Ham Gravy Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 20 min.
This easy, flavorful, made-from-scratch ham gravy will take your next baked ham up a notch.

Updated: May 10, 2024

Step away from the gravy packet! Homemade gravy is way more flavorful than a store-bought powder. We’ll show you how to make ham gravy—it is easier than you may think. This gravy recipe is precisely what your Easter, Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner has been missing.

Made with a roux and ham base, the smooth and silky ham gravy is packed with delicious flavor and an extra bite of spice from coarse black pepper and prepared horseradish. You’ll spoon this gravy on everything: mashed potatoes, holiday ham, buttery biscuits and more.

Ingredients for Ham Gravy

  • Ham base: Like ham bouillon, ham base is concentrated ham stock, which is added to water. If you can’t find ham base, consider using chicken or vegetable bouillon instead.
  • Roux: Butter combined with all-purpose flour makes a roux to thicken the gravy. For a gluten-free version, use sweet rice flour instead of all-purpose flour.
  • Pepper: Coarsely ground black pepper adds an earthy and sharp bite to the gravy flavor.
  • Horseradish: This ham gravy recipe gets a spicy kick from horseradish. You can use store-bought or make homemade horseradish. Fresh horseradish is much hotter and spicier than prepared horseradish; if using fresh, use half the amount called for in this recipe. Here are some zippy recipes with horseradish to use up the extra.

Directions

Step 1: Prep the ham base

Overhead shot of combine water and ham base; stir until combined; whisk tool; wooden background;TMB Studio

In a small bowl, combine the water and ham base. Stir until combined.

Step 2: Make a roux

Overhead shot of a small saucepan over medium heat; melt butter; stir in flour and pepper until smooth; whisk tool; induction stove; wooden background;TMB Studio

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and pepper until smooth.

Editor’s Tip: Continue cooking the roux until the flour is golden brown. Stir constantly to prevent the roux from scorching or sticking to the pan.

Step 3: Add the ham base

Overhead shot of gradually whisk in ham base mixture; whisk tool; induction stove; wooden background;TMB Studio

Gradually whisk in the ham base mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until thickened, one to two minutes.

Editor’s Tip: If your gravy seems too thin, let it simmer until the liquid has reduced.

Step 4: Add the horseradish

Overhead shot of a small saucepan; ham gravy; induction stove; whisk tool; wooden background;TMB Studio

Stir in the horseradish and serve.

Overhead shot of Ham Gravy; poured over ham mashed potatoes; served on a small plates; with fork; napkin; wooden background;TMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Use ham drippings: If you have ham drippings after cooking a ham, by all means use them! Use 2 cups ham drippings in place of the ham base and boiling water.
  • Swap in broth: Replace the ham base and boiling water with 2 cups ham broth. Chicken, beef or vegetable broth work in a pinch.
  • Make it creamy: For a creamy country-style gravy for ham, prepare the ham base with 1-1/2 cups boiling water. Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half when you add the horseradish.

How to Store Ham Gravy

Make ham gravy, let it cool and store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. For the best results, reheat the gravy on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through. Add water if necessary to thin the gravy.

Can you freeze ham gravy?

Yes, you can freeze gravy for ham. First, let it cool completely. Then, place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze it for up to three months. To reheat, defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then heat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through.

Ham Gravy Tips

High angle view shot of Ham Gravy; poured over ham mashed potatoes; on a small plate; with fork; napkin; wooden background;TMB Studio

Can you make ham gravy in the same pan as your ham?

For the best (smooth and lump-free!) results, make the ham gravy recipe in a pan separate from where the ham was cooked. This lets you prepare the roux before stirring in the ham base or juices.

How do you adjust ham gravy thickness?

If your ham gravy recipe turns out too thin, cook it until the liquid reduces. The best way to thicken sauce is to stir in a cornstarch slurry: Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water, then stir the mixture into the gravy. If your gravy is too thick, add more liquid to thin it out. You can use water, stock or broth.

How can you avoid lumpy ham gravy?

Be sure to thoroughly whisk together the flour and butter when making your roux. This will help to ensure a smooth gravy for ham.

How do you serve ham gravy?

Of course, ham gravy is delicious served over pork, including ham recipes and oven-baked pork chops. But it’s also incredibly tasty poured over mashed potatoes or buttermilk biscuits. Any leftover gravy would be wonderful to serve the following day as a component in biscuits and gravy.

Ham Gravy

Prep Time 20 min
Yield 2 cups.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons ham base
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 3 teaspoons prepared horseradish

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine water and ham base; stir until combined.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; stir in flour and pepper until smooth. Gradually whisk in ham base mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Stir in horseradish.

Nutrition Facts

1/4 cup: 66 calories, 6g fat (4g saturated fat), 15mg cholesterol, 224mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.

You won't need ham drippings on hand to whip up this quick and easy ham gravy. Made with a ham base, butter, ground pepper and horseradish for its distinctive and peppery flavor, it's perfect for pouring over ham, mashed potatoes, biscuits and more! —Anna Miller, Churdan, Iowa