Top tips for that Sunday roast gravy

Who doesn’t love gravy?

I remember my Grandma’s gravy.

It was really thick and dark.

And I loved it.

I poured it over everything.

… and I used it to disguise the taste of the less appetising veggies on my plate.

Gravy is one of those simple things that you’re kind of expected to know how to do.

And if you don’t do it well, it can be a bit embarrassing presenting it to your table.

And watching your family or guests slightly cringe as they pour an insipid, fatty gravy over the lovely Sunday roast you laboured over all day.

So, I thought with winter closing in, we better make sure we have the basic gravy nailed.

So, I’ve gathered a few tips from Delia and some other great chefs.

The basics

A classic gravy is a combination of meat juices left in the pan, thickened with a roux and then stock added.

But everyone has their own take on a gravy.

Some look more like a jus – using wine to deglaze a pan.

Some more old-school gravy, like my Grandmother’s – starting with gravy granules, or thickening with cornflour.

So, we’ll look at a few basics and tips and you can decide which one suits you.

Difference between gravy and jus

Gravy is usually made with a bit of stock.

And those lovely morsels that stick to the roasting pan.

Then it’s all thickened with flour.

Jus (French) means ‘juice’.

It refers to the juices that occur during the cooking process when roasting meat.

Jus also begins with the meat drippings.

But it’s not thickened with flour, like gravy.

Its liquid is reduced until it reaches the desired consistency.

Which you’re usually aiming for a lovely silky consistency.

It takes longer to make than gravy so for a Sunday roast with a hungry family, gravy is the one.

Gravy knowledge

Did you know?

…the word ‘gravy’ came about un the 14th Century due to a copy error?

Apparently, the French called it grane, and someone mistakenly copied over the ‘n’ as a ‘v’.

And then, who knows why’ the English kept the ‘v’ but decided to add a ‘y’.

Delia’s gravy guide

  1. Remove the meat or poultry from the roasting tin.
  2. Place the tin over a gentle direct heat, and have a bowl ready to the side.
  3. Tilt the tin and spoon off the fat you’ll see on the top, into the bowl.
  4. But leave approx. 1-1½ tablespoons of fat, along with all the juices, in the tin.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium and let the fat and juices begin to bubble.
  6. Use a wooden spoon to scrape all the crusty bits from the base of the tin.a
  7. Now add a rounded tablespoon of plain flour and stir quickly, to mix in.
  8. Once the flour is absorbed you will have a smooth paste.
  9. You can now add the hot stock, slowly while whisking and blending.
  10. As it reaches simmering point, the gravy will have thickened.
  11. Finally, taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

TIP: this is a tip from Grandma Gunstone

If you are worried about lumps from the flour put the flour in a cup or small bowl and mix in with a little milk.

So, when you add this to the tin with all the juices, it should mean no lumps!


If the gravy is too thin, let it bubble and reduce a little.

If it’s too thick, add a little more liquid.

If your gravy looks a little peaky, add a drop of gravy browning and just whisk it in (*you can buy this in supermarkets).

Or add some tomato paste or marmite for colour.

Stock makes up a lot of the flavour, so go for quality of the stock.

Gravy tweaks for chicken, pork, lamb, beef, duck


As it has pale juices, add onion to the roasting tin so it caramelises during cooking and will add colour to the juices.

The onion may also be used with other joints and poultry to give colour.


Along with the stock, add a splash of wine.

As with pork, add an onion during roasting to add some colour.


Add a teaspoon of mustard powder with the flour, a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly to melt into the gravy, and some red wine to add body


Add the grated zest and juice of a small orange, along with a glass of port.


Add a glass of Sercial Madeira to enrich the beef flavour.