This homemade brown gravy recipe is loaded with rich flavor, a thick silky texture, and is perfect for slathering over everything on your dinner table! This easy recipe is a versatile classic for a reason!
Brown gravy is a classic gravy traditionally made from roasted meat drippings and thickened with flour. Then additional seasonings are typically added for flavor. This easy gravy recipe is often served with the meat that produced the drippings, such as in my Boneless Eye of Round Roast with Brown Gravy recipe, and is a perfect topping for Homemade Mashed Potatoes of course! This is the quintessential way to make homemade beef gravy, however, variations exist.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Rendered beef drippings or butter - Using rendered fat from a beef roast will create the richest flavor.
- All purpose flour
- Beef stock or beef drippings - Beef broth can be substituted, but if you have reserved pan drippings from cooking, that will make the best gravy with incredible depth of flavor.
- Salt and black pepper - The amount of seasonings needed will vary depending on how much you thicken your gravy and whether you are using beef stock or broth with sodium added.
Customize your homemade gravy
- Mushrooms - I often make brown gravy with mushrooms because their deep earthy flavor is perfect for fortifying the rich meaty flavor of the gravy. These are two flavorful examples: Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy, and Cube Steak with Mushroom Gravy.
- Onions - Similarly to mushrooms, sauteed onions are perfect for adding to your homemade gravy in recipes such as Hamburger Steak with Onion Gravy, or Liver and Onions with Gravy.
- Fresh herbs - Fresh thyme, sage, or rosemary is a great addition for adding a complementary herbal component to any beef gravy recipe.
- Unami flavors - Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce are two of my favorite ways to boost the umami flavor, such as in these recipes: Beef Tips and Gravy
- Seasonings - Garlic powder, onion powder, and fresh ground black pepper will blend nicely into your delicious gravy. You can even add a dollop of Dijon mustard.
How to Make It
The key to making the best brown gravy from scratch is the roux. A roux is a mixture of fat and flour that is slowly cooked in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat to remove the raw flour taste and deepen the flavor. Stir the roux continually while cooking to prevent scorching. If your roux burns there is no saving it. Remove it from the pan and start over.
Once the roux has been created, the foundation of your gravy is ready to go. Now the liquid needs to be introduced to thin out the roux into a gravy consistency. Add your beef stock or pan juice to the roux a few splashes at a time to insure it incorporates smoothly. Then bring the gravy mixture to a gentle simmer and cook until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
If you add too much liquid to your roux too quickly, your gravy will get lumpy because the liquid won't all incorporate into the flour. Always add your liquid slowly at first, while stirring continuously to ensure everything has been incorporated before more liquid has been added.
It is important to keep in mind that your gravy will thicken as it simmers, concentrating the flavors. This is why it is important to add salt last. Adding salt too early can result in an overly salty gravy once it reduces to the right consistency.
Tip: If you screwed up and your gravy turned out lumpy, you can strain the finished gravy through a fine mesh strainer to separate out the lumps and everything will still taste great.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Leftover brown gravy should be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator and eaten within five days. It is easiest to reheat it in the microwave, but you can also gently warm up the leftover gravy in a saucepan on the stovetop. If the gravy thickened too much while being refrigerated, just thin it out with a few dribbles of water.
Alternatively, leftover gravy can also be frozen for future use. Freezing the gravy in an ice cube tray works well for easy portioning later. However, you will want to store the frozen gravy in a freezer-safe bag or container. Use frozen gravy within 2-3 months.
Homemade Brown Gravy
- ¼ cup butter (or rendered beef drippings)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups beef stock (or reserved beef juices from cooking)
- salt and and black pepper to taste
- Melt butter (or rendered beef drippings) in a pan over medium low heat and sprinkle in flour. Cook for approximately 4 minutes, or until flour begins to turn golden brown. Stir continually to prevent burning.
- Starting with a few splashes at a time, slowly add beef juices to the pan, whisking to incorporate before more juice is added. Lumps will form in the gravy if too much liquid is added at once.
- Simmer gravy for 2 minutes over medium heat, or until it reaches your desired consistency. It will thicken as it simmers.
- Add salt and black pepper to taste and serve immediately.
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