Photo copyright Gordon Smith. Used with permission. Click on image for link to his photo blog.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Homemade gravy. Take your lumps, but not in your gravy!

Learn to make homemade gravy from scratch. You'll save a lot of money over time. No need to worry about lumps either, if you prepare it they way I always do. I actually grew up thinking that gravy was one of the major food groups!

The secret to perfect lump-free homemade gravy or sauce is to heat your chosen liquid (water, milk or pan drippings) in a saucepan to almost boiling before adding to your gravy base. The best gravy or sauce base, called a roux in French, is a well-mixed hot blend of melted butter and flour.

Things You'll Need
2 medium-size saucepans
Glass measuring cup
2 cups liquid (water, milk or pan drippings)
Butter knife
Measuring spoons
Wire whisk
Large metal spoon
White flour
Butter (no substitutes)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons your choice chopped fresh herbs (optional)
1 teaspoon dry spice of your choice  (optional)

Step 1
Decide how much gravy you will need for your dish. Measure all of the ingredients and set them aside. For two cups of gravy you will need:

4 tablespoons butter, no substitutes
4 tablespoons white all purpose flour
2 to 3 cups liquid (water, milk, or pan drippings combined to make 2 cups)

Step 2
Heat the liquid in one of the saucepans until just boiling. Turn off the heat source, cover the pan and leave it on the burner until ready to add to the roux.

Step 3
Place the second saucepan on another stove burner set on medium high. Add the pre-measured butter and stir gently with large spoon until evenly melted. Sprinkle all of the pre-measured flour in a thin film over the entire top of the melted butter and briskly stir with wire whisk to combine. Continue to whisk until the roux is smooth and caramel, or dark brown in color.  Watch this mixture closely as it will brown very quickly.

Step 4
Add 1/2 cup of the still hot liquid in the first saucepan to the roux and continue whisk to blend. Continue to add more of the hot liquid a little at a time until your gravy is the thickness you want.

Step 5
Lower the heat source under the saucepan to simmer. Add the salt, pepper and other fresh herbs or spices you have pre-measured. Stir gently with a large spoon for one to two minutes to marry the flavors.

Step 6
Turn down the heat source to warm. Cover the pan and allow the completed gravy to rest for five to ten minutes prior to serving.

If you need a larger amount of gravy, double the ingredient measurements and prepare in the same manner. 

To make a more robust gravy, add a small amount of pre-cooked chopped onions, garlic, canned or lightly sauteed fresh mushrooms at the same time you add the salt, pepper and other seasonings.

To serve the gravy, pour only a medium sized spoonful over the prepared meat. Place the remainder of the gravy in a serving bowl with a ladle or gravy boat with a pour spout.

Add a tablespoon or two of red or white wine to your gravy for an even richer taste.


  1. Excellent post, Sandy!! There is an art to making a great gravy, but most people don't realize how easy it really is. Oh wait, now they do :)

  2. I thought I was pretty good at gravy, but I am going to try your way. Sounds awesome! Oh dang, now I'm hungry... ;)