I've read every question here that mentions brining a turkey, and I've seen conflicting remarks about whether the pan drippings are suitable for making gravy. (None of the existing questions actually address this point directly.)

So: if I brine the turkey, will my mom still be able to make her amazing gravy from the drippings, or will the result be inedibly salty? Does this depend on the particular gravy recipe? (Mom's involves sour cream and garlic, and sometimes mushrooms.)

3 Answers 3


I believe that I have made some of those conflicting comments.

It is definitely possible to make an excellent pan gravy with the drippings from a brined turkey.

It is also really easy to have the gravy turn out inedibly salty if you aren't careful.

Make sure you follow the brining recipe. Don't have too high a concentration of salt and don't brine for too long. Rinse off the bird, inside and out, before roasting.

I have also read, from reliable sources such as Harold McGee, that gravy is impossible. My own experience would suggest otherwise.

  • 1
    Just to report: the gravy was a success: lovely turkey flavor, not at all over-salted. The turkey wasn't as spectacularly good as I'd been led to expect, but I'm putting that down to our inaccurate oven - need to invest in an oven thermometer.
    – Marti
    Nov 28, 2010 at 16:50
  • Glad to hear that it worked out. Nov 28, 2010 at 21:31

I've never had any problem using the drippings from a brined turkey for gravy, and I've probably done 10 of them.

If you're particularly concerned about it, use the neck and giblets to make a plain stock and cook that down a fair amount to concentrate the flavor. You can use that for the gravy instead of the drippings and no worries about salt. Or you can use that to cut the drippings if you get to that point and feel they're too salty to use straight. In the worst case you'll wind up with more gravy than usual, and I don't see how that could be bad!


Yes you can Brine a Turkey and use the drippings. I only brine my turkey 10-12 hours. Rinse it, pat dry and let it set for a few hours. THEN put it in the oven to cook. When you go to make your gravy taste it often to make sure it doesn't get to salty. It is truly wonderful!

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