Bacon gravy is an indulgent and delicious dish that any home cook can easily prepare. Serve with biscuits, fried chicken or mashed potatoes for a memorable meal.
One of my husband’s favorite foods that I’ve really never gotten on board with is biscuits and gravy. It’s just too rich and not really my thing.
Nonetheless, I actually enjoy MAKING it for him, because making gravy is fun! I’ll make gravy from scratch pretty much any chance I get simply because watching a roux magically thicken liquid as I whisk is entertaining to me.
Sometimes I get bored making sausage gravy for him, and I change it up with this bacon gravy recipe. It’s easy to make while I have a vegetarian quiche in the oven for MY weekend brunch.
You can make it with the bacon grease left over on the pan after making bacon in the oven, or you can start with a fresh batch of bacon that you cook in a skillet first, and then use to make the gravy. I’ll explain it all below!
What you’ll need for this bacon gravy recipe:
- bacon grease – you will need 2 tablespoons of bacon grease to make this gravy. You can use grease you have left over after making another meal, OR you can start by cooking 6 slices of bacon, chopped, in a skillet. More on this below. Save the turkey bacon in the oven for another time, pork bacon is what you want here because you need the fat to make the roux!
- bacon – if you don’t have bacon grease left over from another meal, you will need 6 slices of high-quality bacon for this recipe. Use the rest of the package to make a breakfast charcuterie board or skewer it onto bloody mary skewers.
- onion – a little bit of chopped white onion adds a sweet and savory flavor to this recipe that complements the smokiness of the bacon.
- flour – all-purpose flour binds with the bacon grease to form a roux, which is the thickening agent in the gravy.
- milk – I use whole milk so that the gravy is nice and creamy and rich. If you use low-fat or skim milk, your gravy won’t be as creamy.
- lemon juice – this ingredient is NOT found in most recipes for bacon gravy that I’ve come across, but it’s what sets this one apart in the best way. A little squeeze of lemon juice adds some tangy acidity, which balances all of the rich and savory flavors in this gravy. Zest the lemon first and save the zest for buttermilk blueberry muffins.
- salt and pepper – an essential part of any gravy is the seasoning.
- cayenne pepper – a pinch of cayenne adds a little bit of heat without being overwhelmingly hot. This can be omitted if you prefer. Cayenne also adds a kick to the dry rub for ribs that I use on country style pork ribs oven.
You can make bacon grease gravy with leftover bacon grease, or start by cooking bacon first.
If you have bacon grease in your fridge that you saved from another meal like colcannon soup, great! You’ll need 2 tablespoons of it. It’s up to you whether you ALSO want to have chopped bacon in the gravy.
You don’t necessarily NEED the chopped bacon in the gravy. You can simply put your bacon grease in a skillet and start the recipe card below at Step 3. You’ll use the bacon grease and the flour to make a roux, and then add the milk and seasonings to finish your gravy.
Without the chopped bacon, you will end up with nice, smooth gravy that would actually be perfect for mashed potatoes with heavy cream.
Now, if you don’t have bacon grease left over from another meal, or you want gravy with chunks of bacon IN IT, then you should follow the recipe card below, where you cook chopped bacon in a skillet and proceed with the gravy from there.
How to make gravy with bacon grease:
Start with your bacon grease (or bacon grease plus bacon) in a cast iron skillet, and add flour to the grease. Just like the roux for pimento mac and cheese, it’s important to cook this mixture for at least 1 minute to remove the raw flour taste.
Then, while whisking, slowly stream in the milk until all the milk is poured in. Continue whisking as you heat the gravy to boiling.
The roux will not thicken the gravy until the gravy begins to boil, so it’s essential that it bubbles a little bit, but be careful not to scorch it.
As soon as the gravy boils, reduce the heat and simmer it 3 to 4 more minutes or until the gravy is thickened. Stir it quite frequently during this time.
Season the gravy with lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne. Adjust the consistency if needed (more on this below), and serve!
Adjust the consistency of the gravy to your liking.
While the ratio of fat to flour to liquid in the recipe below is a starting point that should yield a good bacon gravy each time, the truth is that every single time you make gravy, the roux is going to thicken slightly differently.
The thickening properties of the roux can depend on exactly how long you cook it before adding the milk, or even something like the freshness of your flour! And of course, the temperature of your stove and the size of your pan matters, too.
Whatever the reason, it’s easy to adjust the consistency of bacon grease gravy. Use the recipe below as a starting point, but then use your cook’s intuition to adjust it to your liking.
Gravy a little too thick? No worries – just add a dash of milk a little bit at at time, while whisking, until the gravy is thinned out enough for your liking.
Gravy too thin? Not a big deal. Just simmer over medium heat until it reduces down and thickens a little. Shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. And if you over-reduce and it thickens too much? You guessed it – add milk!
Biscuits and bacon gravy are a classic!
Probably the most popular way to serve bacon gravy is over warm, flaky biscuits. The gravy will get into all of the biscuit’s nooks and crannies, making it such a satisfying brunch or breakfast-for-dinner.
Jeff is the designated biscuit baker at our house and he swears by this biscuit recipe. It’s perfect for biscuits and bacon gravy.
Other serving ideas for bacon gravy:
- fried chicken – yes, it’s probably the most indulgent meal on earth, but lots of people believe that bacon gravy is truly the perfect accompaniment to fried chicken.
- roasted vegetables – something on the lighter side, if Brussels sprouts smothered in this bacon gravy recipe can be considered light? Ok, maybe not as light as lemon Brussels sprouts, but just as tasty!
- mashed potatoes – can confirm, my Greek yogurt mashed potatoes are tangy enough to pair perfectly with this rich bacon grease gravy.
Can you freeze bacon grease gravy?
Yes! Just like my sweet dumpling squash soup and vegetables lasagna, this bacon gravy recipe freezes well for months if kept in a sealed container. Thaw the gravy overnight before rewarming over medium-low heat on the stove.
One thing to beware of is that when you’re re-warming frozen gravy, you WILL need to thin it out. Somehow, reheated frozen gravy always seems to be about twice as thick as when it went into the freezer.
Simply whisk in milk or water to thin the gravy out when reheating it.
- 6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk, plus additional if needed
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Place bacon and onion in large skillet over medium heat. Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until bacon is crisp, stirring frequently.
- Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet and discard or save for another use (there may not be too much extra to spoon off).
- Add flour to skillet and cook over medium heat 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- While whisking, slowly stream in milk until all milk is incorporated.
- Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes or until gravy is thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Add lemon juice, salt, black pepper and cayenne and stir until well combined. If necessary, thin gravy to desired consistency with a bit more milk, if you like a thinner gravy. Serve immediately.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 183Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 423mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 10g
This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.