Tomato Gravy


Grab the biscuits!

Tomato Gravy
Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
4 serves

Tomato gravy is unlike any gravy dish you've probably had before, and not even Southerners can agree on its origins. Some say deep South farmers in Alabama made it, but folks in Alabama point east and west to Georgia and Mississippi. No matter who made it, it's still widely enjoyed, especially in summer when tomatoes come off the vines in waves, not trickles.

Tomato gravy recipes usually start with a can of diced tomatoes, but we developed this one using beefsteak tomatoes for a fresh, summer taste. You will enjoy the vibrant, mildly acidic, and slightly sweet flavor that can only be gleaned from using fresh tomatoes. Make sure your tomatoes are good and ripe so that they release their liquid into the gravy.

Beefsteaks are the "all-purpose" tomato, ideal for sauces, BLT sandwiches, and main dish salads. They are not only brilliantly red and consistent in their size, but even in a perfectly ripe state, they are durable enough for any application, especially sautéing and crushing for this gravy.

The blanch and shock method to remove tomato skin doesn't change the interior of the beefsteak, and their firm but tender texture is ideal for quick-cooking methods. To remove the skin, make an X on the bottom of each tomato, and put them in a pot of boiling water for no more than a minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the hot water, and plunge them into an ice bath or bowl of cold water. Working quickly, remove the tomatoes, one at a time, from the cold water, and peel back the skin with a knife or your fingers.

Don't confuse Southern tomato gravy with a sauce that's closer to marinara. It's certainly savory and umami-rich with a deep herb flavor. It can be made with canned tomatoes, but in the summer, in-season tomatoes make it brighter and acidic, too. Tomato gravy is typically served over homemade biscuits, but think outside the box and spoon it over grits or pork chops.


  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)

  • 1 small rosemary sprig

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/4 cups lower-sodium chicken broth

  • 3 beefsteak tomatoes (1 lb., 6 oz.), peeled, seeded, and chopped

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion and rosemary. Cook, stirring often, until onion is softened and rosemary is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, salt, and sugar, gently crushing tomatoes with a wooden spoon as you stir. Cook until mixture has turned pink, stirring and crushing constantly, about 2 minutes. Discard rosemary. Serve tomato gravy over biscuits, hot cooked grits, or pork chops.

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