Thursday, November 3, 2011

Good Brown Gravy

As everybody knows, in the South gravy is considered almost a beverage... at least a necessity alongside most meals.

I make great cream gravy, sausage gravy, red-eye gravy (or as my grandmother called it, red-bottom gravy), and at Thanksgiving I even make pretty good turkey gravy... but I'm not so good at beef gravy, or brown gravy... it usually ends up looking and tasting pretty much like cream gravy... and it's never the rich brown color I am trying to achieve. I don't know what my problem is. There are several recipes I make that I want a good, rich, brown gravy... my shepherd's pie, hamburger steak... to name a couple.

In the past I've gone with store bought jars of brown gravy, or those little envelopes of gravy mix, just add water. I've found a pretty tasty... and much less expensive alternative to my lack of gravy making skills... it's an instant powdered gravy you can make up in large batches and store in a good ol' Mason jar, spooning out the amount needed for any given recipe. It also works nicely for thickening soups and stews. It's not a perfect solution... it's not particularly healthy (what gravy is really!?!) and it's far from "all-natural," but it works for us. We like it.

Here's my version of instant gravy mix... in quantity!...

I mix (and this recipe is easily doubled, tripled... or more)...

1-2/3 cup cornstarch
6 Tablespoons (low sodium) beef bouillon powder (I admit, most of the time I don't use the low sodium kind)
4 teaspoons instant coffee crystals (gives the gravy a nice brown color)
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (sometimes I use white pepper, I like the flavor)
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Simply combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight container (I use a wide mouth quart canning jar).

To make gravy, measure 3 Tablespoons mix into a saucepan. Add 1-1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil and simmer for one minute... instant gravy!

This stuff is great to have on hand... and if you are into long term storage items... it'll keep pretty much forever!

For a printable copy of this recipe click here.


  1. Oh this sounds good, I use the cream mix to use in soup, gravy whatever... and the LTS is great!!! Thanks G.C. BTW canning MORE pumpkin this evening when they are a buck you might as well get ahead !

  2. Thanks Gerty! And yay for pumpkins!!! ~~Granny

  3. Gotta try this, daughter is on gluten free diet! thanks

  4. Hey an effort to learn something new every day..what on earth is red-eye gravy and what do you use it on? =)

    Thanks for this mix...I have been trying to eliminate buying things with "excess" ingredients/and excess trips to the grocery store for items I might be able to make at home!

  5. Zanesmomma... red-eye gravy (or as my Granny called it, red-bottom gravy) is basically ham drippings... you fry your country ham (bacon can work too) and then take the meat out of the pan, then get the drippings and bits of ham that is stuck to the pan super hot... then add about 3/4 cup of day old coffee and stir it around to deglaze the pan and get all those yummy bits loose... sometimes you can add a teaspoon of brown sugar after you add the coffee and just stir it until it cooks down a bit and the bottom of the liquid will look reddish... I think it's an old South "poor man's gravy" that evolved into a Southern standard... we pour it over biscuits or grits usually... or over scrambled eggs or toast. ~~Granny

  6. Granny, My Mother (Southern born and died Southern ) never used coffee to make red-eye
    gravy. After frying ham, bacon or breakfast sausage. drained most of the grease off. then got that iron skillet almost smoking and added water (if she was serving 6 or 8)
    she added about a cup of water. Let it simmer about 1 minute. Oh My--That was good.

  7. Hi Granny, I will make some of that mix THIS week! Going to search your site for biscuit and cake mixes, too!

    I still work full time so I "make ahead" as much as possible. Since I am only cooking for my husband and myself, 1 cup of gravy is more than enough for most meals so I can my gravy in 1/2 pint jars.

    I am going to try a slightly different version of your gravy mix... Some time ago I bought 50 lbs of Clear Gel (which I share generously with like-minded people (Per USDA, Clear Gel is the only safe thickener for home canning. It's a "modified corn starch"). You use 1 1/2 times as much Clear Gel as corn starch your recipe calls for, so I'll use 2.5 cups. Also, a little secret I learned from my Mom 50+ years ago: Kitchen Bouquet Browning & Seasoning Sauce. It's wonderful! About 1/4 tsp per cup of water/broth you're using makes the gravy a dark, rich color (without the coffee crystals--which I think is a great idea!) and super flavor.

    Clear Gel is also great if you want to make and can your own pie filling when apples, peaches, etc, go on sale

    Thanks for an awesome site! I just discovered it today, have bookmarked and will most certainly return MANY times! :)

    Li'l Jo

  8. So clever and much cheaper than store bought! My husband wants brown gravy with everything but since I wasn't raised as a big gravy eater, I always forget to put it on my grocery list!

  9. Dont have onion powder, think onion salt will be too much??????

    1. Should be fine especially if you use the low sodium bouillon. ~~Granny

    2. the brown gravy is best made with cornstarch to get the texture like the jarred stuff, also Kitchen Browning Sauce - sold in the spice area - is perfect for getting that golden brown look. The sauce is almost black so a little goes a long way.

  10. If you can make all those graveys you certainly can make a good brown gravy. Do your usual amont of oil in pan you cooked the beef, add the same amount of flour you would for other gravy only now you lower heat so not to burn the flour, it will be bubbling as usual, stir constant til as brown as you like then add the water or beef stock,stir, simmer as any gravy til consistency is gravy.can't come outwrong unle you brow tuo igh of heat and burns the flour. Enjoy,brown gravy,don't forgey to add the salt and pepper when simmering

  11. A good method for making really rich tasting and hearty looking beef gravy is to add tomato paste. Tomato brings out the beefy flavor, as well as making the gravy a more vibrant shade of brown.

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  13. Can I put my sasuage gravy in jars canning with pressure cooker

  14. Can I put my sasuage gravy in jars canning with pressure cooker

  15. Can I put my sasuage gravy in jars canning with pressure cooker

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  17. I just made it. And using it for the first time.It smells like the store bought version. I,m excited I can hardly wait. Thank You so Much.

  18. Can I make this without the coffee crystals cause my mom don't like coffee and she'd freak out if her gravy had a coffee taste wear as i'd love the coffee flavor or maybe make one without and one with...Thanks in advance for a response


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