Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy: Your Thanksgiving Savior

With this Make Ahead Turkey Gravy, you can save a ton of time! Turkey wings, veggies, and herbs roast in the oven and then cook with wine and stock to create a flavorful base for this incredibly flavorful homemade gravy. Can be prepared a few weeks ahead of time and frozen, or as little as three to four days if stored in a refrigerator. This recipe will yield 4 cups.

Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for family, friends, and, of course, a feast fit for royalty. But let’s be honest, the pressure to pull off the perfect Thanksgiving dinner can be immense. Between the turkey, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, and all the other fixings, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

That’s where this make-ahead turkey gravy comes in. This recipe is a lifesaver, allowing you to prepare a delicious, flavorful gravy in advance, freeing up precious time and energy on the big day.

Two Recipes, One Delicious Outcome

We’ve analyzed two fantastic recipes for make-ahead turkey gravy: one from Simply Recipes and another from Allrecipes Both offer unique approaches, each with its own advantages.

Simply Recipes’ Approach: Rich and Flavorful

Simply Recipes’ recipe focuses on maximizing flavor. They start by roasting turkey wings with onions, carrots, and celery, creating a deeply rich stock that forms the base of the gravy. This method takes a bit more time, but the payoff is a truly exceptional gravy.

Allrecipes’ Approach: Simple and Efficient

Allrecipes’ recipe prioritizes simplicity and efficiency. They use turkey wings and quartered onions to create a flavorful stock, then thicken it with flour and butter. This method is quicker than Simply Recipes’, making it ideal for those short on time.

The Best of Both Worlds

We’ve combined the best elements of both recipes to create the ultimate make-ahead turkey gravy. Here’s what you need to know:


  • 2 large turkey wings (or 4 pounds bone-in turkey thighs)
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 medium carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken or turkey broth, divided
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup turkey fat, reserved from roasting the turkey wings or thighs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups turkey stock (above), plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Roast the turkey wings and vegetables: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Toss the turkey wings, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic with olive oil in a roasting pan. Roast for 1 1/2 hours, or until browned.
  2. Make the stock: Transfer the roasted ingredients to a large pot. Add 2 cups of broth to the roasting pan, scraping up the brown bits. Pour the broth and accumulated fat into the pot with the turkey and vegetables. Add the remaining broth, water, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours.
  3. Strain the stock: Remove the turkey wings and discard the skin and bones. Strain the stock into a large container. Skim off the fat and reserve it for making the gravy.
  4. Make the roux: Heat the reserved turkey fat in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the stock: Slowly whisk in 4 cups of stock to the roux. Simmer, whisking often, until thickened. Add more stock if desired.
  6. Season and store: Season with salt and pepper. Let the gravy cool, then transfer it to a storage container. Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 4 months.

Tips and Tricks

  • For extra flavor: Add a splash of white wine or sherry to the gravy while it simmers.
  • To thicken the gravy: If the gravy is too thin, whisk in a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water) until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • To reheat the gravy: Transfer the gravy to a saucepan and reheat over low heat, stirring frequently.


  • Can I use chicken broth instead of turkey broth? Yes, chicken broth can be used as a substitute, though turkey broth will provide a more authentic flavor.
  • Can I make this gravy without turkey wings? Yes, you can use 4 pounds of bone-in turkey thighs instead of the wings.
  • Can I freeze the gravy? Yes, the gravy can be frozen for up to 4 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

With this make-ahead turkey gravy recipe, you can take one less thing off your Thanksgiving to-do list. So relax, enjoy the company of your loved ones, and savor the deliciousness of this easy-to-make incredibly flavorful gravy.

To Make This Make Ahead Turkey Gravy You Will Need:

  • olive oil
  • yellow onions
  • celery
  • carrots
  • garlic
  • thyme
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • turkey wings
  • dry white wine
  • turkey stock
  • unsalted butter
  • wondra instant flour

Turkey wings are available at your local grocery store during this time of year, and a package typically contains three wings. They are either located in the refrigerated meat or freezer sections.

Preheat your oven to 400℉ (or 200℃).

Drizzle a little olive oil into a roasting pan. Next, include 2 yellow onions cut in half, 3 celery stalks roughly chopped, 2 large carrots roughly chopped, 1 head of garlic cut in half horizontally, 3 turkey wings, and 5 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs.

Add a final drizzle of olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper and a few generous pinches of kosher salt.

Roast (uncovered) on the middle rack of your preheated oven for 1 hour.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and deglaze with 1/2 cup dry white wine. I recommend using a chardonnay or sauvignon blanc – one that you like to drink.

After that, pour in 6 cups turkey stock. Quality store bought is fine or maybe you have this homemade version on hand?.

Return the pan back to the oven for an additional 45 minutes. It should have reduced by almost half.

Use tongs to transfer the turkey wings to a carving board. Feel free to pick of the meat and use in soup or discard. Place a mesh sieve into a large bowl. Pour the cooking liquids and all the vegetables through the sieve.

Press on the vegetables with a metal or wooden spoon to extract any and all of their juices.

This right here is liquid gold.

Pour the liquids into your fat separate and allow the fat to rise to the top. Remove the stopper to allow liquids to flow through the spout (fat will remain at the top).

Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, melt 4 tablespoon unsalted butter.

Whisk in 6 tablespoons of Wondra flour.

Wondra is an instant flour. It’s a low-protein flour that has been precooked and dried. This ultra fine flour dissolves instantly which helps keep sauces and gravies lump free. It can also be used as pastry flour or to bread vegetables, fish, and meat before pan-frying them to give them a crispy outside.

Once dissolved, slowly pour in the turkey stock.

Continue whisking while pouring in all that liquid gold.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat then reduce to medium-low and continue whisking while the gravy simmers.

This could take 45 to 1 hour. Alternatively, if you’re impatient like me and can’t wait that long, whisk in a cornstarch slurry that you’ve made after about 30 minutes. For a thinner gravy, whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water. And for a thicker gravy (what we like!) I use 3 tablespoons of each.

Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Once thickened, cool completely before storing.

Make this as early as a month in advance and freeze – thaw before reheating. Alternatively, prepare this gravy three to four days ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

The day of, add the gravy to a sauce pan and reheat on low until hot. When the gravy is reheated, thin it out with a few splashes of low-sodium chicken broth or turkey stock.

While the gravy is warming, I fill the gravy boat with very HOT water. Then, when it’s time to serve, I swiftly clean and empty the gravy boat before adding gravy to it. This will keep it nice and warm.

make ahead turkey gravy

Turkey Wing Gravy Recipe — Make Ahead Turkey Gravy for Thanksgiving

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