Ahhh, gravy! The perfect accompaniment to mashed potatoes, a great addition to your morning breakfast biscuits and a necessary side to your Thanksgiving dinner! With the holidays quickly approaching, I’ve put together the best tips, tricks and hacks to making sure your gravy turns out great! I even have a few tricks to turning it around if it looks like your gravy is toast!
Tips for Perfect Gravy:
- Use drippings or meat as your base: in order to have the best flavor, you’re going to want to make sure that it has a meat base of some sort, whether that is drippings, pieces of meat or sausage, or a really flavorful broth.
- Be conservative with your thickening agent: have you ever sat down at the dinner table, anxious to cover your turkey in gravy, only for the gravy to have a bland, flour flavor? Too much flour or cornstarch can leave you with a lackluster gravy, or worse yet, gravy that is too thick.
- Make sure to use enough of a thickening agent: on the flip side, having gravy as thin as soup is completely anticlimactic when you go to put it on your mashed potatoes. Make sure you use a good thickening agent to get your gravy to the “smooth as silk” consistency.
- Add Seasonings: a little salt, pepper, a bit of onion powder can all go a long way to add some additional flavor to your gravy. In reality though, if you flavored the meat well, the gravy won’t need very many additional seasonings.
How to Salvage Your Gravy if Something Goes Wrong:
This is probably why you visited this post. And, believe me, I have had my run in with gravy mishaps. In fact, I used to think that I could never make a good gravy and I just went for store-bought! (Blasphemous I know!) After much trial and error, I finally figured it out. In order to save you the huge ordeal of about 6 holiday seasons, here is a quick overview of how you can save your gravy if you have a mishap too.
For Thin Gravy –
- Mix water with flour, or mix cornstarch with flour until it comes to a paste. Then add this to your gravy. Mixing the flour or cornstarch with water will prevent it from creating lumps in your gravy.
- If you feel you have added a lot of flour or cornstarch already, make sure you boil the gravy for a bit. The boiling will help some of the water to boil off and will also help the thickening agent do it’s work!
- You can also add instant mashed potatoes. They work great at thickening both gravies and soups. The best part is that they won’t create an off flavor if you add too much.
For Pale Gravy –
- Add more drippings to the gravy, especially if they have been browning due to baking.
- Add worcestershire sauce, but don’t over due it. It will add both flavor and color to your gravy.
- To prevent the problem in the first place, brown your flour before adding it to the gravy. This will also help prevent it from becoming lumpy.
For Greasy Gravy –
- If your gravy is really greasy and not at all smooth, add a bit of baking soda (small amounts at a time).
- Another option, if you have the time, is to refrigerate it. The fat will rise and harden on the surface and you can remove some of it then. I wouldn’t recommend removing all of it though. Gravy tastes great with fat!
For Gravy That’s Too Salty –
- The most common way is to add a bit of sugar. I would add a little bit at a time because gravy tastes better salty rather than sweet.
- Another way to remove the taste of salt is to add potatoes to the gravy and then discard them once they have cooked. The potatoes will have absorbed a good amount of salt.
- You can also take care of salty gravy is to add a little apple cider vinegar with some sugar. This will also add a little depth because of the vinegar.
For Gravy That’s Too Sweet –
- The easiest way is to just add salt. But again, add a little bit at a time until you reach the right flavor.
- You can try adding a bit of apple cider vinegar too. Add small amounts of vinegar can really change the taste of your gravy.
For Lumpy Gravy –
- Sift out the lumps: Ugh, ok, this is my least favorite thing to ever happen to gravy. If you have already added flour or cornstarch and didn’t make it into a paste first, then you’re most likely going to end up with lumpy gravy. Your best bet is to sift out all those little flour swimmers and start again with a thickening agent that you have made into a paste first. If the lumps are too small to sift out, stir vigorously until they eventually dissolve. It’s definitely not ideal, but I really don’t know of any other way to fix the problem.
Tips To Make Your Gravy Smooth –
- Take equal parts cornstarch and flour and mix it in with a bit of water. When this becomes a paste, add it a little at a time to your drippings, or you’re not quite thick enough gravy. Boil the gravy for a bit to allow the cornstarch and flour to thicken your gravy. Add more of the flour/cornstarch paste until you get the consistency you desire.
And there you have it, all my secrets to make sure you have the perfect gravy during your holiday season. Remember that gravy “saves” a lot of mishaps that could happen at Thanksgiving, such as: an overlooked turkey, bland mashed potatoes, dry or overly mushy stuffing. If you make a great gravy, the rest of the meal can be covered in it and nobody would be the wiser! So cook on gravy makers, and please let me know if you know of any additional hacks I can add to my gravy cheat sheet!