The Real Reason Your Gravy Ended Up Too Salty

Whether it's for a holiday or a classic Sunday night roast, most people have experienced the joy of a good gravy. It really shows its magic through its power to fix even the driest of meat, but even over the most perfectly cooked food, gravy seems to always level up a dish. To break it down to the basics, gravy is a sauce that is traditionally made from pan drippings, though alternative fats can be used. Simply Recipes explains this fat is then combined with a thickener (such as flour or cornstarch) and liquid (usually stock) before being seasoned to perfection.

But as amazing as gravy can be, it does often fall short. Sometimes it's completely bland with absolutely no flavor, while other times it is way over-seasoned. While fixing bland gravy can be fairly easy, over-seasoned and salty gravy can completely ruin a meal. As many people tend to pour gravy all over their plate without tasting it (and sometimes even without tasting the food they're pouring it on) first, with an overly salty gravy there is no going back. So, before you start getting all creative and fancy with gravy additions, let's make sure you have the basics down.

For perfect gravy, watch your timing

Timing is everything in the kitchen and this definitely holds true for gravy. To achieve a thick sauce that is packed with flavor, the gravy needs to reduce for a while on the stove. The Kitchn notes that while gravy does need to be seasoned eventually, many people season too soon. As it reduces, the flavors deepen; If gravy is seasoned too early the salty taste is very likely to concentrate and become overwhelming. So as tempting as it may be to jump right in with that salt and pepper, try to hold off seasoning until your gravy has reduced fully to ensure that it is to your taste.

Another important thing to remember is that many traditional gravy recipes use pan drippings as the base fat. These drippings are coming from meat that has already been seasoned, which means it will be adding some salt to your gravy, having already concentrated in flavor as the meat cooked down. For this very reason, Taste of Home suggests always tasting your gravy before you season.

With these things in mind, you'll never ruin another perfectly good meal again with bad gravy.