While I love the idea of sausage gravy and biscuits, I don't love the white gravy. My version of biscuits and gravy involves a brown roux!
Originally Posted December 30, 2013. Updated 2/24/2022.
Shortly after I moved to the US, I heard of "biscuits and gravy" for the first time.
It’s not something I’d ever seen on a menu in Canada before that point... and in the 3 years since moving home, I still haven’t. I’ve heard it’s out there, though!
Anyway, we were watching TV, and whatever show we were watching was demonstrating it.
The cook lobbed a big chunk of shortening into the pan for making the gravy, and at that point... I think it was the most disgusting breakfast idea I'd ever even heard of.
It didn't even really matter that I later found out that not all biscuit gravy is made like that, the idea of it was gross.
Even without that visual introduction, the idea of anything white being called gravy seemed - and still seems - really OFF to me. In my world, gravy is supposed to be brown!
Well... unless you're Italian, apparently - two of my MasterChef friends schooled me on that one. I digress...
I’ve always been a fan of homemade buttermilk biscuits - my grandma’s flaky homemade biscuits were always the BEST biscuits - and sausage with gravy sounded like a good addition to them.
I just couldn’t get past the idea of a homemade gravy that was so white!
Eventually, I decided to come up with my own sausage gravy recipe, more to my (Canadian!) tastes!
The Perfect Comfort Food
I started out with my grandmother’s classic biscuits, then worked up the best sausage gravy I could envision.
You know, proper brown gravy.
In my personal opinion, if you're using flour to thicken anything aside from a delicate white wine sauce, you should make a proper roux.
Usually "the darker the better", too!
Anyway, the resulting recipe has become a favourite amongst our breakfast recipes.
As a simple recipe, it’s great for any random Saturday morning... but it also feels special enough to be great as a Christmas morning brunch offering.
While many of my breakfast recipes are sweet - and obviously breakfast foods - this savory meal actually works well for any time of day.
A fresh biscuit topped with the creamy texture of the (brown version of!) country sausage gravy? It’s an ultimate comfort food!
Oh, and while the whole recipe from scratch takes very little time, you can even speed it up a bit by using your favourite premade biscuit dough. It’ll be one of the easiest recipes you make!
About Traditional Biscuits and Gravy?
For those outside of the United States, a bit more info.
Sausage gravy and biscuits is a popular American breakfast food, most commonly served in the southern USA, and in chain restaurants.
In consists of flaky biscuits (the scone-ish kind, not cookies!), generally split in half and arranged on a plate. They’re topped with a creamy sausage gravy - also known as sawmill gravy, or southern sausage gravy.
The gravy is generally made from the sausage fat left in the pan from cooking the sausage. Flour is added to the leftover grease and browned bits in the bottom of the pan, and cooked just long enough to get rid of potential flour taste.
Milk is added, creating a creamy gravy. The gravy and sausage is served together over the biscuits, as a hearty breakfast.
Why I Use a Roux for my Sausage Gravy
You see, when it comes to food... browning is flavour. Whether it's a meat, a crust, a cookie... browning your food is adding all kinds of wonderful flavours to it.
Why go with a white gravy, when a brown one takes only a few minutes more? I don't get it.
So, rather than just looking at the flour as a thickening agent alone, I look at it as a way to add flavour.
When you cook the flour and butter together as a roux, it turns into a rich, toasty, almost nutty flavour - it's the best way to start any gravy, really.
Making a Roux for Your Gravy
Making a roux is pretty simple: You melt some fat, stir some flour in, and cook it - stirring constantly - until it gets as brown as you’d like it.
Now, most people recommend cooking your roux over medium heat or lower heat, and it can take a really long time.
If you're just starting out with rouxs, I'd say caution is probably a good idea... but just as an FYI, I usually cook my roux on medium-high heat.
As long as you're careful, don't stop stirring, and have your liquid pre-measured and ready to go... I find cooking on medium high heat to be pretty low risk.
You may find that you need more or less milk than called for here, partially out of personal taste (we like it pretty thick, you may not!), and partially because making a roux isn't really an exact science, when it comes to thickening.
As flour cooks and darkens, it loses some of its thickening power.
When you first mix the butter and flour together, it will thicken a LOT more liquid than a similar amount of a really dark brown roux.
Play around with it, and see where your preferences take you!
If your gravy ends up thicker than you’d prefer, just whisk in a splash of milk, until it reaches your desired consistency.
Biscuits and Gravy Ingredients
This is a great recipe that requires really simple ingredients.
The recipe ingredients are in two parts:
You can use any southern-style biscuits you like, but I recommend my Baking Powder Biscuit Recipe as your base. These are by far my favorite biscuits.
All they require is:
* All purpose flour
* Baking Powder
* Shortening, lard, or Cold Butter
* Milk or Buttermilk
Homemade Sausage Gravy
Sausage of Choice
While we were still living in the USA, I loved using the Papa George's brand of sausage.
It’s about a million times better than anything else on the market, is perfectly seasoned and flavoured, isn’t as salty as some, and has almost no fat in it. We’d use either the regular, hot, or sage flavoured sausage chubs in this recipe.
Because this recipe was developed with that particular sausage, you may find yourself wanting to use less butter, if you use a fattier sausage.
That said, feel free to use whatever breakfast sausage you like - Jimmy Dean, pork sausage, spicy sausage, even just seasoned ground pork.
Turkey sausage works well in this recipe, without any alteration needed.
The Other Gravy Ingredients
* Butter - I use butter for my roux, but feel free to use olive oil or bacon grease if you prefer.
* Flour - I use all-purpose flour. If you need it gluten-free, you can use white rice flour or light buckwheat flour, they both work well for this.
* Milk - I tend to use 2% milk, but whole milk, almond milk, and coconut milk all work well - just use unsweetened versions!
* Salt and black pepper
The gravy can be seasoned with some red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and / or fresh herbs, if you’d like.
I’ll usually go with the flavour of whatever sausage I’m using. If it needs a little something once the gravy is done, I’ll add in whatever compliments the flavour of that sausage.
How to Make Sausage Gravy and Biscuits
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, but here is the pictorial overview
Preheat oven for biscuits, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Following the biscuit recipes, make the dough, cut it out, and place biscuits on the prepared baking pan.
Before placing the biscuits in the oven, brown the sausage in a large fry pan or large skillet. Remove sausage from pan, set aside.
Put biscuits in the oven, make the gravy:
Melt butter in that same frying pan. Stir in flour until smooth. Cook over medium or medium-high heat - stirring constantly - until it’s as brown as you want it.
Slowly add in about half of the milk, stirring until smooth. Add the rest of the milk - in small amounts - stirring once again until smooth.
Add in the cooked sausage, stir well and bring up to a gentle simmer – the gravy will thicken as it simmers.
Add a little more milk if the gravy is too thick for your tastes, then season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Keep gravy warm until biscuits come out of the oven. Split warm biscuits in half, spoon gravy over top, serve immediately.
Ideally, you’ll only serve the gravy over biscuits that will be served immediately, as leftovers are definitely better when the gravy is kept separate from the biscuit.
So, allow any leftover biscuits and gravy to cool to room temperature. Transfer the gravy to an airtight container and wrap the biscuits in plastic wrap.
If you don’t use them the next morning, they’ll be good for a couple of days in the fridge.
More Breakfast and Brunch Recipes
Looking for more ideas to jazz up your breakfast experience! Here are a few more recipes for you:
Ambrosia Belgian Waffles
Apple Cinnamon Buns
Baking Powder Biscuits
Breakfast Bagel Strata
Chai Cinnamon Rolls
Deluxe Pizza Strata
Easy Banana Bread
Easy Cheese Souffle
Fig, Honey, and Goat Cheese Strudel
Ham, Swiss, and Kale Strata
How to Make Peameal and Back Bacon
Maple Walnut Spiced Pumpkin Buns
Smoked Gouda and Chive Scones
Rosemary Peach Balsamic Scones
Strawberry Orange Rolls
The BEST Hash Browns/ Skillet Potatoes
Share the Love!
Also, be sure to subscribe to my free monthly email newsletter, so you never miss out on any of my nonsense.
Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
Biscuits and Gravy
- 1 recipe Baking Powder Biscuits
- 12 oz Sausage of Choice *
- 4 Bbsp Butter
- 4 tablespoon Flour White Rice or Light Buckwheat works, for Gluten Free
- 1 ½ Cups Milk
- Salt and Pepper To Taste
- Preheat oven for biscuits. While it’s heating up, brown the sausage in a fry pan. Remove sausage from pan, set aside.
- Put biscuits in the oven, make the gravy:
- Melt butter in that same frying pan. Stir in flour until smooth. Cook over medium or medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it’s as brown as you want it.
- Slowly add in about half of the milk, stirring until smooth. Add the rest of the milk, stirring once again until smooth.
- Add in the cooked sausage, stir well and bring up to a simmer – the gravy will thicken as it simmers. Add a little more milk if the gravy is too thick for your tastes, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Keep gravy warm until biscuits come out of the oven. Split warm biscuits in half, smother with gravy.