Southern Cream Gravy

Southern Cream Gravy

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
144 Calories
12g Fat
7g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 144
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 28mg 9%
Sodium 67mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 103mg 8%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 128mg 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.)

Southern cream gravy, also called country gravy or white gravy, is a light-colored pan sauce made from meat drippings, milk, and cream. Often, as in this recipe, bacon fat is used as the pan drippings. It's a quick gravy to make that just requires some careful attention.

This gravy is an essential ingredient in so many Southern dishes, and learning how to make it can only improve the dishes you serve it with. For example, it's traditional to serve with fried chicken or chicken fried steak, as well as biscuits for a down-home breakfast. You can use sausage or bacon drippings for the fat. If you'd like a thicker sawmill gravy, decrease the milk to about 1 1/2 cups.


  • 3 tablespoons pan drippings

  • 3 tablespoons flour

  • 2 1/2 cups milk

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • Dash of kosher salt, or to taste

  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Southern Cream Gravy ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Pour the drippings into a skillet.

    Pour the drippings into a skillet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Stir in the flour until well blended.

    Stir the flour into the drippings until well blended

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbly.

    cook the flour mixture in the skillet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Gradually add the milk and cream.

    Gradually add the milk and cream to the skillet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Boil until thick and smooth, stirring constantly. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

    Southern Cream Gravy skillet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi


  • Add the milk in slowly, in 1/2-cup increments, and stir completely. If you add it too quickly, you run the risk of the sauce becoming too watery and having to add flour to thicken it back up again.


  • If you don't have milk, you can use slightly thinned-out cream or half-and-half.
  • Feel free to play with the proportions of milk and cream if you would prefer a gravy that's a little thicker or thinner.
  • If need be, you can use butter instead of pan drippings in equal proportions. If so, use unsalted butter or simply reduce the salt in the sauce if you're using salted butter.

How to Store and Freeze Southern Cream Gravy

  • You can make this gravy a day or so ahead of time if you like. Reheat it in a saucepan over low heat and add a little bit of milk if the gravy has thickened up. (This same advice applies to leftover sauce, which will keep in an airtight container for a few days in the fridge.)
  • Cream gravy will separate if frozen and then reheated, so it's not the best candidate for freezing.

What's the difference between brown gravy and cream gravy?

Although both types of gravy begin with meat fat, their differences in color (and taste) are due to the other ingredients added. Brown gravy is made with water or broth, while cream gravy includes milk and sometimes cream, giving it that white color and creamy texture and flavor.