Southern country gravy is a white gravy with bacon grease, flour, whole milk, salt, and black pepper, perfect for biscuits and fried chicken.
Southern country gravy goes by many names, including white gravy, country-style gravy, peppered white gravy, and Cracker Barrel sawmill gravy.
Homemade country gravy starts with a simple roux made from bacon grease (or other meat drippings, see notes below), all-purpose flour, milk, salt, and pepper.
Serve this gravy recipe over homemade biscuits, pork chops, fried chicken, chicken fried steak, and chicken and waffles.
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- Easy recipe: White gravy is a simple recipe that comes together in less than 10 minutes.
- Customizable: Make with bacon drippings, sausage drippings, poultry drippings, or butter.
- Simple comfort food: This Southern staple is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dinner.
- bacon grease - or unsalted butter, see variations below
- flour - all-purpose flour
- milk - whole or 2%
- salt - for flavor, add more to taste
- black pepper - coarse ground black pepper
See the recipe card for quantities.
This bacon gravy recipe starts with ¼ cup bacon grease. You can render bacon fat fresh by frying 5 to 8 slices of bacon, though the quantity will vary widely depending on the cut and fat content of the bacon selected.
You can make the gravy in the same large skillet that you fried the bacon in for extra flavor. The cooked bacon bits in the bottom of the pan will add flavor.
Alternatively, bacon grease can be filtered and stored in an airtight container (such as a wide-mouth mason jar) in the refrigerator for up to three months. Strain the grease with a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter to remove the bacon bits. Many Southerners store bacon grease on the counter, but food safety experts recommend against this practice.
Heat the bacon grease in a saucepan on medium-low heat.
When the bacon grease is hot, whisk in the flour one tablespoon at a time to prevent lumps from forming, stirring constantly. Cook the flour mixture for about 1 to 2 minutes.
Tip: Cooking the flour mixture for a couple of minutes eliminates the taste of flour from the finished gravy. Follow this tip for best results.
Slowly pour the milk into the flour mixture, quickly whisking to combine until smooth.
Stir in the salt and pepper now or at the end. Increase to medium heat.
Heat the mixture, stirring constantly until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency. It will take about 5 minutes for the gravy to come to a low simmer and thicken.
Tip: The gravy is ready when it drizzles off a wooden spoon in a thick, consistent stream. There should be no lumps. The gravy will thicken more as it cools. If the gravy becomes too thick, add a splash of milk.
Once the gravy is thick, remove it from the heat. Add more salt or pepper to taste.
What to serve with white gravy
Southern country gravy is incredibly versatile. Try one of these tasty dishes.
- Crispy fried chicken or chicken tenders
- Chicken-fried steak and gravy
- Homemade buttermilk biscuits and gravy
- Breakfast casserole
- Fried pork chops
- Breakfast potatoes
- Other drippings - Bacon grease can be substituted with other pan drippings (such as sausage or poultry drippings) in a 1:1 ratio.
- Butter - Bacon grease can be substituted with butter in a 1:1 ratio. I recommend ¼ cup unsalted butter so you can control the salt content at the end. You can also partially substitute bacon fat with butter if desired. Melt the butter, then add the flour to the melted butter and continue the recipe as written.
- Milk - This recipe is best with whole milk or 2% milk for a rich gravy, though you can make this with low-fat milk or dairy-free milk if desired.
Use this simple white gravy as a base recipe, or add a twist to make it your own.
- Sausage gravy - Make Southern-style sausage gravy with pork sausage. Brown the breakfast sausage until cooked. Add the flour directly to the sausage crumbles, then follow the remaining recipe instructions. Try this homemade sausage gravy recipe.
- Spicy - Add ¼ cayenne pepper for a little kick.
Store leftover homemade gravy in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw fully before reheating.
Gravy can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Southern gravy is a white country gravy made with pan drippings (usually bacon, sausage, or poultry) or butter, flour, whole milk, salt, and pepper.
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Southern Country Gravy
- ¼ cup bacon grease or unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper coarse ground
- Heat the bacon grease in a saucepan on medium-low heat.
- When the bacon grease is hot, whisk in the flour one tablespoon at a time to prevent lumps from forming, stirring constantly. Cook the flour mixture for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Slowly pour the milk into the flour mixture, quickly whisking to combine until smooth.
- Stir in the salt and pepper. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency. It will take about 5 minutes for the gravy to come to a low simmer and thicken.
- Once the gravy is thick, remove from the heat. Add more salt or pepper to taste.
- Cooking the flour mixture for 2 minutes eliminates the taste of flour from the finished gravy.
- The gravy is ready when it drizzles off a wooden spoon in a thick, consistent stream. There should be no lumps. The gravy will thicken more as it cools.
- Bacon grease can be substituted with other pan drippings (such as sausage or poultry drippings) or unsalted butter in a 1:1 ratio.
- After opening, raw bacon should be used within 7 days or frozen.
- According to the USDA, it is difficult to cook bacon to a precise temperature, but if the bacon is cooked crisp it is considered safe.
- It is best practice to store leftover bacon grease in the refrigerator.
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