How to Make Gravy

I know y’all remember when I made biscuits a few months back. I know because I been gettin’ a whole bunch of requests for gravy since. It seems there’s a lot of red-blooded Americans out there that know that biscuits ain’t shit without gravy. I heard you. And I agree. So here’s how to make gravy, a.k.a. sausage gravy. a.k.a. white gravy, a.k.a. cream gravy, a.k.a. country gravy.

I don’t know any more A.K.A.s for it but if you do, pass them on to me. That will help when I get to work on my Gravy Compendium.

But this is one of the very first things I remember learning. My dad used to make chicken-fried steak with cream gravy (minus the sausage, of course) and I marveled at how fast he could whip up some gravy without even using a recipe. Turns out, it was easy enough for a nine year old to master. And if my spastic, clumsy, fairy-tale-reading, magic-fox-believing-in, nine-year-old self could make gravy, I know you can, too.

And something awesome that you may not realize about gravy, is that gravy is essentially a bechamel! That is correct. Learn to make gravy and you are one-quarter of the way to mastering all four of the classic French “mother sauces”. Actually, even closer, since three out of the four are based on making a roux and using that to thicken your sauce. Think about that. Gravy’s looking a helluva lot cooler now, isn’t it?

Since gravy is so flexible, this is more about technique than qualitative measurements. As long as you have a whisk and a 5-minute attention span, you can make gravy. I plomise.

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Cream Gravy

Cream gravy, country gravy, or sausage gravy, it’s all the same to me.

  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, sausage/bacon grease, or lard (or 34 T butter)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk, or fake milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat your fat over medium to medium-low heat until melted and warm. Sprinkle the flour over the fat and use a whisk to stir that around. You will almost immediately have a very thick paste in your skillet or pot. This is what’s called the roux (that’s French!).
  2. Continue stirring it slowly with the whisk for 30 seconds to a minute. You can cook it longer if you want a darker roux, but for cream gravy (and a bechamel) you want to keep it “blonde”, which is a very light brown in the world of roux.
  3. Okay, now, keep stirring while you add about 1/2 c of your milk in a slow stream. Then whisk it faster to get the milk incorporated. It will be like really thick, sludgy gravy now. Make sure you whisk it fast enough to break up any lumps.
  4. Add another 1/2 c of milk and whisk again to incorporate.
  5. Add your salt and pepper.
  6. Now you can add the last of the milk, whisk, then turn the heat down very low and let the gravy simmer until it’s the consistency you want. (If it gets too thick on you, just add a tablespoon or two of milk at a time until it thins out again.)
  7. Serve it!

Notes

You’ll need to use more butter than other fats when making gravy because butter has a certain percentage of water than pure fats don’t.

If you want a real sausage gravy, fry up some pork sausage crumbles and remove from the skillet. Make the gravy with the sausage drippings and then add the sausage chunks back in. Serve over split biscuits.

56 Comments

  1. matt gordon on November 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    cool video. you mention that you dont want to eat toomuch fat in the winter. doesnt autin have only 2 seasons hot and hotter? there is no winter in texas. only kidding. seriously the accent was hilarious to this ohioan. we only have to drive to kentucky to get great sausage with biscuits and gravy

    • Hilah Cooking on November 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      No way, Matt! Sixty degrees is cold to me! I be bundlin’ UP!
      P.S. Now you will make your own gravy and save gas money going to Kentucky.

  2. Steve Singler on November 9, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Yay, So happy to see you put the sausage back in the gravy.

    • Hilah Cooking on November 9, 2010 at 2:47 pm

      Hell yeah, Steve! Ain’t no party like a sausage party ’cause a sausage party don’t stop.

  3. Bonnie Wilkinson on November 9, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Awesome! I loved the singing and the song and your gravy too girl! 😉

    • Hilah Cooking on November 9, 2010 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks, Bonnie! 🙂

  4. Plain Vanilla Andrew on November 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Three cheers for gravy! Finally, my homemade biscuits won’t be shamefully naked on the plate. Thanks Hilah.

    • Hilah Cooking on November 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

      Your biscuits NEED gravy pants!

  5. Thomas Andrew on November 9, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Haha! I loved that song!

    • Hilah Cooking on November 9, 2010 at 8:47 pm

      Thanks, Thomas Andrew! So do I.

  6. Kenny Eller on November 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Nice job! I think I’m a pretty good Iroooooon Chefff, but I suck at making gravy:(

    I grew up with my Mom making it every weekend, at least, and the last time I tried (6 mo) ago…it was horrible…haha.

    I will give it another go! Thanks Hilah!

    • Hilah Cooking on November 10, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      Try again! What sucks about it? Do you get the lumps?

      • Kenny Eller on November 11, 2010 at 2:42 pm

        Yeah, lumps 🙁 I’ll try again and report back! 🙂

  7. Tony on November 10, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    lol. “so i can continue to please you, visually” this recipe is close to my own grandma’s. good work!

    • Hilah Cooking on November 10, 2010 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks, Tony! I’m trying!

  8. Vince on November 11, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Loved the song! I make my gravy similarly, but I use a sauce pan to fry the sausage. I put the pepper in while it’s cooking, add the flour to the sausage and grease (and if the sausage is too lean I add bacon grease) until it’s kinda pasty and then just keep pouring in milk till it’s the right thickness. I’ve never added salt tho, hafta try that next time. I get lazy on the biscuits tho and use english muffins and usually put an over easy egg on it before pouring some gravy over it.

    • Hilah Cooking on November 11, 2010 at 1:26 pm

      Great technique, Vince! And good tip on English muffins – kind of like American-style eggs benedict.

  9. dad on November 16, 2010 at 1:14 am

    pretty close, but you forgot to add extra black pepper so you have the little black flakes floating around in the gravy. it’s great that you didn’t add any salt. it made me hungry. maybe we should make that for grandma next time we go out there. she’d really appreciate that. y’all send me the lyrics to that song, it’s a good song. dad

    • Vince on November 16, 2010 at 1:17 am

      don’t forget. that pepper has to be freshly ground, I mean you wouldn’t wanna use pepper ground by someone you don’t even know, would you?

      • Hilah Cooking on November 16, 2010 at 2:52 pm

        I certainly would NOT, Vince! Blech! 😉

    • Hilah Cooking on November 16, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      Do you remember teaching me how to make gravy?

    • Mark on November 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm

      My memory is like the old gray mare, but I can remember this was at Campsite #2 and I was facing north.

      It’s a wakin bakin makin bacon morning
      It’s a wakin bakin makin bacon day
      Jackie’s at the stove, she’s fryin bacon
      Me, I’m sittin twistin up a J
      Thaddeus is sitting there, he’s doin nothin
      He look like he need something to do
      It’s a wakin bakin makin bacon morning
      I’m feelin fine, how are you?
      I’m feelin fine, how are you?
      I’m feelin fine, how are you?

      • Hilah Cooking on November 16, 2010 at 5:59 pm

        Awesome! Thanks, hon!

  10. John Grier on November 23, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Hi Hilah,

    I’ve watched your cooking videos a few times but thought I would comment this time. I keep meaning to practice my gravy making (in the past I got a lumpy paste, got mad, and gave up), your video was a reminder that it ain’t exactly rocket surgery. I’m sure next time will be better.

    The song was funny. It was the first time I’ve heard you sing. You have a nice voice, and you are so visually pleasing. I have a cousin in Austin. If I ever visit we’ll try to catch your act.

    Keep up the good work. Happy Thanksgiving.

    John

    • Hilah Cooking on November 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm

      Hi John! Yes, your next gravy trial will be perfect, I bet. Try it on Thursday and let me know how it goes. Holler at me if you’re ever in Austin, okay?
      -h

  11. markette on December 1, 2010 at 12:46 am

    I love you. Would you marry me? Seriously this is my favorite meal of all time!

  12. Anastasia on January 16, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I felt the same way about my Daddy making cream gravy and now I make it for the hubs all the time.

    • Hilah Cooking on January 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      Aw, that’s sweet. Thanks for commenting, Anastasia!

  13. Linda D' on January 18, 2011 at 4:40 am

    I love this episode and I watch it when I’m sad. My friends here in Oregon always thought I made up my accent until I showed them this video. You’re my kind of people. Keep cookin.

    • Hilah Cooking on January 18, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      Hi Linda! I’m glad to be of service to you when you are sad. Where’re you from?

      • Linda D' on May 20, 2011 at 10:19 pm

        I live in Portland now but I grew up in Clute/Lake Jackson.

        • Hilah on May 21, 2011 at 8:44 am

          Oh, cool! I used to love going down to Brazoria when I was a kid.

  14. Amber on February 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Yumm! I made your buttermilk biscuits (heart shaped for V Day) and this gravy for my fam this morning! Big hit! I am from Kentucky and my Nanny used to make sausage gravy (before she got all healthy :(). I live in Portland, OR and I think I’ve tried the biscuit and gravy at every restaurant here, but nothing was quite like Nanny’s. This comes so close and it makes me smile! Thanks!

    • Hilah Cooking on February 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      Aww, Amber! That is such great news! My granny used to make biscuits and gravy, too, and there was nothing like it! I’m so happy to help you find your happy gravy place. 🙂

  15. Coolio on June 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Hilah, my youngest likes to pour my gravy down the toilet and watch as I try desperate to clean up the greasy mess. Yeah, my kid is a sadistic little fucker. What should I do?

    • Hilah on June 30, 2011 at 11:46 am

      Hey Jessie! Thanks for writing!
      Do you ever watch Nanny 911? Might want to check that out . Or The Dog Whisperer.

  16. ciejay on September 17, 2011 at 8:27 am

    hi hilah i kinda think that your gravy is’t looks like yummy to me

  17. John in Seattle on October 8, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Hey Hilah, I just found your show last week on Blip.tv, I have watched just about evry episode over the past few days. tonight I made pork chops and gravy for the first time. Tomorrow I’m gonna make waffles – Thanks for making cooking fun

    • Hilah on October 9, 2011 at 9:47 am

      Hey John!
      Thanks for writing! I’m really happy your pork chops and gravy turned out. Have a great time with the waffles!
      Glad to have you here, buddy.
      -hilah

  18. Stephen Smith on August 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    HILAH!!!!! I’m in a bit of a pickle (yeah I just said that.) I live in a small Alberta town and they are stupid grocery stores and they don’t sell sausage meat in a tube (all we got is packs of Italian Johnsonville Sausage Meat and that is NOT good for a sausage gravy) so I am wondering if you had a lovely recipe for a nice sausage, particularly for those of us who are meat grinder impaired. It would be incredibly lovely of you if you perchance had one.

    • Vince on August 14, 2012 at 9:12 am

      Stephen, if you have a butcher shop nearby you can get a pork butt (aka Boston Butt) and have them grind it for you. See if they also carry Leggs Old Plantation sausage seasoning, if they do just follow the directions on the package. If not google sausage seasoning recipes, I just found a bunch of them. Try to find one that contains ground sage.

    • Hilah on August 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      Hi Stephen! Well, that is sad news indeed! Like Vince said, yes, if you can get some ground pork, do that. I’ve made breakfast sausage once before and this is what I used:
      1 pound ground pork
      1 teaspoon salt
      1 teaspoon dried ground sage (again, like Vince said, this is the important spice to make it taste “breakfasty”)
      1 clove garlic, minced
      1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
      Just mix it all up with your hands. You could also add red pepper flakes for more heat or a little brown sugar for some sweet. Hope that works for you!

  19. Bill Jones on December 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Hi Hilah, love your videos and your style. Quick question. I noticed you used a cast iron skillet in the gravy video. I pretty much use cast iron exclusively in all my cooking and I was wondering what brand you used that appears to have a “non hot” handle? What kind of material is the handle coating made of?
    Thanks,
    Bill

    • Hilah on December 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Bill!
      I think that skillet is my old Wagner. The handle still gets hot, but the Wagners had (they don’t make them anymore, but you can sometimes find them used) more ergonomic handles that are longer and have a little curve to them. I think that makes them much easier to handle than Lodge, whose handles are short and straight.

  20. Dante Trimble on April 27, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks, It came out perfect, I almost didn’t have any left for me in this greedy house.

    • Hilah on April 27, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Hahaha! Thanks, Dante. Your comment literally made me laugh out loud for several seconds. 🙂

  21. royeh on January 14, 2015 at 2:57 am

    Thanks for these cooking vids. I raised my kid by myself from 6yrs old, but she never got interested much in cooking. Now that she’s married to a hard working former Texan, she’s been getting into it, & thanks to the links to your vids I send to her, she’s starting to have fun with it.

    • Hilah on January 14, 2015 at 8:43 am

      That is so wonderful to hear, Royeh! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  22. Ammar Brohi on June 14, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    I tried this recipe, but I was having flour taste in my mouth, and its taste was so awful. I washed my mouth couple of times to remove the taste.

    Can you let me know, If that ever happened to you?

    Thanks,
    Ammar

    • Hilah on June 15, 2015 at 9:14 am

      Hi Ammar,
      No I have not had that experience. Sounds like you need to cook the flour longer. It needs to smell “cooked” before you add milk. It will smell a little bit like toast and take on a light gold color when it’s ready.

  23. Deanna on September 24, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Hi Hilah,

    I tried your recipe, except I made a couple of tweaks to it. I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil. The sausage I used was pumpkin spice chicken sausages. Plus I added some cinnamon to the gravy. I think due to the low fat content of the chicken sausages, my gravy was very liquidy. But it was still delicious, so thank you for the recipe.

    I even made of a YouTube video of me making the gravy on my channel:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDr-dCIfBM0

    • Hilah on September 24, 2015 at 9:01 am

      Very interesting tweaks, Deanna! 🙂

  24. Syed Aashir Hussain on May 18, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Awesome ..

  25. Kevin on January 22, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    In your side notes you have removing the sausage from the pan before making the gravy. I just leave the meat (I also sometimes use hamburger or bacon) in the pan while making the gravy. it doesn’t seem to affect the gravy texture.

    • Hilah on January 23, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Hey Kevin!
      I like to take it out so I can be sure there’s no lumps in the gravy (that aren’t sausage lumps) but if that works for you, that’s great!

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