The day I found out I could make my Thanksgiving gravy ahead of time was the day my whole holiday life changed. Where had I been?!
For many of us, myself included, making gravy the day of Thanksgiving always felt a bit stressful.
Will there be enough drippings to make a lot of gravy?
Will it be smooth enough?
Will I keep everyone waiting while the food is getting cold as I feverishly try to extend the turkey’s bounty into the sauce that everyone not only looks forward to be expects?!
This make-ahead gravy requires just five base ingredients: butter, onion, celery, starch or flour, and stock. I use arrowroot starch, which quickly thickens the gravy and keeps it gluten free, but flour works equally as well with a slight measurement adjustment that I provide.
I like to make this a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and freeze in my favorite Souper Cube silicone trays. These trays are so useful for freezing everything from soups to pesto and gravy.
Then the day of, while the turkey rests, I simply bring the gravy base to a simmer and add turkey drippings, which deepens and enriches the stock further. So easy!
what else can i use?
- I call for arrowroot starch here, which keeps it gluten-free and thickens the gravy very effectively, but flour is more traditional and can be easily swapped. Just increase the amount to 1/2 cup.
- No celery? Leave it out. The onion is the most essential vegetable.
- If I have some fresh thyme and sage on hand when making this, I sometimes like to throw some in.
- I use homemade stock from the freezer for this as I always have some on hand, but Better than Bouillon or store bought stock works too. Just make sure to get low sodium!
- I like to use an immersion blender to make this gravy very smooth. Be mindful not to over blend, as it can develop the gluten too much and turn gummy.
This recipe takes less than 20 minutes to make and will take so much off your plate on Thanksgiving. I just know it’s one you’ll keep in your arsenal and pull out each year as I do.
Make-Ahead Gravy (Gluten Free)
- medium saucepan
- Immersion blender (optional)
- 1/2 lb. unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
- 2 stalks celery, diced small
- 1/3 cup arrowroot starch (can substitute 1/2 cup flour)
- 4-5 cups rich turkey or chicken stock, low sodium (homemade or store bought)
- Kosher salt
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add onions and celery with 1/4 teaspoo of salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Gradually add the arrowroot starch or flour, stirring constantly, and cook until the flour starts to turn golden brown.
- Whisk in the stock, one cup at a time, and continue to stir.
- Cook until it has thickened to your liking and coats the back of a spoon. You want it thicker than a typical gravy, as you will be adding turkey drippings to it before serving which will thin it out.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed. You want it to be highly seasoned.
- Store as is, or do as I do and blend in the pot with an immersion blender for a very smooth gravy.
- To store: Let it cool, then cover and refrigerate for 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.