Turkey Neck Gravy: Perfect Classic Sauce

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Turkey neck gravy is a classic sauce that elevates the flavors of various dishes, especially during holiday feasts like Thanksgiving or Christmas. It harnesses the rich flavors of dark meat from turkey necks, often underestimated parts of the bird that are filled with the potential to infuse gravies and broths with depth and savoriness. The process of making this gravy involves browning the turkey necks to unlock their flavors followed by simmering with aromatic herbs and vegetables to create a hearty broth.

The foundation of a robust turkey neck gravy lies in crafting a flavorful broth and then thickening it with a roux, a mixture of flour and fat cooked to the perfect consistency. For those who prefer to keep it traditional, turkey drippings can be included to bring an extra layer of taste derived directly from the roasted bird. This approach connects the gravy to the main dish through shared flavor profiles. Additionally, including giblets in the recipe is a choice that further intensifies the gravy’s richness but can be omitted depending on personal preference or dietary restrictions.

Serving turkey neck gravy can transform an ordinary meal into an extraordinary culinary experience, complementing everything from the Thanksgiving turkey to mashed potatoes and dressing. It provides not just a sauce, but a blend of tastes that brings warmth and comfort to a meal shared with loved ones. As home cooks prepare for festive gatherings, mastering the art of turkey neck gravy becomes a valued skill that promises to make every holiday dinner memorable.

Why You Will Love This Turkey Neck Gravy Recipe

This Turkey Neck Gravy exemplifies homemade comforts with a savory depth of flavor. It transforms the often-overlooked neck and giblets of a turkey into a rich and tasteful addition to any meal.


The essential ingredients for Turkey Neck Gravy include:

  • Turkey necks and giblets: Utilizing these parts maximizes flavors and ensures minimal waste.
  • Butter or fat from roasted turkey drippings: Acts as a base for the roux and adds richness.
  • Flour: Combined with fat, this thickens the gravy.
  • Broth (chicken or turkey): Creates the base of the gravy.
  • Seasonings: Salt, black pepper, sage, thyme, poultry seasoning, and rosemary impart a classic homemade flavor profile.


Required instruments for preparing the gravy:

  • Saucepan: To cook and simmer the ingredients.
  • Fine-mesh sieve or sieve: To strain the broth for a smooth texture.
  • Wooden spoon: Essential for stirring and incorporating the roux.

How to Make Turkey Neck Gravy

The steps to create turkey neck gravy involve a few key actions:

  1. Brown turkey necks and giblets in fat for a foundational flavor.
  2. Simmer with herbs, carrots, and bay leaves to create a flavorful stock.
  3. Strain the mixture using a sieve to obtain a clear broth.
  4. Roux: Cook equal parts butter and flour to form a base for thickening the gravy.
  5. Gradually whisk in the broth to the roux and continue to cook until thickened.
  6. Season with salt and black pepper to taste, adding additional fresh herbs for a burst of flavor.

Ingredient Substitute

When creating Turkey Neck Gravy, there are numerous substitutes and variations one can employ to tailor the recipe to specific dietary needs or available ingredients. The foundation of traditional gravy typically requires fat and drippings obtained from a roasted turkey, but alternatives are available.

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For those seeking a lower-fat option, turkey drippings can be replaced with a combination of broth and a roux made from butter and flour. Should butter not be suitable, olive oil or other vegetable oils offer a healthier fat choice. If a gluten-free gravy is desired, all-purpose flour can be swapped for cornstarch or rice flour to thicken the sauce.

For a vegetarian version, omit turkey drippings and necks altogether and opt for a high-quality vegetable broth. Enhance this stock’s flavor by including savory herbs or sautéed aromatic vegetables like onions, garlic, and celery.

In recipes calling for spices, the cook has the flexibility to adjust to taste. The traditional poultry seasoning could be substituted with individual herbs such as sage, thyme, and rosemary. Moreover, those looking for a bit of sweetness might explore adding a touch of caramelized onions or a dash of apple cider.

Below is a concise table summarizing potential substitutions:

Traditional IngredientSubstitute OptionNotes
Turkey DrippingsBroth + olive oilChoose vegetable broth for a vegetarian option.
Butter (for roux)Olive oilOffers a healthier fat choice.
All-Purpose FlourCornstarch/Rice FlourEssential for gluten-free gravy.
Poultry SeasoningIndividual herbsSage, thyme, and rosemary can customize the flavor profile.
Ground Black PepperWhite PepperOffers a slightly different taste and appearance.

These substitutions and variations ensure that Turkey Neck Gravy remains as an inclusive dish, providing the opportunity for all to savor its rich flavors regardless of dietary restrictions or personal preference.

What To Serve With Turkey Neck Gravy

Turkey neck gravy complements a myriad of dishes, enhancing the overall dining experience, particularly during Thanksgiving. A staple at this festive gathering is mashed potatoes, which marry perfectly with the savory richness of the gravy. The creamy texture of the potatoes serves as an ideal canvas for the gravy’s deep flavors.

In addition to mashed potatoes, stuffing is another classic side dish that benefits from a generous drizzle of turkey neck gravy. The herbs and bread in the stuffing absorb the gravy, creating a mouthwatering combination. This ensures each bite is moist and flavorful.

Beyond Thanksgiving, turkey neck gravy can be enjoyed year-round. It’s versatile enough to be paired with a variety of side dishes, catering to different tastes and preferences. For instance, roasted vegetables can be transformed with a splash of gravy, gaining a new dimension of taste.

It’s clear that turkey neck gravy is not just a side dish but a culinary enhancer that elevates traditional Thanksgiving meals and everyday dishes alike. Whether it’s lathered over mashed potatoes or mixed into stuffing, the gravy’s presence is undeniable, promising to satisfy the palates of all who indulge in its rich, savory essence.

How To Store Turkey Neck Gravy

Proper storage of turkey neck gravy ensures its quality and safety for later use. Once the gravy has cooled, refrigerator storage is the next step. Pour the gravy into an airtight container to maintain freshness. In the refrigerator, it stays in optimal condition for 3-4 days.

For longer storage, placing the gravy in the freezer is an effective solution. Use freezer-safe containers or bags, and be sure to label them with the date of storage. The turkey neck gravy can be frozen for up to 4 months. When ready to use, defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Preparing gravy ahead of time can be a time-saver. To do so, follow the same steps for refrigerating or freezing, ensuring the gravy is sealed properly to preserve taste and prevent contamination. Make-ahead gravy simplifies meal planning, especially for holiday gatherings.

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For reheating, transfer the gravy to a saucepan, warming it over low heat. It may be necessary to add a bit of broth or water to reach the desired consistency. Whether preparing for immediate use or for a future meal, these storage tips guarantee that turkey neck gravy remains a delightful and safe addition to any dish.

Is Turkey Neck Gravy Healthy?

Making turkey neck gravy can be considered a moderately nutritious choice, depending on the preparation method and ingredients. Typically, turkey necks themselves provide a good source of protein. However, the gravy may contain varying levels of fat.

The healthfulness of the gravy largely depends on the amount of fat used. Standard recipes often call for the drippings from roasted turkey which includes fat. To create a low-fat option, one could use less of the fat and substitute with a low-fat broth or water.

Nutrient-rich vegetables such as onions, carrots, and celery often feature in turkey neck gravy, offering vitamins and minerals. Including these can enhance the nutritional profile.

Gravy is generally high in sodium, and as such, should be consumed in moderation. To make it healthier, cooks can limit the salt added and use low-sodium broth.

Here is a brief breakdown of the nutritional content:

  • Protein: Essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • Fat: Use of drippings affects the fat content. Substitute with low-fat broth to reduce.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Vegetables add vitamins A and C, along with minerals like iron.
  • Sodium: Can be high; opt for low-sodium options to improve healthiness.

In summary, turkey neck gravy can be part of a nutritious diet if prepared with attention to the fat and sodium content.

Nutrition Facts

When exploring the nutritional content of turkey neck gravy, one finds that it is both flavorful and carries various nutritional elements.

Calories: A typical serving of turkey neck gravy may contain around 121 calories. These calories provide the energy required for daily activities.

Macronutrients in gravy are key to understanding its nutritional value:

  • Total Fat: Approximately 5g, which includes different types of fats that contribute to the texture and taste.
    • Saturated Fat: Estimated at 1.5g, a type of fat to consume in moderation.
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: Around 1.2g, often considered a “healthier” fat.
    • Monounsaturated Fat: Close to 2.1g, another fat that can be beneficial when consumed wisely.
  • Cholesterol: It contains about 4.8mg per serving, a small percentage of the daily value.
  • Sodium: At about 1373mg, it is significant, suggesting moderation in intake.
  • Total Carbohydrates: Constitutes 12g, which includes fiber and sugars.
    • Dietary Fiber: Approximately 1g, fiber is critical for digestive health.
    • Sugars: A minimal 0.5g, not adding much to the sweet flavor profile.
  • Protein: Offers 6.2g, essential for body repair and maintenance.

Micronutrients present are less significant but contribute to overall nutrition:

  • Vitamin D: 0mcg, not contributing to the daily intake.
  • Calcium: About 9.5mg, offering a small addition to bone health.

In summary, turkey neck gravy presents a range of macronutrients and micronutrients, each serving its purpose in a balanced diet. With its caloric and sodium content, it’s best enjoyed in moderation.

turkey neck gravy

Homemade Turkey Neck Gravy

Learn to craft a rich and flavorful turkey neck gravy, perfect for holiday feasts or everyday meals. This recipe utilizes turkey necks and giblets to create a savory sauce that elevates any dish.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Sauce, Gravy, sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 121 kcal


  • Saucepan
  • Fine-mesh sieve or sieve
  • Wooden spoon


  • In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add turkey necks and giblets (if using), and brown them on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  • Add chopped onion, carrots, and celery to the saucepan, along with sage, thyme, poultry seasoning, rosemary, and bay leaves. Cook for another 5 minutes, until vegetables are softened.
  • Pour in the broth, ensuring it covers the turkey necks and vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 1-3 hours, until turkey necks are tender and flavors are infused.
  • Remove turkey necks, giblets, and vegetables from the saucepan, and strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve or sieve into a separate container. Discard solids.
  • In the same saucepan, melt remaining butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour to create a roux, and cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden.
  • Gradually pour in the strained broth, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Continue to cook until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency, about 5-10 minutes.
  • Season gravy with salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Serve turkey neck gravy hot over mashed potatoes, stuffing, or your favorite holiday dishes.


Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 121
  • Total Fat: 5g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 2.1g
  • Cholesterol: 4.8mg
  • Sodium: 1373mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 0.5g
  • Protein: 6.2g
Keyword Turkey Neck Gravy, Turkey Neck Gravy Recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses common inquiries about turkey neck gravy, providing guidance on its preparation without pan drippings, simplifying the method, making it ahead of time, optimal cooking duration, alternative uses for turkey necks, and the best thickening agents.

How can I make turkey neck gravy without using pan drippings?

One can make turkey neck gravy without pan drippings by simmering the necks in broth to create a rich stock. This stock forms the base of the gravy, eliminating the need for pan drippings.

What is a simple method for preparing turkey neck gravy?

A simple method involves browning the turkey necks first, then adding them to a pot with aromatics like onion, carrot, and celery. The mixture is then simmered to extract maximum flavor, forming the foundation for the gravy.

Can you provide a recipe for make-ahead turkey neck gravy?

Certainly. One can prepare turkey neck gravy in advance by following a standard recipe—cooking the necks and aromatics, then straining the stock. After cooling, store it in the refrigerator. On the desired day, reheat and thicken the stock to complete the gravy.

How long should turkey necks be boiled to make a flavorful gravy?

Turkey necks should be boiled for at least one hour to ensure a flavorful stock. However, for a deeper flavor, extending the simmering time up to three hours is beneficial.

Apart from making gravy, what uses are there for turkey necks?

Besides gravy, turkey necks can be used in soups, stews, or slow-cooked dishes. Their rich flavor enhances any meal that requires a flavorful broth.

For thickening turkey gravy, should I use cornstarch or flour, and why?

For thickening turkey gravy, one might choose flour for a classic roux-based gravy or cornstarch for a gluten-free option. Flour provides a velvet-like consistency, while cornstarch offers a glossy finish and requires less cooking time.


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Carolina Gomez

Hi there! My name is Carolina Gomez and I am a food enthusiast and recipe writer with a focus on healthy cooking. I have always loved trying new recipes and experimenting with different ingredients, but it wasn’t until I started paying more attention to the impact that my food choices had on my health that I really fell in love with cooking.

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