When making homemade turkey giblet gravy, the goal should be that it is so good that when people run out of rolls and biscuits, they start using their fingers and spoons to sop up the last bit.
The best way to make a smooth, delicious turkey gravy is to make a stock from the turkey neck and other giblets. What we love about this giblet gravy is that it tastes delicious, can be made ahead of time, and never turns out too greasy or too salty.
Using giblets to make a simple stock is an easy 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 always consistent and more balanced than what comes from the bottom of the pan when a bird is roasted.
This recipe is about creating a rich, flavorful turkey neck gravy that embodies the turkey’s flavor, is simple to make, and always tastes delicious.
In this piece
We’ve divided this homemade turkey gravy 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 a flavorful broth 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 or broth – think wild rice or mashed potatoes.
The second part makes one of the best turkey gravies you’ve ever had, assuming you prefer gravy that will never be mistaken for paste has a bit of a kick and is silky smooth. The recipe can also be made with regular chicken broth or a flavorful Homemade Turkey Stock but is at its best when the stock is made with the giblets.
Just a note for cooks interested in making a chicken giblet gravy – all of the mentions of turkey in this recipe can be replaced with chicken to make a lovely chicken gravy that is excellent on fried, broasted, grilled, or roasted chicken.
How to Make Homemade Turkey Gravy Exciting
There are a lot of ways to make turkey gravy. The traditional method uses the drippings and liquid leftover in the pan from a roasted turkey. Using the drippings along with some butter and flour to make a roux that chicken or turkey broth is added to and heated to make a gravy that is sometimes perfect and other times greasy or salty or lumpy or is late to the table because the green beans got in the way.
There is a better way to consistently make a silky smooth turkey gravy that is delicious on pretty much anything. Using the giblets to make a simple turkey broth allows you to control the flavors while giving you the flexibility to make it on your schedule.
This classic giblet gravy has the same great flavors as one made with drippings without ever turning out too greasy or overly salty, which is easy to do with hot drippings, especially if the turkey has been brined.
Using the turkey neck as the base for the stock, along with some fresh herbs and aromatics, creates a broth that produces a gravy with deep rich flavors that are never greasy, can be seasoned to match the flavors in the bird, and can be made several days ahead of time.
To make the gravy more exciting, because there’s no reason it has to be boring, we’ve added a dash of hot sauce, sprigs of fresh thyme, and smoked paprika that make this the perfect gravy for slathering over slices of juicy turkey or dunking buttermilk biscuits.
How to Make Giblet Gravy
One of our favorite things about making this giblet gravy is there aren’t 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. Using everything you can from a plant or animal is a vital part of eating sustainably, which is something we try to incorporate into our recipes.
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, it is combined with a roux and some seasonings to make the gravy.
The rich flavors come from the stock’s long simmer. We’ve timed the recipe so the time it takes to make the stock easily fits within the average cooking time for a 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.
The stock and gravy can be made a couple of days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Many traditional recipes call for mincing up and adding the meat from the giblets back into the sauce as a textual component. Others call for doing the same with a couple of hard-boiled eggs. We prefer silky smooth gravy but would love to hear from people in the comments about their experience adding different textural components.
For cooks who prefer to use turkey drippings or don’t have time to make the stock, the gravy portion of this recipe can be made using the drippings from a roasted turkey or chicken broth. To do this, replace the stock in the recipe below with 2 cups of liquid that includes the turkey drippings and chicken or turkey stock.
Cooking Turkey Giblets
Giblets consist of 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 many ways to use giblets to enhance the flavor of dishes.
A few of our favorites include sautéeing 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 to snack on 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, dried beans, or anything that is simmered for a long time.
Turkey Neck Gravy Tips
Here are a few tips for making a better turkey neck gravy. For more tips and a basic homemade gravy recipe 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 slowly add the cooking liquid or stock to the roux. Using a roux prevents clumping and that horrible over-floured taste that comes from adding flour straight to the liquid.
Whether you’re making your own stock or using store bought, it’s worth remembering that reducing the cooking liquid concentrates and improves the stock’s flavors. Make sure not to season the stock with salt too much before reducing it, or it can end up too salty. It’s also a good idea to use low-sodium or sodium-free broth.
Use herbs and spices 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.
Here are some simple tips for fixing common problems with gravy.
- Too Thick – Slowly add a small amount of additional stock or water over low heat, whisking as the liquid is added.
- Too Thin – Raise the heat slightly and continue to cook until it thickens. If this doesn’t work, there are two options. The first is to make some additional roux in a separate pan and add it to the liquid. The second is to mix a small bit of cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add it to the gravy as it cooks. Adding flour directly to the liquid causes clumps and can overpower the other flavors.
- Clumpy – Turn the heat up to medium and whisk in some additional stock or water. Continue whisking until the sauce starts to smooth out. Sometimes a tablespoon or two of butter at the end will eliminate clumping. This may not get rid of all of the clumps, but it will improve the overall consistency.
- Under-Seasoned – The best place to start is to add some of the same flavors that went on the bird before it was roasted or used in the dressing. Adding fresh herbs such as thyme or sage is a simple way to add some complexity. Smoked paprika or half-sharp paprika will add depth and bite, as will a tablespoon or two of dijon or any other good mustard.
Using a gravy boat or similar dish that is deep with a relatively smaller opening at the top will help keep everything warm compared to a shallower dish with a large opening.
This gravy will last in the fridge for 4 to 5 days and is best reheated on the stove over low heat. It can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag for several months and should be defrosted in the fridge before being warmed on the stove. If it needs to be thinned, add a couple of tablespoons of stock or water while reheating it.
Dishes to Serve with Turkey Gravy
Here are a few dishes to serve alongside this creamy gravy. Our favorite way to cook a turkey that is juicy and flavorful with crispy skin is to use either 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.
- 1 turkey 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
- 2 cups stock
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- In a medium saucepan, brown the giblets in a little bit of butter. Add in the onions, celery, and garlic and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes.1 turkey 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 the stock 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 giblet stock has finished cooking, use a mesh strainer to strain the solids out of the liquid. Return the stock back to the saucepan and continue letting it reduce until there are approximately 2 to 3 cups of liquid.
- 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. This should take 7 to 12 minutes.1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp hot sauce, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper
- The gravy will continue to thicken as it cools.
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.