Traditional Beef Gravy

A pan of beef gravy.

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  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 1 jar (8 servings)

Traditional beef gravy is the best accompaniment to roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, the national dish of Great Britain. Why would you ever buy ready made gravy when making it is so easy and tastes so much better than anything you can buy?

There are a few tricks to making a great gravy. If you can, always use the delicious pan juices from your roast. Homemade stock will almost always be tastier than store-bought stock. If it's an option, use homemade stock. It doesn't matter what type of red wine (or port) you use in the recipe. As long as it is a wine you'd drink, that works fine. In fact, it's a nice conversation starter to use the wine you are serving at dinner. In addition to those tips, then all you need are a few simple ingredients and your Sunday roast or supper dish will be transformed by tasty homemade gravy. 

Store any leftover gravy in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Once it cools, the fat will likely separate when it's cooled. Gently stir it as your warm it in a saucepan to reheat it. Serve the leftover gravy with any leftover meat or give it a new life as a dressing for tasty sandwiches or a decadent topping to homemade steak fries. Leftover gravy can also be frozen. Defrost it on the counter or in the refrigerator and then gently rewarm it.


  • 1 cup pan juices from roast meat (more or less; see note below)
  • 1/2 glass red wine or port
  • 1 pint/500 mL meat or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. butter (ice-cold (put in the freezer for an hour before use)

Steps to Make It

  1. Once the roast meat is cooked, remove it from the oven, wrap loosely in aluminum foil, and leave on one side to rest. Pour away any excess fat.

  2. Place the roasting pan on the stovetop over high heat until the meat juices begin to bubble, taking care not to burn the juice (or the pan) as it bubbles up quickly

  3. Pour in the red wine and scrape all the juices from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. All of the fond (the bits at the bottom of the pan) will impact their meaty flavor to the sauce. Allow this mixture to bubble until it is reduced to a sticky, concentrated glaze. Do not leave the pan unattended, as the reduction happens very quickly and can quickly burn.

  4. Add the stock to the sauce and stir thoroughly to incorporate the stock into the reduced glaze.

  5. Once it is fully mixed, strain the gravy through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Bring this mixture to a gentle boil and reduce it by one-third.

  6. Once the gravy is reduced, add the butter in tiny pieces, shaking the pan gently until all the butter is melted and fully incorporated into the sauce. Adding the ice-cold butter not only adds flavor and richness, but it also gives the gravy a glossy shine. 

  7. Check the resting meat to see if it has given up any more meat juices (beef and lamb often will as the meat relaxes). Add these juices to the gravy and give it another quick boil. 

  8. Keep warm until needed, then strain into a warmed sauceboat.