Instant Pot Gravy Recipe (no drippings!) ~ Here’s my definitive guide to make ahead gravy, no drippings or giblets or stove top space required. This thick flavorful gravy can be made and kept warm for hours in the Instant Pot. Your Thanksgiving crowd will be forever grateful!
With this amazing Instant Pot gravy recipe you’ll never run out again, no matter how big your holiday hoard.
Gravy. There’s probably nothing more controversial when it comes to holiday foods. People have such intense feelings about it ~ they’re either set on recreating the gravy they grew up with, or maybe the stuff they grew up with was so atrocious they’re on a lifelong quest to make it right. It really is the distilled essence of the holidays: the long anticipation…the tense huddles over the bubbling pot…the aroma that swims through the house…culminating in that epic moment when someone passes you the gravy boat and you get to slather it all over everything ~ how can you not be passionate about gravy?
Trouble is, with all that riding on it, gravy almost always disappoints. It’s too thick, or too thin, has lumps, has no flavor, it’s too greasy, or….worst of all...there’s not enough! It’s a conundrum that nobody wants to get caught up in, so no wonder we only make gravy a couple of times a year.
But that’s such a shame, because gravy makes so many everyday foods (meatloaf, mashed potatoes, biscuits…fried chicken) so much better. Luckily I’ve figured out a way to solve these pesky problems, with the Instant Pot!
Here’s what I propose: that you make a large batch of this no drippings Instant Pot gravy a day or two before any holiday meal. Then you’ll have extra for the big day, and plenty for leftovers, too. Once you’ve done that, plan to make it the rest of the year, just because you can.
How to make Instant Pot Gravy in 5 easy steps
- Sauté onions and shallots in butter for 10-15 minutes until soft and starting to brown.
- Deglaze with dry sherry.
- Add flour and cook the roux until it turns a nutty brown, about 15 minutes.
- Add stock and herbs and let boil for another 15 minutes.
- Strain and season. You can refrigerate for another day, or put it back into the Instant Pot on the keep warm setting.
What is the Maillard Reaction, and why is it important for no-drippings gravy?
- The Maillard Reaction is a cooking term that refers to the chemical reaction between sugars and protein that happens when they’re heated ~ they brown and create intense flavors and aromas that are key to the deliciousness of lots of foods from caramel to grilled chicken.
- In gravy made from drippings the flavor comes from the browned bits on the bottom of the roasting pan. In a dripless gravy we need to get our browned bits elsewhere. In this case the onions and shallots caramelize first, and then the butter and flour mixture browns even further. We want to take that browning as far as we can without risking burning.
- I explore an interesting variation on this in my Perfect Gravy Without the Bird post, where the flour actually gets toasted to a nutty brown first before starting to make the gravy.
Whenever I make gravy I usually choose a dominant flavor to emphasize, otherwise I find it can get boring. For this quick IP gravy I chose to infuse it with lots of fresh herbs, and the flavor really comes through nicely. Fresh is key here, so grab a few different varieties at the market, or pluck them from your kitchen garden. I tie them up with twine to keep them together, but you can also leave them loose. They’ll be strained out later.
Herbs for Instant Pot Gravy
- thyme…just like the song 😉
- bay leaves, also fresh, but you can use dried.
Can I freeze Instant Pot gravy?
- Yes, it’s a great idea. Gravy will last in the freezer for up to 4 months.
- Freeze it either in zip lock freezer bags, or in an airtight storage container.
- Leave a little headspace to allow for expansion.
No Drippings Gravy troubleshooting tips
- Your gravy is too pale: if you end up with pale gravy you can always add a bit of gravy browning to it to liven up the color. Gravy browning, aka Kitchen Bouquet, or Gravy Master, is basically caramel coloring with a little seasoning, and it does wonders for a wan sauce. Try some Worcestershire sauce, too. Note: I prefer a pale gravy, so if yours tastes fine, consider leaving it as is.
- Your gravy is too thin: if you’ve got a good amount of gravy, try boiling it down to reduce and thicken it naturally. One of my favorite ways to thicken gravy at the last minute is with Wondra flour. Wondra is a fine milled flour that you can sprinkle directly into sauces, stews, and gravies to instantly thicken them without clumping. Use a little at a time until you get your desired consistency. Another option is to make a quick mixture of equal parts butter and all purpose flour, form it into a little ball, and stir this into your gravy. Note: I like my gravy on the thin side, and the worst thing you can do is over-thicken it, imo, so tread carefully.
- Your gravy is too thick: this is an easy one, just thin with more stock, wine, half and half, or, if you’re desperate, water. Whisk well and bring back up to a bubble. Taste to adjust any seasonings.
- Lumps! Don’t panic, lumps are a cinch to fix, just pour your gravy through a mesh strainer to remove any stray bits and bobs. No one’s the wiser. Another option is to blitz your gravy in a food processor or blender, just be sure to start on low speed.
- Your gravy is greasy: this is easier to fix in the early stages when you can skim off excess fat, but if your finished gravy is greasy try adding Wondra flour to absorb some of the excess. If the grease is collecting on top, use a large spoon to skim it off, or gently pat paper towels onto the surface. You can also pour the gravy into a gravy separator and pour off the grease. Remember though, grease has flavor, so don’t get rid of all of it!
- Your gravy lacks flavor: Try salt and pepper first, but if that doesn’t do the trick, I love to add a touch of Sherry wine. Small amounts of wine or cider vinegar works nicely, too. Worcestershire sauce is also wonderful for perking up flavor. If your gravy is seriously bland, consider adding a chicken bouillon cube, or powdered bouillon, but be aware that they are quite salty. Another way to go is to blast it with some fresh or dried herbs. Note: sometimes after cooking for a period of time we get desensitized to the flavors in our recipe, so ask someone else to taste for you.
Instant Pot Gravy Recipe (no drippings!)
- Instant Pot
- Plug in your Instant Pot and insert the pot. Press SAUTE and set to NORMAL, which is the medium setting.
- Add the butter and let it melt, then add the onions garlic, and shallots. Sauté for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened and starting to brown. I toggle between LOW and NORMAL so they don't burn.
- Add the Sherry to the pot and stir to combine. When the wine has been mostly evaporated, add the flour, and stir to combine. Cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring almost constantly, until the roux is a deep nutty brown. Be careful not to let it burn.
- Add the broth stir well, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Take your time here and get everything well incorporated. Add the herbs and then bring up to a boil.
- Let boil gently for about 15 minutes, toggling between LOW and NORMAL levels if necessary. Stir occasionally.
- Strain the gravy through a mesh strainer, pushing down firmly to extract all the flavor. Discard the solids. Adjust any seasonings you like.
- The gravy can be put back into the rinsed out Instant Pot and kept on the KEEP WARM setting until ready to serve. Or you can store in the refrigerator until needed.
- Makes 1 quart.