Southern Tomato Gravy

Tomato gravy is a home kitchen specialty rarely seen in restaurants. Top off your biscuits, rice, grits, or anything for that matter with this tasty tomato gravy just like mama used to make.

Total Time:
20 mins
4 serves

Tomato gravy is a home kitchen specialty rarely seen in restaurants. Some claim that tomato gravy isn't really gravy since it isn't always made with meat drippings and served over meat. We beg to differ: If it comes hot and silky from a saucepan and feels at home atop biscuits, rice, or grits, then that's gravy enough to suit us. Made with finely chopped tomatoes and their juices, rather than stock or milk, the recipe is rooted in Appalachia and might have originated as a delicious solution when a cook had no milk on hand, but had a glut of supple, juicy, sun-ripened tomatoes in the garden. Tomato gravy demands (and deserves) the most delicious tomatoes available at the moment. Other than the weeks when local tomatoes are at their peak, use canned tomatoes instead.

Southern Tomato Gravy

Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Erin Merhar


  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and rosemary, and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in flour until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in broth until smooth.

  2. Stir in tomatoes, salt, and sugar, gently crushing tomatoes while stirring. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or until just thickened. Discard rosemary. Serve immediately.

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