This Is How to Make Southern Chocolate Gravy

The idea of chocolate gravy is only odd until you've had some slathered on fresh-baked biscuits.

I can tell you, chocolate gravy isn’t as strange as it sounds. In fact, its unusual name should make your mouth water, especially when you have flaky, buttery biscuits nearby. This old-fashioned comfort food from the South uses just five basic ingredients, and isn’t seen nearly enough these days.

Interestingly, chocolate gravy made its way to the Appalachians and the Ozarks thanks to influences from the Spanish colonists. It was (and should be!) a Sunday morning treat.

How to Make Chocolate Gravy


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Hot biscuits (These would work beautifully!)

Step 1: Whisk Cocoa With Milk

Sugar, cocoa powder and milk are the major components of this tasty sauce, and they need to be thoroughly mixed in a large heavy saucepan before anything else can happen. Just like with a savory gravy, nobody likes lumps. (If it’s meaty gravy you’re after, here are some tried and true tips.)

Step 2: Bring to a Boil

Because milk is involved, you can’t fire up the burner and walk away—it’s easy (and messy) for milk mixtures to boil over. Set the burner to medium heat and stir constantly for 7-10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened into a gravy-like consistency. If you like yours thinner, that’s fine. Just stop a little sooner.

Step 3: Finish the Gravy

Butter gives the gravy extra richness and vanilla helps balance out that strong chocolate flavor. After removing the pot from the heat, stir your butter and vanilla into the mixture until the butter is completely melted and incorporated.

Step 4: Feast!

Pour the finished gravy over hot biscuits or pound cake (or both—chocolate for breakfast AND dessert). It also works on pancakes, ice cream and a bowl of fresh fruit.

Even though its name might throw you off, there’s nothing wrong with a rich chocolate sauce that you can eat at any time of day.

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Grace Mannon
Grace learned a ton about the nitty-gritty of food and nutrition while earning her master’s degree in food science. She worked for a well-known baby food company and a company responsible for many favorite snack foods before transitioning to being a stay-at-home mom. She loves writing about complicated food science concepts in an understandable way and as a Taste of Home contributor, Grace covers a little bit of everything, from vintage recipes to must-have holiday foods and treats.