We usually smoke our turkey which means I don’t have any drippings for my gravy.  Trust me I have tried to make gravy with the smoked turkey drippings and it was disgusting.  This easy to make Turkey Gravy Without the Drippings is just as delicious with rich dark brown flavor.   Because holiday cooking is crazy enough I made the gravy the day before, saved some of the broth and added it to thin out the gravy.  What a relief it was to already have this made and in the refrigerator waiting for me.  I do the same with mashed potatoes.  I make them a day in advance, store the potatoes in a foil pan covered with foil and put the pan in the oven to heat up while I bake the ham.  It’s so awesome and takes a lot of stress off of me.

Turkey Gravy Without the Drippings - Lady Behind The Curtain

Wondering how I get what should be a light gravy so brown?  It’s all about the browning of the flour and butter.  This step adds such a rich deep flavor to the gravy.  Melt the butter, sprinkle the flour over the butter, whisk together and cook until the flour/butter mixture has turned a beautiful brown color.

Turkey Gravy Without the Drippings - Lady Behind The Curtain

By the way I found turkey broth at Trader Joe’s.  Yet another reason for me to LOVE that store.

Turkey Gravy Without the Drippings

Serves Makes approx. 4 Cups     adjust servings


  • 4 cups turkey broth
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Pour turkey broth into a medium saucepan and heat until warm.

NOTE: You don't have to bring the broth to a boil just until steamy and warm.

  1. In a large skillet melt the butter.
  2. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk together.
  3. Continue cooking and whisking until the flour has become brown.
  4. Add warm broth a ladle at a time to the flour mixture whisking as you go.

TIP: Make the gravy thinner than you want because when the gravy cools it will thicken up. Or if you're making the gravy ahead of time save some of the broth for when you re heat the gravy.

  1. Add salt and pepper.


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Turkey Gravy Without the Drippings — 47 Comments

    • Hi Nancy, I didn’t need to add more milk but I did stir them through out to make sure they heated through evenly. Maybe that kept them creamy.

    • I put the mashed potatoes in the crock pot on low. This keeps them warm and one less last minute thing to do! I love the idea of making gravy early. It’s always a last minute “mess” in the kitchen! I serve everything buffet style from the kitchen island!

  1. if there’s not a Trader Joe’s where I live where is the best place to buy turkey broth? I’ve seen chicken & beef broth but not turkey

    • Hi Cynthia, Swanson has turkey broth. If your store carries that brand they will probably have it this time of year. You can also order it from Amazon or just use chicken broth.

  2. Thanks for this recipe. I have used bottled gravy, gravy from packets, even gravy from high end culinary retailers. Will definitely try this one for our Christmas turkey!!

  3. I was browsing for new holiday recipes (don’t tell my family, I was told many years ago to ALWAYS fix the same foods) when I ran across this one. This is how I’ve been making mine too. As in most homes around the holidays it’s crazy around here. I bought some pans with the plastic tops just for the holidays. Makes stacking them in the fridge easier. I make all my pies & desserts 2 days before. The day before I fix all my sides up to the point where they go in the oven ie…holiday mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole etc. Except for the one’s that go in the crockpots. And night before I get my turkey and ham ready then all I have to do while my family and friends are here is just slide pans in & out of the oven. So much easier & less stressful…a win win for me!!

  4. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Trying to do all the prep the day before so that the “cook” can enjoy the day. thanks for all your great recipes.

  5. I used this recipe for our early Thanksgiving yesterday. The turkey drippings were from a citrus/herb brine, marinade and rub, so wouldn’t have translated well into gravy. I used half beef stock and half chicken, following the rest of the recipe. It was perfect, and my gravy-junkie person was completely wowed. Thank you!

  6. I’m in the market for a thicker gravy. Where is this one on the thickness scale? And have you ever added some giblets for enhanced flavor?

    • Hi Bart, This is a thick gravy. If you would like it to be a little thicker, take a tablespoon of cold butter and mash a tablespoon of flour into it and stir into the hot gravy. No, I haven’t added any turkey to the gravy because I usually either don’t have a turkey or I have smoked it. That would be a wonderful addition.

  7. This gravy is amazing! It has a rich buttery flavor! I made it tonite for thanksgiving tomorrow as we are using an oil-less fryer to “deep fry” our turkey and there won’t be dripping. Goodz God is this gravy awesome and I love making a roux!!

    • Hi Tara, I don’t think the slow cooker will get hot enough to brown the flour. My advice would be to make it a few days early in a stove top pot and re heat it in your slow cooker.

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