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pouring gravy on turkey slices
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5 from 1 vote

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

Don’t want to mess with making gravy right before your holiday meal? No problem. Make your turkey gravy up to 3 days ahead, using flavorful homemade turkey stock (made from turkey giblets or turkey drumsticks).
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Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas, classic turkey gravy, Holiday recipe, make ahead, Thanksgiving
Servings: 10
Calories: 98kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $5.00


  • Dutch oven
  • Skillet or Saute Pan


For Stock:

  • 2 lbs Turkey wings or drumsticks or giblets and neck from one turkey (see note)
  • 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1 large Onion, sliced into large pieces
  • 3 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • 8 cups Water
  • 2 Bay Leaves

For Gravy:

  • 6 Tbsp 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 large oven-safe pan with tall sides. Add turkey parts and then onion, celery, and carrots. Season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to heated oven and roast, uncovered, until everything is starting to brown lightly, about 60 minutes.
  • After roasting, transfer pan to the stovetop (be careful - the handles will be very hot!).
  • Add water and bay leaves and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Once the stock is boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 60 minutes. (Be sure to keep the stock at a low simmer to prevent too much liquid from evaporating.)
  • Taste stock and season, to taste with some more salt.
  • Pour stock through a fine mesh strainer (or any strainer, lined with cheesecloth).
  • Make gravy: Heat butter over medium heat in a skillet or saute pan.
  • When butter is melted and starting to turn golden, whisk in flour until no dry spots remain. Cook butter and flour together until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Slowly add stock while whisking.
  • Bring to a boil and boil until thickened to your preferred consistency, 6 to 10 minutes.
  • Taste and season with some more salt if needed.
  • Refrigerate and reheat: Cover gravy with plastic wrap, pressing it down against the surface of the gravy. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat: When ready to serve, warm gravy in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking frequently. Add some more stock or water if needed to thin it out. Before serving, be sure to taste it once more and season if needed. (Note: If you have pan drippings from a roasted turkey, you can whisk in about 1 Tbsp of the drippings as the gravy reheats. This will add even more of the classic roasted turkey flavor.)


The foundation of this make-ahead gravy is a flavorful turkey stock. You have two options for making the stock:
  1. If you have the turkey you plan to roast (i.e. if it's defrosting before the holiday meal), remove the neck of the turkey from the cavity and the bag of giblets (from the cavity or neck of the turkey). Remove giblets from the bag before cooking.
  2. If you don’t have the turkey you plan to roast, buy 2 lbs of turkey wings or drumsticks.
You will likely have more stock than you need for this gravy. Save the extra stock to use in your stuffing or other holiday recipes.


Calories: 98kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 102mg | Potassium: 75mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 213IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg