Easy Turkey or Chicken Gravy Without Drippings Recipe

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by Maggie Turansky

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Aside from cranberry sauce, there is no better coupling with a roast chicken or turkey than a hearty and flavourful gravy. However, if you want to make some things ahead of time, many wonder if they can make a delicious turkey or chicken gravy without drippings. And the answer is absolutely yes.

You do not need pan drippings in order to make a completely delicious and robust gravy. In fact, I quite literally never make gravy with the drippings of a chicken or turkey and I’m always pleased with my results.

Using homemade stock really amps up the flavour, but this recipe will still be great using store-bought stock.

So if you want to make some gravy ahead of time or are keen to roast your bird atop some potatoes or something else, then this is some of the best you’ll ever taste.

Chicken Gravy Without Drippings
Poultry Gravy Without Drippings

How to Make Gravy Without Drippings

There aren’t a bunch of ingredients in this recipe so it’s a good idea to start with the best you can find. This is why I highly recommend using homemade chicken stock rather than store-bought.

Or, if you have the time, fortify some storebought chicken stock with the neck, giblets and back (if you’ve spatchcocked your bird) of your chicken or turkey and a few aromatics (onions, celery, carrots and hearty herbs). Simmer these with store-bought stock for an hour or two. You won’t regret this.

Ingredients for this chicken gravy recipe
Ingredients for this gravy recipe

Moving onto the gravy recipe, we will start with making a roux. If you’re wondering how to thicken gravy without cornstarch, this is it, and it will also add more flavour than a cornstarch slurry will.

In a medium saucepan, melt some butter over medium heat. Once the butter is completely melted and beginning to foam, add some flour.

Making the roux for the gravy
Making the roux for the gravy

Whisk constantly until the raw flour smell begins to cook off and it starts to give off a faint, nutty aroma. This will take about 3-5 minutes.

Now comes the first flavour booster! Whisking constantly (because that’s how to make gravy without lumps!), pour in a bit of tawny port. This adds a sweetness and acidity to the gravy.

Now, if you don’t have port (or don’t care to buy it), then use a full-bodied red wine such as merlot, primitivo or shiraz. And if you don’t want to use alcohol at all, then whisk in a bit of balsamic vinegar at this stage.

Pouring in the port to the pot
Pouring in the port to the pot

After adding the port, still whisking constantly, add a bit of soy sauce. This boosts the savouriness and umami of the gravy and makes it taste absolutely delicious.

You will notice that your roux has tightened up and is really thick at the moment. Don’t be alarmed, this is very normal and it will loosen up as soon as you add your chicken stock.

Speaking of, whisking constantly (we don’t want lumps!), pour in your chicken stock and then bring the whole mixture up to a boil. Then, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer.

Adding the chicken stock
Adding the stock

Meanwhile, tie together some hearty herbs like thyme and sage (marjoram and rosemary will also work well here) with some butcher’s twine.

Toss the herb bundle into the gravy and season generously with salt and pepper.

Tying the herbs together
Tying the herbs together

Allow the gravy to simmer very gently on low heat for about fifteen to twenty minutes, until the flavours of the herbs have steeped into the sauce.

Remove the herb bundle and taste the gravy to adjust for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to taste.

Simmering the gravy
Simmering the gravy

Serve immediately or allow the gravy to cool and store in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge. Heat up on the stovetop before serving.

Chicken Gravy Without Drippings

Turkey or Chicken Gravy Without Drippings

This flavourful gravy comes together easily and doesn't require any meat drippings – making it perfect to make ahead.
5 from 2 votes
Servings 8
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 25 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 25 g (3 tbsp) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) tawny port (see note)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage


  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until foaming. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the raw flour smell cooks off and it gives off a faint, nutty scent.
    Making the roux for the gravy
  • Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the port and soy sauce. The roux will seize up and steam, but do not be alarmed.
    Pouring in the port to the pot
  • When the alcoholic smell has dissipated (about 1 minute), stream in the chicken stock while whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
    Adding the chicken stock
  • Tie thyme and sage springs together with some butcher's twine and add them to the pot. Bring the gravy to a gentle simmer, season generously with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the herb flavour to infuse.
    Simmering the gravy
  • Taste to adjust for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Remove the sage and thyme bundle and serve immediately.
    Chicken Gravy Without Drippings



If you don't have port, use a full-bodied red wine such as shiraz or merlot. If you'd like to make this alcohol-free, substitute the port (or wine) with 15ml (1 tablespoon) of balsamic vinegar and follow the recipe as written.


Calories: 70kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 217mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

Tried this recipe or have questions?Click here to leave a comment!

Making poultry gravy without pan drippings is super easy and it comes out absolutely delicious. The great thing about this recipe is that it works perfectly for both chicken and turkey!

Are you after an excellent make-ahead recipe for gravy? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!

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Maggie is the creator behind No Frills Kitchen. She is a world traveller, home cook and recipe developer who loves to experiment with new cuisines and techniques at every chance she gets. No stranger to improvising and making do with the equipment and ingredients she has available, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Read More

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