An old fashioned, southern recipe for Homemade Tomato Gravy. Delicious served over hot buttermilk biscuits and topped with an over-easy egg.
In my opinion, the best recipes are the ones that have been handed down through generations, and this tomato gravy is one of them! Tomato gravy on top of big, hot from the oven, buttermilk biscuits is a staple around here. I’ve made this recipe for who knows how long, and we always enjoy it.
Once you read the recipe, you’ll notice that mine is a little bit different from other southern versions. That’s because I add three “secret” ingredients that take plain old tomato gravy from yum to yummy!
The tangy tomatoes mixed with my additions of thyme, butter, and cream produce the richest, most delicious tomato gravy you’ve ever had. Serve it over buttermilk biscuits fresh from the oven, and you won’t know what hit ya!
This recipe for Tomato Gravy is a very old, traditionally Southern recipe that’s good for breakfast, lunch, or supper. We enjoy it on biscuits topped with an over-easy or poached egg and a side of either bacon or ham. It’s also good spooned over fried chicken or on top of country fried steak.
I’ve even drizzled it on top of homemade french fries and topped that with shredded cheese. I hope you’ll give tomato gravy a try. I think you’re going to love it!
❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- The tang of the tomatoes and the creaminess of the gravy bring a flavor punch.
- Perfect comfort food for starting a long day or ending a long night.
- Old fashion Southern classic.
This post contains affiliate links. Lana’s Cooking is reader-supported and earns a tiny commission at no extra cost to you when you shop from our links.
- Bacon fat (Almost every southern cook always has a jar of bacon fat on hand for seasoning purposes. If you don’t have bacon fat, you can quickly render some from a couple of slices of bacon or just substitute olive oil. You won’t have that wonderful smoky background flavor, but it’ll still be great.
- Medium onion (I prefer a mild-ish yellow onion for this)
- Canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice (Any kind of tomato works but I prefer Roma.)
- Fresh thyme (or dried)
🔪 How to Make Southern Tomato Gravy
Cook the Onion and Garlic
STEP 1. Heat the bacon fat (or olive oil) in a skillet over medium high heat.
STEP 2. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft.
STEP 3. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring, for an additional minute or two.
👉 PRO TIP: If you don’t always have a jar of bacon fat in your fridge like I do, you can use olive oil. Or you could fry up a few pieces of bacon and use the rendered fat. It’ll taste way better than the olive oil :-)
Add Flour and Tomatoes
STEP 4. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes.
STEP 5. Add the tomatoes along with their juice. Break the tomatoes up with a spoon or potato masher. Bring to a bubble and then reduce the heat to medium low.
Add Remaining Ingredients
STEP 6. Add the thyme leaves, salt, and pepper and continue cooking at a simmer for 5-6 minutes. Stir often so that the gravy doesn’t stick to the pan.
STEP 7. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the butter and milk or cream.
Serve over hot split biscuits topped with an over-easy or poached egg and a side of bacon or ham.
👉 PRO TIP: The thyme, butter, and cream are not really traditional in tomato gravy but are my own additions. I think the thyme adds a lovely flavor, and the butter and cream give a very nice finish. If you want a strictly traditional recipe, just leave those out.
⚠️ Troubleshooting Tips
- Too Thick Gravy: If your gravy turns out too thick, you can easily adjust the consistency by adding a little water. Gradually stir it in until you reach your desired thickness.
- Too Thin Gravy: On the other hand, if the gravy is too thin, thicken it by making a slurry with a tablespoon of flour and a tablespoon of water. Mix them together until smooth, and then whisk that mixture into the gravy. Cook for a few more minutes until it thickens up.
- Bitter Taste: If your gravy has a bitter taste, it could be from overcooking the garlic. Be careful not to let it brown or burn. You can balance out the bitterness with a pinch of sugar or a little extra cream.
🔀 Recipe Variations
- Spicy Tomato Gravy: If you like a bit of heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to your tomato gravy for a spicy kick.
- Herb Variations: Experiment with different herbs to change the flavor profile. Basil, oregano, or rosemary could all be interesting additions.
- Vegetarian Version: Skip the bacon fat and use olive oil for a vegetarian-friendly version of this gravy.
🍽️ How to Serve
- Traditional Southern Breakfast: Serve this tomato gravy over hot buttermilk biscuits, topped with an over-easy or poached egg, and a side of crispy bacon or ham. It’s a classic Southern breakfast!
- Lunch or Supper: Tomato gravy isn’t just for breakfast. Spoon it over fried chicken or country-fried steak for a hearty lunch or supper. You can also drizzle it over homemade french fries and top with shredded cheese for an interesting twist.
- Side Dish: Use it as a side dish for various meals. It pairs well with roasted vegetables, grilled meats, or even as a topping for baked potatoes.
❓ Questions About Tomato Gravy
Any leftover tomato gravy can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days. Be sure to keep it in an airtight container or ziplock type bag.
Sure can. If you plan on freezing tomato gravy, cook it up through the last step of adding in the butter and cream. Let it cool to room temperature, and then transfer to a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to use it, let it thaw, reheat it on the stovetop, add the cream and butter, and serve.
Of course, you can use fresh tomatoes to make tomato gravy. Just be sure to peel the tomatoes. You’d use about 4 or 5 fresh tomatoes (depending on size) in place of the canned.
No. Red-eye gravy is made with coffee and the drippings from cooking country ham.
More Questions? I’m happy to help!
If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 14.5 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon butter
- ¼ cup milk or cream
- Heat the bacon fat in a skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft.
- Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring, for an additional minute or two.
- Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes with their juice. Break the tomatoes up with a spoon or potato masher. Bring to a bubble, reduce the heat to medium low.
- Add the thyme leaves, salt, and pepper and continue cooking at a simmer for 5-6 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the butter and milk or cream.
- Serve over hot split biscuits topped with an over easy or poached egg and a side of bacon or ham.
- Thyme, butter, and cream are not traditional in tomato gravy. If you want a strictly traditional recipe, just leave those out.
- To use fresh tomatoes, substitute about 4 or 5 peeled, fresh tomatoes (depending on size) in place of the canned.
- Leftovers may be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days in an airtight container.
- To freeze, cook the recipe through the last step but don’t add the butter and cream. Let it cool to room temperature and then transfer to a freezer safe container. When you’re ready to use it, let it thaw, reheat it on the stovetop, add the cream and butter, and serve.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.