Old-Fashioned Southern Tomato Gravy

Old-Fashioned Southern Tomato Gravy Recipe recipe, tomato gravy in a white bowl

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 12 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 27 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
88 Calories
2g Fat
14g Carbs
3g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 88
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 436mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 3g
Calcium 42mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Southern tomato gravy is incredibly delicious, and it is amazing on split, buttered biscuits. Tomato gravy is also an excellent way to use a glut of garden-fresh tomatoes.

Bacon drippings or butter and flour make the roux for this simple tomato gravy. Serve the gravy over freshly baked biscuits, mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta. The sauce would be delicious with cooked green beans or slices of meatloaf as well. It's a versatile sauce with lots of possible flavor additions.

A few tablespoons of tomato paste is included in the sauce, but if you are using garden-fresh, in-season tomatoes, the extra flavor boost might not be necessary. Some milk or cream makes for a creamy sauce, but stock or water may be used for a lighter sauce.


  • 2 large tomatoes (peeled, cored, and chopped)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (low-sodium or unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup bacon drippings (or butter, or a combination)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 1 cup milk (or cream, water, or more broth)
  • Optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste (or to taste)
  • 1 dash kosher salt
  • 1 dash freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Garnish: fresh parsley (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Old-Fashioned Southern Tomato Gravy ingredients
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Put the chopped tomatoes in a saucepan with 1 cup of chicken stock. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

    tomatoes and chicken stock in a sauce pan on a burner
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer the tomatoes while you prepare the roux.

    simmering tomato and stock mixture on low heat
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Put the bacon drippings or butter in a medium saucepan and place it over medium-low heat.

    bacon drippings in a sauce pan on medium-low heat
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. When the fat has melted and the foaming subsides, add the flour.

    flour and bacon fat in a sauce pan on low heat
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Cook, whisking constantly until the roux is just light brown. It should be about the color of peanut butter. Don't let it burn.

    light brown roux in a sauce pan with a wooden spoon
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the simmering tomato and broth mixture.

    roux and tomato mixture together in a sauce pan with a wooden spoon
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Return the tomato mixture to the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of milk, cream, water, or stock.

    roux and tomato mixture mixed with milk in a sauce pan with a wooden spoon
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  9. Whisk in tomato paste, to taste, along with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring until hot and bubbling.

    tomato paste added into the Old-Fashioned Southern Tomato Gravy in a sauce pan, with a wooden spoon
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  10. Garnish the sauce with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley and serve.


  • Serve the gravy over hot baked and buttered biscuits or use it as a sauce for pasta, rice, meatloaf, grits, or potatoes and garnish with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley and more pepper, if desired.
  • Try making Louisiana-style roux if you would like to learn more about roux preparation.

Recipe Variations

  • Substitute 1 can of good quality diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes (finely chopped) for the fresh tomatoes.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder or a few tablespoons of finely chopped onion to the simmering tomatoes and chicken broth.
  • Add a few tablespoons of finely chopped bell pepper to the simmering tomatoes and chicken broth.
  • Add 1 small clove of finely minced garlic or 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder to the simmering tomatoes.
  • Chop a rib of celery and add it to the simmering tomatoes.