Make Your Own Gravy

The pre-made gravy might be convenient, but it’s sure not the real thing. Making your own gravy is healthier, tastier and easier than you might think.

Next time you're grocery shopping, check out the label on a jar of gravy. You apparently need a lot of junk (preservatives, thickeners and trans fats) to keep it shelf save. The pre-made stuff might be convenient, but it’s sure not the real thing. Making your own gravy is healthier, tastier and easier than you might think.

Simple Ingredients

Basic essentials for homemade gravy include stock or broth (vegetable, chicken, beef or turkey depending on what kind of gravy you’re making), flour or cornstarch to thicken it and pan drippings from roasted meat. You can make a sort of pan sauce gravy without the drippings, but honestly, the flavor is much better with them in there.

Losing the Lumps & Seasoning It Up

As for the thickening agents, the one you choose is up to you. We’ve always used flour in my family but cornstarch is also a good option, especially if you're cooking for someone who's allergic to wheat. To avoid those dreaded lumps, combine the flour with softened butter before adding it to the gravy mx. Or just sprinkle it in slowly while whisking well. Cornstarch can be more finicky, so always dissolve it in some water or broth before adding.

Quick Tip: When using either of these thickeners, make sure to bring the gravy mixture to a simmer to reach full thickening potential.

As for seasoning, salt and pepper is a must –- nobody likes bland gravy. You can also add some real pizazz with a bit of wine, apple cider, Worcestershire sauce or even some hot chiles.

Putting It Together

When it comes to gravy making tools, two things are essential (well, three if you count a saucepan to make your gravy in). To lose some of the fat from those pan drippings, use a fat separator. Just pour in the drippings and let the fat rise to the top. Then, you can pour the flavorful drippings out and leave all the fat behind. Another tool you’ll want around is a sturdy whisk for whipping your gravy to silky perfection.

Specific recipes will vary, but the basic method for preparing gravy is just a few steps. Use hot stock and pan drippings, add your thickener and seasoning, whisk well and cook until thickened -- don't turn your heat up too high or you risk scalding. Use these recipes below to find the best combination of methods and ingredients for your next meal.

    Recipes to try:
How Much Is Too Much?

Consider gravy a condiment and use it sparingly so you don't add lots of unnecessary calories to your meal. While the calories depend on the kind of gravy you make, we suggest you stick to two to four tablespoons per serving of any type -- that will add about 50 to 100 extra calories to your meat or mashed potatoes.

Next Up

Make Your Own Babaganoush

In the Middle East it’s traditional to find babaganoush with appetizers like hummus, tahini, pita bread and olives. Here's how to make your own.

Make Your Own Margaritas

Some celebrations call for magaritas, but lots of alcohol, sugary add-ins, and a super-sized glass and you’ve got a 600+ calorie cocktail. Take part in the fiesta with our recipes -- all under 275 calories.

Make Your Own Applesauce

When you start seeing the apple bushels at the market, you know it's prime time for applesauce. Pass on the jarred stuff and whip up a batch of your own. It's easy (we promise), and you won’t believe the delicious difference.

Make Your Own Pickles

Not sure what to do with those extra cukes sitting around? My grandma used to make batches of homemade pickles—we’d have jars lining the fridge shelves. Dill, spicy, sweet or sour---oh, the possibilities!

Make Your Own Hummus

Hummus may be an old favorite to some, but still foreign to others. Here is the skinny on this healthy spread and some recipes to try.

Make Your Own Granola

Granola is the classic healthy food, right? Not exactly. Many packaged granola mixes are drowning in sugar, fat and calories, but don't worry -- there are ways to work it into a healthy diet, especially when you make your own.

Make Your Own Biscuits

Don't fill up on bread at Thanksgiving, but don't skip the bread basket all together. Keep the calories in check with these 60 calorie homemade biscuits.

Make Your Own Condiments

The ingredient lists for most packaged condiments are just plain scary! The added sugar, salt and other unpronounceable preservatives make these basic dips and spreads practically junk food. With some simple ingredients and easy prep work, you can make your own. We’re starting out with three of the most popular condiments: ketchup, mustard and tartar sauce.

Make Your Own Croissants

Try these buttery bite-sized treats at your next get-together. They're full of flavor but have just 59 calories per croissant.

Make Your Own Twinkies

Twinkies' ingredient list includes highly-processed ingredients like trans fats, processed sweeteners and preservatives. Avoid all this stuff by making your own instead!

Related Pages