Seriously Good Vegan Gravy

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This vegan gravy is supercharged with savory flavor and is so creamy and rich that no one will miss the meat! A perfect pairing with mashed potatoes and a must for your holiday menu. Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free.
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
Total 45 minutes
5 from 49 votes

Once you taste this rich and creamy vegan gravy, your holiday table will never be the same. Say goodbye to those mild-flavored, one-note gravies that leave everyone underwhelmed.

And despite being indulgent, this mushroom gravy is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free! It’s so flavorful you and your guests will want to drink it.

It’s the perfect pairing for vegan mashed potatoes and a must-make for any traditional holiday dinner.

Table of Contents
1. Why this recipe works
2. Ingredient notes
3. Step-by-step instructions
4. Tips for making this recipe
5. Frequently Asked Questions
6. Recipe card

vegan gravy with mushrooms on top of bowl of mashed potatoes on green background

Why this recipe works

A serious umami bomb!

Traditionally, gravy is made with meat, which is naturally rich in umami. So a great vegan gravy also needs that deep savory, meaty quality if it’s going to be included among your vegan Thanksgiving recipes.

First, mushrooms. While many vegetarian gravy recipes use onions as the base, I think a holiday gravy needs something bolder and richer in flavor.

To amp up the natural umami found in mushrooms, this recipe adds soy sauce and miso paste. Both pack in some serious savoriness that salt alone can’t bring (trust me, I’ve tried!) and enhance the mushrooms’ meatiness.

The result is an umami explosion that will make your taste buds sing!

PS: If you love the sound of these savory flavors, don’t miss out on my creamy and dreamy Vegan Mushroom Soup and Vegan Mushroom Risotto!

Packed with herbs and aromatics

Many gravy recipes use dried spices and herbs (e.g., onion and garlic powder, dried sage or thyme). But for a serious-flavored gravy that will win over even meat lovers at the holiday table, the fresh stuff is a lot more powerful.

First, shallots are sauteed in vegan butter or olive oil, then the shrooms, followed by a generous amount of minced garlic, fresh thyme, and rosemary. The result: herbaceous, garlicky notes that beautifully complement the mushrooms.

Yes, it takes a bit more time than using dried herbs and spices, but it’s worth it for the holidays. Plus, you can make this gravy a few days ahead of time (more details in the Tips section).

Perfectly creamy

This recipe scoops out a cup of the gravy, blends it, and then folds it back into the remaining gravy. This naturally thickens the gravy and gives it a luxuriously creaminess (something I do often with soups and stews, like this Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale).

At the same time, blending just a portion retains some of the mushrooms, which gives the gravy a meatier vibe (and nicer presentation).

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If you prefer a totally smooth gravy without mushroom pieces, you could blend all of the gravy. Or, if you love the gravy as is, keep it unblended.

Ingredient notes

ingredients for vegan gravy on tablecloth with ingredients labeled

Mushrooms. They’re the star here! I like using a mix of cremini (which are inexpensive) and shiitake, which are bold and meaty-flavored, but you can opt for just cremini. If using shiitake, remove the tough stems first. 

Soy sauce and miso. A double hit of fermented soy products make for an umami-rich and maximally flavor vegan gravy.

Substitute: If you have a soy allergy, use (1) double the nutritional yeast and (2) a concentrated vegetable broth, like this vegan “chicken-flavored” broth seasoning or Better than Bouillion no-chicken base (affiliate links).

I don’t recommend coconut aminos in lieu of soy sauce, as it has a slightly sweet taste.

Vegan butter. I like using it for that rich buttery flavor, but feel free to use extra virgin olive oil

Fresh herbs. Fresh thyme and rosemary add a lovely woodsy depth of flavor here.

Substitute: You can sub sage for either herb. If you don’t have access to fresh herbs, use a teaspoon each of the dried herbs, but it won’t have the same flavor.

Tip: Near the holidays, many grocery stores sell packages of “poultry herbs,” which combine rosemary and thyme with sage or marjoram, so you don’t have to buy all the herbs separately.

Red wine. Red wine plays multifaceted roles in this vegan gravy.

First, the acidity cuts through some of the richness. Second, the compounds in wine bring an extra depth of flavor (think subtly earthy and fruity flavors) and enhance the meatiness of mushrooms. Finally, cooking the wine down adds a jammy, rich body.

Substitute: Don’t drink alcohol? Check out the FAQ section.

Nutritional yeast. A natural source of glutamate (e.g., umami), nooch adds to the overall savoriness of this gravy.

Balsamic vinegar. A tiny splash of good-quality balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar) brightens all the flavors. The acidity really awakens the rich flavors, especially if the gravy has been made in advance.

ladle spooning mushroom gravy onto mashed potatoes

Step-by-step instructions

Heat half of the butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the shallots for 3 minutes until golden. Add the rest of the butter, followed by the mushrooms. Cook for 8-10 minutes until nicely browned and the water has been released.

Add the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

Add the red wine, vegetable broth, and soy sauce. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes to cook off the wine, whisking frequently.

Next, add in your “roux” (nutritional yeast, plant milk, and cornstarch stirred together). Whisk constantly to combine. Add in the miso paste, stir well, and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.

If a thicker texture is desired, scoop out 1 cup of gravy and blend in a blender, then return to pan and stir to combine.

a thick vegan gravy with mushrooms in a ceramic saute pan.

Tips for making this recipe

Make gravy ahead of time for a stress-free holiday!

The benefit of vegan gravy (in addition to being better for the animals!) is you can make it 1 to 3 day ahead of time (no need to wait until the turkey is being cooked). It tastes just as good on the day it was made.

Store it covered in the fridge and reheat on the big day. The gravy does thicken as it rests, so when reheating it, add a couple splashes of water or veggie broth to thin it out to your desired consistency.

Season judiciously.

This recipe uses low-sodium veg broth and just a couple pinches of salt because (1) you get a good amount of salty savoriness from both the soy sauce and miso, and (2) as the gravy simmers, the flavors will become concentrated.

Don’t season with too much salt early on. If needed, you can always season with a pinch or two of salt at the end.

Blend (or not) for your preferred texture. If you want a smooth gravy, you can blend all of the gravy. It will thicken quite a lot, so you can use less cornstarch or more broth.

If you want lots of mushroom pieces and not as creamy of a texture, skip the blending.

I like a happy medium: blend one cup of gravy to naturally thicken and mix it with the rest of the unblended gravy. You get creaminess but still retain some texture from the mushrooms.

vegan gravy with mushrooms on top of bowl of mashed potatoes on green background

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you serve vegan gravy with?

With Mashed Potatoes, obviously! If you have my cookbook The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, it would be great over the Millet-Cauliflower Mash for something a little lighter than mashed potatoes, or over the Polenta for some crazy good rustic Italian comfort food.

It’s also amazing with my Vegan Wellington! That recipe has an easy vegan gravy, but this one would certainly take things over the top.

If you’re making biscuits for the holiday or a lentil/seitan “meatloaf,” this gravy will definitely jazz things up.

Is this vegan gravy also gluten-free?

Yes, as long as you use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce! Many gravy recipes use flour to thicken, but since this one uses cornstarch, it works great for those on a gluten-free diet.

What kind of red wine should I cook with?

The most important rule is to pick a wine you wouldn’t mind drinking on its own. It doesn’t have to be an expensive bottle though, just something drinkable. Just avoid bottles labeled “cooking wines.”

Any dry red wine should work here, but if you’re not sure, you can always choose a Pinot Noir, Malbec, or Merlot. You can use Barnivore.com to check that your wine is vegan-friendly.

I don’t drink wine. Can I substitute it?

The alcohol does cook off, but if you don’t drink any alcohol, you can try adding a tablespoon of red wine vinegar to deglaze, along with a little extra vegetable broth.

The gravy will have less complexity and body without the red wine, but it will still be good.

How do you store leftovers and reheat this gravy?

Store cooled gravy in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stove over medium-low heat, thinning out with a bit of vegetable broth until you reach your desired consistency.

vegan gravy with mushrooms in a gravy boat with mashed potatoes in the background

That’s all you need to know about this luscious Vegan Mushroom Gravy! If you love it as much as I do, please be sure to rate and review it below :) Your feedback is super helpful for us!

Seriously Good Vegan Gravy

5 from 49 votes
This vegan gravy is supercharged with savory flavor and is so creamy and rich that no one will miss the meat! A perfect pairing with mashed potatoes and a must for your holiday menu. Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Cuisine: American
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 10

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter or extra virgin olive oil, divided (I used vegan butter)
  • 1 cup (120g) diced shallots (3-4 medium shallots)
  • Kosher salt + freshly cracked black pepper
  • 16 ounces (454g) cremini and/or shiitake mushrooms*, sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) plant-based milk of choice (can sub veggie broth)
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) dry red wine (such as Pinot Noir, Malbec, or Merlot)**
  • 2 cups (480 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth, , at room temperature or warmed***
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (use tamari for GF)
  • 1 tablespoon white miso (AKA shiro miso)
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the vegan butter or olive oil. Once melted or hot, add the diced shallots with a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté until translucent and golden, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or oil and the mushrooms. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring only occasionally so they get some color, until the mushrooms release their liquid and are nicely browned.
  • While mushrooms are cooking, whisk together the nutritional yeast, cornstarch and plant-based milk.
  • Add the minced garlic, thyme, rosemary and season with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and several cracks of black pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, or until very fragrant.
  • Add the red wine, vegetable broth, and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Whisk frequently and allow to boil for 3 to 4 minutes to cook off the wine. Add the nutritional yeast roux to the pan, whisking constantly to make sure it dissolves and thickens, about 2 minutes. Then add in the miso paste and stir well to incorporate it into the gravy. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, whisking very frequently, until the flavors have melded together.
  • If you want a smoother and creamier consistency, scoop out 1 cup of gravy (about 2 ladles) into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the blended gravy back to the pan and mix together.
  • Add the vinegar, stir to combine, and taste. Add salt or pepper to taste. Finish with chopped parsley, if using.

Notes

*I like using a mix of cremini (which are inexpensive) and shiitake, which are bold and meaty-flavored, but you can use just cremini. If using shiitake, remove the tough stems first. 
** If you don’t consume alcohol, you can skip the wine and add ~ 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar and an extra splash of veggie broth.
*** Make sure to use low-sodium broth to avoid oversalting the gravy. 
To save time on prep, you can chop the garlic and herbs while the mushrooms cook, as they don’t need to be stirred frequently. You can also buy pre-sliced mushrooms and/or use a garlic press to mince the garlic finely. 

Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 202IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg

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82 comments on Seriously Good Vegan Gravy

  1. Marielle Gallagher

    5 stars
    This is literally the best gravy of any kind (meat, veggie, vegan) that I’ve ever had. The layers of flavor are stunning and the result was something I used over polenta with roasted veggies and as the basis for a chicken pot pie. Everyone who had this asked me for the recipe. Thank you!!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re so happy that the gravy turned out well for you, Marielle. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and for trying out the recipe!

  2. Dave Smith

    5 stars
    This is quite excellent and I have made it several times. I used it for Thanksgiving and added the turkey juices for the carnivores, they also loved it. I used a good Balsamic and doubled the amount which made it even better! Once again thanks for your great recipes.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We appreciate your feedback and support, Dave. Thank you for leaving a review!

  3. joyce

    I love that all your recipes include the nutritional information as I have to maintain a very low sodium diet and this helps out tremendously :)thanks so much

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Joyce, you’re welcome! If you’re strictly on a low sodium diet, we recommend calculating the sodium yourself as our nutrition info is just an estimate. And in some instances you may be able to sub low sodium soy sauce, low sodium veggie broth, etc. to help make more recipes more accessible for you!

  4. Hannah

    5 stars
    Served at Thanksgiving dinner 2023 to accommodate a vegan guest. Rave reviews from all at the table. Next time I’m going to skip blending some of the gravy (which made it thicker). Made a day ahead and required quite a bit of extra broth to thin it out before serving. Still was a bit thick. Even so, have had multiple guests reach out for the recipe in the weeks since, and this is printed out for our recipe binder.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Your positive feedback is the best reward for our hard work. Thank you, Hannah!

  5. Jen L

    5 stars
    Absolutely the best, most savory gravy I’ve ever had. Made this for Thanksgiving along with your garlic mashed potatoes. Taste bud nirvana :)

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We appreciate your feedback and support, Jen. Thank you for leaving a review!

    2. Diane

      5 stars
      Best vegan gravy! So delicious 😋 Thank you!

      1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

        We’re thrilled you love it, Diane!

  6. Jackalyn

    5 stars
    I made this for Thanksgiving and my husband and I were (jokingly) arguing over who would get the last of this gravy. It’s so robustly flavorful. I’m going to have to keep mushrooms in my kitchen all fall and winter so we always have this gravy on hand.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Your positive feedback is the best reward for our hard work. Thank you, Jackalyn!

  7. Becky

    This was outstanding! I made a trial batch prior to Thanksgiving… it was amazing. I had no idea it could taste so good. I made a full batch a week later. I wonder if it would freeze well?

    1. Becky

      5 stars
      I meant to give it 5 stars. I’d give it 6 if I could

    2. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment, Becky! And as for freezing, we have not tried this ourselves, but it should work pretty well.

      Freeze the gravy in an airtight storage container for 2 to 3 months, then thaw it in the fridge. It may thicken quite a bit, so add a splash of broth or water when reheating the gravy on the stove to get it to your consistency.

  8. Jill

    5 stars
    This was really good. I’ve been plant-based for a couple of years now and every other brown gravy recipe I tried was pretty lackluster. Thanks for this yummy recipe

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re over the moon to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Jill. Thanks for your kind words!

  9. Sabrina

    5 stars
    Another amazing recipe from Rainbow Plant Life! I’ve made this gravy twice now and it is a winner, a great addition to fall and winter holiday tables. The ingredients are layered together to create a rich and flavorful gravy. I only had one Tbsp of cornstarch on hand the last time I made it and it turned out great, still thick enough (though I did blend closer to half of the gravy). I’ve served it with the RPL mushroom wellington and with Isa Chandra Maskowitz’s mushroom leek seitan roast, but it is great paired with everything from mashed potatoes to green beans. Even omnivores gobble this up! So yummy.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Your review made our day, Sabrina! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and for trying out the recipe.

  10. Reese

    5 stars
    I made this gravy last year for Thanksgiving and it was such a hit that I knew I wanted to make it this year again. But this year, I needed to double it since we had 19 guests coming! Unfortunately my grocery store was low on mushrooms so I could only make one batch of your recipe :( I found another vegan gravy recipe that used ingredients I already had at home so I made one batch of each recipe. After I made your gravy, my husband wandering into the kitchen and started drinking it with a spoon! The other recipe was fine but had some hiccups along the way. Let’s just say that my husband did not drink that one by the spoon. And that your gravy was devoured so quickly at Thanksgiving dinner (folks only started eating the other once your bowl was licked clean). Two lessons learned: (1) don’t wait until Wednesday afternoon to Thanksgiving grocery shop; (2) don’t have blind faith in anyone’s recipes except Rainbow Plant Life!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re glad to hear everyone loved the gravy, Reese! Thanks for making it year after year :) Thanks for the lovely review!

  11. Liz Pearson

    5 stars
    Made a half batch for myself for Thanksgiving. It is my favorite gravy ever!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      It makes us happy to know it’s your absolute favorite, Liz!

  12. Amie

    5 stars
    So good! Made a half batch since there’s only one vegetarian in our group, but after tasting it I wish I’d made more to freeze. Very flavorful!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely review, Amie! :)

  13. Erin

    5 stars
    This is the best gravy I e ever made and it is quite quick and easy! So delicious!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Erin, Thank you so much for such a fantastic review! Appreciate you taking the time!

  14. Lidee

    Can this gravy be frozen and used at a later time?

    1. Nisha

      Hi Lidee, we have not tried this ourselves, but it should work pretty well.

      Freeze the gravy in an airtight storage container for 2 to 3 months, then thaw it in the fridge. It may thicken quite a bit, so add a splash of broth or water when reheating the gravy on the stove to get it to your consistency.

  15. Lindsay Ratcliffe

    5 stars
    I made this last Thanksgiving, and it was my *absolute favorite* dish on the table. It is savory, herby, umami-y, and so comforting. I spooned it over everything except the cranberry sauce! It’s excellent on mashed potatoes, stuffing, grain casseroles and seitan roasts. It helps rehydrate leftovers, too. You know when stuffing gets dried out? This gravy solves that problem deliciously.

    I know it serves 10, but I’m going to make a double batch it because I know it’s gonna fly like it did last year (even with the carnivores). Not sure if the balance will be off if I double it in one pot, so I think I’m going to have two saucepans going side by side.

    Thank you for another five-star recipe, Nisha!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Lindsay, we’re thrilled you truly love this recipe and are taking it to Thanksgiving with you! :) Thanks for taking the time to leave a review.

  16. scarlet gloria vargas

    5 stars
    what do you eat this with?

    1. Lindsay Ratcliffe

      5 stars
      Everything! I put it on mashed potatoes, stuffing, seitan roast (Celebration Roast) and barley casserole!

    2. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Scarlet, with Mashed Potatoes! If you have The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, it would be great over the Millet-Cauliflower Mash for something a little lighter than mashed potatoes, or over the Polenta for some crazy good rustic Italian comfort food.

      It’s also amazing with a Vegan Wellington! That recipe has an easy vegan gravy, but this one would certainly take things over the top.

      If you’re making biscuits for the holiday or a lentil/seitan “meatloaf,” this gravy will definitely jazz things up.

  17. Patricia Carbonneau

    I’m making this…I always want to know if you can make ahead, and freeze it.
    Thanks

    1. Nisha

      Hi Patricia, we have not tried this ourselves, but freezing the gravy should work pretty well.

      Freeze the gravy in an airtight storage container for 2 to 3 months, then thaw it in the fridge. It may thicken quite a bit, so add a splash of broth or water when reheating the gravy on the stove to get it to your consistency.

  18. Abby

    5 stars
    This recipe won me best dish at my friendsgiving where the vegans were a vast minority. Now this year ive been requested to bring it again and no one is volunteering to make a “normal” gravy because they unanimously want this one. This is a huge event and i need to make an octobatch. Would it be best done in complete seperate batches all combined at the end or could i simply do the mushrooms in batches to get a good brown and then do it all together in one big pot?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      That’s so cool to hear Abby, thanks for sharing!

      An octobatch, wow! I think your second alternative sounds like it would work fine. I don’t know if you’d be able to get a good brown on mushrooms if you added more than 24 ounces in one pan though (of course, it depends on the size of your pan). As long as you have a huge pot, you should be able to combine everything (broth, nutritional yeast, milk, etc.) in there. The cook times will also be longer, of course. The red wine, for instance, will take much longer than 3 to 4 minutes to cook off the smell of wine.

      Another alternative, if you have two days, is to prep all the ingredients (slice shallots, mushrooms, garlic, etc.) on day 1. Make a quadruple batch on day 1, which will be more manageable than making an octobatch. Then, on day 2, make the second quadruple batch.

      Good luck, and thanks for letting us know this gravy was such a hit :)

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