Turkey Giblet Gravy (without drippings)
Published Nov 03, 2023
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Don’t want to mess with making gravy from pan drippings right before your holiday meal? Make Turkey Giblet Gravy! It is made without pan drippings, has a classic savory flavor, and you can make it up to 3 days ahead.
It wouldn’t be a true Make-Ahead Thanksgiving without homemade gravy. Rich, savory, and smooth – no holiday meal feels complete without it. And while I love gravy made with pan drippings, it can add complication to the moments just before the meal. It’s hard to make gravy when everyone is hungry and staring at a table all of Thanksgiving dinner. You don’t need that stress!
Save yourself the trouble on Thanksgiving, and make this delicious gravy. Here’s everything you need to know.
Start with Stock
A great giblet gravy starts with homemade stock made from the giblets. Even if you’ve never made stock before, don’t worry – it’s incredibly simple. Making stock out of the giblets will give you a delicious, rich turkey stock that will be the base of your gravy.
- Make stock from the giblets: Combine giblets (you can use the neck here too) with chopped onion, celery, and carrots in an oven-safe pot. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400°F / 177°C for 60 minutes. Carefully transfer the pot to the stove and fill with water to cover all of the ingredients. Add bay leaves. Simmer for 60 minutes. Strain out solids.
- Melt butter: Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or skillet.
- Whisk in flour: Whisk flour into melted butter and cook until golden brown. This creates a roux and is the foundation of flavor for the gravy. Keep cooking the roux until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes.
- Add turkey stock: Pour the stock over the roux very slowly, whisking as you go.
- Simmer until thick: Simmer the gravy until it reaches your preferred thickness. This should take between 6 and 10 minutes with the lower end making a thinner gravy and the higher end making a thicker gravy.
- Season: Taste the gravy and add some salt and pepper, if needed!
Alternative Method – Turkey Wings or Drumsticks
If you don’t want to use (or don’t have) turkey giblets, you can make gravy using turkey wings or drumsticks. Use about 2 pounds of bone-in turkey wings or drumsticks and follow the instructions in the recipe card below.
Optional: Adding Pan Drippings Later
If you use this method to make your turkey gravy ahead, you can still use the pan drippings in your gravy whenever they’re ready. This is not at all necessary but will just increase the savory flavor. To do this, save the pan drippings from your roasted turkey. When you are nearly finished reheating your giblet gravy, whisk in about 1 Tablespoon of the reserved pan drippings.
How to Store and Reheat Gravy
To prepare: Allow gravy to cool completely. Transfer to a container and cover with plastic wrap, pressing down firmly so the plastic is completely touching the surface of the gravy. (This tight covering will prevent a skin from forming on the gravy.) Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
To reheat: To reheat the gravy, remove the plastic covering and transfer gravy to a saucepan. Warm over medium heat, whisking frequently. If the gravy is too thick after reheating, add some water or stock about 1 Tablespoon at a time to thin.
- Add fresh herbs – Add fresh herbs like thyme, sage, and rosemary to the turkey stock while it simmers.
- Use chicken stock or vegetable stock – You can make this gravy recipe using chicken or vegetable stock instead of homemade turkey stock. If you do have pan drippings to whisk in (see notes section below), it is a great way to add to the authentic turkey flavor.
Refrigerate turkey gravy, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.
Turkey stock can be refrigerated for 5 days or frozen for 6 months.
If gravy is made at all ahead of time, a skin will form on its surface as it cools. To prevent this, cover it with plastic wrap, pressing down so that the plastic comes in contact with the entire surface of the gravy. Remove the plastic before reheating or serving.
My Complete Thanksgiving Menu
Get more details and a complete Thanksgiving timeline here.
Turkey Giblet Gravy Recipe (without drippings)
- Dutch oven
- Skillet or Saute Pan
- giblets and neck from one turkey (any size will work; see note)
- 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 large onion, chopped into quarters
- 3 stalks celery, chopped into 3-inch lengths
- 2 carrots, chopped into 3-inch lengths
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups turkey stock (see note)
- Preheat oven to 400°F / 177°C.
- Make stock: Pour oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven or roasting pan. Add turkey giblets and neck and then onion, celery, and carrots. Sprinkle salt over top. Transfer to heated oven and roast, uncovered, until everything is starting to brown lightly, about 60 minutes.
- After roasting, transfer the pot to the stovetop (be careful – the handles will be very hot!).
- Add the water and bay leaves and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once the stock is boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer, covered, for 60 minutes. (Adjust the temperature as needed to keep the stock bubbling gently.)
- Let the stock cool slightly. Strain out solids by pouring the stock through a fine mesh strainer. (Or you can use a strainer with larger holes, but line it with cheesecloth first).
- Make gravy: Melt butter over medium heat in a saute pan or skillet.
- When the butter is melted and starting to turn golden, whisk in the flour until no dry spots remain. Cook butter and flour together, whisking constantly, until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
- Slowly add 3 cups of stock while whisking. (See note about extra stock.)
- Bring to a simmer and simmer until the gravy is thickened to your preferred consistency, 6 to 10 minutes.
- Taste the gravy and season with some more salt if needed. See notes below to store and reheat.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.