Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

8 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy is perfect to serve with classic holiday dinners. Smooth, and flavorful gravy made with veggies, turkey drippings, and black pepper.

Between Roast Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Bean Casserole there are so many delicious dishes that make up the perfect Thanksgiving Spread, but they all taste even better with rich gravy over the top.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy served over mashed potatoes on plate


Classic Turkey Gravy is a staple for holiday dinners, and this homemade gravy is so much better than anything you can make from a store-bought packet. It’s surprisingly easy and great to prep a few days ahead so you don’t have to worry about it on Thanksgiving Day.

Homemade Turkey Gravy is sure to be a hit with all your holiday guests. It’s the perfect compliment to all of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Seriously, you could pour it over your entire plate. I even use Homemade Dinner Rolls to soak up any remaining Turkey Gravy. It’s that good!

This Turkey Gravy recipe is made with wonderfully simple ingredients like yellow onions, carrots, and celery that help to flavor the turkey drippings. It comes out wonderfully smooth, thick, and creamy. 


One of the best parts about this gravy is that it’s easy to make ahead. Prepare the Turkey Gravy a few days before your dinner. Let the gravy cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container to store in the fridge. It will keep well for 3-4 days.

A few minutes before serving dinner, take the gravy out of the fridge and reheat it on the stove. Bring it to a boil. Check that the consistency is what you want. If it’s too thick just whisk in some extra water, and if it’s too runny put in some more all-purpose flour. Once it’s heated and at the consistency you want, transfer it to your gravy boat and enjoy the perfect Turkey Gravy with your Thanksgiving dinner.



  • Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine turkey wings, onion wedges, carrots, and celery. Toss them in oil, salt and pepper. You can do this in a large bowl or ziplock bag.
  • Put them on a baking sheet and roast for an hour.
  • Once done cooking, transfer the turkey, veggies, and drippings to a dutch oven or larch pot. Add 8 cups of water.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 2 hours.
  • If the liquid evaporates too quickly add more water. Some of the water will evaporate, but you want to make sure the liquid level is above the turkey and vegetables.
  • Use a mesh sieve or other strainer to drain the liquid from the turkey and vegetables. Put the liquid back in the pot.
  • Turn the burner on to medium heat, and bring the gravy to a simmer.
  • Use a fork to mash together the butter and all-purpose flour, then whisk it into the pot.
  • Cook for another 6-8 minutes until the gravy is thick and smooth.
  • Check the taste to see if you want anymore salt or pepper. Serve right away, or refrigerate for a pre-cooked gravy recipe.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy with turkey and vegetables


  • Broth: To make a richer Turkey Gravy, you can use chicken broth or turkey stock in the gravy. Use the broth in place of some or all of the water, depending on how deep you want the taste to be.
  • Turkey: Although, this Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy Recipe calls for turkey wings, you could make Easy Turkey Gravy with other turkey parts. Try using turkey legs, turkey giblets, or other turkey pieces.
  • Seasonings: To change up the flavor of Make-Ahead Gravy, you can try adding some fresh herbs. Thyme, fresh parsley, bay leaves, and sage would all make great additions to Easy Turkey Gravy.
  • Gluten-free: To make your Turkey Gravy gluten free use cornstarch to thicken up the drippings instead of flour. Because cornstarch is made from corn, it’s naturally gluten-free, but you’ll want to check your package just to make sure it wasn’t cross-contaminated during manufacturing. 



  • Serve: Don’t leave homemade Turkey Gravy at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Store: Once you let the Turkey Gravy recipe cool, it will refrigerate well for 3-4 days. You can store the leftovers or use it as a Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy recipe. Reheat the homemade Turkey Gravy on the stove and whisk it together again before serving.
  • Freeze: Flour-based gravy recipes, like this one, can last in the freezer for up to 4 months. Freeze the Easy Turkey Gravy in a freezer bag or airtight container. Let it defrost in the fridge before reheating it on the stovetop. After bringing the Make-Ahead Gravy to a boil whisk in some extra flour if the sauce needs to be thickened, then serve it as usual.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy in pot

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Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy is perfect to serve with classic holiday dinners. Smooth, and flavorful gravy made with veggies, turkey drippings, and black pepper.
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Sides
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 yellow onions , cut into wedges
  • 2 carrots , cut into 2" chunks
  • 2 ribs celery , cut into 2" chunks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 turkey wings
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Toss turkey, onion, carrot and celery in oil, salt and pepper.
  • Roast in a baking dish or baking sheet for 1 hour.
  • Add turkey and vegetables and drippings to a large pot with the 8 cups of water.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 2 hours.
  • If liquid is evaporating, add more water to keep level of liquid above the turkey and vegetables (roughly, about ⅓ of it should evaporate leaving about 6 cups of gravy).
  • Strain the gravy using a large strainer (fine mesh is best) then put the gravy back into the pot.
  • Turn on medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  • Mash together the butter and flour and whisk it into the gravy.
  • Cook for 6-8 minutes until gravy is smooth and thickened.
  • Check at last minute before serving for seasonings (if you need more salt or pepper this would be where to add it).


Calories: 211kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 630mg | Potassium: 200mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2723IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

Make-ahead Turkey Gravy collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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    1. Use the Yield Bar to drag to the number of people you wish to serve and the recipe will auto-update amounts for you :). Let us know your gravy turned out and Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. I’m going to give your grave a try for thanksgiving! It looks amazing! The recipe says 8 cups of water but somebody in the comments said 1/2 Turkey stock and 1/2 water. I should stick with the 8 cups of water?

    1. Our readers have wonderful instinct and skills. I’ve tested this recipe “as is” but I think I’ll let you go with your instinct on this one. It’s a matter of taste :). Let us know how your gravy turned out! Happy Thanksgiving a little early 🙂

  2. I’M a little confused but I think I got it. after you strain the gravy only the gravy goes back in the pot. not using any of the turkey or veggies because the flavor is already in the gravy. if i am correct this is the way you do it. I have made so many of your recipes for parties and they all want the recipes!!!!!also can i use low sodium turkey broth or chicken broth instead of half turkey broth and half water. thank you for all the great recipes these are all FIVE STARS. keep up the great work!!!!!

    1. You are correct. Strain everything out of the gravy liquid (see Instruction #7). Thanks for the 5 stars Sandra-lee!

  3. Once you boil the turkey in the water, can the turkey be used or is it just mush and flavorless by then? I understand you are making the turkey broth. Do you throw the turkey away after boiled? I’m wondering if you can roast the turkey until done and just use the brown bits and drippings on the bottom of the pan and use low sodium store bought turkey broth and you will have both a delicious gravy and some cooked turkey for turkey pot pies.

    1. You’ll be straining the gravy with a fine mesh to remove the liquid and return that to the pot to thicken. Hope this helps clear up an confusion. Enjoy!

  4. Instructions seem confusing and somewhat difficult to understand, maybe it’s me but some editing may be useful for people interested