Mixed with bold garlic and hearty beef broth, this homemade beef gravy makes a decadent addition to mashed potatoes, steak, meatloaf, and dozens of other beef dishes.
Making brown gravy with beef broth is a surefire way to add a creamy, seasoned taste to dozens of tasty dishes. My easy beef gravy pairs with everything from roast beef to Rosemary Mashed Potatoes to beef tenderloin, and it only takes minutes to make. Say goodbye to stressful holiday dinner prep and start making gravy using my easy recipe.
Before we start, please note that people refer to beef gravy using various terms, such as brown gravy, dark gravy, and beef stock gravy. Essentially, all these terms refer to the same thing, which is gravy made with beef stock, broth, or pan drippings leftover from cooking beef.
To make this homemade brown gravy recipe, you only need a handful of simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. I prefer to prepare this dish with Low-Sodium Beef Broth (affiliate link), though you can also use my recipe for homemade Chicken Stock in a pinch and skip the grocery store altogether.
You can also use beef stock instead of beef broth if you prefer making gravy from beef stock. Beef stock tends to have a thicker, milder flavor than beef broth, but you can use the two interchangeably in this recipe.
- To make beef gravy with cornstarch: To make this quick gravy, you’ll need cornstarch, butter, beef broth, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper. And if you need to make this recipe gluten-free, you can use arrowroot starch instead of cornstarch.
- To make brown broth gravy with flour, simply use the same ingredients except for all-purpose flour instead of cornstarch. You may also use gluten-free flour for a gluten-free gravy recipe.
- Homemade beef gravy with drippings: If you prefer making gravy from drippings, save the drippings from a pot roast, steak, beef roast, prime rib, beef tenderloin, or another beef dish for future use. Then, for every 2 cups of broth, use 2-3 tablespoons of pan juices instead of butter. In some cases, you might not have as much at the bottom of the pan. If that is the case, you can use a combination of butter and pan drippings.
- Beef gravy with bouillon: No beef broth? No problem! You can easily make beef gravy with bouillon cubes instead of broth. I recommend using one beef bouillon cube or one teaspoon of Better Than Boullion (affiliate link) for every cup of hot water. To give your make-ahead beef gravy recipe extra rich flavor, you can also use an equal mix of beef and chicken bouillon.
How to Make Brown Gravy Without Drippings?
Most people make brown gravy from pot roast, steak, beef tenderloin, and even bacon drippings. However, there are dozens of other tasty solutions if you don’t have drippings. For me, this is usually the case when I want to make it ahead of time and have it ready for serving.
Below, you’ll find two methods to make a homemade beef gravy recipe without drippings. The first is made with flour and the second is made with cornstarch:
If you’re a fan of bold flavor, making gravy with beef broth and flour is the way to go. Slightly browned butter gives the mixture a rich, caramelized flavor, while its flour base helps the classic brown gravy store and reheat better.
The most important thing when it comes to making DIY beef gravy with flour is to thoroughly cook the butter and flour before adding the remaining ingredients. If you skip this step, you will end up with beef gravy with raw flour taste, and let’s face it, no one wants that.
- Prepare the flour roux: Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan or skillet. Then, add the all-purpose flour to the pan and cook, constantly whisking, until the flour mixture turns light golden brown (~3 minutes). The secret here is to be patient as you constantly whisk the mixture with a wire whisk (affiliate link). Initially the mixture will clump up and collect on the whisk, but it should loosen and turn brown as you continue whisking.
- Thicken the beef broth: Pour the beef broth into the pan, ¼ cup at a time. Whisk it thoroughly after each pour. Once you add the beef broth, continue to whisk the liquid until it thickens (3-4 minutes).
- Add seasoning: Stir in the seasonings. Taste your beef broth flour gravy and add in more as necessary.
- Simmer the beef stock gravy: Turn the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Making beef gravy with cornstarch from scratch is quicker and easier. You use the same set of ingredients, except that you substitute plain flour with cornstarch.
- Boil the mixture: Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Once melted, stir in the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings. Bring the beef mixture to a boil, then let it simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Prepare a cornstarch slurry: While it simmers, place the cornstarch in a medium-sized ramekin or measuring bowl. Then, transfer 4 tablespoons of the hot liquid to the ramekin and whisk it until it forms a paste. If it doesn’t form a paste right away, you can add more liquid until it does.
- Thicken the beef base gravy: While whisking constantly, slowly pour the cornstarch paste into the beef mixture. Continue stirring until the gravy reaches your desired consistency (2-3 minutes). Keep a close eye on it, as this happens quickly. Please note that heating beef gravy with cornstarch for too long will thin it out. So, it is best to remove it from the heat as soon as it reaches your desired level of thickness. If it thins out, you can thicken it by making a small amount of cornstarch slurry and stirring it into the gravy.
- Serve: Transfer the quick beef gravy into a cup or gravy boat and use it in your recipe.
Making brown gravy from scratch is the easiest way to transform simple ingredients into an irresistible condiment to serve along with your favorite dishes. With a few tips and a few minutes, you can make this easy brown gravy recipe like a pro.
- Your gravy will thicken: Keep in mind that this basic beef gravy recipe will thicken as it sits. If your mixture becomes too thick, you can add a splash of beef stock or cold water while reheating it.
- Taste for seasoning: The key to making homemade brown gravy super flavorful is to ensure that it is properly seasoned. So, be sure to give it a taste and add extra seasoning as necessary. You may also enhance its flavor by adding other seasonings like fresh herbs or a splash of wine.
- Lumpy gravy: You should not end up with lumpy gravy if you are whisking it constantly. However, if your brown gravy sauce ends up having chunks of flour or cornstarch, don’t worry. You can remove them by processing the gravy with an immersion blender or running it through a strainer.
- The best equipment to use: When making beef gravy from scratch, it’s important to have the right equipment. If you choose to make brown gravy with cornstarch, I recommend using a medium saucepan (affiliate link). However, I suggest using a stainless steel skillet (affiliate link) to make beef gravy with flour, as you’ll need a wide area for browning your butter and making the roux. You’ll also need a roasting pan to prepare brown gravy with drippings.
Beef gravy ingredients generally include cornstarch or flour, butter, and beef stock as a base. If you need to make beef gravy without beef broth, you can also make it using bouillon cubes instead. After preparing the gravy base, seasonings often include onion and garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
To make thick gravy, add more cornstarch (in the form of a water-cornstarch slurry) to the pan and whisk the mixture until thoroughly blended. You could also reduce it by cooking it a little longer at a constant heat.
In addition to seasoning it with garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, you can add robust, rich flavor with other ingredients like Roasted Garlic, Garlic Butter, fresh herbs, and ground spices such as ground cumin and coriander. You can also use bacon fat instead of butter or add a splash of wine for a more complex palate.
Other Beef Recipes You Might Like
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How to Make Beef Gravy
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup cornstarch* or all-purpose flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce optional
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
To Make Brown Gravy Using Flour:
- Make the roux: Melt butter in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add the all-purpose flour and cook, whisking constantly, for about three minutes or until it turns light golden brown.*
- Add the broth: Slowly pour in the beef broth ¼ cup at a time while whisking well after each addition. Once you incorporate all of the beef broth, continue to whisk until it starts to thicken, which happens within the next 3-4 minutes.
- Add additional ingredients: Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, if using. Season it with garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add in more if necessary.
- Simmer: Turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To Make Beef Gravy Using Cornstarch:
- Combine ingredients: In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, heat butter until melted. Stir in the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce (if using), garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Make the slurry: Meanwhile, place cornstarch in a medium size ramekin (or a measuring bowl). Carefully add 4 tablespoons of the hot liquid and whisk until it forms a paste.
- Thicken the gravy: Slowly pour the cornstarch slurry into the beef mixture while constantly whisking it. Continue to whisk until it reaches your desired consistency, about 2-3 minutes. This happens so fast, so do not leave it unattended.
- Serve: Pour into a cup and use it in your recipe.
- Cooking butter and flour: Be patient when whisking together the butter and flour. Initially the mixture will clump up and collect on the whisk, but it should loosen and melt as you continue whisking.
- Color: If you are after the rich dark brown color of beef gravy, you can also add in a small cube of bouillon or a teaspoon of Better Than Boullion.
- Make ahead: You can make this beef gravy up to three days ahead of time. Be sure to bring it to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge until ready to use.
- Reheat: When it comes to reheating, you have three options:
- Microwave: Reheat in the microwave in 30-second increments (making sure to stir after each time) until it reaches your desired temperature.
- Stovetop: Reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring regularly.
- Oven: Reheat it in the oven alongside other dishes like turkey or beef roast. Remember that you might need to add more beef stock or water if your gravy is too thick.
- Store: To store leftovers, let them reach room temperature and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Freeze: You can freeze it in an airtight container for up to 2 months. When ready to use, thaw it overnight in the fridge.