Make-Ahead Gravy

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m collecting easy and reliable Thanksgiving dishes. With one oven and a turkey that will be occupying it for a good 3 hours, make-ahead and stove-top dishes are a plus.

This make-ahead gravy recipe, an old one from Woman’s Day magazine, has been getting rave reviews on various food boards. I’m posting it here for safe-keeping and will add a review when I make this. WD says it can be made up to 3 months in advance, frozen, and thawed for 2 days in the refrigerator. I changed the directions slightly. WD says to skim the fat off immediately, but I plan to chill it overnight and let the fat rise to the top. It’s a make-ahead recipe, so why rush?

Make-Ahead Gravy

4 turkey wings (about 3 lbs)
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 cup water
8 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. stick butter or margarine
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Have ready a large roasting pan.

Arrange wings in a single layer in pan; scatter onions over top. Roast 1 1/4 hours until wings are browned.

Put wings and onions in a 5-to-6 qt. pot. Pour water in roasting pan and stir, scraping up brown bits from bottom. Add to pot with wings and onions. Add 6 cups broth (refrigerate remaining 2 cups), carrot and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours.

Remove wings to cutting board. When cool, pull off skin and meat. Discard skin; save meat for another use.

Strain broth into a large container, pressing vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables; refrigerate broth and allow fat to rise to top. Skim off fat. Transfer broth to 3 quart pot and set on stove.

In a bowl, whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until blended and smooth.

Bring broth in pot to a gentle boil. Whisk in broth-flour mixture and boil 3 to 4 minutes to thicken gravy and remove floury taste.

Stir in butter and pepper. Serve or pour into containers; refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months.

Makes 8 cups

Related posts:


  1. Sue says

    Hi Anna!
    There is a blog called the Pioneer Woman cooks.
    For the past few weeks she has been writing about preparing for Thanksgiving. So far, I think she has covered, turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, and squash. You might want to take a look. She gives a make ahead mashed potato recipe that sounds good, but ridiculously high fat. I know I’ve seen other recipes that weren’t quite so decadent.
    In an earlier post you commented on wanting to serve favorites and make everyone happy. I try to do that too, but seriously; you can’t make everyone happy all of the time. Plan a great meal and serve some family traditions and a few faves, but try not to stress too much. If you’re happy, most everyone else will be too.
    Take Care!

  2. Cindy says

    I’ve been thinking about this recipe all day, and I even looked at turkey wings at the store this afternoon. But I’ve decided it would be too time consuming and I’ll stick to my usual plan. On Thanksgiving, I make gravy with chicken broth, timing it to be done about the time the turkey comes out of the oven, and adding a little bit of turkey drippings for flavor and refrigerating the rest of the drippings. So we have “real” turkey gravy with leftovers (planned-overs!) after the drippings have been degreased.
    Our signature dishes are green bean casserole, homemade cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie from my mother’s recipe (it’s more of a pumpkin custard pie).

  3. Angie says


    That’s a good idea for the gravy. I have 21 people for thanksgiving dinner and I am always looking for shortcuts. One thing that I do every year and I read about in a magazine is I make the mashed potatoes in the morning…usually 10 pounds of potatoes and I place them in a crockpot on low…I add some butter to the top and they stay moist and delicious for hours…they dont dry out at all. I do all of my baking the night before and I also make stuffing balls…I dont like stuffing the turkey, early inth morninga swell and place them on cookies sheets and I cover them with parchment paper to bake at the last minute. These are things I have been doing for awhile now and they help me thank I am organized and cool. ( I am cool but this way I feel cool!)

  4. Anita says

    I like to brine my turkey before roasting it, which leads to extremely salty drippings. I’ve been making my gravy stock ahead of time with roasted turkey wings and necks for a couple of years now. Make sure that the wings are a deep mahogany color before cooking them with the chicken broth. I usually make my gravy stock a couple of days ahead of time. Skim off the fat and then add some of the turkey drippings and juices to the gravy stock on Thanksgiving. I use a cornstarch slurry to thicken my gravy, rather than flour. It always comes out great.

  5. says

    Sue, thanks for the link. I haven’t read that site in a while, but I do like it.
    As for those potatoes, what keeps them so creamy is all the fat. They are certainly delicious!

    Angie, the crockpot potatoes sound good. Another thing I might try is cooking the potatoes in the crockpot for a few hours until tender, then mashing them quickly before dinner. Then again, if they don’t dry out…..I guess adding butter is key.

    Anita, I made Alton Brown’s brined turkey about 4 or 5 years ago and it was amazing. I’m just not sure I can find room for brining this year. My new refrigerator is not very big.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *