My mom’s apple cider gluten-free gravy is the only recipe you need to get you through the holiday season. It’s made quickly without cornstarch or pan drippings for a creamy consistency (not gluey!) and has an incredible sweet and sour flavor thanks to the cider vinegar, shallots and rosemary.
Gluten-free sauces can be a big pain point around the holidays.
A few weeks ago, I participated in holiday hotline chat and was surprised to hear how many people were puzzling over what to serve all the gluten-free problem children at their family table—particularly, what to do for the gravy.
My mother has made our annual apple cider gluten-free gravy using white rice flour (no cornstarch) for as long as I can remember. The recipe is adapted from the Chuck Williams’ Thanksgiving Cookbook, and with a heaping amount of minced shallots and chopped rosemary, it adds a perfect ratio of sweet and savory to our flavorless table centerpiece: that damn turkey.
Since the holidays seem to be another case of culinary Ground Hog Day, every year my mom makes this gravy on Thanksgiving afternoon she has at least one meltdown about it being too sweet. We taste it together, thought bubbles emerge, and eventually we decide a splash of apple cider vinegar will do the trick before the pan juices get involved later in the day.
The end result is perfectly creamy, though not texture-less thanks to the bits of shallot and herbs, and has a lovely sweet and sour balance. Adding pan drippings gives the gluten-free gravy an even more savory depth of flavor, but it isn’t necessary for deliciousness alone. And for this reason, this gluten-free gravy could also be adapted to be vegetarian or vegan without a problem.
Can you make gluten-free gravy ahead of time?
Most people don’t think of gravy as one of the better make-ahead items on the Thanksgiving menu, but we’ve done it in advance ever since turkey duty was delegated to my uncle and cousins. Right before dinner, we incorporate the drippings, and surprise surprise, that usually is the secret ingredient that we both felt was missing all along.
You can make the base gravy up to 3 days in advance, or even longer and store in the freezer. Simply leave the gluten-free gravy on the counter to thaw throughout the day, then reheat until creamy on the stovetop. If adding pan drippings, that can be done whenever the turkey is finished. It will only need 5 to 10 minutes more on the stove to thicken again.
Can you make this gluten-free gravy vegetarian?
That said, if you don’t know what you’re missing, this gluten-free gravy recipe would also be a great option for your vegan homies. When I retested it last weekend for my Friendsgiving dinner, I used olive oil instead of butter and vegetable stock as the base. Eventually, I added in some drippings from the faux-tisserie chicken I served, but not before verifying that it would still be delicious without it.
What thickens this gluten-free gravy?
Usually the only element in a gravy that needs to be adapted for a gluten-free diet is the flour, which is used at the beginning of the cooking process to create a roux (usually with butter) that will thicken all the stock and pan juices to come.
When it comes to the main gluten-free element—the flour—you can use a variety of options. Our go-to is either white rice flour or AP gluten-free flour. I tried out Bob’s Red Mill Paleo flour for the first time and it worked well. You might want to add an extra tablespoon or two if you like a very thick gravy, but I didn’t mind a more silky texture.
Cornstarch vs Flour
We are firmly not cornstarch people, but if you were going to go this route, instead of making a roux, you would add cornstarch (or tapioca starch) to your Gluten-Free Chicken Stock to create a “slurry.” It will then thicken as the liquids reduce.
I find that a drawback to the cornstarch method is it’s not as quick as making a roux first and can skew towards gluey if you simmer it for too long.
I’m sure you have a mix of family favorites already on deck, but if you still need some inspiration, here are the other gluten-free recipes from my fantasy blog Thanksgiving and a few elements to make cooking easier:
- Gluten-Free Cornbread Dressing
- Spinach Mashed Potatoes
- Gluten-Free Cauliflower Casserole
- Low FODMAP Sheet Pan Stuffing
- Gluten-Free Wild Rice Salad with Butternut Squash
- Cornbread Stuffing with Rice
- Massaged Kale Salad with Crispy Scallions and Sweet Chili Dressing
- Magic Faux-Tisserie Turkey
- Swiss Chard Gratin
- Sweet Potato Gratin with Smoked Gouda and Shallots
- Quinoa Brussels Sprout Gratin
- Warm Butternut Squash Dip
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Tart
Wishing you a safe, restful holiday full of love and deliciousness. We could all use plenty of comfort food this year. Read on for my family’s gluten-free gravy recipe with rosemary and shallots!
With health and hedonism,
How to Make Quick Gluten-Free Gravy
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, ghee or unsalted butter
- 2-3 large shallots, minced (about 1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour or white rice flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup pan juices from roast turkey (optional)
- In a medium saucepan, heat the oil or butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until beginning to soften but not brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
- Gradually add the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking vigorously before adding more. Once all of the liquid is incorporated, bring the mixture to a rapid simmer over high heat. Add the cider and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer gently, stirring every 3 to 5 minutes, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. The gravy can be made up to 3 days in advance up until this point, or further in advance and frozen.
- Before serving (or when your turkey is finished roasting), add the pan drippings, if using, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook over medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened again, about 5 minutes.