If you ask me, perfect gluten-free turkey gravy is the most important thing on the holiday table and there never seems to be enough of it. If your turkey is too dry, gravy is a lifesaver.
I know that so many people are afraid of making gravy. Too lumpy, too thick, too watery, not enough flavor, ack! So much can go wrong. But follow my step-by-step instructions and you’ll get the hang of it. I have tried to anticipate any problems that arise when making gravy and have provided solutions to the common gravy catastrophes.
Most people I know, wait until the turkey is out of the oven to start the gravy. But I would rather be with my family and guests and I personally hate to wait, so here’s how I do it.
Make Ahead Gravy
In order to have lots of flavorful gluten-free gravy, I make some ahead of time using turkey stock or chicken stock as the base. Then when the bird is out of the oven, I strain the drippings, skim off some the fat, if necessary, and pour it into the ready-made gravy. This method allows me to really inject some flavor, keeps me from having to do a lot of cooking at the last-minute and assures that there will be plenty of gravy for second and third helpings and leftovers for days.
Gluten-Free Gravy Ingredients
Even without pan drippings this gravy has plenty of flavor, so if you’re not making a turkey, this is a great recipe. The herbs, celery, carrot and onion will amp it up enough to satisfy. To help ensure that my gluten-free turkey gravy is full of flavor, I like to make my own turkey stock a couple of days before my holiday meal using turkey necks or wings. These parts are inexpensive and usually pretty easy to find in the fall and winter. Follow this link for my turkey stock recipe.
If you don’t want to make your own stock, you can use ready-made low-sodium chicken or turkey stock. Be sure to get low-sodium so you can control the salt level. Imagine Foods makes excellent quality broths. If you want to make vegan gravy, their “No-Chicken” broth is fantastic. It is the only vegan broth I recommend.
How to Thicken Gluten-Free Gravy
White rice flour is the best option I have found for thickening gluten-free gravy. It provides the same texture and silkiness that you get with wheat flour. Brown rice flour does not have a high enough starch content and you will end up using way too much flour to get the gravy thick. Other ingredients like potato starch or tapioca starch give gravy a much more gel-like consistency which I don’t like.
NOTE: Depending on the white rice flour you use, the thickening power may vary from what I have used. White rice flours vary greatly from super fine to somewhat coarse, so if you find that your gravy is not thickening the way it should, I have provided some tips to fix it. See the recipe card below.
How to Make Gluten-Free Gravy
Gluten-Free Gravy (Turkey)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 onion roughly chopped
- 2 celery stalks roughly chopped
- 1 carrot roughly chopped
- 3 Tbsp white rice flour
- 2 cups low-sodium turkey or chicken broth or stock
- a few sprigs of fresh parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 fresh sage leaves or 1/4 tsp rubbed sage
- a sprig of fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
- salt and pepper to taste
Have Ready for Possible Adjustments
- softened butter
- white rice flour
- low-sodium chicken or turkey stock
- Note: If you plan to add pan drippings after the gravy is made, use 3 Tbsp butter and ¼ c white rice flour instead of the 2 and 3 Tbsp listed above. This will make the gravy extra thick so that it will be a good consistency once the pan drippings are added.
- In a medium-sized pot, melt the butter over a medium flame. When it bubbles, add the onion, celery and carrot and cook over medium heat, stirring often for about 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Sprinkle in the rice flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and flour have melted together smoothly. It will start out lumpy and chunky – don’t worry – just keep cooking and stirring and the mixture will smooth out. Cook for about 3-4 minutes stirring often.
- Pour in the stock and immediately begin stirring with a wire whisk. Throw in all of the herbs. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. When it boils, the flour will begin to thicken the liquid. Once it boils, turn the heat down to low so that the gravy is simmering very gently.
- Let’s check in. How is the thickness level?
- Is it just right? Good. Go to “Next Steps”
- Is it just a bit too thin? That’s okay it will probably thicken up more in the next step. If not we’ll fix it later.
- Is it too thick? No problem, add more stock, about 1/4 cup at a time until it thins out.
- Next Steps
- Most people would stop at this point because it looks like gravy. It’s important to keep going for 2 reasons. First, you want to time to cook out the raw, grainy flour taste and texture.
- Second, we want plenty of time for the vegetables and herbs to give up their flavor to the gravy. Cook on low for another 15 minutes or longer, stirring often.
- Strain the gravy with a fine mesh strainer. Return the strained gravy to the pot.
- Pour in the strained pan drippings and stir with the wire whisk.
- Let’s check in again for the thickness level.
- Is it just right? Great, go to “Final Step.”
- Too thick? Add some stock just a little at a time. Go to “Final Step.”
- Too thin? If so make a buerre manie.
- Make a Buerre ManieFancy name-but pretty simple. I like this one because it adds extra butter and that means flavor.
- Mix 1 tbsp white rice flour with 1 Tbsp softened butter to form a paste. Turn the flame down to low, drop in 1/2 of the paste and stir. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil stirring with the whisk. If it thickens up, go to the final step below. If not repeat with the rest of the buerre manie.
- Final Step: If any lumps formed when you added the additional thickening you can strain again. Season with salt and pepper.