Jamie Oliver’s Get Ahead Gravy

Jamie Oliver’s Get Ahead Gravy is the perfect accompaniment to any roast. Make it ahead of time for maximum flavour with minimum stress!

jamie oliver get ahead gravy in jug

Christmas Gravy

When it comes to roast dinners, I think the gravy can make or break the meal. And as someone who needs lashings and lashings of hot gravy with her roast potatoes, I take no chances in this department and always try to make my gravy ahead of time.

I am definitely not one of those people who can make a quick gravy from the pan juices right before serving; more often than not, the jus is too strong in flavour and there is simply not enough to go around.

Jamie Oliver’s Get Ahead Gravy

In the lead up to Christmas, a good friend of mine (and who happens to be a fabulous cook) was telling me about her faithfulness to Jamie Oliver’s Get Ahead Gravy which uses chicken wings as the main ingredient, and I was instantly intrigued.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Making the gravy ahead of time means less time in the kitchen on the big day.
  • The chicken wings create a very flavourful gravy, and this is further enriched with the pan juices of whatever meat you are roasting.
  • This gravy works perfectly with roast chicken, turkey, beef or pork.
jamie oliver get ahead gravy with roast beef

How to Make Jamie Oliver’s Gravy

The idea is to start making the gravy the day before so that you have an ample supply of gravy for everyone at the table, and which can be enriched with the pan juices from whatever you happen to be roasting on the day of the big meal.

I’m guessing that Jamie Oliver had roast turkey in mind when he devised this recipe, but I can confirm that it also works beautifully with roast chicken, roast beef and roast pork.

Jamie Oliver’s Get Ahead Gravy does take some time to make, but it is not labour-intensive; you simply roast some vegetables and chicken wings in the oven for about an hour, before transferring the roasting tray to the stove and let everything simmer until it has reduced and thickened nicely into a gravy or thickened stock.

chicken wings in baking tray

Now that I have tried this recipe a few times, this will definitely form part of my Christmas repertoire each year!

You can watch Jamie Oliver make his Get Ahead Gravy in the video below, and my recipe which follows has a few changes from Jamie’s recipe which I hope you will enjoy.

jamie oliver get ahead gravy

Jamie Oliver’s Get Ahead Gravy

5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8
  • Category: Christmas
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: British

My version of Jamie Oliver’s Get Ahead Gravy is the perfect accompaniment to any roast. Make it ahead of time for maximum flavour with minimum stress!


  • 2 large brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon, sliced thickly
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1012 chicken wings
  • olive oil
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) dry sherry or white wine
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • parsley, finely chopped (optional)
  • chives, finely chopped (optional)


To make the gravy (ideally, start the day before)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (without fan).
  2. Place the onions, carrots, celery, bacon, bay leaves, sage, and rosemary into a large, high-sided roasting dish. The roasting dish should be oven-proof and also suitable for using on the stove later.
  3. Using a very sharp knife, break the chicken wings so that the bones are cracked in places, but the wings are still intact.
  4. Place the chicken wings on top of the other ingredients in the roasting dish.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Roast for 1 hour or until the chicken wings are golden and nicely browned. The more colour the chicken wings have, the more colour and flavour your gravy will have.
  7. Remove the roasting dish from the oven and place it on the stove over medium-high heat.
  8. Add the sherry or white wine, and let it bubble away for a few minutes until most of it has evaporated.
  9. Stir in the flour, and cook for about 5 minutes.
  10. Add enough boiling water to just cover the ingredients (about 1.5-2 litres or 6-8 cups).
  11. Simmer over medium heat for about 30-45 minutes, or until the gravy starts to thicken to your liking.
  12. During this time, use a potato masher to squash and mash everything together, and to extract as much flavour as you can from the ingredients. Towards the end of the cooking time, all of the vegetables will have broken down and the chicken wings will have also fallen apart.
  13. When the gravy is cooked to your liking, strain everything through a coarse sieve into a large bowl or jug, extracting as much liquid as you can from the ingredients by pressing down with a wooden spoon.
  14. Taste for seasoning.
  15. Let the gravy cool before storing in the fridge or freezer.

To finish and serve the gravy

  1. Bring the gravy to a simmer in a large saucepan. If it is too thick, thin it with some boiling water.
  2. Once you have roasted your meat (turkey, chicken, beef or pork), skim off and discard any excess fat from the pan juices.
  3. Pour the pan juices into the gravy, and taste again for seasoning.
  4. I like to add fresh herbs to my gravy, such as parsley and or chives, to add some colour and freshness just before serving.

Kitchen Notes

If the gravy is too thin for your liking, I would suggest thickening it with a cornflour slurry. Simply mix a few tablespoons of cornflour with some cold water in a small bowl. With the saucepan of gravy on medium-high heat, quickly stir in some of the cornflour slurry until you have the consistency you like. You may not need all of the cornflour slurry.

This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver.

All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.


  • Calories: 230

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  1. Robyn 9 February 2018

    I also make this every year as part of my Xmas ritual. Certainly a keeper when cooking for a crowd. Make in advance and pop in the freezer!

    • Eat, Little Bird 11 February 2018

      Hi Robyn,
      Oh another fan of this recipe! I’m so grateful to my friend who introduced me to this gravy recipe – it is so delicious and perfect when entertaining 🙂 I’ll be making it throughout the year, for sure!

  2. Julia 16 April 2018

    Simple, fast and very tasty! I want to try it is immediately! Thank you for great recipes!

  3. Vicky Dann 20 January 2019

    I’ve made this gravy several times now. It’s absolutely lush. A real stress free winner for our Sunday lunch and Christmas Day

  4. Jacquie 17 December 2019

    What if i don’t have a gas stove? How do i finish the gravy off on the stove top

    • Eat, Little Bird 18 December 2019

      Hi Jacquie,
      You don’t need a gas stove to make this gravy. Any stovetop surface should work fine for this recipe. Hope this helps!

  5. Kathryn Smith 21 December 2019

    My gravy wasn’t thick or brown ….help!

  6. Pat 23 December 2019

    I made this last night. Didn’t have bacon or wine (or sherry) or fresh herbs. Dried herbs worked just fine. Used turkey wings instead of chicken wings. The result was a perfect gravy. Just the right amount of thickness and a beautiful, deep colour, with incredible flavour. This will serve to stretch the gravy I make on the big day. Will definitely make again and again!

    • Eat, Little Bird 25 December 2019

      Hi Pat,
      Merry Christmas! Thank you for your notes here – they are so helpful! Great to know that this recipe also works great with turkey wings.

  7. Angela 25 December 2019

    I followed Jamie’s recipe, but I feel the gravy spoiled dinner. The pungent taste of aniseed from the star anise was just wrong with Christmas dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I love star anise, but in Asian food. I will make it again next time, but without star anise

    • Eat, Little Bird 25 December 2019

      Hi Angela,
      The original recipe from Jamie Oliver includes star anise, but I have omitted this from my own list of ingredients above for the same reasons you have mentioned. The first time I made this recipe, I also felt that the star anise was overwhelming and just didn’t work right in the gravy. The second and subsequent times I have made this gravy, I left out the star anise and pretty much followed the recipe as I have described them here. I prefer to add lots of fresh herbs, such as parsley and chives, to the finished gravy just before serving to give it some freshness and a good herbal hit. Definitely try it without the star anise next time – I’m sure you will enjoy it 🙂 And Merry Christmas to you!

  8. Fiona 13 December 2020

    Hi could you use chicken thighs instead of chicken wings? Thanks

    • Eat, Little Bird 13 December 2020

      Hi Fiona,
      At a pinch, you could use chicken thighs as the bones will still give nice flavour to the gravy. But chicken wings would be my first choice as the cartilage in the chicken wings will give the gravy both richness and body. The cartilage creates gelatin when boiled, and this helps to thicken the gravy. Also, chicken wings have a lot of fat, and fat equals flavour 🙂 Hope this helps!

  9. Jade 15 November 2021

    Hi there, can I make this gluten free at all

    • Eat, Little Bird 15 November 2021

      Yes, you can make this gravy gluten-free by omitting the flour and thickening the gravy instead with a cornflour slurry. Simply mix a few tablespoons of cornflour with some cold water to form a paste. When the gravy is simmering on the stove, whisk in some of the cornflour slurry until it has thickened to your liking. Hope this helps!

  10. Shirley 4 November 2022

    Been making this gravy for Xmas day for several years now. Make in November. Put in two 2pint milk containers then freeze