Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy is perfect to serve with classic holiday dinners. Smooth, and flavorful gravy made with veggies, turkey drippings, and black pepper.

Between Roast Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Bean Casserole there are so many delicious dishes that make up the perfect Thanksgiving Spread, but they all taste even better with rich gravy over the top.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy served over mashed potatoes on plate


Classic Turkey Gravy is a staple for holiday dinners, and this homemade gravy is so much better than anything you can make from a store-bought packet. It’s surprisingly easy and great to prep a few days ahead so you don’t have to worry about it on Thanksgiving Day.

Homemade Turkey Gravy is sure to be a hit with all your holiday guests. It’s the perfect compliment to all of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Seriously, you could pour it over your entire plate. I even use Homemade Dinner Rolls to soak up any remaining Turkey Gravy. It’s that good!

This Turkey Gravy recipe is made with wonderfully simple ingredients like yellow onions, carrots, and celery that help to flavor the turkey drippings. It comes out wonderfully smooth, thick, and creamy. 


One of the best parts about this gravy is that it’s easy to make ahead. Prepare the Turkey Gravy a few days before your dinner. Let the gravy cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container to store in the fridge. It will keep well for 3-4 days.

A few minutes before serving dinner, take the gravy out of the fridge and reheat it on the stove. Bring it to a boil. Check that the consistency is what you want. If it’s too thick just whisk in some extra water, and if it’s too runny put in some more all-purpose flour. Once it’s heated and at the consistency you want, transfer it to your gravy boat and enjoy the perfect Turkey Gravy with your Thanksgiving dinner.



  • Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine turkey wings, onion wedges, carrots, and celery. Toss them in oil, salt and pepper. You can do this in a large bowl or ziplock bag.
  • Put them on a baking sheet and roast for an hour.
  • Once done cooking, transfer the turkey, veggies, and drippings to a dutch oven or larch pot. Add 8 cups of water.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 2 hours.
  • If the liquid evaporates too quickly add more water. Some of the water will evaporate, but you want to make sure the liquid level is above the turkey and vegetables.
  • Use a mesh sieve or other strainer to drain the liquid from the turkey and vegetables. Put the liquid back in the pot.
  • Turn the burner on to medium heat, and bring the gravy to a simmer.
  • Use a fork to mash together the butter and all-purpose flour, then whisk it into the pot.
  • Cook for another 6-8 minutes until the gravy is thick and smooth.
  • Check the taste to see if you want anymore salt or pepper. Serve right away, or refrigerate for a pre-cooked gravy recipe.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy with turkey and vegetables


  • Broth: To make a richer Turkey Gravy, you can use chicken broth or turkey stock in the gravy. Use the broth in place of some or all of the water, depending on how deep you want the taste to be.
  • Turkey: Although, this Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy Recipe calls for turkey wings, you could make Easy Turkey Gravy with other turkey parts. Try using turkey legs, turkey giblets, or other turkey pieces.
  • Seasonings: To change up the flavor of Make-Ahead Gravy, you can try adding some fresh herbs. Thyme, fresh parsley, bay leaves, and sage would all make great additions to Easy Turkey Gravy.
  • Gluten-free: To make your Turkey Gravy gluten free use cornstarch to thicken up the drippings instead of flour. Because cornstarch is made from corn, it’s naturally gluten-free, but you’ll want to check your package just to make sure it wasn’t cross-contaminated during manufacturing. 



  • Serve: Don’t leave homemade Turkey Gravy at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Store: Once you let the Turkey Gravy recipe cool, it will refrigerate well for 3-4 days. You can store the leftovers or use it as a Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy recipe. Reheat the homemade Turkey Gravy on the stove and whisk it together again before serving.
  • Freeze: Flour-based gravy recipes, like this one, can last in the freezer for up to 4 months. Freeze the Easy Turkey Gravy in a freezer bag or airtight container. Let it defrost in the fridge before reheating it on the stovetop. After bringing the Make-Ahead Gravy to a boil whisk in some extra flour if the sauce needs to be thickened, then serve it as usual.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy in pot

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Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy is perfect to serve with classic holiday dinners. Smooth, and flavorful gravy made with veggies, turkey drippings, and black pepper.
Course Sides
Cuisine American
Keyword Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 211 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 yellow onions , cut into wedges
  • 2 carrots , cut into 2" chunks
  • 2 ribs celery , cut into 2" chunks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 turkey wings
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Toss turkey, onion, carrot and celery in oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast in a baking dish or baking sheet for 1 hour.

  4. Add turkey and vegetables and drippings to a large pot with the 8 cups of water.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 2 hours.

  6. If liquid is evaporating, add more water to keep level of liquid above the turkey and vegetables (roughly, about 1/3 of it should evaporate leaving about 6 cups of gravy).
  7. Strain the gravy using a large strainer (fine mesh is best) then put the gravy back into the pot.
  8. Turn on medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  9. Mash together the butter and flour and whisk it into the gravy.
  10. Cook for 6-8 minutes until gravy is smooth and thickened.

  11. Check at last minute before serving for seasonings (if you need more salt or pepper this would be where to add it).
Nutrition Facts
Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy
Amount Per Serving
Calories 211 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 45mg15%
Sodium 630mg27%
Potassium 200mg6%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 2723IU54%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 26mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

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    1. You’ll be straining the gravy with a fine mesh to remove the liquid and return that to the pot to thicken. Hope this helps clear up an confusion. Enjoy!

  1. Instructions seem confusing and somewhat difficult to understand, maybe it’s me but some editing may be useful for people interested