Ina Garten’s Homemade Make-Ahead Gravy

My mom and I have now made this recipe for multiple Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and it comes out wonderfully every single time. It’s our new go-to gravy-making strategy. It’s perfect for Turkey Day because with all the chaos at the last minutes before serving this helps you skip the worry of whether the gravy will come out right.

Ina Garten's Make-Ahead Gravy ©EverydayCookingAdventures2014

Last Christmas, my mom made this gravy to go with our Christmas Dinner Roast Beef with Horseradish Cream and mashed potatoes. It was delicious and since the beef didn’t make pan drippings we just used beef stock. We skipped the alcohol and cream and it still came out divine! It’s easy and you can make it the day before and just reheat it on the stovetop when it is time for dinner. Love that. Here’s our homemade gravy:

©EverydayCookingAdventures 2013



Ina Garten's Make-Ahead Gravy ©EverydayCookingAdventures2014

Homemade Make-Ahead Gravy

Recipe By: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa

Makes: About 4 cups

  • ¼ lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock, beef stock, or pan drippings, heated
  • 1 Tbsp. Cognac or brandy
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream (optional)
1. In a large (10- to 12-inch) sauté pan, cook the butter and onions on medium-low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned not burnt. Don’t rush this step; it makes all the difference when the onions are well cooked.
2. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and whisk it in, then add the salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock or pan drippings (or half and half etc) and if using, Cognac or brandy, and cook, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes, until thickened. Add the cream, if desired, and serve.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: You can store the gravy, covered, in the refrigerator for several days. Heat it slowly before serving.


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17 Responses to Ina Garten’s Homemade Make-Ahead Gravy

  1. Zoe

    Can I make this gravy a week ahead of time and freeze it ?

    • EverydayCook

      Hi Zoe, Yes you can. Just make sure to let it defrost in your refrigerator for at least 24 hours before use.

  2. Janice

    I’ve made this for four years in a row. Turns out delicious every time. I’ve added the cognac and left it out- still good either way but I prefer with- great “extra something.”

    • EverydayCook

      Thanks Janice, we made it again this year for Thanksgiving and it came out great. We’ve done with or without the cognac but used it this year and agree it gives it a little oomph.

  3. Victoria

    As Carly Simon sings, “baby your the best”

  4. John


    I’m going to grill our turkey (as I always do!) and would like to know if you can use the pan drippings from a grilled turkey to make gravy? I place a drip pan underneath the turkey and that catches a lot of drippings, but I’m wondering if the charred flavor from the charcoal works well in a gravy? Your suggestions are welcomed!

    • EverydayCook

      Hi John, you CAN use grill drippings to make gravy! Make sure you put about a liter of liquid in the pan that will catch the drippings though (water, wine). Then use these drippings back in the kitchen to add to your gravy to boost the flavor. Great idea!

  5. Brian

    I used your recipe for our Christmas turkey and was absolutely delicious! Thank you so much!

    • EverydayCook

      I’m so glad! We used it again at Thanksgiving, such a timesaver.

  6. Vicci

    How much does this recipe make?

    • EverydayCook

      Good question! It makes about 4 cups of gravy which fills a normal sized gravy boat.

  7. Toni

    Hi, I am going to cook a small turkey breast this year. I am looking for a recipe that can be made without pan drippings since I don’t think there will be much if any. This looks like it might work. Have you made this W/O pan juices ?

    • EverydayCook

      Hi Toni, yes! This recipe is perfect because if you don’t have pan drippings you can just use chicken stock or vegetable stock with some added salt to taste.

      • Toni

        great Thank you !!

  8. Natalie Egers

    Is this recipe, with the brandy, okay for kids? We have quite a few little ones at our Thanksgiving table.

    • EverydayCook

      Natalie, thanks for the great question. The brandy burns off in cooking but you can always leave it out as well! Happy Thanksgiving!

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