How long can gravy be stored?


Gravy is a delicious sauce made from meat drippings, flour, and stock or broth. It is a common accompaniment to meals, particularly during holidays and special occasions. However, leftover gravy can be a concern for many people. How long can it be stored? Is it safe to eat? In this article, we will explore the shelf life of gravy and the best practices for storing and handling it.

Understanding Gravy

Gravy is a mixture of fat and flour, which is cooked and combined with stock or broth to create a sauce. The fat used in gravy can come from various sources, such as meat drippings, butter, or oil. The flour is used to thicken the mixture, and the stock or broth adds flavor and depth. Gravy can be made from different types of meat, including poultry, beef, pork, and lamb. It can also be made with vegetable stock for a vegetarian option.

Factors Affecting Gravy Storage

The shelf life of gravy depends on several factors, such as the ingredients used, the method of preparation, and the storage conditions. Homemade gravy that is made from meat drippings may have a shorter shelf life compared to gravy made with store-bought broth or stock. Similarly, gravy that is made with butter or cream may spoil faster than gravy made with oil or vegetable broth. The method of preparation, such as cooking time and temperature, can also affect the shelf life of gravy. Finally, storage conditions, such as temperature and humidity, can either extend or shorten the shelf life of gravy.

Refrigeration Guidelines

Refrigeration is the most common method of storing leftover gravy. Gravy should be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated within two hours of cooking. This will prevent bacteria from growing and reduce the risk of spoilage. Gravy can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three to four days. If the gravy has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours, it should be discarded.

Freezing Guidelines

Gravy can also be frozen for longer-term storage. To freeze gravy, allow it to cool completely and transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Gravy can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. When freezing gravy, it is important to leave some headspace in the container to allow for expansion during freezing. It is also recommended to label the container with the date of freezing to keep track of its shelf life.

Defrosting Gravy

To defrost frozen gravy, transfer it to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight. Alternatively, gravy can be defrosted in the microwave using the defrost setting. It is important to reheat gravy thoroughly before consuming to kill any bacteria that may have grown during storage.

Signs of Spoilage

Gravy that has spoiled will have an off odor, strange texture, or mold growth. If any of these signs are present, the gravy should be discarded immediately. Consuming spoiled gravy can cause food poisoning and other health issues.

Shelf Life of Gravy

The shelf life of gravy varies depending on the storage method. Gravy stored in the refrigerator can last for up to three to four days, while frozen gravy can be stored for up to three months. However, it is important to use your best judgment and discard any gravy that shows signs of spoilage.

Safe Handling of Gravy

To ensure the safety of leftover gravy, it is important to handle it properly. This includes refrigerating or freezing it promptly, reheating it thoroughly, and discarding any leftover gravy that has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours.


Gravy is a delicious and versatile sauce that can add flavor and depth to many meals. However, it is important to handle and store leftover gravy properly to prevent food poisoning and other health issues. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can safely enjoy leftover gravy for up to several days or months.

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Elise DeVoe

Elise is a seasoned food writer with seven years of experience. Her culinary journey began as Managing Editor at the College of Charleston for Spoon University, the ultimate resource for college foodies. After graduating, she launched her blog, Cookin’ with Booze, which has now transformed into captivating short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram, offering insider tips for savoring Charleston’s local cuisine.

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