The turkey’s done. The potatoes mashed. The stuffing baked. But the gravy? It’s all lumpy. Or too salty. Or just downright awful. So what do you do?

Psst! Lean in close … I have a little secret: I know how to make a foolproof gravy that will shine on Thanksgiving. Whether you use this as your go-to recipe or keep it in your back pocket for gravy emergencies, this method will produce a flawless gravy. Swear.

The secret is all in the technique.

First, let me back up a bit. When I was a little girl, I would watch intently as my grandfather would combine water and all-purpose flour in a cocktail shaker. Sometimes he’d let me take a whirl at mixing ‘em like crazy, but he usually did the honors. Then, when it became a smooth white mixture, I’d watch as he poured it into the pan with the drippings to make a brown gravy. Then we’d taste, season and thin it out — if it needed it — and then pour it into a gravy boat for dinner.

And though I know how to make it as my grandfather did, I’ve found that I cannot seem to match his results with that method. Inevitably, I ended up with oversalted, lumpy gravy that just didn’t meet my expectations.

Over the years, I tried many things — using hot drippings mixed with stock to combine with the flour before thickening my gravy; letting it cook down; and even using cornstarch in place of flour to thicken the gravy. All have worked to a degree.

But after making countless batches of homemade macaroni and cheese, I had an epiphany: if I started with a method similar to my cheese sauce, it would create that thick, flavorful gravy without the risk of lumps. So I tried it, and it worked like a charm.

Here’s how I do it: Instead of mixing up the gravy and then thickening it, I start by creating a roux, which is a mixture of butter and flour. Then I add turkey stock to that, seasoning it with turkey drippings and/or fresh herbs. Once that bubbles to a thickened state, remove the herbs and season it as desired.

Want to see for yourself? Be sure to watch the video above!

Foolproof herbed turkey gravy

This easy recipe is totally scalable. Make as much as you need, adjusting the measurements as needed to achieve the desired gravy.

Yields about 1 ½ cups

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 cups turkey stock

2-3 tablespoons turkey drippings (optional)

6 sprigs herbs (1 each of rosemary, thyme, sage), bound with kitchen string

salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a skillet. Whisk in flour until fully combined. Let cook for 2 minutes, until bubbly and slightly golden.

Whisk in the turkey stock until fully incorporated into the roux (flour mixture). If desired, whisk in the turkey drippings. Add the herb bundle. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until thickened. Remove the herb bundle and season, as needed, with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Hint: Turkey drippings will make the gravy taste more like your bird.

Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is the senior editor, features, for the Bangor Daily News and the editor of Bangor Metro magazine. She’s the author of “Classic Diners of Maine,” and five cookbooks including “Easy...