Preparing this Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy ahead of time means you can chill the broth so it’s easy to remove the fat. And it gives you one less thing to do at the last minute for a holiday meal.

This recipe was developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook. Have a comment, question, or idea? Email Kate at

Time: 4 hours
Makes: about 8 cups


  • 3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on turkey wings and/or drumsticks
  • 2 Tbs. + 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 10 cups water
  • 6 Tbs. flour
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Pat the turkey parts dry with a paper towel. On a large rimmed baking pan, toss the turkey with 2 Tbs. oil. Roast until well browned, 30–45 minutes.
  2. In a large heavy pot, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil over medium heat until shimmering. Sauté the onion, carrot, and celery until browned, 8–10 minutes. Stir in the bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the water and the roasted turkey with any pan drippings to the pot. Simmer, covered, for 3 hours. (You can also simmer in a 325°F oven or a slow cooker on high.)
  4. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve. (Discard the skin and bones that are left in the sieve and save the meat, which can be used to make soup.) Cool the broth to room temperature, then refrigerate until it gels and the fat is solid on top. Using a spoon, remove the fat and reserve ¼ cup, discarding the rest.
  5. In a large heavy pot, heat the reserved fat over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is golden brown and smells toasty, 2–3 minutes.
  6. Whisk in the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking often, until the gravy has thickened, 2–3 minutes.
  7. Season with the salt and lemon juice (if using).

Nutrition Information

Per serving* (¼ cup):

  • Calories: 45
  • Total fat: 3.5 g
  • Sat fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbs: 2 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Total sugar: 0 g
  • Added sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 70 mg

* Because of variables like wings vs. drumsticks and the amount of fat that is skimmed, these numbers are estimates.

Photo: Kate Sherwood/CSPI.