Make the gravy now, and thank yourself later.

Hosting Thanksgiving this year? Before you even defrost the turkey, you can cross a major item off your holiday to-do list. Contrary to popular belief, gravy does not need to be made right before your guests sit down to eat. This is actually the worst time to make gravy: Everyone is hungry, all of the food is ready to go, and you still have that one hurdle left to clear. And it involves standing over a hot stovetop. In that high-pressure moment, even the most composed Thanksgiving host might consider slipping out the back door.

So do yourself a favor this year. Make the gravy now, or even a few days from now, and store it in the freezer. You don’t need a cooked turkey to make great gravy. Our delicious Make-Ahead Gravy is as simple as making a roux. You can make it with store-bought chicken or turkey stock, but if you have homemade stock in your freezer, now is the time to use the good stuff. We add depth and richness to the gravy with rubbed sage, garlic powder, dried thyme, and black pepper, but you can flavor our Make-Ahead Gravy three different ways—there’s a Mushroom Gravy, Fresh Herb Gravy, and Sherry Gravy. Any of these variations will pair wonderfully with the rest of the dishes on your holiday table.

Best of all, this gravy can be cooked and refrigerated three days before Thanksgiving, or frozen up to a month in advance. Pour the cooked gravy into quart-size ziplock plastic freezer bags; seal and lay bags flat on a baking sheet. Place in freezer. Thaw the gravy for one to two days in the refrigerator before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave.