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Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be complete without a rich and flavorful gravy to complement the roasted turkey. While many recipes exist for making turkey gravy, there’s something truly special about crafting your own from homemade giblet turkey stock.
This recipe utilizes the turkey giblets purely for their flavor and they are strained out of the stock prior to making the gravy.
Table of Contents
Reasons to Make This Recipe
I’ve been making gravy my entire life and every Thanksgiving, this recipe feels like perfection. Here are a few reasons why I think this is the best turkey giblet gravy recipe.
- Flavorful Turkey Stock: The journey to a perfect turkey gravy starts with a well-crafted homemade giblet turkey stock. The giblets, including the heart, liver, and gizzard, along with the turkey neck, form the base for a broth that infuses depth of flavor into your gravy. Simmered with aromatic ingredients like onions, bay leaves, and fresh herbs, this stock becomes the secret weapon in creating an unforgettable gravy.
- Turkey Drippings are Optional: The pan drippings from your roasted turkey can play a crucial role in the flavor profile of your gravy. When combined with the homemade giblet stock, these drippings add a rich, savory dimension that enhances the overall taste of the gravy. The golden brown bits at the bottom of the roasting pan become a treasure trove of flavor, contributing to a truly mouthwatering experience. Because I always cook my Thanksgiving turkey on the grill, I don’t collect the drippings, but because the giblet broth is so flavorful, the leftover drippings can be replaced with butter.
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Exact quantities can be found in the recipe card below. This recipe is broken down into two parts: the flavorful stock and the homemade gravy.
To make the turkey broth, you will need the giblet meat. If you are buying a whole turkey, remove the giblet bag and the neck meat. You will also use onion, carrot, celery, garlic, white wine, water, peppercorns, fresh herbs, and a bay leaf to make the stock.
Then, to make the gravy, you will only need butter and all purpose flour plus the turkey stock.
How to Make Turkey Giblet Stock
The stock can be made on the stove, in the oven, or in the Instant Pot (my preferred method).
- Heat some olive oil over medium-high heat or on sauté mode if using the Instant Pot. Add the neck and the giblets in a single layer and allow them to sear, undisturbed, for several minutes until they start to brown.
- Add the onion quarters, carrot, celery, and garlic. Allow them to brown, stirring only occasionally, until all sides brown evenly.
- Add the white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze and lift anything that sticks. Allow the wine to boil and cook for a bit.
- Add at least four cups of water along with the peppercorns, fresh herbs, and bay leaf.
- If cooking on the stove, bring the stock to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for at least an hour, however the longer it cooks, the more flavorful it will be. If using the Instant Pot, cook the stock on high pressure for an hour.
- When the stock is done, strain the solids and refrigerate the stock in an airtight container until ready to use.
Add enough water to the turkey stock to make enough to replace the chicken stock in your stuffing recipe.
How to Make Homemade Giblet Gravy
The basic rule of thumb for a stock-based gravy is one tablespoon of fat (butter and/or drippings) per tablespoon of flour per cup of stock. This makes it easy to adjust your recipe accordingly depending on how many you’re serving at your holiday meal.
- Using a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter (and/or the drippings). Add the flour, whisk to combine, and cook for several minutes to develop the roux.
- Add the appropriate amount of turkey stock according to the amount of roux you made. Whisk to combine and continue to stir frequently until the gravy thickens.
- Finally, when this delicious classic giblet gravy is ready to serve, I add the salt and pepper. It will need a fair amount of salt, so add small amounts at a time, taste, and continue to add salt until it tastes just right.
Absolutely! While roasting a whole turkey can seem daunting, making the gravy is surprisingly straightforward. Just follow the steps after roasting your turkey, and you’ll have a delicious homemade gravy.
Yes, you can! Prepare the homemade giblet turkey gravy a day in advance, store it in an airtight container, and reheat it when needed. The flavors often meld even better, enhancing the overall taste. You can also prepare the stock the day before, and make the gravy when you serve the dinner.
While you can use store-bought stock, the homemade giblet stock adds a unique and robust flavor to the gravy. It’s worth the extra effort for a truly special taste.
Absolutely! Simply substitute a gluten-free flour for the regular flour when making the roux. This modification allows those with gluten sensitivities to enjoy the flavorful goodness of homemade giblet turkey gravy.
Leftover gravy is a treasure! Pour it over sandwiches, use it as a base for turkey pot pie, or simply reheat and enjoy with leftover turkey. Its versatility ensures no flavor goes to waste.
Yes, you can freeze the gravy in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop for a quick and delicious addition to future meals.
To prevent lumps, ensure the fat and flour are well combined when making the roux. Whisk continuously as you add the homemade giblet stock to create a smooth and lump-free consistency.
Yes, you can! Use any oven-safe pan to roast your turkey and collect the drippings. The key is to capture those golden brown bits at the bottom of the pan for maximum flavor. As stated above, I use butter to make the gravy instead of the drippings.
Recommended Thanksgiving Recipes
Our Thanksgiving dinner always consists of this turkey giblet gravy along with some
- Thanksgiving Turkey soaked in Apple Cider Turkey Brine and covered in Dry Rub
- Mashed Potatoes
- Rosemary Stuffing
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Green Bean Casserole
- Homemade Fresh Cranberry Sauce
- Homemade Dinner Rolls
- And, of course, we wash it down with some delicious Autumn punch. YUM!
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Savory Herb Turkey Gravy
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- turkey neck
- turkey giblets everything included in the packet inside the turkey cavity
- 1 large yellow onion peeled and quartered
- 1 large carrot peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 large celery stalk cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups water minimum amount, see recipe notes
- 6 black peppercorns
- 1 large handful fresh herbs parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram (see note below)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups turkey stock amount may vary, see recipe notes
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter and/or reserved turkey drippings amount may vary, see recipe notes
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour amount may vary, see recipe notes
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, amount may vary
To make the turkey stock on the stove:
- Brown neck and giblets: Heat the oil in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the turkey neck and giblets. Allow them to cook a few minutes undisturbed to get nice and brown. Use tongs to flip and brown the other side.
- Brown the vegetables: Add the onion quarters, carrot, celery, and garlic. Let them brown, stirring only occasionally, to brown all sides evenly.
- Deglaze: Add wine to pot and scrape bottom of pan to deglaze. Allow wine to boil and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Cook stock: Add the water, peppercorns, herbs, and bay leaf to pot. Note: 4 cups is the minimum amount of water but you can increase it. The more water you add, the longer it should cook in order to extract as much flavor as possible. Do not cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for at least one hour. The longer you cook the stock, the better it will taste. The stock can also be cooked in the oven at this point if the oven temperature can retain a very gentle simmer.
- Strain and store: Strain the liquid into a container. Optional: add bits of meat from the neck and minced pieces of giblets to the gravy. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
How to make the turkey stock in the Instant Pot:
- Brown neck and giblets: Heat the oil in Instant Pot on sauté mode. Add the turkey neck and giblets. Allow them to cook a few minutes undisturbed to get nice and brown. Use tongs to flip and brown other side.
- Brown the vegetables: Add onion quarters, carrot, celery, and garlic. Allow to brown, stirring only occasionally, to brown all sides evenly.
- Deglaze: Add wine to pot and scrape bottom of pan to deglaze. Allow wine to boil and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Cook stock: Add water, peppercorns, herbs, and bay leaf to pot. 4 cups is the minimum amount of water – add more if you want more stock. Seal lid. Cook on high pressure for one hour. Quick or natural release pressure when done.
- Strain and store: Strain liquid into a container. Optional: add bits of meat from the neck and minced pieces of giblets to the gravy. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the turkey gravy:
- Make roux: In a medium or large sauce pan, melt butter (and reserved drippings, if using) over medium heat. Add the same amount of flour and and whisk well to combine. Cook the roux until it is golden brown and smells wonderful.
- Make gravy: Add a ladle of the stock and whisk until you have a thick paste and there are no lumps. Add another ladle and whisk again until smooth. Continue adding liquid and whisking until everything is combined and smooth.
- Season to taste: Reduce heat to low and continue to cook if the gravy needs thickening. Add salt and pepper, as desired. There has been no salt added up until this point, so add a small amount, stir, taste, and repeat until it tastes right. Transfer to a gravy boat and serve hot.
- Drippings are optional: You will get the most flavor if turkey drippings are used as the fat in the gravy, but butter works just as well. Just be sure that the same number of tablespoons of drippings + butter equals the number of tablespoons of flour used. My rule of thumb for gravy is 1 Tbsp fat + 1 Tbsp flour + 1 cup stock.
- Giblet meat is optional: If you want gravy like grandma used to make, you can pick off the meat from the neck and chop up the giblets after making the stock and adding it to the strained stock before making the gravy. I like a smooth gravy, so I don’t do this.
- Water amount can vary: With most recipes, if you want to double it, you have to double all the ingredients. That is not the case with homemade stock. Simply increase the amount of water. You will not need to increase the time if using the Instant Pot, however I would increase the cooking time if using the stove or oven to extract as much flavor from the giblets as possible.
- Herbs for turkey stock: The amount and type of herbs you use in your gravy can vary. You can use dried herbs, but I would use half the amount and would put them in some kind of sachet or tied cheesecloth so you can remove them later, otherwise they would be over powering. During Thanksgiving, it is common to see fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage sold together and these work perfectly.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
This recipe was originally created in November 2014 and has been updated to include more helpful information. Don’t worry – the recipe hasn’t changed.