Pro Secrets for Perfect Lump-Free Gravy

If you suffer from gravy angst, you've got company. Lots of people won't even try making gravy for fear of lumps and too-thin or too-thick results. With this formula, your gravy will turn out perfect every time.

Adapt this recipe, depending on your needs.

These tips ensure gravy perfection:

  • Use the fat from the bird or roast to add extra flavor. Or use melted butter or oil
  • Use all-purpose flour. For extra body, use bread flour. Never use cake flour or quick-dissolving flour. Because they have less protein, they don’t add enough structure to the gravy.
  • Homemade broth is best for gravy, but you can use canned reduced-sodium chicken or beef broth with good results.
  • When making a roux (fat and flour cooked together) to thicken gravy, cook the mixture long enough to remove the raw flour taste, at least 2 to 3 minutes. (The hotter the fat, the quicker the flour will cook.)
  • Cooking the roux until it turns golden brown adds color and flavor to the gravy. During cooking, the roux bubbles and looks like wet sand. When it has a slightly nutty fragrance, the flour is ready for the liquid.
  • Gravy made the old-fashioned way (using “grandma’s martini shaker” as Werthmann says, with flour and water shaken together before adding to the hot liquid) needs to cook at least 10 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Because the liquid is thickened, it’s more prone to sticking and needs to be constantly watched.
  • Reduce the drippings and the cooked vegetables in the roasting pan to concentrate their flavors. Cook them over medium-high heat, stirring up any drippings sticking to the bottom of the pan.

    After reducing the drippings, estimate or measure the amount of fat in the pan. Refer to the chart above for the amount of fat needed for the amount of gravy you want to make. If there’s less than that, add melted butter or vegetable oil. If there’s more, remove some of it.

    Whisk in bread flour to reduce drippings and fat. Bread flour is best because it has more gluten, making it a good thickener. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is pale brown and a creamy, slightly sandy consistency.

    Add broth to the pan. Simmer for 6 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the gravy is slightly thickened. Strain the gravy before serving.