How to Make Turkey Gravy with Cornstarch: A Comprehensive Guide

Turkey gravy is a staple of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, adding a rich and flavorful touch to the meal. While many traditional recipes rely on a roux made with butter and flour, cornstarch offers a convenient and effective alternative for thickening your gravy. This guide will walk you through the process of making delicious turkey gravy using cornstarch, ensuring you have a smooth, flavorful sauce to complement your holiday feast.

Key Ingredients and Tools

Before you begin. gather the following ingredients and tools:


  • 2 tablespoons of turkey drippings
  • 2 cups of turkey or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Roasting pan
  • Whisk
  • Small bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Stovetop

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Prepare the Drippings:

  • After roasting your turkey, remove the drippings from the roasting pan.
  • Skim off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the drippings, leaving just enough to add richness and flavor to your gravy.
  • Set the drippings aside.

2. Combine Broth and Drippings:

  • Pour 2 cups of turkey or chicken broth into the roasting pan.
  • Stir in the reserved turkey drippings, ensuring they are well combined with the broth.

3. Thicken with Cornstarch:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of cold water until a smooth slurry is formed.
  • Gradually whisk the cornstarch slurry into the broth and drippings mixture in the roasting pan.

4. Cook and Thicken:

  • Place the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat.
  • Bring the gravy to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute, allowing the cornstarch to fully cook and thicken the gravy.

5. Season and Serve:

  • Taste the gravy and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.
  • Serve the warm gravy alongside your roasted turkey and other Thanksgiving or Christmas dishes.

Tips and Variations

  • For a richer gravy: Add a tablespoon of butter to the roasting pan before whisking in the cornstarch slurry.
  • For a smoother gravy: Strain the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve before serving.
  • For a thicker gravy: Use slightly less broth or simmer for an additional minute or two.
  • For a thinner gravy: Add a little more broth or water until you reach the desired consistency.
  • For a flavorful twist: Add fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary to the gravy while it simmers.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use flour instead of cornstarch?

Yes, you can use flour instead of cornstarch to thicken your gravy. However, cornstarch typically produces a smoother and silkier gravy.

2. How much cornstarch do I need to thicken my gravy?

The amount of cornstarch needed will depend on the desired thickness of your gravy. Start with 1/4 cup of cornstarch and adjust as needed.

3. How do I know when my gravy is done?

Your gravy is done when it reaches a simmer and thickens to your desired consistency.

4. How do I store leftover gravy?

Leftover gravy can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

5. How do I reheat leftover gravy?

Reheat leftover gravy in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until warmed through.

By following these instructions and tips, you can easily create delicious and flavorful turkey gravy using cornstarch. This simple and convenient method will ensure you have the perfect accompaniment to your holiday meals.

More for Your Holiday Table

View all of my Christmas recipes here, and all of my Thanksgiving recipes here!

How to Make It

  • Since the drippings from brining your turkey are probably very salty, it’s crucial to use unsalted butter and broth when chopping them.
  • To add flavor to the gravy, you can also add chopped parsley, thyme, onions, and garlic to the roasting pan.
  • I boil the neck in two cups of water until it reduces to about 1/3 cup while the turkey roasts, and then I add that liquid to the turkey drippings that I use to make gravy.
  • If you would rather use cornstarch to thicken this gravy, mix 4 Tablespoons cold water with 4 Tablespoons cornstarch. Once the desired thickness is reached, whisk in the cornstarch mixture and bring the chicken broth/drippings to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Making the gravy in the roasting pan is always the best option. Not only is that where all the flavor is, but the large surface area also hastens the thickening of the gravy.

Keep in an airtight container and freeze for up to three months, or refrigerate for up to three days.

Homemade Corn Starch Gravy in 8 minutes | Thanksgiving Ideas| Cooking with Lauralee

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