Make Foolproof Gravy

Two recipes―one traditional, one quick―for every kind of cook.

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Photo by Sang An

It’s not Thanksgiving without turkey and gravy, and gravy is always better when made from scratch. If you’re hosting for the first time (or in charge of bringing the gravy this year), don’t be intimidated—anyone can perfect the holiday staple. If you want glistening, flavorful gravy that tastes just like Mom makes (or even better), try our classic recipe, which calls for only five ingredients and won’t let you down. If your time and energy are waning, opt for the quick rendition, which utilizes cornstarch to help thicken the gravy, and comes together in just 15 minutes (no lumps either way!) If your family looks forward to gravy every year, the classic recipe might be the way to go. But if you’d rather put your energy towards the pumpkin pie (we don’t blame you!) the quick gravy recipe is sure to satisfy.

If your gravy is too thin: Whisk 2 teaspoons cornstarch into 2 teaspoons cold water, or combine 1 tablespoon room-temperature butter with 1 tablespoon flour to form a paste. Whisk into 4 to 5 cups of barely simmering gravy and cook, stirring constantly, until the gravy thickens.

If your gravy is too thick: Add more of the reserved pan juices or warmed turkey or chicken broth, 1 tablespoon at a time. Or try a splash of a flavorful fortified wine, such as Madeira or sherry.

If your gravy is too pale: Try a few shakes of soy sauce, keeping in mind that paleness is only a cosmetic concern, unrelated to flavor.