A popular way to cook turkey giblets is to boil them, which prepares them for use in gravy or just to eat plain. These pieces of meat need to be cooked properly to keep you safe from foodborne illnesses.
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You can boil turkey giblets and then use them in a stew or add them to gravy to spread over turkey meat.
What Are Turkey Giblets?
The giblets of the turkey are actually three different organs: the liver, heart and gizzard. The gizzard is essentially the stomach of the turkey. While it might not sound appetizing, turkey giblets are great in recipes after they've been boiled. Plus, organ meats provide high amounts of vitamin A and B vitamins.
Hearts are made of muscle tissue and are rich in blood. Blood carries nutrients through the body, which is why heart tissue is more nutritious compared to meat. The liver creates bile, which doesn't sound appealing, but it's loaded with vitamins and minerals.
The gizzard is particularly high in protein. As reported by the the USDA, 4 ounces contain 21 grams of protein and no carbs. By comparison, the same amount of raw giblets has 20.5 grams of protein, 140 calories and almost 6 grams of fat.
By eating just 4 ounces of turkey giblets, you can meet the recommended daily values (DV) for some vitamins. According the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these dietary recommendations apply to adults and children over the age of four. Individual recommendations, however, may vary.
As the FDA notes, you should aim for about 6 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily. A 4-ounce serving of turkey giblets provides over 14 micrograms. While the FDA recommends 5,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin A per day, giblets contain almost 15,000 IU.
Turkey giblets won't satisfy the daily value for some nutrients, but they still provide a significant amount. Riboflavin is one example. The recommended daily value is 1.7 milligrams, and giblets contain 1.57 milligrams per serving.
Getting enough B-complex vitamins in your diet is important. According to a November 2016 study published in Maturitas, low levels of these nutrients are common in people with cognitive decline.
How to Properly Cook Giblets
You can purchase giblets at the store or from a butcher. Cooking them properly is essential because poultry products can be contaminated with salmonella. Eating under-cooked giblets can make you sick and even send you to the hospital.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1.2 million people are infected with salmonella each year. This pathogen is responsible for 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths in the United States annually.
To properly cook the giblets, put them in boiling water. Use a thermometer to measure their internal temperature, which should reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The texture of the giblets should change while they cook. After boiling, they should be crumbly, soft and easy to cut through.
Make a Giblet Gravy
Making a gravy adds flavor and moisture to your turkey. This delicious paleo gravy recipe, for example, doesn't call for turkey giblets, but you may add them.
Start by placing grass-fed butter, onions and pepper into a saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until the onion is caramelized. During this process, you can add the turkey giblets.
Next, add starch and almond flour and stir for one minute. Add black pepper, arrowroot starch, garlic powder, chicken broth, coconut milk and salt, and boil until the gravy is thick. You can add two to three tablespoons of almond flour to give it extra thickness. Simply remove the turkey giblets, then serve.
If you're looking for more ways to incorporate giblets into your meals, try this recipe from the Food Network to replace the chicken stock. Put a pot on the stove and add oil. Place the giblets, onion, carrot, celery and salt in the pot and cook them for four to five minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Add water, thyme, a bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring the mix to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer, uncovered, for about an hour and a half. You should reduce the stock to three cups. Then, you can add it to the gravy recipe.
How do you make gravy from chicken stock from scratch?
- In 1-quart saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups of the broth to boiling. Reduce heat to medium.
- In small bowl, stir remaining 1/2 cup broth, the flour, salt and pepper with whisk until smooth. Gradually stir mixture into hot broth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
How can you thicken gravy?
If your gravy is a little too thin, try stirring in 3 to 4 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch into a small amount of cold water until you’ve created a smooth paste. Slowly and gradually whisk the mixture into the gravy a little at a time until it begins to thicken.
What is the best thickener for gravy?
Flour or cornstarch will help to thicken any sauce, and gravy is no exception. As long as you can avoid making lumps this option is the fastest way to thicken your gravy. Mix cornstarch or flour with a little water. You should put slightly more water than cornstarch or flour.
Why isn’t my gravy thickening?
The gravy is too thin If that doesn’t work (or you don’t have time), thicken the gravy with a cornstarch slurry, which you make by whisking 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into 1 tablespoon of cold water in a small bowl until smooth. . Be sure to use cornstarch, not flour, to thicken gravy that’s already made.
What can replace flour as a thickener?
What can I use to thicken my soup?
Add Flour, Cornstarch, or Other Thickener: Starches thicken soup and give it body. Whisk a few tablespoons of starch into a little of the broth in a separate bowl before whisking it into the main pot. This prevents the starch from clumping and helps it dissolve into the soup evenly.
I grew up in a smooth gravy family, so the first time I encountered giblet gravy at my in-law’s house I was a little alarmed by the chunkiness. But just one bite had me convinced I had been missing an awful lot during all those smooth gravy years. Giblet gravy is so savory and flavorful that everyone needs to give it a try at least once. (And once you do, you might never go back.)
Here’s how to make the perfect, foolproof giblet gravy!
One reason for giblet gravy’s supreme flavor is that you’re using the neck and giblets to create the stock that goes into the gravy, so there’s no loss of flavor anywhere. You start by adding the neck and giblets to a pot, along with some water, onion, carrots, celery, peppercorns, and bay leaves, and let that simmer for a good while. You strain the liquid and chop up the meat from the neck. You’ll use both later; there’s little waste here.
Then it’s time to make the actual gravy. You start with some fat – turkey fat or butter will do just fine. Flour gets whisked in, and you want to let that mixture cook for a minute or two until that raw flour taste has cooked out. Once it’s golden brown and nutty, you start to whisk in the pan drippings from your turkey and then the stock that you just made, ladleful by ladleful until you have the consistency you like. If you don’t want to bother with pan drippings, you can just use the giblet stock – it’ll be plenty flavorful.
Once you’ve reached your desired thickness, you stir in the chopped neck meat, season to taste with some salt and pepper, and you’ve got the ideal gravy – perfectly savory and punctuated with tender, flavorful turkey. Happy feasting!
I really can not image eating my cornbread dressing with pouring thick rich gravy on top. I'm pretty sure you will feel the same way I do after you try out this recipe. This recipe only makes a small amount that will feed 3 to 5 people. If you are cooking for more people just double the recipe.
Giblet Gravy Recipe
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup flour, general purpose
- 1 cup cooked gizzards, finely chopped
- 1 hard boiled egg, finely chopped
- In a saucepan add flour to chicken broth, stirring slowly to mix well. Then add gizzards and chopped eggs.
- Cook over medium heat until sauce thickens to your liken. Pour your gravy into a sauce bowl and serve over your favorite cornbread dressing.
Let me explain how to boil the gizzards, just in case you don't already know. Cover chicken gizzards in a pot of water and bring to a rolling boil. Cover pot with lid, reduce heat to low and slow cook the gizzards for about 1-1/2 hours until the are tender. It's important that you let the gizzards cool before chopping them up.
Again this giblet gravy recipe should be poured on top of your cornbread dressing during can either Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving dinner . Give the recipe a try and you just may make it a family tradition to serve during the holiday season.
Other Uses For This Gravy
You already know about pouring gravy on top of your cornbread dressing. But what else can you use the leftover gravy for? I can thing of a few other ways to reuse the gravy so that you don't wast any leftovers.
- My most favorite things to do is to use my leftover ham and turkey to make sandwiches. I heat the meat, bread, and the pour on so gravy. This is some good eating.
- Another option is to whip yourself up some homemade mash potatoes. They taste great with leftover gravy. Just spoon the gravy on top of the potatoes and then enjoy the meal.
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My Mama always made turkey giblet gravy on the holidays. It was just a given that you’d find gravy on the table with those little bits of giblets floating in it. I under-appreciated it back then, but now I know the added punch of flavor that infusing the gravy with giblets gives us. Some southern cooks add chopped, hard boiled egg to their gravy. Mama never did and neither do I, but feel free to throw some in if you like. You’ll want 1 hard boiled egg, diced and stir it in just before serving.
Don’t be intimated by homemade gravy because it is hands down so much better than a jar or can and not hard to do at all. Click here for some tips on how to make (and repair) gravy and then come back here to learn how to make a wonderful pan gravy using those beautiful drippings from your holiday turkey.
Here’s how to make it.
Recipe: How to Make Homemade Giblet and Egg Gravy
- Turkey giblets and neck from the bird
- 1 bay leaf
- Water to cover (reserve water when done)
- 4 cups of drippings and/or broth from the turkey pan
- 1/3 cup of fat skimmed off the top of the drippings
- 1/3 cup of all purpose flour
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper , to taste
- Additional turkey or chicken stock , as needed
- 1 large boiled egg , chopped, optional
Place the neck, giblets and a bay leaf into a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer, cover and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes or until done but still tender. Remove the neck and giblets, reserving the cooking water, and set aside to cool. Pull the meat off of the neck, and chop giblets; set aside in the fridge till you need them.
When the turkey comes out of the oven, transfer it to a large platter to rest. Pour off all of the liquid from the roasting pan into a large measuring cup. Add the giblet cooking liquid to those pan drippings – an 8 cup measure is great for this but generally a 4 cup measure will do it. You’ll also need a fat separator. You can make do without one, but trust me, they are more than handy and worth every dime. It will keep your gravy from getting greasy, so get yourself one!
Set the roasting pan over medium high heat. Pour some of the broth into the fat separator and add 1 cup of the pan drippings back to the roasting pan to start. Deglaze the pan by scraping up all of the browned bits. Pour off the broth and pan scrapings back into the 4 cup measure.
Now we make the roux. Spoon off 1/3 cup of fat from the top of the reserved pan drippings and add to the roasting pan. If you don’t want to do this in the roasting pan, just start the roux in a large saucepan. You’ve already pulled up all of the browned bits, so it doesn’t matter at this point.
Heat over medium to medium high heat, then slowly sprinkle in the 1/3 cup of flour. Cook and stir the roux for 3 minutes. Gradually begin to add in the reserved 4 cup measure of pan drippings and giblet broth – filtering it through the fat separator to avoid adding any of the fat floating on the top. Keep some additional turkey or chicken stock close by, because you’ll be adding that, as needed, cooking and stirring constantly as you add the broth in, until the gravy reaches the desired consistency.
Add the reserved cooked giblets, turkey meat and egg, if using; warm through. Season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust as needed.
Tip: Buy an extra couple of turkey wings and you can fake it by making your gravy ahead, roasting off the wings and using the drippings and the broth as your base.
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Classic Giblet Gravy is iconic and a must-have on the Southern holiday table. If you aren’t familiar with the gravy, it’s prepared by using the fowl’s (turkey, chicken, etc.) offal, rather the heart, gizzard, and liver. The neck meat is often used as well in giblet gravy.
I don’t ever remember a Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday without it gracing our table. My mom didn’t cook that much growing up, but she sure knew how to make giblet gravy. She was an expert at it. The gravy makes all the difference in the taste of everything holiday.
Giblet gravy is relatively simple to make, and the flavor is out of this world. Simply remove the heart, gizzard, and liver and place in a medium pot with stock and water. Add the neck to the pot if spatchcocking the turkey or chicken. Lower to a simmer for a few hours, and then chop the meat into tiny pieces. That’s it for the giblet part of the recipe.
The rest of the preparation is pretty much the same way you make brown gravy. Melt butter, stir in flour, and continue to stir until it becomes thick. Then add drippings from the cooked turkey, or add some of the drained broth from water in which you boiled the giblets. Add a little milk to give the gravy that silky texture, and then add a few boiled eggs chopped very small. The chopped egg gives the gravy a nice color, texture, and flavor.
Pouring this gravy over mashed potatoes, turkey, chicken, or cornbread dressing brings a comfort like none other. For me, this is comfort food at its best!
I demonstrate how to make giblet gravy in this video from my Thanksgiving Feast series on the Outdoor Channel:
Which traditional Thanksgiving foods can you not do without? Is it the stuffing, the cranberry sauce, the mashed potatoes? Where I come from, it’s almost criminal if a Thanksgiving turkey doesn’t have a side of gravy. How else are you going to deal with Aunt Helen’s dry bird?
This year, offer to make the gravy and learn a skill that can be utilized all year-round — make this gravy with chicken, too! Because I believe tossing out the vitamin- and flavor-packed giblets that come with your turkey or chicken is kissing goodbye the opportunity for a proper giblet gravy.
This recipe benefits greatly from the drippings of a roasted turkey or chicken. It is assumed that if you’re making gravy, you’re also making a bird and from that bird you will get drippings; I usually get a little under 1/4 cup from a 3 to 4-pound chicken, and a little under a cup from a large 16-pound turkey.
If you’ve never harvested drippings from a roasted bird before, we can help. After you remove the bird from the roasting pan, pour what remains in the pan into a heatproof measuring cup. Let this mixture stand for a few minutes and you will notice that the fat floats to the top, and the drippings settle on the bottom. Pour off the fat (save it for roasting vegetables!) and use the drippings for your gravy.
The recipe below is for a turkey gravy. For chicken, halve the recipe and use chicken giblets instead.
A Proper Giblet Gravy
Yield Makes about 2 cups
- Calories 109
- Fat 6.9 g (10.6%)
- Saturated 3.9 g (19.7%)
- Carbs 7.2 g (2.4%)
- Fiber 1.4 g (5.4%)
- Sugars 1.9 g
- Protein 4.8 g (9.6%)
- Sodium 49.7 mg (2.1%)
- 2 tablespoons
stalks celery, chopped
large carrot, chopped
small onion, chopped
A few cracks of black pepper
Giblets from a turkey (neck, liver, gizzard, sometimes heart)
A few sprigs thyme
drippings from a roasted turkey or chicken
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the celery, carrot and onion for 1 to 2 minutes, until the onions are soft and beginning to color. Add a few cracks of freshly ground pepper.
Add the giblets, thyme and enough water to cover. Raise the heat and bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about an hour. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
Strain the broth into a bowl. Transfer the cooked giblets to a cutting board and discard the sprigs of thyme. Remove as much meat from the neck as possible, then discard the neck bones and neck fat. Chop the neck meat and giblets into very fine pieces.
In a medium skillet, heat the pan drippings over medium low heat. Add the chopped giblets and sauté for a minute. Add enough flour to make a thick roux, a teaspoon at a time. Allow the roux to cook and darken for a minute. Add the reserved broth 1/4 cup at a time, whisking thoroughly into the roux.
Continue adding broth as the gravy cooks and thickens. If necessary, add additional water to bring gravy to proper consistency. Taste for seasoning and serve.
- This recipe is for a turkey gravy. For chicken, halve the recipe and use chicken giblets instead.
This recipe has been updated. Originally published January 2009.
Turkey giblet gravy is an easy recipe to make and a classic side dish to serve alongside turkey. Learn the simple steps of how to make giblet gravy from scratch using turkey drippings and giblets to get the perfect turkey gravy.
Creamy, rich and full of flavor this Thanksgiving gravy simmers on the stove while the turkey cooks and is quickly finished while the bird rests before carving.
Drizzle it over Thanksgiving turkey, make a pool of gravy in your mashed potatoes or pour over turkey poutine, this simple recipe will be a great addition to your Thanksgiving menu year after year.
Ingredients need to make giblet gravy
- Turkey giblets
- Meat drippings from the turkey pan
- bay leaf
- herbs such as parsley, rosemary and sage
- salt and black pepper
How to make homemade giblet gravy:
- While the turkey is roasting in the oven, in a medium saucepan warm 2 tablespoons of butter and brown the giblets in along with the turkey neck and if you have a spatchcocked turkey, the backbone.
- To the saucepan add the rest of the ingredients.
- Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low while the turkey roasts in the oven.
- After removing the turkey from the oven and transferring it to a serving platter to rest, add ¼ cup of flour to the bottom of the roasting pan and whisk to make a roux with the turkey pan drippings in the bottom of the pan.
- Place the roasting pan on the stovetop and over medium heat, whisk and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the giblets from the giblet broth and finely chop the giblets.
- Strain the giblet broth discarding the vegetables, neck and backbone.
- Slowly pour the giblet broth into the roasting pan, whisking as your pour.
- Stir constantly as the gravy thickens.
- If you find you have made a thick gravy, the best way to fix that is to add a splash of chicken broth, turkey broth or vegetable broth to loosen the gravy.
- Serve in a preheated gravy boat with your Thanksgiving meal.
Thanksgiving Turkey Preparations Tips:
🗒️ Frequently asked questions and tips:
The giblets of a turkey include the heart, liver, gizzard of the turkey. These organs along with the neck are usually found in a bag and this bag needs to be removed from the cavity of the turkey before roasting the turkey.
A lot of traditional turkey gravies will have giblets as part of the ingredients. The addition of the cooked heart and liver to the gravy will add not only flavor to the gravy but an added boost of iron.
Giblet gravy can be frozen and easily reheated. I will freeze leftover gravy by cooling it completely before portioning it out into individual portions. Freeze in freezer safe bags, removing as much air as possible.
There is nothing worse than cold gravy on the Thanksgiving table. To keep the gravy warm I will first warm the gravy boat with hot water for about 5 minutes. Or, you can use an insulated gravy boat to keep the gravy warm.
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When you buy a whole chicken or turkey, you usually get the giblets stuffed inside the cavity. You can toss them out, feed them to the dog or, if you like flavor, make gravy out of them.
It’s surprisingly easy although, to be honest, you shouldn’t go into it expecting the same kind of texture you get from instant or pre-made gravy.
Giblets aren’t really pretty when you start. Set the neck bone aside and dice the soft pieces.
Fry everything over extremely high heat with a little olive pomace oil or, even better, bacon fat.
Don’t use non-stick. You want the brown bits stuck to the pan. Once everything’s cooked through, remove the neck bone, add enough water to deglaze the pan, and scrape up all the brown bits.
Turn the heat down to low and add a light dusting of flour, just enough for a thin coating over all the giblets. Cook over low heat for five minutes or so, just until the flour doesn’t taste raw any more.
Scoop everything into a food processor and process until smooth. Return to the pan and warm everything through again. Add salt and pepper and check the flavor. Add more salt. And pepper. Gravy needs more than you thought.
Strain through cheesecloth into your gravy boat.
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