Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to Make Gluten-Free Gravy

Making gluten-free gravy is so simple. No need to add butter and make a roux. I have a few tips for creating rich, flavorful pan juices from cooking a bird, whether it be a turkey or chicken. These photos use a local, pastured, organic chicken, but I cook a whole turkey the same way using a larger stainless steel roasting pan. And if you want nothing to do with cooking a turkey this year then check out my recipe for this vegetarian main dish: Butternut Squash Casserole with Sage and Shallots.

To create rich pan juices, place your rinsed bird in a glass baking pan (9 x 13-inch for chicken or 10 x 14-inch for turkey). Chop up a large onion and a few stalks of celery. Toss them with a few teaspoons of Herbamare. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the celery and onions. If you are cooking a turkey you can use your favorite gluten-free stuffing recipe. I use my Wild Rice Stuffing.

Place the remainder of the celery and onions around the bird in the bottom of the pan. Add plenty of sprigs of fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, sage, and marjoram. Add a few chopped carrots and a whole head of garlic, cut in half cross-wise.

If you are cooking a turkey, I also like to add chunks of tart apples, such as Granny smith, under the turkey on the bottom of the pan. You can also layer fresh herbs under the turkey as well. Then, drizzle olive oil on top of the bird and generously season with Herbamare and black pepper. Sprinkle a few herbs on top if you wish.

Fill the bottom of the pan with about 2 cups of water for a chicken and closer to 3 cups for a turkey. This will keep the bird moist during the long cooking times.

When you are ready to cook the chicken or turkey, turn the oven to 475 degrees. Place the bird in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at this temperature to seal in the juices. Then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and cook until done. About 2 hours for a 4 pound chicken. For turkey cooking times you can use this chart. Baste the turkey or chicken a few times throughout the cooking process.

How to Make Gluten-Free Gravy

Once the bird is done, remove it from the pan and place onto a board or large plate to carve. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving to let the juices go back into the meat. 

Place a fine mesh strainer over a 2-quart saucepan. Pour the pan juices, vegetables and all into the strainer. Use a large spoon to press the veggies into the strainer to get all the juices and flavors into the saucepan. Discard the veggies and herbs into your compost.

I usually just eye it and don't measure. So if you don't make gravy that often I would suggest pouring the pan juices into a 2 or 4-cup liquid glass measuring cup to see what you have. Add water or stock until you reach 1, 2, or 3 cups to get an even measurement if needed.

Use 1 tablespoon of sweet rice flour or arrowroot power per 1 cup of pan juices. I prefer using superfine sweet rice flour. This is what was used in the photos here. For a slightly thinner gravy use 1 tablespoon flour per 1.5 cups pan juices.

If you let the pan juices cool to room temp you can simply whisk the flour right in. If the pan juices are hot, then pour the flour into a small bowl and whisk in a little cold water to make a thin paste. Pour the paste into the saucepan with the pan juices and quickly whisk together. If you whisk in dry flour to hot liquid you will have lots of clumps.

Place the saucepan on the stove and turn heat to medium-high. Whisk the flour-paste and juices together until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with Herbamare or sea salt if needed. Serve and enjoy! 

More Healthy, Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes!

Main Dishes:
Apple Cider & Herb Brined Turkey
Orange-Pepper Salmon
Butternut Squash Casserole with Sage and Shallots

Appetizers & Beverages:
Cranberry-Orange Punch
Raw Caramel Apple Dip
Spicy Dairy-Free Tahini Dip
Quinoa Seed Crackers

Cranberry-Pear Sauce

Spiced Pumpkin Soup
Harvest Vegetable Soup
Homemade Turkey Stock

Salads & Vegetables:
Pear & Hazelnut Salad with a Creamy Cranberry Dressing
Pear & Pomegranate with an Orange Vinaigrette
Autumn Detox Salad
Christmas Kale Salad
Holiday Detox Salad
Lemon-Walnut Green Bean Salad
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Shallots & Cranberries

Gluten-Free Whole Grains & Breads:
Wild Rice Stuffing
Moroccan Quinoa Pilaf 
Pumpkin Quinoa Cornbread
Soaked Whole Grain Flatbread
Farmhouse Seed Bread

Healthy Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Desserts:
Raw Chocolate Pie
Dark Chocolate-Almond Tart with a Vegan Pastry Crust
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
Classic Pumpkin Pie
Grain-Free Pie Crust
Coconut Sugar Apple Crisp
Pumpkin Spice Cake
Grain-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes
Shortbread Cut-Out Cookies & Sweet Potato Buttercream

Have a lovely Thanksgiving dear readers! Thank you for all of your kind emails, comments, and helpful feedback...even though I don't always have time to respond, I read all of them. In the spirit of giving, next month will be filled with fabulous giveaways. I have a few fantastic cookbooks and other products to share with you!

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. If the gravy is a bit light in color - a small pinch of two of instant coffee deepens the color.

  2. Ali, these are perfect tips. I always mix my starch and cool liquid separate and then add it into the juices, but only did it because that is what my mom always does. LOL I did not realize adding it directly to hot juices is what causes it to get lumpy!! This is such a helpful list of ideas. Thanks so much for sharing these today! ;)

  3. I was just thinking about how I was going to make gravy, something i don't do that often. Thank you for the easy tips! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  4. Ali, your cooking tips are always so precise and easy to follow. I love the pictures too! I opened the website to get the pumpkin cake recipe, apple pie, and quinoa crackers for my contribution to dinner tomorrow. I will try the gravy techniques this weekend!
    Have a very Happy Thanksgiving ~ your menu looks fantastic!

  5. Thanks for the tips, Ali. I agree, the sweet rice flour is the best thickening agent. I just made the dressing for your Pear and Hazelnut Salad from your cookbook. Delicious! We'll enjoy it tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. do you have any opinions about brining birds?

  7. Great instructions, Ali! I'm no big on gravy, but I have made it when a recipe calls for it. I used sweet rice flour, too, because I'd read it worked so well ... and it does. I've also done the roux method with no problems, but keeping the gravy simpler and dairy free sounds good to me! :-)

    Happy Thanksgiving Eve! I always like the Eves of holidays ... all the anticipation. ;-)


  8. This post is a keeper. I am bookmarking it. I'm not hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year but I might just have to make a chicken for the family sometime this week so I can try this. Thanks so much, Ali. Have a wonderful holiday.

  9. Ali, I really appreciate your thorough, but still simple, directions. Thank you for that! You (and Tom) are on my list (literally) of the things I am grateful for this season. Have a wonderful, joyous holiday!

  10. Wow, there are some fantastic recipe ideas on here - i really like the recipe for the pumkin quinoa cornbread. Have a great thanksgiving!

  11. I love gravy, especially for the turkey. This is also my favorite way to make gravy. I use the arrowroot to thicken it. Great post!

  12. Do NOT compost veggies that have meat juices on them !! :(
    THREW away the veggies- why? that's the best part, lol

  13. Anon - I usually just roast a chicken with chopped onions (with the skins) and celery plus whole herb sprigs - so we don't eat them once they have served their purpose. We do compost them along with chicken bones in our city compost. We have a Food Plus garbage can that is the same size as our garbage. They come every other week and take it. We can put in all yard waste, paper products, kitchen scraps, including meat. We have a backyard compost that takes veggie and fruit waste. I always forget that this system is not available to everyone! :)

  14. Hi! Just wanted to let you know I included this dish in my post, An Allergy Friendly Thanksgiving Menu -- linked back to you and everything :) Have a great holiday!

  15. Thank you for the great gluten free gravy tips. I would like to add a comment from Mercola's site regarding cooking with olive oil. "Extra-virgin olive oil is a good monounsaturated fat that is also well-known for its health benefits. It's a staple in healthful diets such as Mediterranean-style diets.

    However, it's important to realize it is NOT good for cooking. It should really only be used cold, typically drizzled on salads and other food.

    Due to its chemical structure and a large amount of unsaturated fats, cooking makes extra-virgin olive oil very susceptible to oxidative damage..."

  16. I love this recipe! I've included a link to this page in my Thanksgiving recipe link up - thanks for sharing!


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