How to Cook Gravy: A Complete Guide with Tips and Tricks

As quintessential as gravy is, not everyone knows how to cook it. Yet, a flavorful gravy is the magic that can elevate any dish to new heights. Gravy is a rich and luscious sauce that is versatile and can be paired with endless dishes. Whether it’s mashed potatoes, roasted meats, or vegetables, gravy can make anything taste better.

So, if you’re wondering how to prepare sumptuous and savory gravy from scratch, you have landed at the right place. In this article, we will discuss how to cook gravy with the right ingredients and right techniques.

Before You Start

To get perfect gravy every time, you must have the right tools and ingredients ready. Here are the must-haves before cooking the gravy:

1. Heavy-Bottomed Saucepan: You’ll need a heavy-bottomed saucepan to ensure even heating and prevent the gravy from scorching.

2. Whisk: Whisking is the key to making a smooth, lump-free gravy that coats your food perfectly.

3. Fat: Gravy needs a source of fat to add flavor to it. You can use butter, pan drippings, oil, or any other fat you prefer.

4. Flour: Flour is the base that thickens the gravy. Use all-purpose flour or any other flour of your choice.

5. Broth: You need a liquid to make the gravy. Chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, or water all work fine.

6. Red or White Wine (optional): Wine adds an extra layer of depth and complexity to the gravy.

7. Seasoning: You can season your gravy with salt, pepper, herbs, and spices as per your taste.

The Cooking Process

Now that you have the ingredients and tools ready, let’s get started with the cooking process.

Step 1: Melt the Fat

Melt your preferred fat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. If you’re using pan drippings, make sure to remove the meat from the roasting pan and pour the drippings into a saucepan, leaving any burnt bits behind.

Step 2: Add Flour

Once the fat is melted, add flour to it. Stir the mixture continuously until it forms a paste-like consistency known as a roux.

Step 3: Whisk in Broth Gradually

Slowly add broth to the roux while whisking continuously. Make sure to add broth gradually, so that the mixture remains lump-free. Whisk the mixture until the sauce thickens and becomes smooth.

Step 4: Optional: Add Wine

If you prefer, you can add red or white wine at this stage to enhance the flavor profile of the gravy.

Step 5: Season it Up

Add salt, pepper, herbs, and spices of your choice to the gravy to give it a flavor boost.

Step 6: Cook Until it Thickens

Let the gravy simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens to the desired consistency.

Tips to Make Perfect Gravy

1. Whisk Continuously: Whisking continuously ensures that the flour and broth combine evenly, creating a smooth texture.

2. Choose the Right Flour: The type of flour you use can affect the final texture of the gravy. All-purpose flour works well, but if you want to make gluten-free gravy, you can use cornstarch or rice flour.

3. Add Broth Gradually: Adding the broth gradually ensures that you get a smooth and velvety texture without any lumps.

4. Use Flavorful Fat: Using flavorful fat adds depth of flavor to the gravy. If you’re making chicken gravy, you can use poultry fat, and for beef gravy, use beef fat or pan drippings.

5. Seasoning is Key: Be sure to add enough seasoning to the gravy to enhance its flavor profile. Taste the gravy as you go to adjust the seasoning as per your taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I make gravy without drippings?

Ans. Yes, you can make gravy without drippings. Substitute drippings with butter, oil, or any other fat you prefer.

Q. How do I thicken my gravy?

Ans. Use a roux made of flour and fat to thicken your gravy. Cook the roux until it turns golden brown before slowly whisking in broth or any other liquid.

Q. Will my gravy be lumpy?

Ans. If you whisk continuously and add broth gradually, your gravy will be smooth and lump-free.

Q. Can I use vegetable broth to make gravy for non-vegetarian dishes?

Ans. Yes, you can use vegetable broth to make gravy for non-vegetarian dishes. However, meat broth adds more flavor to the gravy.

Q. How long can I store leftover gravy?

Ans. You can refrigerate leftover gravy for up to 3-4 days or freeze it for up to 4-6 months.


Gravy is a delectable addition to any meal. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can make perfect gravy from scratch, every time. Experiment with different herbs, spices, and seasonings to create your own unique gravy recipe. With the right ingredients and techniques, cooking gravy will become a piece of cake.