Red-Eye Gravy
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Red-Eye gravy is a traditional Southern dish that blends country ham drippings with robust, black coffee and creamy butter for a thick sauce that goes great with biscuits and grits.

Why Is This Recipe So Delicious?

Red-Eye Gravy Easy
Food: Red-Eye Gravy (Source: Fine Cooking)
  • Unlike a thick gravy made with flour, red-eye gravy is made using fatty drippings from country ham and strong black coffee to create a rich, au-jus-like liquid. It’s inherently gluten-free and keto-friendly because of this.
  • It’s a traditional Southern recipe that works great with biscuits and grits! Serve the gravy on the side with your ham and biscuits, or spoon it over the biscuits or grits. To keep the insides of your biscuits and gravy moist, cut them in half and dip the cut sides in the gravy.
  • What is the origin of the name “red-eye gravy”? The name stems from the crimson, eye-shaped coating of grease that appears when the ham drippings are mixed with coffee and chicken broth.

Important Ingredients

Ham from the country There’s a difference between country ham and ham, so make sure you’re using the appropriate one!

Country ham is smoked after being dry-cured with salt. It’s not as juicy as a wet-cured ham and has a stronger flavor. If the ham is particularly fatty, you may not need the entire tablespoon of butter.

Black coffee – Coffee gives the red-eye gravy a lot of flavors. Use a freshly prepared, unflavored coffee that you enjoy. A pumpkin spice or Christmas combination is probably not appropriate right now.

Chicken Broth – Some chicken broth recipes call for only ham drippings and coffee. However, I find that the chicken broth helps to minimize the bitterness of the black coffee and smooths out the gravy.

Traditionalists of red-eye gravy may object to this addition, so feel free to test the recipe without it.

Chef’s Advice

  • If you don’t like the saltiness of the country ham, soak it in water for at least an hour before cooking it. Some of the salt will be removed by the water, making it more pleasant. Just make sure the ham is completely dry before cooking!
  • Sugar is used in certain variations of red-eye gravy to offset the harshness of the coffee. It’s entirely up to you! Both white and brown sugar would work. Make sure it’s completely dissolved to avoid a gritty texture in the gravy. Honey could also be used!
  • Avoid overcooking the ham. You can tell when you’ve overcooked country ham since it’s a little dryer, to begin with. The fragments will be extremely dry and rough.

Red-Eye Gravy

Preparation time: 10 minutes
15 minutes to cook
25 minutes total

Red eye gravy is a traditional Southern dish that blends country ham drippings with robust, black coffee and creamy butter for a thick sauce that goes great with biscuits and grits.


  • 6 ounces country ham
  • 1 tablespoon butter divided
  • ½ cup brewed black coffee strong
  • ¼ cup chicken broth


  • Large skillet
  • Plate
  • Silicone spatula
  • Whisk

Instructions For Red-Eye Gravy

Red-Eye Gravy Simple
Food: Red-Eye Gravy (Source: Fine Cooking)
  1. Warm 12 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the country ham is browned, about 3 minutes per side.
  2. Place the browned ham on a platter and set it aside. Pour coffee into skillet and scrape off any browned bits from the bottom with a spatula.
  3. Add the chicken broth. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, or until gravy has thickened. Whisk in the remaining 12 tablespoons of butter until it has melted.
  4. Similar to an au jus, serve the heated gravy over or alongside cooked ham on biscuits.


  • For the greatest flavor and effects, use unflavored, freshly made black coffee.
  • Use ghee instead of dairy to make it lactose-free.
  • Use dairy-free butter to make it dairy-free.

This recipe serves around 4 people. Your desired portion sizes will determine the number of servings.

The nutritional values given are for one serving of the ingredients specified and are approximate.

The exact macros will vary depending on the brands and types of ingredients utilized.

Prepare the recipe as directed to get the weight of one serving. Weigh the final recipe, then divide the weight (not including the weight of the container in which the food is stored) by four. The weight of one serving will be the result.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 129kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 584mg, Potassium: 149mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 88IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 1mg, Net Carbs: 1g