Easy Rich Onion Gravy Recipe

Onion Gravy
The Spruce
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 1 jar (16 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
29 Calories
2g Fat
2g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 jar (16 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 29
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 90mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 1g
Calcium 7mg 1%
*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.)

The ultimate in comfort food must be any meat dish, or meat and creamy mashed potatoes smothered in a rich, onion gravy. The bringing together of sweet onions and a dark rich sauce—which is both sweet and savory—is a classic of both the British and Irish kitchens. 

This recipe for onion gravy is so quick and simple to make and is perfect with bangers (sausages) and mash, most roast meats, slathered on a toad in the hole or as a filling for Yorkshire puddings.


  • 2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or cold-pressed rapeseed oil)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (room-temperature)
  • 2 medium red onions (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon ice butter (cold)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Sticky rich onion gravy ingredients.
     The Spruce 
  2. Melt the oil and butter in a large saucepan over a gentle heat to ensure the butter does not burn.

    Butter in a sauce pan
    The Spruce
  3. Add the thinly sliced onions to the pan and cover with a lid.

    Onions and butter in saucepan
    The Spruce
  4. Cook slowly for approximately 10 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent, again, taking care not to burn them. The onions should not be browned but instead just melted and soft.

    Gently cooked onions
    The Spruce
  5. Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar to the onions and stir well to ensure the onions are coated. Cover again with the lid and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, again making sure they don't burn.

    Sauteed onions in a sauce pan
    The Spruce
  6. Add the beef stock to the pan and stir well. Boil gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

    Beef stock and onions in a sauce pan
    The Spruce
  7. In a heatproof jar (you can even use a mug) or bowl mix the cornstarch with the cold water to create a thin, lump-free paste.

    Cornstarch and water mixture
    The Spruce
  8. Pour a little of the hot gravy into the starch mixture and shake or mix thoroughly.

    Gravy and starch mixture
    The Spruce 
  9. Pour the starch mixture back into the gravy. Raise the heat to high and boil hard for 10 minutes or until the gravy is slightly thickened. 

    Gravy mixture in a sauce pan
    The Spruce
  10. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.

    Finished sticky onion gravy with seasoning
    The Spruce
  11. Serve and enjoy!


  • The best onions to use are red onions because they provide just the right amount of sweetness without making the gravy too cloyingly sweet.
  • If you prefer a slightly sharper flavor, then use a standard yellow or even a white onion.
  • You can also use large shallots, if you like, which will create a much softer finished gravy. 
  • To create an optional shine on the gravy take 1 teaspoon of ice cold butter and whisk it into the finished gravy before serving. The butter will add even more flavor and make the sauce glossy. 
  • This is such a snap to make, why not make double, even triple the quantity? Use what you need, then freeze the rest in 1-cup portions.
  • The gravy freezes so well and will keep for up to three months. Simply defrost in a pan or the microwave.