Making Turkey Gravy Sucks—So Make it Ahead of Time

When you are at the goal line on Thanksgiving day, making the perfect gravy is 100% pure stress. Here’s how to make it ahead of time.

You’ve cooked a bird, prepared 3-7 side dishes, and now you have the gravy left to make… which is one of the most stressful elements of the meal because this menu item goes on everything.

When your gravy sucks, everything sucks! And forget the pre-made jarred variety. That’s akin to dog-food flavoring.

Your relatives deserve something better than Alpo.

Make it ahead using Chef John’s recipe, the host of the website,

You need two turkey wings, some veggies, and about 5 hours. This is your classic roast and stew recipe and the end result will enable you to reheat it on Thanksgiving, which will provide you with ease of mind.

I’ve written and glorified Chef John about 100 times on this blog—his video instruction set the bar for me and made me a better cook. I have made over 50 of his recipes, and not only is he entertaining, he’s a master at teaching… which is the operative word when you love to cook but don’t know all the tricks.

Here’s how the recipe breaks down, which you can find here on his website, YouTube, or alternatively on

Roast the wings & veggies: Oil the veggies, place the wings on top, and set your oven temperature to 400 degrees. Come back and check in 45 minutes, but it will likely take an hour. Cut those veggies thicker than not.

The Stew: Having captured all the roasting elements, add them to a stew pot, raise it to a boil then dial it back for the mixture to simmer. Let it go for three hours. Watch a movie, take a hike, don’t sweat it!

The Roux: Capture the fat at the surface of the water, mix with some melted butter and add flour. This makes a roux, which is a traditional thickening agent used in sauces. Slowly add the strained liquid from the stew a few cups at a time and whisk the hell out of it.

Finish the Gravy: Cook until you feel comfortable with the consistency – boiling to concentrate the sauce. Add salt, thyme, pepper, and whatever else and finish to taste.

Let it cool down and refrigerate overnight, or if you make it a few days ahead, freeze and thaw on the day of Thanksgiving. Heat and serve!

The last thing you need are ten relatives eyeballing a roasted turkey and you’re dropping F-bombs because you mucked up the gravy.

To quote Chef John, “Enjoy!”

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