Even When Using Store-Bought Gravy, Save Those Pan Drippings

Gravy is the glorious savory sauce of Thanksgiving, stored only in the finest chalices and carefully cascaded over various portions of your meal. Rich gravy is a make-or-break dinner staple that can easily be the difference between enjoying a delightful mountain of mashed potatoes with balanced flavors and suffering through a dry blob during one of the most festive meals of the year. In short, if you're in charge of making the gravy for Thanksgiving dinner, you have a big responsibility on your hands.

Gravy is traditionally made with the pan drippings from your roasted turkey. These drippings (also known as "fond") are produced by way of the Maillard reaction, which turns the protein in the meat brown and generates the finger-licking flavors that rest in the bottom of your roasting pan (via Food Network). However, the amount of pan drippings you'll end up with is pretty unpredictable, which might lead a clever cook to consider employing a storebought option to bring on the gravy goodness.

Still, cooking Thanksgiving dinner is largely about bringing forth elevated experiences to please your guests and satisfy their stomachs. To serve up an impressive gravy boat this Thanksgiving, it's essential that you save your pan drippings, even if you go the store-bought gravy route.

Add pan drippings to make your store-bought gravy more flavorful

According to Real Simple, you can make that store-bought gravy taste homemade by adding the pan drippings to your gravy while heating it. Stir in that flavorful fond and give it time to integrate with the rest of the gravy over low heat. In addition to this simple hack, Real Simple suggests a boozy way to elevate your store-bought gravy by adding a splash of wine or aromatic herbs to fool your guests into believing your fast-track gravy was more of a labor of love.

According to MasterClass, you should deglaze your pan to get the fond unstuck from the bottom of it. To do this, the site directs you to pour the excess fat from your pan drippings, then heat the roasting pan on your stovetop while pouring stock or wine into it. From that point, you can scrape the flavorful bits off your pan's bottom and use the mixture you created as the base of your gravy or sauce.

No matter what's on your Thanksgiving menu, it's important that you do not waste any of those tasty brown and juicy bits that your turkey so generously produces. Pan drippings are truly something to savor and an ingredient we're all thankful for.