15 min • How to Make Packet Gravy Better • Loaves and Dishes


Isn’t THICK RICH FLAVORFUL TASTY GRAVY simply the BEST? You MUST know how to make packet gravy better so that it will ooze down the sides of your mashed potatoes, meat and everything else on your plate is superior fashion.

how to make packet gravy better on mashed potatoes

How to Make Packet Gravy Better

Packet gravy on it’s own is pretty darn good and nothing could be easier! That said, it’s super simple to make it even better and here are some common hacks to do so!

If you came looking for how to make regular gravy with cornstarch or flour, then I can show you those right over there. No problem.

You’ll be enjoying flavorful mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey with delicious gravy in no time at all!

Store Bought Gravy Hacks

The easiest hacks for gravy are so very simple, it only takes a minute. Here are a few and then I’ll show you how I doctor up my store bought gravy.

  • Instead of using water to mix the gravy, use broth instead.
  • Add a bit more broth and some pieces of meat from your main dish, just chop them up very small.
  • Add pepper, garlic powder, a dash of hot sauce and a pat of butter or a drizzle of oil.
  • While cooking your dinner, put a small piece of meat, a carrot, onion and celery stick in a sauce pan and cover with store bought broth. Allow to simmer on low during dinner. Use this broth to make your packet gravy.
  • Once the gravy is made, chop up a boiled egg in the gravy. This is an old southern tradition that I simply love!
  • Use a whisk to quickly stir the gravy packet into the liquid so that it dissolves completely.
Mushrooms in Gravy

How to make McCormicks Brown Gravy Better

McCormick’s is simply a brand of gravy mix that is available at the grocery store. You can use this brand OR any other brand you choose. Simply follow the instructions on the back of the packet to make the standard recipe.

To Make McCormicks Brown Gravy Better, you’ll want to doctor it up very simply. You can do any of the following tips (or several tips) to make yours better!

  • Instead of using water to mix the gravy, use broth instead.
  • Add a bit more broth and some pieces of meat from your main dish, just chop them up very small.
  • Add pepper, garlic powder, a dash of hot sauce and a pat of butter or a drizzle of oil.
  • While cooking your dinner, put a small piece of meat, a carrot, onion and celery stick in a sauce pan and cover with store bought broth. Allow to simmer on low during dinner. Use this broth to make your packet gravy.
  • Once the gravy is made, chop up a boiled egg in the gravy. This is an old southern tradition that I simply love!
  • Use a whisk to quickly stir the gravy packet into the liquid so that it dissolves completely.

How to Make Bisto Gravy Taste Better

Bisto is simply a brand of gravy mix that is available at some grocery stores. You can use this brand OR any other brand you choose. Simply follow the instructions on the back of the packet to make the standard recipe.

To make Bisto Gravy Taste Better, you’ll just need to add a bit of flavor. To add flavor, just follow the instructions listed above. It’s the same for any packet gravy or jarred premade store bought gravy.

wooden spoons of packet gravy

Spices to Add to Gravy

When you are making packet gravy, you may want to add some spices to bring out the flavor of the packet. I find that it’s best to enhance the flavor of the gravy with a variety of flavors.

In general you can count on the typical bundle of salt, acid, heat and fat. Gravy automatically has enough fat and generally enough salt (if you are using the packet). You may need a hit of acid and heat.

Acid is things like vinegar or lemon juice. Heat is hot sauce or cayenne or red pepper flakes.

There are a number of other spices you might consider too based upon the meat you are serving or the vegetables that the gravy will accompany. Here are some of my usual favorites, try them mixed together or individually until you find just the taste you are looking for.

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Cayenne (be VERY careful with this one).
  • Nutmeg (tiny amount)

Here’s What You’ll Need

You’ll only need a few items to make packet gravy successfully.

***Note that All of these are optional except the packet of gravy and the broth

  • a Packet of Gravy
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Small bit of meat
  • Broth
  • Garlic clove
  • Bay Leaf
  • Pepper

Here’s How You Do It (Basic Recipe)

  1. Simmer the broth, veggies and meat on the stove in a sauce pan while preparing the rest of your meal.
  2. When meal is ready, remove the veggies (not the meat) from the saucepan leaving the liquid behind.
  3. Use one cup of the liquid in place of the water in the directions on the back of the gravy packet. Then add pepper to taste.
A blue cup of red eye gravy pouring over three pieces of country ham on a white plate
Red Eye Gravy

Tips and Tricks for How to Make Packet Gravy Better

There are many tips and tricks and I hope to cover most of them here. Of course, if you have a trick I haven’t offered, feel free to leave your suggestion in the comment section below.

  • The thing to remember when doctoring packet gravy is to always add salt last. Packet gravy tends to be very salty and it would be easy to over salt your dish.
  • Adding flavor to your packet gravy starts with having a flavorful broth. Broth is flavored by adding vegetables and a bit of meat.
  • Use the pieces of meat that won’t work in your cooked dish, for example, the chicken wing tips or the giblets that are in the bag inside the turkey or chicken.
  • In this recipe, I add the onion with the skin on. The yellow onion skins gives a lovely color to your broth which ultimately shows up in the gravy. If that offends you, feel free to remove the skin.
  • No need to peel the carrot or string the celery, just wash them. We will be removing them from the final dish.
  • All of these veggies are optional, if you don’t want one adding flavor to your dish, just leave it off.
  • You’ll want to just simmer the broth while you make the rest of your meal. If you do more than a simmer, the broth will become cloudy and while it isn’t so important for gravy, its a good habit to be in.
  • you can remove the veggies with a slotted spoon or kitchen spider.
  • If you are using giblets for your meat, be sure to cut them up very small. They are very strong tasting and a large piece of one of them would be startling in your gravy.

***PRO TIP – For a southern classic, cut up 2 boiled eggs into your finished gravy. YUM!

Substitutions

As I said before, none of this is required, simply add the flavors you enjoy. However here are some substitution suggestions.

MEAT – if you do not want to add meat to your broth and are making a vegetarian type gravy, you can add tiny bits of firm tofu, small bits of cooked cauliflower or chopped up and sautéed mushrooms.

MEAT BASED BROTH – feel free to use a vegetable broth instead.

McCORMICKS PACKET – Use any brand of gravy packet you choose. Simply replace the water in the recipe on the back of the packet with this broth that you make.

VEGETABLES – The vegetables I use here are simply suggestions, feel free to use the ones you prefer to flavor your broth.

BROTH – Use any kind of broth you prefer, chicken, beef or vegetable. If you do not have broth, you can use water with a tiny bit of “Better than Bouillon” or a bouillon cube, however, these tend to be quite salty and you will have to be careful. You may have to add quite a bit more water and then thicken with cornstarch.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Can I Use Milk Instead of Water for Packet Gravy

While this might seem like a good idea, for basic brown gravy, I wouldn’t try this. Milk is often a challenge to add to things so that it comes out tasting right. Go with water or broth.

What Is the Secret to a Good Gravy

The secret to a good gravy is depth of flavor. You can get this by adding a good broth. See the recipe below.

Can I Freeze This Gravy

Gravy isn’t the best when frozen, it doesn’t reconstitute right and often breaks. It’s best to just make it fresh.

How Long Does Packet Gravy Last?

Packet gravy, if kept covered in the fridge lasts for about 5 days.

Special Equipment

You won’t need any special equipment, but I do find that having a kitchen spider and a whisk really help to make things go more smoothly.

Here’s a Kitchen Spider like I use, I love mine.

These photos are a link to Amazon, if you click it, you will go through to Amazon where you can compare prices. I am an Amazon affiliate and if you purchase through this link I will receive a commission, so thank you. My commission does not affect your price at all.

This is one of the whisks I prefer, see what you think.

Watch Us Make Packet Gravy

Can You Help Me Out?

Please leave a 5 STAR comment in the comment section below. This helps others to find the recipes at Loaves and Dishes! Thank you!

how to make packet gravy better on mashed potatoes
  • 2 cups broth recommend chicken broth, more if needed.
  • 3 Tbs meat whatever you are not using in your dish, wing tip, giblets, etc.
  • 1 small carrot washed, cut into three pieces
  • 1 small onion wash, can leave skin on, cut into fourths
  • 1 celery stick wash, cut into three chunks
  • 1 garlic clove no need to peel
  • 1 bay leaf optional
  • 1 gravy packet recommend McCormicks Chicken Gravy
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • In a small sauce pan on the stove top, place the broth, meat, carrot, onion, celery stick, garlic clove and bay leaf. Set to simmer.

  • Allow to simmer while preparing the remainder of your dinner. 5 minutes before dinner is ready, use a slotted spoon or kitchen spider to remove the veggies from the broth (leave the meat if it is in small pieces, remove any bones or whole pieces – like a wing tip). Discard those.

  • Measure out the amount of liquid required for your packet of gravy. If using McCormicks, you’ll need one cup per gravy packet. If your liquid has simmered off too much and you need more liquid, simply add more broth to bring to the amount you need. Pour the remaining liquid out (if you have more than you need) into a bowl and save for another recipe.

  • Pour the measured liquid into your sauce pan, add the McCormicks packet and whisk vigorously until all of the lumps are broken and the packet is completely incorporated. Break any lumps against the side of the sauce pan. Allow to simmer again until thickened. Add pepper to taste. Serve hot.

  • The thing to remember when doctoring packet gravy is to always add salt last. Packet gravy tends to be very salty and it would be easy to over salt your dish.
  • Adding flavor to your packet gravy starts with having a flavorful broth. Broth is flavored by adding vegetables and a bit of meat.
  • Use the pieces of meat that won’t work in your cooked dish, for example, the chicken wing tips or the giblets that are in the bag inside the turkey or chicken.
  • In this recipe, I add the onion with the skin on. The yellow onion skins gives a lovely color to your broth which ultimately shows up in the gravy. If that offends you, feel free to remove the skin.
  • No need to peel the carrot or string the celery, just wash them. We will be removing them from the final dish.
  • All of these veggies are optional, if you don’t want one adding flavor to your dish, just leave it off.
  • You’ll want to just simmer the broth while you make the rest of your meal. If you do more than a simmer, the broth will become cloudy and while it isn’t so important for gravy, its a good habit to be in.
  • you can remove the veggies with a slotted spoon or kitchen spider.
  • If you are using giblets for your meat, be sure to cut them up very small. They are very strong tasting and a large piece of one of them would be startling in your gravy.
  • If the gravy is thinner than you like, either allow to simmer until it is as thick as you prefer OR use cornstarch to thicken. 
  • If the gravy is thicker than you prefer, whisk in more broth until it is as thin as you prefer.
***PRO TIP – For a southern classic, cut up 2 boiled eggs into your finished gravy. YUM! SUBSTITUTIONS As I said before, none of this is required, simply add the flavors you enjoy. However here are some substitution suggestions. MEAT – if you do not want to add meat to your broth and are making a vegetarian type gravy, you can add tiny bits of firm tofu, small bits of cooked cauliflower or chopped up and sautéed mushrooms. MEAT BASED BROTH – feel free to use a vegetable broth instead. McCORMICKS PACKET – Use any brand of gravy packet you choose. Simply replace the water in the recipe on the back of the packet with this broth that you make. VEGETABLES – The vegetables I use here are simply suggestions, feel free to use the ones you prefer to flavor your broth. BROTH – Use any kind of broth you prefer, chicken, beef or vegetable. If you do not have broth, you can use water with a tiny bit of “Better than Bouillon” or a bouillon cube, however, these tend to be quite salty and you will have to be careful. You may have to add quite a bit more water and then thicken with cornstarch.

Nutrition Facts

How to Make Packet Gravy Better

Amount Per Serving (0.25 cup)

Calories 33 Calories from Fat 4

% Daily Value*

Fat 0.4g1%

Saturated Fat 0.1g1%

Trans Fat 0.003g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.1g

Cholesterol 7mg2%

Sodium 493mg21%

Potassium 116mg3%

Carbohydrates 5g2%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 2g2%

Protein 3g6%

Vitamin A 2350IU47%

Vitamin C 2mg2%

Calcium 12mg1%

Iron 0.2mg1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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