Do-Ahead Turkey Drippings

Nirvana…I’m working ahead of the day to ensure a wonderful gravy. Turkey drippings make gravy magnificent, so it’s essential to have an adequate amount. I don’t know about you, but the day of is always a little bit of a panic and is the day I’m apt to ruin the drippings when I’m rushing. Speaking of which, a funny thing happened today when I was making the turkey drippings for Instagram stories. Everything worked perfectly and I had the most amazing drippings – then guess what happened when I was all done – I knocked the pan over and lost every bit of the lovely nectar! That kind of unpredictable thing happens when you’re cooking , which is why I like to make my drippings ahead.

 Today I cut celery, onion and carrots, making a mirepoix and sautéed on medium high to caramelize them quickly. I followed with pieces of turkey, including an assortment of necks, drumsticks, wings, and thighs, which I salted and peppered then flash-seared in olive oil and then put in a roasting pan followed by a cup of cold water and the vegetables. I baked at 350 for 20 minutes and then covered tight for an hour to coax the juices out. Then I uncovered and crisped and ended up with nirvana. I will freeze these drippings then thaw on the day of. By the way, the drippings I get on Thanksgiving day I save and put in the freezer.

Do-Ahead Turkey Drippings



  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery
  • 1/2 onion
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 8 Lbs assorted turkey legs, wings, and necks (or however many you can fit in your pan)
  • 1 cup cold water

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Rough chop the vegetables and caramelize in olive oil until golden. Set aside.

Salt and pepper all the turkey pieces very well. In a large pan, flash sear the turkey pieces (in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan) in olive oil to brown each side.  As the pieces are finished browning, remove and add them to a roasting pan. Then add all the caramelized vegetables and 1 cup of cold water. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with foil. Then cook for an hour to coax the juices out. If not crispy, uncover to crisp up a bit, then strain the juices out of the pan.

You can do this a week ahead and freeze for Thanksgiving.  


6 thoughts on “Do-Ahead Turkey Drippings

  1. Why crisp up at the end?

    1. I was wondering the same exact thing… I guess bc you might as well eat the turkey afterward? No waste that way.

    2. It’s like cartelizing it which to me adds a richer flavor.

  2. What do you end up doing with the turkey legs and parts you cooked to get gravy? I know the focus was around getting the drippings, but with the leftover turkey do you do anything special with them or just eat as is.

    1. Eat as is, stuff in something or give to your favorite pet.

  3. Hi Teri- You must have the perfect do-it-ahead (day before) gravy recipe that uses these drippings. There was good evidence of such in your Thanksgiving Instagram stories. But I can’t find anything on your site… (I assume it also includes some of your homemade turkey stock…) Help a girl out? 🙂 Warm regards.

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