Delicious Southern Gravy Recipe: A Comforting Classic!

My dear readers, let me first introduce myself. My name is Jane, and I am a chef with a passion for southern-style cuisine. Today, I have the pleasure of sharing with you an exquisite recipe that is sure to take your taste buds on a journey to the south.

Southern cuisine is rich in flavors and tradition, and this masterful recipe is no exception. Let me tell you about Betty’s Southern Gravy Recipe – a dish laden with history and flavor as comforting as your grandmother’s warm embrace.

This dish has been passed down through generations of southern families, where it was once known as Sawmill Gravy. Today, it goes by many names – Country White Gravy, Chicken Gravy, or simply just Southern Gravy. When paired with Southern Fried Chicken, it’s pure magic on a plate.

So take a seat at my table and join me as we explore the ingredients, secrets and techniques behind Betty’s Southern Gravy recipe. You won’t want to miss out on this tasting journey into southern-style cooking that lays southern hospitality right at your doorstep.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Betty's Southern Gravy
Betty’s Southern Gravy

Dearest reader, let me tell you a little bit about this exquisite country white gravy recipe passed down to me from Betty Southern herself. This is not just any ordinary gravy recipe – this is a flavor explosion that will leave your taste buds begging for more.

Let’s start with the ingredients. First and foremost, you’ll need bacon drippings – the secret ingredient that adds a smoky and savory depth to the gravy. Add in all-purpose flour and some evaporated milk, and you have the base of a creamy and luscious gravy. But wait, there’s more! The addition of salt and pepper elevates the flavors to another level, giving it just the right amount of seasoning without being overpowering.

Now let’s talk about its versatility. This southern gravy goes perfectly with fried chicken, Southern-style biscuits, mashed potatoes, and even beef or turkey. It’s not just limited to breakfast – you can have it any time of day!

But the real beauty of this recipe is how easy it is to make. With just a few simple steps, you can have restaurant-quality Southern-style gravy right in your own home. And believe me when I say, once you’ve tasted this gravy made from scratch with meat drippings and milk, you’ll never go back to store-bought again.

So why will you love this recipe? Because it’s quick, easy-to-make and packed with sensational flavors that will take your Southern-style cuisine game to another level!

Ingredient List

Smooth, creamy gravy poured over fluffy biscuits
Smooth, creamy gravy poured over fluffy biscuits

Ingredients are everything in cooking. I always say that a good dish starts with high-quality ingredients, so let me present you with the list of what you will need to make Betty’s Southern Gravy Recipe:

  • Bacon drippings or meat drippings (1/4 cup)
  • All-purpose flour (1/4 cup)
  • Salt (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Pepper (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Evaporated milk (1 cup)
  • Milk (2 cups); whole milk or 2% would work best
  • Water (2 cups)
  • Butter or margarine (2 tablespoons)

Note: If you prefer a creamier consistency or want to make the gravy richer, feel free to use heavy cream instead of evaporated milk. Also, if you don’t have bacon drippings, you can substitute it with sausage or any meat drippings you have. This recipe calls for regular salt and pepper, but feel free to adjust according to your taste preferences.

For those who love variations on the standard gravy recipe, Betty’s southern gravy offers an excellent chance to try out something new. While some folks may be familiar with white gravy sometimes called sawmill gravy or country gravy, other people have never experienced the exquisite country white gravy that Betty Earl lays atop her southern fried chicken. So, let’s get started on this mouth-watering recipe!

The Recipe How-To

Add a little extra butter for a velvety texture
Add a little extra butter for a velvety texture

Now, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of making Betty’s exquisite Southern Gravy, one that is sure to impress even the most discerning palates.

Preparing the Bacon Drippings

First, in a skillet over medium heat, cook 4 slices of bacon, until they are crispy and golden-brown. Remove the bacon from the skillet and reserve for later use. Next, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings; Ensure that you don’t discard the bacon fat – this adds crucial flavor to your Southern gravy.

Making the Roux

Let’s make our roux now. To the skillet with the bacon drippings (medium-low heat), add 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour. Stir continuously using a wooden spoon until a golden, smooth roux forms. This should take around five minutes.

Adding Liquid – Milk and Evaporated Milk

Now, switch to a whisk and slowly pour in 2 cups of whole milk while whisking continuously until a thick white gravy forms. Once you’ve got a lump-free mixture, add another 2 cups of water and continue whisking vigorously. The gravy will begin to thicken at this point.

After whisking for some time, mix in 1 12- ounce can of undiluted evaporated milk in increments, ensuring that it blends into the gravy seamlessly before adding more. Keep stirring occasionally and let it simmer on low heat for around ten minutes until it reaches a desirable consistency.

Seasoning Your Gravy with Salt and Pepper

Finally, season generously with 1 teaspoon salt and also add a quarter teaspoon of black pepper to taste. You may need to adjust your seasoning levels slightly depending on your preference. Consider adding any additional seasoning herbs or aromatics if necessary.

Troubleshooting Your Gravy

If you find that the gravy is too thin, combine 1 tablespoon each of flour and water in a small bowl, blend this mixture well, then add to your gravy while whisking continuously.

If your gravy is too thick, add more milk or water in half-cup increments while whisking until you achieve the desired consistency.

Your Southern Gravy is now ready to serve! Enjoy your Betty’s Southern Gravy poured over hot biscuits, fried chicken or mashed potatoes.

Substitutions and Variations

Perfectly seasoned to make your taste buds sing
Perfectly seasoned to make your taste buds sing

One of the charms of southern cooking is its versatility. This is certainly true for Betty’s Southern Gravy recipe. Here are some substitutions and variations you might consider:

1. Meat drippings – The recipe calls for bacon drippings, but you can use any meat drippings as a flavorful base for your gravy. Some popular options include sausage, chicken, beef, or turkey.

2. Flour – All-purpose flour is the recommended flour in this recipe, but you can use other types of flour as well. For example, if you prefer a gluten-free option, try using rice flour or almond flour instead.

3. Milk – The recipe uses evaporated milk as its primary liquid ingredient, but you can substitute whole milk or half-and-half if you prefer a creamier texture.

4. Tomato gravy – If you want to switch up the flavor profile of your gravy, consider adding a can of diced tomatoes (drained) when you add your liquids. This will create a tangy tomato gravy that pairs well with fried chicken or mashed potatoes.

5. Brown gravy – Betty’s Southern Gravy recipe is referred to as “white gravy” or “sawmill gravy,” but you can make a brown gravy by adding beef stock instead of milk and adjusting the seasonings accordingly.

Remember that while these substitutions and variations may alter the flavor and texture of Betty’s Southern Gravy recipe, they also open up new possibilities for experimentation and creativity in your own kitchen!

Serving and Pairing

This classic southern dish is comfort food at its finest
This classic southern dish is comfort food at its finest

When it comes to Betty’s Southern Gravy Recipe, there are many lovely ways to serve this exquisite country white gravy. This gravy is versatile and can complement many dishes, as long as you enjoy Southern-style food.

One classic serving suggestion for Betty’s Southern Gravy Recipe is over a warm, flaky Southern biscuit. The interplay of the rich and creamy gravy on top of a buttery and soft biscuit creates a flavor explosion that will tickle your taste buds.

Another delicious option would be to pour the gravy over perfectly fried chicken breasts or thighs. The savory and smoky flavor of the chicken pairs exceptionally well with this smooth sauce. It’s hard not to lick the plate clean since the gravy soaked into every nook and cranny of the tender chicken.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding some chopped tomatoes to Betty’s Southern Gravy Recipe. In many parts of the South, this modified tomato gravy has become a favorite dish for breakfast and supper alike. When pairs with biscuits and broken yolk eggs, this sweet-tart concoction wakes up your senses making you ready to seize the day.

For a more hearty meal, try pouring Betty’s brown gravy into mashed potatoes—for its signature beefy flavor—with your meatloaf or sirloin steak as its perfect partner.

Or serve it up as a topping for turkey, homemade stuffing or ham during Thanksgiving eve or Noche Buena gatherings.

Lastly, keep in mind that if you have any leftover Betty’s Southern Gravy Recipe in your fridge, it works great as a dip for crispy fries or onion rings while retaining its southern flair!

Whatever way you decide to enjoy it, Betty’s Southern Gravy Recipe will surely make your mealtime more memorable and satisfying.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

Get ready for a hearty, soul-warming meal
Get ready for a hearty, soul-warming meal

While Betty’s Southern Gravy tastes best when it’s freshly made, there are some make-ahead and reheating tips that can help you enjoy this exquisite country white gravy at any time of the day. If you find yourself with leftover gravy, don’t worry. You can store it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To reheat the gravy, put it into a small saucepan on medium heat. Allow it to warm up gradually while stirring frequently, so it warms through evenly without sticking or burning on the bottom of the pot. If you find that the gravy is too thick after being refrigerated and would prefer to thin it out a bit as you reheat it, add a tablespoon or two of milk, whisking constantly until smooth.

If you’re planning to make Betty’s Southern Gravy ahead of time – like for a brunch party or holiday gathering – here’s what you can do: Make the gravy according to the recipe instructions, and let it cool slightly before transferring it into an airtight container. It’ll be better if you properly label and date all leftovers for easy tracking.

It can last in your fridge for several days or frozen for up to 1 month. For best results, thaw your frozen gravy overnight in your fridge instead of using a microwave.

Tips for Perfect Results

The aroma of biscuits and gravy wafting through the air is the ultimate wakeup call
The aroma of biscuits and gravy wafting through the air is the ultimate wakeup call

As a skilled Southern chef, I have been perfecting my gravy-making skills for years. Below are some tips that will ensure your southern-style gravy turns out deliciously indulgent every time.

Firstly, always start with the right ingredients. Use bacon drippings and all-purpose flour to create the roux for your gravy. The bacon drippings will give it a rich flavor, while the flour provides the necessary thickness. Additionally, don’t skimp on seasonings. Adding a touch of salt and pepper can make all the difference in creating an exquisite country white or sausage gravy.

When making southern-style gravy, it’s important to use whole milk instead of skim or partially skimmed milk for creamier results. Evaporated milk also works well in this recipe which you can experiment with if you desire.

Always remember when making any kind of gravy, mix the flour and meat drippings by whisking them together constantly so that no lumps form. This is crucial to a smooth and velvety texture.

Use a heavy bottom pot like cast iron or thick-bottomed stainless steel pot, this type of pot helps to prevent burning or sticking while cooking the roux.

Moreover, if your gravy is too thin after adding the liquid (milk and water), let it cook longer. However, if it’s too thick, add more liquid bit by bit until you get the desired consistency.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with variations such as adding tomato to make tomato gravy or even combining beef or turkey with sausage to create a mouthwatering taste sensation or even try homemade chicken creamy gravy which is perfect combination for your southern fried chicken.

By following these simple but effective tips, you’ll be able to create Southern-style gravies ranging from country white to sausage-licious gravies that will perfectly complement your meals.


As we near the end of this culinary journey, it is understandable to have questions regarding the process, ingredients and variations that may occur while cooking Betty’s Southern Gravy Recipe. I have compiled some frequently asked questions to help clarify any doubts that may have arisen during your reading thus far. So, without further ado, let’s get to those FAQ’s!

What is the secret to good gravy?

When making a southern-style gravy, there are a few tips to bear in mind to ensure it turns out great. Firstly, it’s essential to remove any excess fat from the pan before starting. This will not only lead to a healthier end product, but it will also make it easier to achieve the desired consistency.

Another crucial step is deciding whether or not to strain the gravy. While some prefer a smoother texture, others like it chunkier. Whatever your preference, it’s important to make the decision early on and stick to it.

Additionally, heating the liquid mixture is crucial when making gravy. To achieve optimal results, it needs to be hot so that it can cook the flour and thicken.

Speaking of thickening, using a whisk to mix in the flour mixture is a smart choice. This will ensure that everything is incorporated evenly, and the mixture doesn’t clump together.

Finally, if your gravy does end up being lumpy, don’t panic. Simply strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any unwanted bits. With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to create a delicious southern-style gravy that’s perfect for any occasion.

What’s the difference between brown gravy and sawmill gravy?

There are two types of gravy that we commonly use in Southern-style cuisine, sawmill gravy and brown gravy. Sawmill gravy is made with milk, flour, and meat drippings or pieces such as pork, while brown gravy is made with meat drippings, stock, and a small amount of flour or corn starch to thicken. It’s important to know the difference between the two, as they have distinct flavors and uses in various dishes. In this recipe article, we’ll be focusing on how to make sawmill gravy.

Is country gravy the same as sausage gravy?

Country gravy and sausage gravy have many similarities, but the main distinction between the two is that country gravy is meat-free, while sausage gravy incorporates sausage. Our best-selling gravy recipe happens to be our sausage gravy recipe, so don’t forget to try it out!

Why is it called sawmill gravy?

Sausage gravy, which was also known as sawmill gravy, has its roots in the lumber industry. It was a popular option among sawmill workers who needed a hearty and affordable meal to fuel their long and tiring days of lifting heavy logs. Sausage gravy was also a great way to make the biscuits of the time more enjoyable to eat.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Betty’s Southern Gravy Recipe will be the perfect addition to your recipe collection. This gravy is easy to make and brings out the true essence of southern-style cooking. It is perfect for serving with Southern fried chicken and biscuits or mashed potatoes. The dish can truly transform your meal from a regular dinner to an exquisite southern delicacy.

Moreover, this recipe is versatile and can be adapted according to your taste buds. You could add some tomato to create a tomato gravy variation or swap sausage for beef or turkey gravy to add more variety.

Overall, Betty’s Southern Gravy is a must-try recipe for anyone with a love of southern-style cuisine. It elevates classic dishes and meals to a whole new level and deserves a special place in your kitchen. So what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a try, and you won’t be disappointed!

Betty's Southern Gravy

Betty’s Southern Gravy Recipe

This is what I used to wake up to every morning living in North Carolina with my step-mom Betty. I just had to get the recipe from her to bring with me a little taste of home!
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 69.5 kcal


  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sausage drippings or 1/4 cup bacon drippings
  • 1 cups whole milk or (5 ounce) can evaporated milk, to 2 cups water diluted
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, to taste


  • cook sausage or bacon to desired preparedness.
  • drain drippings.
  • add flour gradually to drippings and salt and pepper to taste in hot pan.
  • brown to desired color.
  • add milk until you get proper consistancy.
  • bring to a boil and let set for a min then serve!

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 65gCalories: 69.5kcalCarbohydrates: 8.1gProtein: 3.1gFat: 2.7gSaturated Fat: 1.5gCholesterol: 8.1mgSodium: 422.7mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 4.1g
Keyword < 15 Mins, Easy, From Scratch
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