How to Thicken Turkey Gravy: A Comprehensive Guide

Any gravy issue, whether it’s lumpy, greasy, salty, too thin, too thick, or broken, can be solved quickly.

I had been convinced of the difficulty of making gravy long before I ever put one in the pot. Heinz had, after all, instilled in my impressionable mind at a young age that lumpy gravy is almost inevitable.

This, it turns out, is a lie. Gravy is easy to make. It’s almost entirely simple, and even a dead turkey in the oven could accomplish what little there is to it.

The most important thing to remember is to avoid adding dry flour, cornstarch, or any other type of starch to the pot straight if you don’t want lumps in your gravy. Boom, done; problem solved.

However, there are a few more minor issues that may arise when preparing gravy, and we’ll assist you in resolving them in this post and the video above. Read on to see just how easy it is.

Turkey gravy is a Thanksgiving staple, adding a rich and flavorful touch to your holiday feast However, achieving the perfect consistency can sometimes be a challenge. This guide will delve into the various methods for thickening turkey gravy, providing you with the knowledge and techniques to create a smooth, delicious gravy that will complement your turkey perfectly.

Understanding the Thickening Process:

Before diving into specific methods, it’s essential to understand the science behind thickening gravy. Gravy is essentially a mixture of stock or broth, fat, and a thickening agent. The thickening agent, typically flour or cornstarch, absorbs liquid and swells, creating a thicker consistency.

Choosing the Right Thickening Agent:

The most common thickening agents for turkey gravy are flour and cornstarch, Each has its own advantages and disadvantages:

  • Flour: Flour is a readily available and inexpensive option. It provides a slightly richer flavor and a smooth texture when cooked properly. However, flour can be prone to clumping if not incorporated correctly.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a gluten-free alternative that provides a clear, glossy finish to gravy. It also thickens more quickly than flour, making it ideal for last-minute adjustments. However, cornstarch can sometimes result in a slightly slimy texture if overused.

Thickening Turkey Gravy with Flour:

  1. Make a slurry: Combine 3-4 tablespoons of flour with an equal amount of cold water in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth and free of lumps.
  2. Gradually whisk the slurry into the hot gravy: Add the slurry a little at a time, whisking constantly to incorporate it fully and prevent lumps.
  3. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes: Allow the gravy to simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until it thickens to your desired consistency.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings: Once thickened, taste the gravy and adjust seasonings as needed.

Thickening Turkey Gravy with Cornstarch:

  1. Make a cornstarch slurry: Combine 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth and free of lumps.
  2. Gradually whisk the slurry into the hot gravy: Add the slurry a little at a time, whisking constantly to incorporate it fully and prevent lumps.
  3. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute: Allow the gravy to boil for a minute, stirring constantly, until it thickens to your desired consistency.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings: Once thickened, taste the gravy and adjust seasonings as needed.

Additional Tips for Thickening Turkey Gravy:

  • Use a roux: A roux is a mixture of equal parts butter and flour cooked together until smooth and golden brown. This adds a richer flavor and a silky texture to the gravy.
  • Reduce the gravy: If time allows, simmering the gravy uncovered will allow excess moisture to evaporate, naturally thickening the gravy.
  • Add mashed potatoes: Mashed potatoes can be added to the gravy and simmered for a few minutes to thicken it. This also adds a creamy texture and a subtle potato flavor.

Troubleshooting Common Gravy Issues:

  • Lumpy gravy: If your gravy becomes lumpy, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve or use an immersion blender to break up the lumps.
  • Too thick gravy: If your gravy is too thick, thin it with additional broth or water.
  • Too thin gravy: If your gravy is too thin, repeat the thickening process with your chosen thickener.

Mastering the art of thickening turkey gravy is a valuable skill that will elevate your Thanksgiving feast. By understanding the thickening process, choosing the right thickener, and following the techniques outlined above, you can create a smooth, flavorful gravy that will impress your guests and complement your turkey perfectly. Experiment with different thickening agents and techniques to find what works best for you and enjoy the delicious results!

How to Fix Gravy That’s Too Thick

Your gravy may have a little too much flour in it if it is excessively thick. Add more stock to thin it; you could also use water, but that would dilute the flavor.

What Is Gravy?

how do you thicken turkey gravy

Gravy is a sauce that is created by thickening meat-based stocks and/or roast drippings with a roux consisting of flour and fat (usually butter, but you can also use oil or the fat that’s collected from the roast).

This description might have just turned on a lightbulb above your head if you’re learning French cooking. That sounds similar to velouté, one of the five mother sauces of traditional French cooking—albeit a richer, darker one. Traditionally, velouté is made by thickening a light stock with a roux, like white chicken stock or fish stock made with unroasted bones. Conversely, gravy contains the darker roasting juices.

Your all-American Thanksgiving is hella French if you failed to see this connection.

4 Ways to Thicken Gravy | How to Thicken Gravy for Thanksgiving | Thanksgiving Gravy | Gravy Recipe


What is the best thickener for gravy?

Similar to flour, cornstarch is another ingredient that can be used to make gravy thicker. With cornstarch, making a slurry is also an option, but with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch whisked into cold water. Again, you’ll want to add the slurry in increments so you don’t over-thicken the gravy.

Is it better to thicken turkey gravy with flour or cornstarch?

What’s the difference between using cornstarch or flour to make your gravy? Cornstarch does have more thickening power than wheat flour (because it’s pure starch, while flour has some protein in it). So usually you need a little less cornstarch than flour for the equivalent thickening power.

Why won t my turkey gravy thicken?

Cooking for too little time: As the gravy cooks, it slowly thickens, so if you don’t allow it to cook long enough, it will be too thin. Set the stove on medium heat and bring your gravy to a boil before letting it simmer. Once the gravy has reached your desired consistency, turn off the stove and let the sauce cool.

How do you thicken Thanksgiving gravy?

Taste of Home Senior Food Editor Peggy Woodward prefers to use flour to thicken her Thanksgiving gravy. Making a roux with flour and butter “boosts flavor and gives the gravy a silky texture and rich flavor,” she says. Flour also gives the gravy a traditional opaque look, she adds, whereas cornstarch will make the gravy shiny and clear.

How do you thicken gravy if you have a gluten-free diet?

To thicken gravy, add 1 ½ teaspoons of tapioca starch into the hot liquid, whisking until well incorporated and the gravy thickens. This gluten-free gravy thickener requires 1 tablespoon of starch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water to create a slurry.

How do you thicken arrowroot gravy?

As with using cornstarch or flour to thicken gravy, make a slurry with your arrowroot powder by mixing 2 to 3 tablespoons with an equal amount of water. Add to 1 cup hot liquid with a whisk or wooden spoon, stirring until incorporated and the gravy thickens. Tapioca is derived from the cassava root.

Can you use flour as a gravy thickener?

However, when using flour as a gravy thickener, you must double the amount—use 2 tablespoons of flour per 1 cup of liquid. Use a whisk or wooden spoon to incorporate, stirring constantly until you thicken the gravy to the desired consistency.

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