Learn how to make mushroom gravy to pair with your favorite protein or side dish. This quick and easy stovetop method yields a delicious savory sauce with no pan drippings needed.
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One way to instantly elevate any dish to gourmet status is to pair it with a flavorful sauce. This mushroom gravy recipe uses simple ingredients to create an intense, savory taste. When cooked, the fungi release tasty juices into the pan. What remains are tender and meaty pieces that add a wonderful texture.
Using the concentrated liquid from the mushrooms in the sauce’s base, you don’t need pan drippings like traditional gravy. Sauteed onions, fresh herbs, and a few umami-packed ingredients provide plenty of depth and dimension. Cooking on the stovetop makes the process fast and all in one pan. I love pouring this sauce over juicy pieces of roast turkey, steak, and creamy mashed potatoes.
Brown mushrooms like Cremini or Baby Bella add intense flavor because they are a more mature variety. They are great for sauteing because their structure holds up better to heat, preventing them from shrinking too much.
Their meaty bite adds a nice texture to the sauce. Cut the mushrooms into 1/4-inch thick slices to release their moisture quicker and add deeper brothy notes to the gravy. You can use other types of mushrooms like White Button, but they have a more mild flavor.
Saute the aromatics
Adding in a variety of aromatics to the gravy adds dimension to the flavor. I finely chop yellow onions and saute them in olive oil to mellow out their sulfur compounds. Over time, the natural sugars come to the surface, making them taste sweeter.
Fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme briefly cook in the fat to draw out more fat-soluble flavor compounds for a more robust taste in the sauce. Minced garlic adds more allium notes and only needs to cook briefly to release wonderful earthy smells.
Cook the mushrooms
Use a large skillet for cooking the mushrooms and gravy. The volume will start high and condense by at least half. I season the sliced raw mushrooms with salt right at the beginning of cooking. This process helps to quickly draw out the moisture in the cell walls while seasoning the inside. The juices are packed with savory flavor compounds. Letting most of the liquid evaporate concentrates the umami flavor and adds depth to the gravy.
Soy sauce which is rich in glutamates, intensifies the mushroom flavor. Balsamic vinegar provides acidity and has a natural sweetness from the grapes to balance the savory taste. After sauteing, it’s best to remove the mushrooms from the pan to prevent further shrinking and give more room to cook the roux and stock.
Make a roux
A classic thickening agent for sauces and gravies is a roux. It’s equal parts of fat-to-flour, and the amount of liquid added determines the consistency. I use butter for the rich milky flavor.
If you’re already making a roast like chicken or turkey, use those drippings instead. It’s easy to make a thinner sauce by adding a little bit more liquid. Cook the roux until it’s golden in color, which removes the raw flour taste.
Add a flavorful liquid
You can use any type of stock or broth to season the gravy base. I use unsalted vegetable stock or broth so I can control the saltiness. However, for a meatier taste, beef stock or chicken stock works well. For this recipe, I made a pourable sauce consistency, yet sticky enough to still cling to other foods. I used my gravy recipe as a guide to adjust the thickness.
For a medium-bodied sauce, for every 1 cup of liquid, add about 1 ½ tablespoons flour and fat. It’s easy to make the gravy thinner by gradually stirring in more stock. The starches in the flour thicken more as they cool down, so if it looks runny, it will tighten up when ready to serve. The gravy should lightly coat the back of a spoon.
Add back the mushrooms
Once the gravy reaches the desired consistency, add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. This duration gives the vegetable time to warm up and infuse the flavors into the sauce. The consistency will be smooth, perfect for drizzling on top of your favorite foods.
Serve this with
Yes! Add the same amount of pan drippings from cooking steak, pork, chicken, or turkey to the gravy instead of butter. The fat, juices, and browned bits (fond) in the pan are delicious.
Use vegetable stock or broth for the liquid. Use olive oil instead of butter for the roux.
Omit the butter and use cornstarch or arrowroot powder as the thickening agent instead of all-purpose flour. Use 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with ¼ cups of water. Alternatively, use 3 tablespoons plus ¼ teaspoon arrowroot powder, combined with 6 tablespoons water. Whisk into the hot liquid until thickened, about 30 to 60 seconds.
Yes. After preparing the gravy, let it cool down, then store it in an airtight container inside the refrigerator for three to four days. This works best for flour-thickened sauces because they hold their consistency after reheating. If using cornstarch, a stronger brittle gel forms and loses some of its thickness when reheated and stirred. It tastes better when made the same day.
Tips for a smooth gravy
When diluting the hot roux with liquid, make sure to add room temperature or cooler stock or broth. This prevents the protein from seizing up and cooking too fast, creating clumps. Gradually add the liquid and make sure to whisk continuously! This process helps to separate the starches and properly thicken the gravy. High heat, near-boiling, helps the starches swell and add body to the sauce.
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- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup diced yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary, or ½ teaspoon dried
- 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, or baby bella, 1/4-inch thick, about 4 cups sliced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, or white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups unsalted stock or broth, vegetable, chicken, or beef
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions. Saute until lightly golden brown and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Constantly stir to ensure the garlic does not brown.
- Add the mushrooms, salt, and black pepper. Sauté until tender, and most of the moisture releases and evaporates, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and soy sauce, cook until the vinegar smell is not as strong, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate.
- Melt the butter in the pan. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Stir and cook until the roux is golden in color, about 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high. Gradually whisk in 2 ½ cups of stock, adding about ¼ cup at a time. Whisk continuously to break up any clumps of flour. For a thinner sauce, add the remaining ¼ to ½ cup of stock. Cook until the gravy is smooth and thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken more as it cools down.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the mushroom mixture back to the pan, stir and cook to warm, about 2 minutes—season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Recipe Yield: About 2 ½ cups ( 600ml)
- Serving Size: ¼ cup gravy (60ml)
- For a Thinner Gravy: Add 2 ¾ to 3 cups of stock instead of 2 ½ cups.
Using pan drippings: Substitute ¼ cup drippings for the ¼ cup of butter.
- Make it Gluten-Free: Omit the butter—mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and ¼ cup of water to make a slurry. Alternatively, use 3 tablespoons plus ¼ teaspoon arrowroot powder, combined with 6 tablespoons water. Whisk into the hot liquid until thickened, about 30 to 60 seconds.
- Make it Vegan and Dairy-Free: Substitute olive oil for butter. Use vegetable stock or broth.
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