Carbs and Calories In Gravy: Is Gravy Keto-Friendly?


Who doesn’t love gravy?  It’s the perfect addition to any home-cooked meal.  Whether poured over roasted meat or veggies, gravy truly jazzes up any old dish, instantly turning it into a savory, succulent feast.  

gravy calories

Some store bought gravies contain white flour or corn starch thickeners, so they can clock in at a moderate carb count, approximately 5 grams per half-cup.

Making your own homemade gravy is easy and a great way to control what ingredients get added.  Using almond flour instead of wheat flour is a great way to thicken your pan juices… Not only is this flour low in carbs, it is also very soluble – so it thickens without lumps, creating a delicious, smooth, Keto-friendly gravy.

How Many Carbs are in Gravy?

Canned and homemade gravy has 5 grams of carbs in a 100 gram serving.

Some fast food and restaurant gravies are higher in carbs.  For example, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s (KFC) gravy contains 8 grams of carbs.

How Many Calories are in Gravy? 

There are 80 calories in a 100 gram serving of canned or homemade gravy.  
(Fat and sodium content may vary, so check labels.)

Countries of Origin

In cookbooks from medieval times, gravy was once referred to as gravé – a sauce made of broth and an array of spices, and sometimes wine or ale.   By the turn of the 16th century, gravy became known as a sauce made from the drippings of meat. 

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, a Sunday roast is typically served smothered in gravy. In these regions, it is a popular sauce to go along with pork, chicken, lamb, or beef. It is also common in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland to have gravy with just French fries or “chips” as they’re called in these parts.

In Italian cuisine, the term gravy often refers to a meat-based “ragù”. Sugo alla Bolognese came from the word succo, which could mean pan drippings or meat juices or “meat sauce.”

Gravy in America means a sauce that is made from the drippings of various types of meat or poultry.  The term is believed to have originated from the Old French word “grané”, which translated into the Middle English word “grave”.  The spelling changed over time to “gravy” – possibly a result of a misspelling that stuck.

Nutrition Facts

Gravy, canned

Amount Per 100 grams
Calories 79
Total Fat 6 grams 9%
Saturated fat 1.4 grams 7%
Polyunsaturated fat 1.5 grams
Monounsaturated fat 2.6 grams
Cholesterol 2 milligrams 0%
Sodium 424 milligrams 7%
Potassium 109 milligrams 3%
Total Carbohydrate 5 grams 1%
Dietary fiber 0.4 grams 1%
Sugar 0.8 grams
Protein 1.9 grams 3%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2% Iron 2%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 0%
Cobalamin 1% Magnesium 0%

How to Make Gravy Healthier

The Low Carb Way to Thicken Gravy

gravy carbs

Traditionally, gravy is thickened by adding a couple of spoonfuls of all-purpose white flour or corn starch to achieve a smooth, thick consistency.  With that in mind, both white flour and corn starch are starches that add carbs to your diet.   Use an alternative low carb thickener to make a healthier gravy.  You can use almond flour as a thickener instead.   Flaxseeds that are crushed first in a food processor also help to thicken and flavor your gravy. Another option is to steam or boil vegetables such as cauliflower or zucchini and then blend them into a puree to use in your gravy in place of flour.

The Low Fat Method of Making Gravy

Gravies for meat and poultry are traditionally made with the fat drippings from the cooking pan. This fat added back to the meal increases the calories and the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.  A healthier version of homemade gravy is made using chicken or vegetable stock instead. Simply add spices and a low-carbohydrate thickening option such as whole-wheat flour to the stock to make a healthier gravy.

To skim the fat when making gravy (as well as soups and stews), refrigerate and remove the fat that solidifies on top with a large spoon.  To speed up the process, place a few ice cubes in a gravy (or soup).  The fat will harden at the surface quickly, making it easier to remove.  Then simply re-heat for a delicious gravy sauce (or soup) with all of the flavor, but much less fat.

Creamier gravies like England pork white gravy sauce, contain milk or cream to give them a rich, creamy texture. These additions increase the fat content of your gravy, so you may be consuming more calories with your lean meat and poultry than you thought. Instead, try using skim milk powder or skim milk to your gravy to make it creamy.  Pureed boiled cauliflower is another great low carb hack for a creamier gravy. 

Reduced Sugar Gravy

gravy keto

If you are making a sweeter gravy, try a splash of cinnamon vanilla, nutmeg, or a dollop of applesauce instead of adding sugar.  Your palate will be intrigued by that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ these alternatives provide to your home-style gravy recipes.

Reduced Sodium Gravy

Canned and restaurant style gravies are typically high in salt or sodium for additional flavor.   An excess of salt can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. You can use other spices instead of salt to make a delicious gravy that is lower in sodium.  Choose from a variety of dried or fresh spices like sage, thyme and rosemary.   Don’t be afraid to experiment with all kinds of herbs and spices; like, garlic, chives, parsley, oregano, pepper, onion, celery seed, ginger powder, and dill. Just chop up your favorite herbs and add them into your gravy in place of salt. There are also some great dried herbs at the grocery store as well.  I love the ones put out by the brand, Mrs. Dash. 

Keto-Friendly Homemade Gravy

Ingredients:

  •  2 Cups chicken or beef stock
  • ½ Small onion, diced
  •  2 Beef or chicken bouillon cubes (depending on the meat you’re serving)
  •  Fat drippings from chicken or beef (or 3 tablespoons of butter for meatless dishes)
  • ¼ Teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ Teaspoon garlic powder
  •  ½ Teaspoon dried rosemary
  •  3 Tablespoons almond flour
  •  1 Teaspoon onion powder
  •  Fresh Ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Combine the stock and bouillon cubes in a pot, heating for a few minutes while stirring until bouillon is dissolved.
  2. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan over medium-high heat or fat drippings if you are using chicken or beef fat drippings from your roast instead of butter.  You can even keep some small bits of meat in your gravy as well for added flavor.  Sautee diced onions in the fat until softened and translucent.
  3. Whisk in the almond flour and spices. Cook for a minute or two while continuing to whisk until gravy is smooth and free of lumps.
  4. Pour in the stock slowly a little at a time while continuing to whisk until smooth.  Bring gravy to a rolling boil.
  5. Simmer for a few minutes to reduce while whisking until gravy thickens.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  
  6. Remove from heat and enjoy over your meat of choice and low carb veggies!

Can Vegetarians and Vegans Still Have Gravy?

Campbell’s or Heinz Mushroom Gravy is a safe bet if you’re vegan or vegetarian.  This mushroom-flavored gravy is delicious when poured over low carb veggies. 

If you’re not a fan of mushroom gravy, the bouillons in some brands of canned meat flavored gravy may not contain any actual meat.  Just check the label to be sure.  Vegans and vegetarians can often enjoy the taste of meat without consuming any real meat as many brands contain only meat flavorings, which are cruelty-free.

Melissa Marshall

A litigation paralegal and writer. Her first novel debuts this fall. She lives with her kitten, Zoey overlooking the waterfront in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - also known as the “City of Lakes”.

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