Whenever I cook a dish with either no meat, or when I can't get any of the juices from the meat, I tend to make a gravy based on onions. I'm wondering what alternatives there are to onion gravy. To be clear, this is a gravy to compliment a meat dish (that is, I'm not looking for vegetarian or vegan options, necessarily).

I have seen mushroom gravy options, but I have a feeling that would taste strongly of mushrooms and overwhelm the dish.

1 Answer 1


You don't need onions or mushrooms, you can make gravy from strong stock, thickened using a roux or cornstarch slurry. This only really comes out well if you can get concentrated stock, it's not really that good with stock cubes, as they aren't really stock, more of a flavored salt.

My go-to gravy recipe uses Knorr stockpots, which are widely available in the UK and EU (from what I've seen in my travels), in the US they seem to be marketed as Homestyle stock, and they look like the same thing. I start with a roux made from 25g flour (about 2 tbsp) and 25g butter, cooked for about 2 minutes to give it a bit of color, then add 1 beef and 1 chicken stockpot and 600ml water, which is 2/3 of the normal dilution. I bring it up to a simmer, add some pepper, a drop of honey and a splash of dark soy for a bit of richness and color. If I have drippings I use those instead of butter to make the roux, if I have juices I will add this in addition to the base gravy recipe without adjusting it, it's just bonus flavor. If I have neither it still comes out well.

The flavor of the gravy comes from 2 things:

  • The roux: cooking the flour down to give it some color gives depth of flavor. You can use a cornstart (cornflour) slurry after heating but I find you can tell the difference. You can cook the roux longer and get more flavoring, at some point you start to lose the thickening power. You can make more roux than you need and spoon it out, adding it until you get the thickness of gravy you like
  • Concentration of the stock: you need a more powerful meaty flavor for gravy, thin stock won't cut it. If you have thin stock you can concentrate it down by gently simmering it to evaporate water.
  • I'll use Knorr at a push & certainly for the more unusual flavours, ham etc (unlike Oxo, which you'd have to pay me to use ;) but have you ever tried Kallo? tbh, I don't use them because of any 'green' credentials, but just because they really taste like stock.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 27, 2020 at 8:22
  • I'm not a fan of Oxo either. I think I tried Kallo awhile back and didn't think much of it, but I'm going to try it again if you recommend it.
    – GdD
    Apr 27, 2020 at 9:33
  • I've very much got used to it over the years. I find it 'milder' than Knorr, but somehow slightly less 'artificial', in a subtle way. I don't dislike Knorr at all, I think they're good. (The less said about Oxo the better, they can't even call their cubes 'stock' ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 27, 2020 at 9:35

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