Turkey Giblet Gravy

Discover how to turn giblets into an amazingly delicious turkey gravy
Turkey Giblet Gravy

Using a turkey neck and other giblets is a simple way to make turkey gravy, especially when you’re grilling or smoking a turkey and don’t have any pan drippings. Even when you’re roasting a turkey and have drippings, this recipe is worth making since the robust flavors in the stock are more consistent than what comes from the bottom of the pan when a bird is roasted.

This recipe is all about creating a smooth, flavorful turkey giblet gravy without drippings that embodies the turkey’s flavor and is simple to make during the holidays.

We’ve divided this recipe into two parts to help answer the eternal question of what to do with that turkey neck and the rest of the giblets.

The first part of the recipe makes stock from the giblets that can be used to make an incredibly delicious gravy, as the base for soups and stews, or to help flavor side dishes that call for stock – think wild rice or mashed potatoes.

The second part makes one of the best gravies you’ve ever had, assuming you prefer gravy that will never be mistaken for paste and has a bit of a kick. The recipe can also be made with regular chicken or Turkey Stock but is its best self when the stock is made with the giblets.  

One of our favorite things about making this easy giblet gravy is there’s not a lot of recipes for giblets, which means they often get tossed in the garbage even though they’re loaded with flavor and can easily be turned into something delicious.

How to Make Giblet Gravy

There are some real advantages to using a stock made this way as the base for your gravy, rather than trying to make it using pan drippings. 

The main advantage is that this classic turkey giblet gravy has the same great flavors as a pan sauce without ever coming out too greasy or overly salty, which is easy to do with drippings, especially if the turkey has been brined. 

Also, the gravy can be made a couple of days ahead of time, and if you use the technique in this recipe, it will never end up lumpy or pasty.

To make the gravy, start by making a rich stock from the giblets. We recommend leaving out the liver, which can have a strong flavor that can overpower the other ingredients. Once the stock is ready, combine it with a seasoned roux.

Sautéing Turkey Neck
Start by sautéing the neck and some aromatics

The gravy’s rich flavor comes from the stock’s long simmer.  We’ve timed the recipe, so the time it takes to make the stock easily fits within the cooking time for an average smoked or grilled turkey. Just think of the stock as something to start when the turkey goes in and forget about it until it is all done cooking and goes down for a quick nap before being served.

To make the gravy more interesting, because there’s no reason gravy has to be boring, we’ve added some hot sauce, fresh thyme, and smoked paprika that make it perfect for slathering over slices of juicy turkey or dunking buttermilk biscuits.

Cooking Turkey Giblets

Giblets are the neck, heart, gizzard, and liver in turkeys and chickens and are often found in a small bundle inside the bird’s cavity. There are a lot of ways to use giblets to enhance the flavor of dishes.

A few of our favorites include sauteeing the liver and heart in a small pan with butter, seasoned with salt and pepper until they’re cooked through. They make perfect little chef treats when you’re spending the whole day cooking a big meal. In addition to making stock, braised turkey necks are often used to flavor greens or beans.

Tips for Turkey Neck Gravy

Here are a few tips for making better gravy. For more tips and a simple recipe for a delicious homemade gravy that can be made with chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, read A Better Gravy Recipe.

The most important tip with any gravy is to make a roux and then add the cooking liquid or stock to the roux. This prevents clumping and that horrible over-floured taste that comes from adding flour straight to the liquid. 

Making Turkey Gravy
Continue whisking the gravy as it thickens

In recipes where you’re making your own stock reducing the cooking liquid concentrates the stock’s flavors improving the sauce’s flavor. Make sure not to season the stock too much before reducing it, or it can end up salty and overpowering. 

Use spices and herbs to build layers of flavor. People count on the gravy to hide the boring, bland taste of the other dishes, so don’t disappoint them with something tepid and restrained. 

The goal should be to make a gravy so good that when people run out of rolls and biscuits they start using their fingers and spoons to sop up the last of it.

This gravy will last in the fridge for 4 to 5 days and is best reheated on the stove over low heat. If the gravy needs to be thinned, just add a couple of tablespoons of stock or water while reheating it.

Delicious Holiday Dishes

Here are a few dishes to serve alongside this sauce. The best way we’ve found to bring out the flavor in turkey is to use this Smoked Turkey or Grilled Turkey with Fresh Herbs recipe. Both of these techniques give the turkey a robust fall flavor that is perfect for Thanksgiving or the holidays.

Smoked Turkey
This gravy is perfect with smoked and grilled turkeys

As far as sides go, this Mushroom, Onion, and Sage Stuffing recipe is delicious, as are these Buttermilk Biscuits topped with a bit of the good stuff.

For a fresh take on sweet potatoes, try pureeing them with ancho chilies. We also have an elevated cranberry sauce that gets its intriguing flavors from a touch of bourbon and a hint of orange.

Turkey Giblet Gravy Recipe

Turkey Giblet Gravy

4.1 from 52 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

Stock

  • 1 giblets, neck, heart, gizzard
  • 1 cup white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tsp thyme, minced

Turkey Gravy

  • 2 cups stock
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

Stock

  • In a good sized pot, brown the giblets in a little bit of butter. Add in the onions, celery, and garlic and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes.
    1 giblets, 1 cup white onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 stalk celery, 1 tbsp butter
  • Add in 8 cups of water, bay leaf, and sprigs of thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 3 to 4 hours. The stock is ready to use after a couple of hours but does benefit from a longer simmer.
    1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme
  • Once the stock has finished cooking, strain everything out, put the stock back on the stove, and continue letting the liquid reduce until there are approximately 2 to 3 cups of liquid.

Turkey Gravy

  • In a saucepan, make a roux by whisking the butter and flour together over medium-low heat. Once the roux has turned golden brown, slowly pour in two cups of stock while whisking.
    1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup flour, 2 cups stock
  • Add the smoked paprika, minced thyme, hot sauce, salt, and pepper, and continue stirring until the gravy has reached the desired consistency.
    1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp hot sauce, 1/2 smoked paprika, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper
  • The gravy will continue to thicken as it cools.

Notes

Don’t add the turkey liver to the stock. It has a strong flavor that can overpower the stock’s flavor. Also, the liver is delicious sauteed in butter with a little salt and pepper.
Making this RecipeTag us on Instagram at @umami.site and hashtag it #umami_site
Nutrition
Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 649mg | Potassium: 117mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 4430IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 2mg

Editors Note – The title of this piece used to be Turkey Neck Gravy. It was updated and expanded to include additional information on using giblets.

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Responses

  1. The flavor in this recipe is absolutely amazing!

    The only issue I had was that after following the directions exactly, and simmering for 3 hours, I only ended up with 1 cup of stock (after continuously adding water when it got low). May just be that my stovetop cooks too hot even on the lowest setting.

    A recipe I’m bookmarking and will keep coming back to for gravy – honestly, it’s the best gravy I’ve ever made!

    1. A good tip if the stock is reducing quicker than you’d like is to cover it with a lid. Depending on how fast it is reducing it can be completely covered or partially covered. BTW – Glad you like the gravy!

  2. Never been able to make decent gravy-couldn’t seem to separate the fat from the drippings and it always tasted greasy. This recipe, on the other hand, is awesome. Wouldn’t have even found it if we didn’t smoke the turkey this year, but it will be my go-to from now on, no matter what we do with the bird! Instead if straining the broth, I removed the bay leaf and put everything in the blender- that way I could use a bit less flour to thicken it and the flavors were enhanced. Thanks so much for this recipe!

    1. Glad it worked so well for you!

  3. Excellent gravy with a little heat. Easy to make the night before and I love having a use for the neck. This is a keeper!