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Gravy from Scratch 7 Different Ways

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Gravy is a staple in southern cooking.  I want to challenge you to try making your gravy from scratch.  You will find step by step instructions for white gravy, brown gravy, pot roast gravy, turkey gravy and more.

In The South, It’s All About The Gravy! How To Make A Roux.

A gravy consists of fat, flour and a liquid.  There are three types of roux: white, blonde, and brown. We make gravy by making a ROUX. A roux is made by using an equal amount of fat and flour. The ROUX is pronounced ROO like when a cow says MOO.
Once the fat and flour are whisked together, and you have reached the desired color for the roux, you can slowly begin to add the liquid. For consistent gravy make sure to measure the fat and flour.

There are three main types of roux: white, blonde, and brown.

  • A white roux is used to make white gravy or béchamel. It is cooked just until the butter and flour are evenly incorporated. You are just cooking out the raw taste of the flour.  It should be removed from the heat before the roux begins to color about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • White gravy is used as the base for alfredo, macaroni and cheese, cheese sauces, country gravy, sawmill gravy, bacon gravy and milk gravy.   It is the base for sausage gravy, see the earlier post and pictures on how to make sausage gravy.

The liquid in a white gravy is usually milk or cream that is added to the roux. For a  white gravy melt the butter or heat the oil, stir in the flour a little at a time while whisking it.  Let the Roux bubble over medium heat while constantly stirring with a whisk.   Add salt and pepper.  Add milk, 1 cup at a time.  Stir constantly with a whisk.   Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.

  • Blonde or light brown roux which is cooked about 5 to 7 minutes or just until it starts to slightly turn color.  It is used for white sauces that use a stock base like chicken stock. The gravy for chicken fried chicken is a good example of a blonde roux.
  • Dark brown roux in Cajun and Creole cooking is cooked the longest at 15 to 30 minutes.  It will have a nutty aroma.  It is made using a beef broth for the liquid.  It is great for brown sauces and gravies like a mushroom gravy, onion gravy, gumbo, and much more. To make gumbo, start by heating 1 cup of oil and whisk in 1 cup of flour.  Slowly add 8 cups of liquid one at a time.  If making a chicken gumbo, use chicken stock.  The secret to making a good roux for gumbo is in the amount of time you spend stirring the roux.  It does take 15 to 30 minutes to get a dark brown roux.
    Once the fat and flour are whisked together, and you have reached the desired color for the roux, you can slowly begin to add the liquid. For consistent gravy make sure to measure the fat, flour, and liquid.

In the south we put gravy on everything including:

Mashed Potatoes, Hash Browns, Baked Potatoes, French Fries, Country Fried Chicken, Country Fried Steak, Turkey, Hamburger Steak, Pork Chops, Homemade Biscuits, Rice, and much more.  We have special gravies likes chocolate gravy, sausage gravy, tomato gravy, bacon gravy, onion gravy, mushroom gravy, turkey gravy and much more. See the recipe for the earlier post on Chocolate Gravy and Sausage Gravy. 

Gravy is usually made after frying meat like: (chicken, sausage, bacon, ham, hamburgers, etc.)

The oil and crunchies from the pan are used in the gravy.  When making gravy after frying a meat, measure the amount of fat left in the pan after frying the meat. Measure the amount of fat needed for the amount of gravy you are making and return that amount back to the skillet. In other words, the fat that was left in the pan after frying the meat makes for a great gravy. Be sure to scrape up the bottom and sides of the pan to get the crunchies off before adding the fat back to the pan.  You can use a little liquid.  The steam will help release the crunchies from the pan.

You can use any of these fats to make a roux: butter, vegetable oil, bacon fat, sausage fat, or fat from frying chicken, pork chops, hamburger, bacon or any other type of meat.  DO NOT use margarine or shortening. If you do not have enough fat left over from the meat you were frying, you can always add additional oil or butter. Remember to always measure the Fat, Flour and Liquid to make a consistent gravy.

When calculating how much gravy per person to prepare, a rule of thumb is 1/4 cup per person.

  • 1/2 cup oil or butter (8 Tablespoons), 1/2 cup flour, 4 cups liquid – large amount of gravy 14 to 16 servings
  • 1/4 cup oil or butter (4 Tablespoons), 1/4 cup flour, 2 cups liquid – serving size around 6 to 8

servings

  • 2 Tablespoons oil or butter, 2 TB flour, 1 cup liquid – serving size around  4 servings

How To Make A Specific Type Of Gravy?

If the gravy is too thick, you can always add a little more liquid to help thin it.  Just add the liquid slowly until you get the thickness that you are looking for.  The longer you simmer the gravy, the thicker it will get.

For POT ROAST GRAVY use beef broth from the roast as the liquid for the gravy.

For TURKEY GRAVY use the liquid in the pan after cooking the turkey or chicken or turkey broth.

For HAMBURGER STEAK GRAVY uses beef broth for the liquid.
Onions and mushrooms are great! Sauté before adding the flour.  Remove from pan (measure the fat) add the flour and beef broth.

For CHEESE SAUCE add 1/2 cup cheese per cup of milk and
season.  Try this on your steamed vegetables.  Most kids love cheese
sauce. You might get them to eat a vegetable they might not usually eat.

For MUSHROOM GRAVY add mushrooms in the butter or oil and cook down.  Remove from pan (measure the fat)and add flour and then the liquid. Make the gravy and return the mushrooms back to the gravy.

For ONION GRAVY add large, sliced thin, onion or two to oil or butter and cook down.  Remove from pan (measure the fat) add the flour and then liquid.  Insert the onions
back into the gravy.  Try this on a baked potato.

For CAJUN GRAVY sauté chopped bell pepper, onion, and celery in butter or oil remove from the pan.  Add additional butter or oil,  add flour and then liquid to make the gravy.  Return the Cajun veggie back to the skillet.

When making brown gravy for Roast, Hamburger, etc. add 1 to 2 tsp of Kitchen Bouquet.  This is a southern trick. It has great flavor.  I always use this in my brown gravy.

Season gravy with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, onions, bell pepper, and herbs.  When using a salty meat, do not over salt.

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