. Montreal chicken or steak seasoning would work as well.
  • Poultry Seasoning – Poultry seasoning gives definite Thanksgiving vibes. It is a usually a blend of sage, thyme, rosemary, and pepper.
  • Garlic Salt – Garlic powder could also be used.
  • Smoked Paprika – Smoked paprika is smoky, spicy, and a bit sweet.
  • Black Pepper – I like to use freshly ground black pepper.
  • Flour – All purpose flour will be whisked into the butter to make a roux, which gives you a thick, perfect gravy.
  • Stock/Broth – Either turkey broth or chicken stock can be used. Or even vegetable stock if that is what you prefer.
overhead shot of labeled ingredients laid out to make turkey gravy.

How to make Simple Homemade Turkey Gravy

  1. STEP ONE: First, lay the vegetables in the bottom of the roasting pan or a baking dish and top with the turkey legs.
  2. STEP TWO: Next, melt half the butter and whisk in the seasonings. Pour the butter mixture over the turkey legs. Roast at 350° for 45 minutes. You’re looking to brown the legs and vegetables, not cook the meat to a safe temperature, so don’t worry about checking for doneness.
  3. STEP THREE: Then, transfer the legs, veggies, and pan juices to a large pot. Pour in the chicken broth or turkey stock and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down, cover the pot, and simmer for one hour.

    After an hour, use a slotted spoon to remove the legs and vegetables from the pan. Or, you can pour the mixture through a strainer.
  4. STEP FOUR: Finally, the next step is to heat the remaining butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour until it thickens. You want to fully cook the flour so you’re not left with a raw flour taste. Carefully whisk in the stock, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan (I like to use a wooden spoon), continuing to cook until the gravy is thick and bubbly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. STEP FIVE: Pour the creamy gravy into a gravy boat and serve with the thanksgiving turkey!
collage of 4 photos showing the process of roasting turkey legs and veggies for gravy.

What to serve with it

Tips & Suggestions 🦃

  • If you can’t find Kinder’s Buttery Steakhouse seasoning, your favorite all purpose seasoning will work (Montreal steak or chicken, etc.).
  • Try adding garlic, lemon, or different fresh herbs to switch up the flavors and add color.
  • Don’t throw away those turkey legs, you can pick the meat off to add into your greens!

How to store leftover gravy

Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

How do you freeze homemade turkey gravy?

Transfer any leftover gravy to an airtight container, freezer bag, or you know I recommend Souper Cubes, and freeze for up to four months.

How do you reheat turkey gravy?

Move the gravy from the fridge (or freezer) to a skillet or saucepan over low heat and warm it on top of the stove, stirring frequently, until heated through.

collage of 3 photos showing the process of making turkey gravy.

FAQs

Can you make gravy ahead of time and reheat?

Absolutely. You can make this delicious turkey gravy up to 4 days in advance.

Make ahead gravy tastes that much better because it’s done and ready instead of rushing around to make it last minute.

Can I double it?

Sure can, very easily. Either add more turkey legs to the pan, or simply double the amount of stock you add to the pot, and double the butter and flour for the roux. 

Is it better to use flour or cornstarch in gravy?

I have found that flour-based gravy reheats better and holds up well, but if you prefer cornstarch (or are gluten free), you can use it.

Need more gravy recipes? Try these:

Homemade Meatloaf Gravy
Creamy White Gravy
Chicken Gravy
Sausage Gravy

Click here for my entire collection of sauce recipes.

overhead shot of dinner plate with mashed potatoes, turkey, gravy, and peas next to a gravy boat.

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spoon lifting turkey gravy from a gravy boat.

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy Recipe

Melissa Williams
Smooth, rich turkey gravy can be made in advance so you don't need to wait on the turkey to finish cooking to make the gravy with drippings. Instead, roast turkey legs on top of onions, carrots, and celery and then simmer them in stock before turning it into a silky homemade gravy to pour over all the things!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 546 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 large turkey legs
  • 1 medium yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 4 large carrots washed & peeled
  • 4 large celery stalks
  • 8 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 teaspoon Kinder's Buttery Steakhouse Seasoning or any all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock or turkey stock

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • Lay the chopped onion, carrots and celery into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Place the turkey legs on top of the veggies.
  • In a small microwave safe bowl, melt 4 tablespoons of butter.
  • Add the steakhouse seasoning, poultry seasoning, garlic salt, smoked paprika, and pepper to the butter and whisk to combine.
  • Pour the seasoned butter over the turkey legs.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until the turkey legs and veggies are golden brown. The goal isn't to cook the meat through, we're roasting for flavor, so no need to check internal temperature.
  • Transfer the legs and all the veggies and drippings from the baking dish to a large pot.
  • Pour in the 4 cups of stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low. Cover with a lid and simmer for one hour.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables and legs from the pot. Alternatively, you can pour the mixture through a strainer.
  • To a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter.
  • Once melted, whisk in the flour until it thickens (you're making a roux).
  • Carefully whisk in the stock.
  • Continue whisking over medium heat until the mixture is thick and bubbly.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve or transfer to a container to store in the fridge until you need it.

Notes

  • Store the gravy in the fridge for up to 3 days or the freezer for 3-4 months. 
  • You can make this completely and store it, or you can make the stock portion of it and store it at that point before adding it to the roux if you like. 
  • For additional flavor and color, try adding fresh herbs like sage or parsley. 
  • If you can’t find Kinder’s Buttery Steakhouse Seasoning, Montreal chicken or steak or any all-purpose seasoning will work.
  • Don’t throw away those turkey legs, you can pick the meat off to add into your greens.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 546kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 54gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 214mgSodium: 768mgPotassium: 978mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 6521IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 73mgIron: 5mg

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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