This recipe for classic sausage gravy only calls for a few ingredients and comes together quickly. Serve over fresh biscuits for a hearty, comforting meal of biscuits and gravy!
I grew up eating biscuits and gravy for dinner. Not extremely frequently, but it was a dinner that we had on ocassion and boy did I love it! Living in the heart of the Midwest, biscuits and gravy was a necessity on any good breakfast menu. It wasn’t until I moved to the East Coast that I ever heard someone question this combination. They seemed confused by it and I was confused by them. How can this not sound amazing to you? HOW?! But then again, I didn’t ever really get on board with the whole scrapple thing while I lived there, so to each their own.
I received a request from a reader the other day to do a recipe for sausage gravy. I’m actually surprised I haven’t done one before because it is one of my favorite things to make! One of the things I love so much about cooking is that once you learn some basic techniques you can easily cook without recipes. So that is what I want to teach you today. The basic process of making a gravy, because all it really is, is a simple formula! The process of making gravy really only involves two steps: cook together a mixture of fat and flour, then stir in some cold liquid and allow it to heat and thicken. I’ll walk you through below.
How to Make Sausage Gravy
Step 1: Make a Roux
A roux is simple a mixture of fat and flour that is cooked together and acts as a thickening agent. Rouxs are used for many different things in the culinary world and you can really use any fat to make one. For gravy, it usually makes sense to use the fat from the meat you are cooking to make the roux. If you’ve ever watched someone make gravy on Thanksgiving you may have noticed them collecting the juices from the roasting pan and letting the fat seperate to the top for make their gravy. However, sometimes if I need gravy in a pinch and for some reason don’t have any rendered fat from meat, I will just use butter. This is the exact same idea.
When I make sausage gravy I love to do it all in the pan where I cooked the sausage, using the fat from the sausage to make my roux. I don’t even take the sausage out of the pan. It isn’t necessary and is just an extra step and an extra dish to clean!
Brown your sausage until no longer pink. If you have quite a bit of fat in the pan, then you can spoon some off. This really doesn’t need to be exact here, but as a general rule of thumb when making a roux you want about equal amounts of fat to flour.
Once the sausage is cooked through, sprinkle the flour over the sausage.
Cook and stir until the flour is absorbed into the fat and sausage. Cook for about 2 more minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. See below that you can’t even see the flour anymore? It is all absorbed into the fat and sausage and this is exactly what you want!
Step 2: Add the Liquid and Thicken
Once your roux has cooked for several minutes, slowly stream in your cold liquid while stirring continuously. There should be brown bits on the bottom of you pan from cooking the sausage. These bits of browned food on the pan are called fond, and they are all flavor. While stirring in the milk, scrape up all those bits with your spoon to incorporate into the gravy. Once all of the liquid is added, the gravy is going to seem very thin. That is ok. As the liquid heats and combines with the roux, it will thicken into a luscious gravy.
Continue cooking and stirring for about 10 minutes until bubbly and thick.
Step 3: Season and Serve!
Sausage gravy is classically seasoned very heavily with black pepper. It is the iconic taste you are looking for!
You can definitely just go with the salt and pepper and be done with it! It will taste amazing! BUT I love to thow in a little fresh thyme right before serving as well. It just adds a little something that makes it feel even more comforting (if that is possible) and a little more gourmet. A touch of hot sauce is always a good choice too!
Once you have your gravy seasoned just the way you like it, spoon it over some hot biscuits. Any biscuits will do! My old-fashioned lard biscuits are my personal favorite biscuits to eat with gravy! But my fluffy buttery biscuits are amazing with gravy too, or you could make those black pepper and sage biscuits, or even my simple drop biscuits! Hey, you could even make biscuits from a can. No judgement here!
Biscuits and sausage gravy is my ultimate indulgent comforting breakfast (and sometimes dinner). It is nostalgic and cozy. It feels like a big hug on a cold day. That is cheesy but true. If you are one of these people who have never had this dish or think it sounds gross, just give it a shot. I think I can get you on this train. And once you are, we’ll start working on the important issue of chili and cinnamon rolls. We’ll get there.
- 1 pound ground sausage (I like to use spicy sausage but use mild if you prefer)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, more to taste
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced (optional)
- heat until no longer pink. If there is quite a lot of fat in the pan after browning the sausage, spoon some of it off.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and sprinkle the flour on top of the sausage. Stir the sausage and flour until the flour is absorbed. Cook for about 2 minutes to cook of the raw flour taste. Slowly stream in the milk while stirring constantly until all of the milk is in the pan.
- At this point the gravy will seem very thin. Continue cooking it, stirring frequently, until it thickens. About 8-10 minutes. Add in the salt and pepper and taste and adjust. Classic gravy is very heavy on black pepper.
- If using, stir in the chopped thyme right before serving.
- Spoon over hot biscuits!