Two Foolproof Methods for Reheating Gravy Perfectly Every Time
A plate of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and green bean casserole wouldn't be complete without a slick of gravy on top. Turkey stock, water, flour, and pan drippings come together to make a rich, brown sauce that's a staple at Thanksgiving dinner. Like most dishes served on Turkey Day, you will likely have some gravy leftover. If that's the case in your household, you'll need to know how to reheat it so you don't end up with a lumpy, thick mess. It's not hard to do, but that doesn't mean you should just pour it into a saucepan or microwave it. That leftover gravy deserves care and patience.
There are a couple of methods that are safe and won't compromise the flavor of your gravy or cause it to burn. No matter which one you go with, Brittany Saunier, executive director at Partnership for Food Safety Education, says to check the temperature of the gravy with a food thermometer before serving. Once it has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit and is boiling, you know it's ready. Ahead, the two best ways to reheat gravy so you can use it on turkey sandwiches, leftover mashed potatoes, and anything else you might pile onto your plate.
Store It Properly
First, know that the key to making sure your gravy reheats nicely starts with how you store it. Christopher Arturo, chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, says to chill the gravy immediately so you can get it to 40 degrees or below quickly. Storing it at any temperature higher than that will put the sauce in the danger zone, meaning it can develop unwanted bacteria. To prevent a skin from forming during storage, place it in a container and lay a piece of plastic wrap over the top so air can't get in. Katie Workman, cook and writer of The Mom 100, says you can refrigerate gravy for up to three days and up to four months in the freezer. If you do freeze it though, Workman says to make sure you avoid adding heavy dairy products, like milk and half-and-half. She says those gravies won't freeze as successfully as ones made with just broth and drippings. To thaw, move the gravy to the refrigerator overnight.
How to Reheat Gravy on the Stovetop
According to Arturo, the best and easiest way to reheat gravy is to do so in a saucepan on the stove. For a quart of gravy, the chef says to start by bringing half a cup of chicken stock to a boil in a small saucepan and turn the heat off. Next, add half the gravy and return the stove to a low heat while whisking constantly to make sure you get all the lumps out. Once the gravy is smooth, add in the rest and continue stirring over low heat until it's warmed all the way through. "This method won't thin out the flavor or consistency of the gravy," he says. Although this is the preferred method, you can also reheat gravy in a skillet rather than a saucepan. Use the same technique outlined above but be very careful not to burn the gravy—a risk associated with this method because it's in such a thin layer in the pan that the gravy gets hot, but the liquid can evaporate. "You don't want the gravy to burn, so using the stock to steam the gravy through will help heat it rather than just heating the gravy itself," Arturo says.
How to Reheat Gravy in the Microwave
You can also use your microwave to reheat gravy. Arturo says to add half a cup of chicken stock and a quart of gravy to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in intervals of 45 seconds, mixing after each one. "The microwave heats the outside of items, not the center, so make sure to mix it thoroughly," he says. If you're working with homemade gravy rather than store-bought, extra mixing may be necessary to get all of the lumps out as homemade gravy is typically more solid after refrigeration. Workman recommends using a medium level heat range on your microwave, if possible. "That's useful in preventing scorching, bubbling over, or hot spots," she explains.