This is an easy-to-make Mushroom Gravy that will elevate anything you douse it with. It’s a gravy recipe made from scratch but without drippings. Use it as a sauce for steak, chicken, schnitzel, sausages, or even steamed vegetables. Or just mop it up with bread!
If there’s one thing that cooking full-time for a living has taught me, it’s that an arsenal of great sauces is one of the most useful things you arm yourself with in the kitchen.
It’s also an easy way to replicate a real fine dining experience at home. Think Béarnaise Sauce with salmon or steak. So very posh!
And it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Sauces can deliver really quick meals that are seriously delicious, all without resorting to packet mixes. For example, 4-ingredient Honey Garlic Chicken or a Baked Fish with Lemon Cream Sauce. Or in today’s case, Mushroom Gravy with anything!
Just pan-sear or barbecue a piece of chicken, chops or steak with salt and pepper, and smother with this delicious sauce. It’s also excellent to serve over steamed vegetables, a pile of mash, or for mopping up with any starchy vehicle of choice that you serve with dinner (pasta, rice, polenta, bread). It’s endlessly versatile.
In short: Mushroom Gravy is a life essential, believe me!
What you need for Mushroom Gravy
Here’s what you need. Yes, the first thing we’ll need for Mushroom Gravy is … mushrooms! 😂
You can use ordinary white button mushrooms or, for slightly more intense mushroom flavour, Cremini / Swiss Browns.
There’s nothing to stop you going more gourmet with the mushrooms if you like. Personally though from a best-use perspective, if I have say a fresh wild mushroom mix I’d use it for something like Mushroom Risotto where it can really shine, rather than a gravy.
For the gravy
And here’s what you need for the gravy:
Oil AND butter – For cooking the mushrooms. Why both? Because butter = flavour, but it burns at high heat whereas oil does not. So we need to use a combination of both oil and butter to make the mushrooms nice and golden while minimising the risk of burning the butter;
Garlic – Because mushrooms and garlic are very good pals;
Flour – This is what thickens gravy; and
Beef stock/broth – The higher quality the stock, the better your gravy. Stock is the heart of a sauce and there’s nothing to hide behind. So a homemade beef stock is one of the key things that differentiates the gravy and sauces of fine dining restaurants compared to ones made at home with mass-produced, shelf-stable store beef stock, like Campbell’s (the most common brand in Australia).
If homemade beef stock isn’t within your reach, I strongly encourage you to buy the best beef stock you can afford. Check with your friendly neighbourhood butcher, else try to buy the more boutique brands of beef stock/broth or beef bone broth (which is just a trendy name for plain ol’ beef stock!).
How to make Mushroom Gravy
The gravy part is super-quick – literally 3 minutes. The part that takes the longest is browning the mushrooms!
Brown mushrooms – We use a combination of both oil and butter to cook the mushrooms. This is because butter provides better flavour, but it burns at the high heat and length of time required to make the mushrooms golden. So by using a combination of both oil and butter, we get the best of both worlds!
Cook in batches – We’re using 400g/14oz of mushrooms in the gravy. However it shrinks down by more than half once cooked.
Cook the mushrooms in 2 batches rather than trying to cram them all in at once. If you try the latter, the mushrooms just stew and become watery. It then takes forever for the water to be driven off so the mushrooms can start browning. And by the time this happens, the mushrooms have shrivelled down into a sad, dried up state!
Remove first lot of cooked mushrooms onto a plate, then repeat with remaining mushrooms and set aside too;
Make gravy in same pan – Start by melting butter, then add flour and cook for a couple of minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. The texture of the flour-butter mixture (called a roux) depends on how much fat was left in the pan after cooking the mushrooms. Less fat = drier roux, more fat = wetter, more pasty roux. Either consistency is fine, and it will dissolve into the stock. The key thing is how much flour is used – we need just enough to thicken the gravy;
Pour stock in while whisking – While whisking or stirring the roux, slowly pour in the stock. This is the trick to ensure your gravy is lump-free, and it works even without using a whisk! Though a whisk does make life easier :-). Mix until you no longer see lumps in the gravy; and
Simmer until gravy thickens, add mushrooms – Once the mixture heats up and begins bubbling, it will start to thicken. While the mixture is still heating up, you only need to stir every now and then. Once the liquid is starting to get hot, stir frequently to ensure the base doesn’t catch. When making gravy in a skillet or shallow pan, rather than a saucepan like with plain gravy, the larger exposed surface area means it will thicken very quickly – maybe 2 – 3 minutes, depending on the strength of your stove.
Once the gravy is a thin-syrup consistency, add all mushrooms back in just to warm through. As a gravy cools it will thicken further. So by the time the mushrooms are warmed (30 seconds or so), the gravy will thicken to the perfect consistency!
A note on gravy colour
This is determined by the colour of the stock / broth you use. Brown stock/broth = nice brown gravy. This is why we use beef stock instead of chicken stock – because chicken stock is pale, which results in an un-enticing pale coloured gravy made from scratch like this, whereas beef stock/broth (broth store bought and homemade) is a darker brown colour = darker brown gravy.
As a side note, when making gravy from roast pan drippings, such as Turkey Gravy or this Baked Chicken & Gravy, the browned pan drippings darkens the colour of the gravy which is why you can use chicken stock and still make a nicely coloured gravy.
Gravy is indestructible!
Unlike some other sauces (I’m looking at YOU, Hollandaise Sauce!), gravy is very forgiving. It’s easy to reheat, to make thinner or thicker, it keeps for days, it freezes, etc. Even when it looks split after thawing, a good mix is all it takes to bring it back to life again.
I feel like it’s virtually indestructible! In fact, the only thing I can think might go wrong is if you walk away from the stove and the base catches and burns. So, don’t! This part only takes a couple of minutes. Stay by the stove and check your Facebook feed later!
Adjusting gravy thickness (it’s totally easy!)
Whether you’re making it right now or reheating gravy, adjusting the thickness to exactly what you want is very easy. Too thick? Just add boiling water, or some tap water and cook to heat. Too thin? Keep it on the stove for longer to reduce.
TIP: Gravy always thickens more as it cools, even in the time it takes to get from the stove to the gravy jug to the dinner table. So take it off the stove when it’s thinner than what you want! Also, gravy that’s been the fridge and reheated will be very thick and will almost certainly need thinning.
What to serve with Mushroom Gravy
The full list is lengthy because the possibilities are endless! Here’s a few of my favourites:
Steak, chicken, chops, sausages – All of these need nothing more than salt, pepper and cooking in a little oil on the stove or the barbie when you’ve got a sauce this good to pour over them.
Meatballs, rissoles, meatloaf and other ground meat favourites – All my meatball recipes come with sauces, but if you happen to have plain ones lying around, douse ’em in this sauce! Similarly for rissoles and other such foods.
Want a meatball recipe to smother with Mushroom Gravy? Use this Baked Meatballs recipe (skip the Sweet ‘n Sour Sauce);
Steamed vegetables – Make dull steamed veg irresistible even for the pickiest of eaters!
Store bought roast chicken dinner – Make a meal out of store bought roast chicken with a side of steamed greens and this Mushroom Gravy;
Chicken rolls – Toss shredded chicken through this Mushroom Gravy and stuff into hot buttered rolls with plenty of black pepper. Great food idea for a casual gathering!
What other of your favourite ways with Mushroom Gravy am I missing? Tell me below and I’ll add it to the list, and credit you! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Mushroom Gravy (easy, from scratch, no drippings required)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 45g / 3 tbsp butter , unsalted
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic , finely minced (~1 large or 2 medium cloves)
- 400g / 14oz mushrooms , sliced 3mm / ⅛" thick (white/button or Swiss/Cremini)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 30g / 2 tbsp butter , unsalted
- 4 tbsp flour , plain / all-purpose
- 2 cups beef stock / broth , low-sodium, the best you can afford (homemade beef stock is the very best option); Note 1
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Salt , to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add butter and let it melt.
- Cook half mushrooms: Add half the mushrooms and cook for 2 mins. Add half the salt and pepper, then continue to cook for another 2 mins until most mushrooms are becoming golden. Then add half the garlic and cook until mushrooms are fully golden, and remove to a plate.
- Cook remaining mushrooms: Melt remaining butter, then cook remaining mushrooms per above (adding salt & pepper partway through, and garlic towards the end). Remove to a plate.
- Lower heat to medium. In the same skillet, melt the butter.
- Add flour and stir continuously for 1 1/2 minutes so the roux doesn't burn. Don't worry if the mixture is a bit dry and sandy, it depends how much fat is left from the mushrooms.
- While stirring, slowly pour in the beef stock. This should avoid lumps in the gravy. If there are lumps, just whisk vigorously to dissolve them.
- Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it thickens to a thin-syrup consistency. Stir every now and then at first, then more regularly as the gravy thickens so it doesn't burn on the base of the skillet.
- Stir in cooked mushrooms, cook for a further 1 minute. Taste and add more salt if needed (if using unsalted homemade stock, you will need more).
More super sauces
Life of Dozer
This is what happens when I try to work on the floor in front of the fire – Dozer laptop table! (Which is all very cute and all until someone rings the doorbell and he jumps up and my computer goes flying!)