An old fashioned, homemade southern recipe for 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 fluffy 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 my tomato gravy 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!
As you all know, I post all kinds of things here - southern, traditional, vintage, even classic recipes. Even though the main theme of the blog is southern traditional, I basically post whatever I feel like cooking and sounds good to eat!
Lots of people say that's a big mistake, that a blog should have a very strict focus, but that's never been my intention. I just enjoy sharing recipes of all kinds and that's what I do, but it always makes me happiest when I share something really old.
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 We Love This Recipe
- The tang of the tomatoes and the creaminess of the gravy brings a flavor punch
- Perfect comfort food for starting a long day or ending a long night
- Old fashion southern classic
- 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)
You'll find detailed measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Southern Tomato Gravy
I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you'll find the recipe card.
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.
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 :-)
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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- 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.
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 health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.