Make-Ahead Smoky Madeira Gravy


You can make this gravy ahead of time in a pressure cooker or simmer it on the stovetop; either way, this Madeira-spiked gravy recipe will lighten the load on Thanksgiving Day. A concentrated smoked turkey stock serves as the base of this gravy, which will keep in the refrigerator up to three days and also freezes beautifully. Wondra flour helps ensure a smooth consistency.

Make-Ahead Smoky Madeira Gravy
Photo: Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Prissy Lee
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs


  • 1 ¾ pounds smoked turkey wings (see Note) 

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns 

  • 3 (3-inch) thyme sprigs 

  • 1 medium carrot (about 2 ounces), coarsely chopped 

  • 1 small celery stalk (about 1 1/2 ounces), chopped

  • .50  small yellow onion, cut into wedges 

  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf 

  • 2 ⅔ cups water 

  • 2 - 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, or as needed 

  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons instant flour (such as Wondra) 

  • .50 cup (4 ounces) Madeira  

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 

  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper 


  1. Combine turkey wings, peppercorns, thyme sprigs, carrot, celery, onion wedges, and bay leaf in a programmable pressure multicooker (such as Instant Pot). Pour 22/3 cups water over mixture. Cover cooker with lid, and lock in place. Turn steam release handle to SEALING position. Select MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK setting. Select HIGH pressure for 1 hour. (It will take about 14 minutes for cooker to come up to pressure before cooking begins.) When program ends, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Carefully turn steam release handle to VENTING position, and let steam fully escape. (Float valve will drop.) Remove lid from cooker.

  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove solids from stock in cooker; discard. Pour stock through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large heatproof measuring cup. Let cool until fat rises to the top, about 15 minutes. Using a spoon, skim fat layer into a small bowl; there should be about 2 tablespoons Add enough butter to skimmed fat to measure 4 tablespoons.

  3. Heat a medium skillet over medium. Add skimmed fat–butter mixture; cook, undisturbed, until butter melts. Add flour; cook, whisking often, until mixture turns the color of peanut butter and smells like fried chicken, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in strained stock and Madeira. Stir in thyme leaves and pepper. Cook, whisking often, until mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking, whisking often, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Stovetop Variation

Omit step 1, and combine turkey, peppercorns, thyme sprigs, carrot, celery, onion wedges, and bay leaf in a large saucepan. Add 7 cups water, and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, until turkey is falling off the bone and liquid has reduced to about 3 cups, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Make Ahead

Let gravy cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze up to 2 months. (To reheat from frozen, thaw in refrigerator 12 hours before reheating.) Reheat gravy in a small saucepan over medium-low, whisking often, until warmed through. Thin gravy with water as needed.


If smoked turkey wings are unavailable, roast fresh turkey wings at 450°F until well browned, about 1 hour. Add wings and 2 slices of smoked bacon to Instant Pot.

Related Articles