Perfect Brown Gravy (made without meat drippings)

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This homemade brown gravy is delicious on turkey, chicken, beef, potatoes, poutine, and more – best of all, it’s easily made without any meat drippings!

easy brown gravy without any drippings

Gravy without Drippings

Lots of traditional brown gravy recipes use drippings from meat as a base. While I’ve made and enjoyed many old-fashioned gravies over the years, for this gravy recipe, I opt to use broth and butter instead of drippings and fat from the meat.

There’s an added benefit to making gravy without any meat drippings in that it allows you to make gravy both on any occasion and ahead of time for big meals like Thanksgiving.

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I love being able to tuck the gravy in the fridge a few days early and not give it another thought until it’s time to serve the big meal.

easy brown gravy without any drippings

Are you familiar with poutine? Hot french fries (or pommes frites) are covered in gooey cheese curds and other toppings and then smothered in rich brown gravy to make Poutine.

It’s a favorite dish in Canada (and parts of the Northern U.S.) and one of my new favorite ways to enjoy warm gravy. We tried Poutine for the first time in Montreal and absolutely loved it.

Ever since then, I’ve been making poutine at home that’s just as hearty and tasty as the one we had up north. I shared a copycat recipe for our favorite Montreal-Style Poutine from our trip and you’ve loved it as much as we do!

One of the most important parts of making good poutine is the gravy. It carries much of the flavor in the dish and helps tie everything together.

Perfect Brown Gravy

Gravy Recipe Without Drippings

I was so excited by this perfect brown gravy that I decided it was worthy of its own post – because I’ll be making it for all kinds of occasions in the future. This gravy recipe is lightly adapted from, and with thanks to, Ricardo Cuisine’s poutine sauce recipe.

Yes, this is THE gravy that makes everything more delicious! I tried a couple of different sauce and gravy combinations before I found this one.

For several years now, this has been my go-to brown gravy recipe. It’s such an easy sauce to make, taking barely any effort but delivering huge amounts of taste.

butter melting in saucepan

How to Make Gravy Without Drippings

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this recipe:

  • water
  • cornstarch
  • butter
  • all-purpose flour
  • garlic
  • beef broth
  • chicken broth
  • black pepper
  • kosher salt, only as needed
gravy without meat drippings

After melting the butter in a large saucepan, add flour and whisk to make a roux.

Cooking the flour and butter combination until golden brown helps give the finished brown gravy a rich toasty flavor.

brown gravy with garlic in small saucepan

Once the roux is nice and golden, toss in a little minced garlic along with broth.

In this recipe, I prefer a combination of two parts beef broth to one part chicken broth for the best flavor.

broth being added to saucepan

You can substitute vegetable broth for a homemade vegetarian brown gravy, though the flavor won’t be quite the same. If you prefer a darker brown gravy, just swap in more beef broth for some of the chicken broth.

Once the broth is boiling, whisk in a blend of cornstarch and water and let it cook on the stove. The gravy will thicken as it simmers.

brown gravy for turkey

Turkey Gravy Without Drippings

After seasoning the sauce with black pepper to taste, it’s ready to pour over Roast Turkey, mashed potatoes, roast beef, french fries, or wherever else you enjoy a delicious gravy. I love the idea of trying it on top of tater tots like in this Tater Tot Poutine.

The leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days and can be frozen for those times when you need a delicious brown gravy at a moment’s notice.

brown gravy without any meat drippings

Looking for a great sausage gravy recipe that’s just begging to be piled on top of fluffy biscuits? Add this favorite Rosemary Sausage Gravy to your must-try list!

You might also enjoy this Breakfast Poutine recipe which features sausage gravy and eggs on top of hot crispy fries.

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easy brown gravy without any drippings

Gravy Without Drippings

4.88 from 16 votes
This homemade brown gravy is delicious on turkey, chicken, beef, potatoes, poutine, and more – best of all, it's easily made without any meat drippings!
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 16 servings (about 4 cups worth)


  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour or brown rice flour for gluten free
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • 20 ounces beef broth
  • 10 ounces chicken broth
  • ¼-½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt ONLY as needed


  • Stir together the water and the cornstarch and set aside. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine.
  • Cook the flour mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring or whisking until it turns golden brown. Add the minced garlic and continue cooking for about 30 seconds, until it is fragrant.
  • Add the broths and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Season generously with pepper. Taste and add salt, only if needed. Serve warm.


Calories: 53kcal · Carbohydrates: 3g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 4g · Saturated Fat: 3g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 1g · Trans Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 11mg · Sodium: 234mg · Potassium: 39mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 1g · Vitamin A: 132IU · Vitamin C: 1mg · Calcium: 6mg · Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 9/10/14 – recipe notes and photos updated 11/8/23}

Perfect Brown Gravy - make without any meat drippings

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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43 Comments Leave a comment or review

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  1. Brayy says

    This turned out so yummy!!!!!! I actually put this over chicken tonight and swapped the amounts of broth. So instead of 20 ounces of beef, I put 20 ounces of chicken broth. And then 10 ounces of beef broth. Since this was for chicken. It was excellent gravy and am so thankful for the post!

  2. miichii says

    This was amazing!! I doubled the garlic and only used beef broth (30 ounces), it was a hit. I cooked for gravy fanatics and they were blown away the flavouring didn't come from meat drippings. Thank you!5 stars

    • Jon Koobation says

      Figure an ounce of liquid per person, follow the directions. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of dried whole thyme.

  3. S says

    Excellent! I didn’t have any beef broth so with just the chicken it was tasting too chickeny 😂 I added in South African meat masala and that calmed down the chicken while spicing it up. Delicious on our turkey and mashed potatoes tonight.5 stars

  4. Juliana Cruz says

    I just got home from the grocery store and realized that I forgot the brown gravy packet for our meat loaf tonight. I’m giving this 5 stars because I have all the ingredients (and the confidence ; ) to make this homemade version which I KNOW is probably going to be 100% better than a 1 cup packet of powder!
    Mahalo (Thank you) for posting this recipe!
    Puna, Hawai’i 🌺5 stars

  5. Donna Arnold says

    I didn’t have brown gravy to pour over our hamburgers for a “Salisbury” steak kind of meal. I had to find a brown gravy recipe that was quick and easy. My 5 year old granddaughter asked if I would use this gravy from now on. Winner!! We loved this over the hamburgers and boiled potatoes. Thank you!5 stars

  6. Daphne says

    I had no drippings that’s why I looked for this recipe. Was very impressed with the outcome. Will make again.5 stars

  7. Rose says

    This was a perfect recipe! I added a little Bell’s poultry seasoning to it and just used chicken broth for a chicken gravy. I tried a few other recipes using a roux and this one was the most successful. Thank you!5 stars

  8. Mary says

    I make gravy this way frequently. It’s great with a store-bought rotisserie chicken and some mashed potatoes on a busy night. I also like to lay a sprig of fresh thyme in the pan while the gravy simmers then remove it before serving. It adds an extra flavor without any extra work. I grow thyme in the garden so just cut off a piece, wash, and toss on top!4 stars

  9. Lisa says

    Needed a last minute gravy without drippings and this recipe did not disappoint. Everyone loved it
    Thanks for saving the day.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Well, aren’t you just the sweetest thing, Jim! It’s always such fun to wake up to lovely comments like yours. Normally, I’d simply delete your ugliness and move on with my day, but I’m inclined to educate you this morning instead.

      Let me explain the differences for you. Beef broth and meat drippings are two distinct ingredients commonly used in cooking, and they serve different purposes in culinary applications.

      Beef broth is a clear and flavorful liquid made by simmering beef bones, meat, and sometimes vegetables, herbs, and seasonings in water. It is typically strained to remove solids, resulting in a clear liquid. Beef broth is used as a base for soups, stews, sauces, and other dishes, providing a rich and savory flavor.

      Meat drippings, on the other hand, are the juices and fats that are released from meat during the cooking process. These drippings are typically collected at the bottom of a roasting pan or skillet after cooking meat, such as roast beef, steaks, or poultry. Meat drippings contain the flavorful essence of the meat, as well as any seasonings or marinades used during cooking.

      Beef broth has a deep, beefy flavor, but it is often milder and more versatile than meat drippings. It can be used to add depth and umami to a wide range of dishes.

      Meat drippings have a concentrated, intense flavor that is specific to the type of meat being cooked. For example, beef drippings will have a strong beef flavor, while chicken or turkey drippings will have a distinct poultry flavor. These drippings are particularly valuable for enhancing the flavor of gravies.

      Beef broth is a versatile cooking ingredient and is commonly used as a base for soups, stews, sauces, risotto, and yes, even this gravy. It can also be used to braise meats and vegetables or to deglaze a pan when making pan sauces. Meat drippings are typically used to make gravies and pan sauces that complement the specific meat being cooked. The flavor of meat drippings is often too intense to be used as a direct substitute for beef broth in recipes that call for a milder, more neutral flavor. However, broths can and often are substituted for meat drippings in different recipes.

      In summary, beef broth is a prepared liquid made by simmering beef and other ingredients, while meat drippings are the natural juices and fats that come from cooking meat. They differ in flavor, application, and versatility, and each is best suited for specific culinary purposes. And just in case that wasn’t clear enough, just pick up a package of beef broth and scan the nutritional information next time you’re grocery shopping. Most broth has under a gram of fat and is often sold as “fat free” as well.