How to Make Delicious Bacon Gravy Without Milk

Bacon gravy is a classic Southern comfort food that is typically made with bacon grease, flour, and milk. But what if you want that irresistible bacon flavor without the dairy? The good news is, it’s easy to make dairy-free bacon gravy that’s just as savory and delicious using simple ingredient swaps.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain how to make bacon gravy without milk using easy-to-find ingredients. We’ll also provide tips and tricks for maximizing flavor and getting the perfect thickness and texture. Whether you avoid dairy products or just want a vegan bacon gravy option, this recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings. So let’s get cooking!

An Overview of Traditional Bacon Gravy

First, let’s quickly cover the basics of traditional milk-based bacon gravy This will help us understand the important elements we need to replicate in our dairy-free version

The classic technique starts by frying bacon in a skillet until nice and crispy Then the bacon is removed and flour is whisked into the hot bacon grease to create a roux Milk is gradually added while whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Often, pepper and other seasonings are added as well. The gravy is simmered and stirred until it reaches the desired thickness.

So the key components we need to nail in our dairy-free gravy are:

  • Bacon flavor
  • Fat for cooking (bacon grease)
  • Roux for thickness
  • Liquid for thinning and moisture
  • Seasonings for flavor

With the right substitutions, we can achieve all of this without the milk!

Why Make Bacon Gravy Dairy-Free?

There are a few reasons you may want to omit the dairy when making bacon gravy:

  • Dairy allergies or intolerances – For those who are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy, a dairy-free gravy is the perfect substitute.

  • Vegan or vegetarian – To make a vegetarian or vegan version of this Southern staple.

  • Paleo or whole30 – Most Paleo and Whole30 followers avoid dairy products. A bacon gravy made with no milk fits perfectly within these dietary approaches.

  • Preference for lighter gravy – Some people simply prefer the flavor of a dairy-free gravy over a milk-based one. The almond and coconut milk alternatives tend to create a lighter, more brothy gravy rather than thick and creamy.

No matter your reasons for wanting to nix the dairy, we’ve got you covered with plenty of tips and substitution ideas coming up next!

Step-By-Step Instructions for Making Dairy-Free Bacon Gravy

Now let’s walk through the easy step-by-step process for making bacon gravy without milk. We’ll cover everything from cooking the bacon to finishing and seasoning the gravy.

Ingredients Needed

To make about 3 cups of dairy-free bacon gravy, you’ll need:

  • 8 slices bacon, diced
  • 3 Tbsp butter or bacon grease
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, or vegetable broth
  • 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste

You can easily double this recipe as needed. Other seasoning options like garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, or smoked paprika would also be delicious.

Step 1 – Cook the Bacon

  • Add the diced bacon to a large skillet and cook over medium heat. Fry until the bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered, about 8-10 minutes.

  • Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and set them aside. Reserve 2-3 Tbsp of the bacon grease in the pan.

Step 2 – Make the Roux

  • With the hot bacon grease still in the skillet, whisk in the flour and butter.

  • Cook the flour-fat mixture (roux) for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly. It will become a thick, smooth paste.

Step 3 – Gradually Add Liquid

  • Pour in about 1⁄4 cup of the almond milk, coconut milk, or broth and whisk vigorously to incorporate it into the roux.

  • Slowly pour in the remaining liquid in 1⁄4 cup increments, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.

Step 4 – Simmer and Thicken

  • Allow the gravy to come up to a gentle simmer.

  • Cook for 5-10 minutes, whisking and stirring frequently, until it reaches your desired consistency. For a thicker gravy, simmer a bit longer to allow it to reduce.

Step 5 – Finish and Season

  • Stir in the reserved cooked bacon pieces.

  • Add pepper and additional salt to taste.

  • For even more flavor, you can stir in a bit of extra grease from the bacon pan.

And that’s it – easy peasy dairy-free bacon gravy ready to serve! Let’s cover some tips for maximizing flavor and getting the perfect gravy consistency next.

Tips for Making Dairy-Free Bacon Gravy

Follow these simple tips and tricks for foolproof dairy-free bacon gravy every time:

Choose the Right Liquid

The liquid addition is key for both flavor and texture. Some good dairy-free options include:

  • Almond milk – Provides creamy texture and mild flavor

  • Coconut milk – Adds rich texture and subtle coconut flavor

  • Vegetable broth – Allows bacon to shine without altering flavor

  • Water – For lighter gravy but may need additional fat

Experiment to see which option you prefer. You can also use a blend like half broth and half coconut milk.

Grease is Good

Don’t skimp on the bacon grease! It provides a big punch of bacon-y flavor. For best results, use 2-3 Tbsp grease along with the butter when making the roux. And be sure to drizzle in a bit more at the end.

Spice it Up

The possibilities for seasoning this gravy are endless. For extra flavor, add spices like:

  • Smoked paprika
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • Thyme

Start with small amounts and adjust to your taste preferences.

Simmer Low and Slow

Be patient and allow the gravy to simmer gently to avoid scorching or curdling. Go for at least 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. The longer the simmer time, the thicker it will become.

Whisk Well

Vigorous whisking is vital, especially when first adding the liquid to the roux. This prevents clumping and helps combine the ingredients smoothly.

Finish with Fat

Adding another drizzle of bacon grease at the end brings all the flavors together. Start with 1 tsp and add more to taste.

Serving Suggestions for Dairy-Free Bacon Gravy

Dairy-free bacon gravy is incredibly versatile. Here are some delicious ways to serve it up:

  • Classic – Over buttermilk biscuits, homemade bread, or scratch pancakes

  • Breakfast – Over a bowl of grits or baked potatoes

  • Appetizer – With grilled cheese strips or sweet potato fries for dipping

  • Entree – Served with roasted chicken breasts or crispy pork chops

  • Side – Alongside mashed cauliflower or grilled vegetables

  • Upgrade – As a topping for burgers, fries, tater tots or baked potatoes

  • Potluck – Bring it along to drizzle over a potluck dish or serve with crackers

  • Freezer Meals – Make a double batch and freeze leftovers for easy weeknight meals

However you choose to serve it, this dairy-free bacon gravy is sure to be a hit! The possibilities are endless.

Common Questions About Dairy-Free Bacon Gravy

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about making bacon gravy without milk:

Is bacon grease required?

While you can make it with just butter or oil, the bacon grease is key for full-flavored gravy. Try to use at least 2 Tbsp grease.

Can I use bacon bits instead of frying bacon?

Pre-cooked bacon bits won’t provide enough rendered fat. Pieces of pan-fried bacon work best.

What if it’s too thick?

No problem, just whisk in extra almond milk, broth, or water to thin it out.

What if it’s too thin?

Simmer a bit longer to reduce and thicken it up. You can also make a slurry with cornstarch and water to stir in.

Can I freeze leftovers?

Absolutely! Let it cool completely then transfer to a freezer container or zip top bag. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

How long does it keep?

Store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.

Tips for Making the Best Bacon for Gravy

Since bacon is the star ingredient, be sure to start with high-quality, flavorful bacon. Here are a few tips:

  • Opt for thick-cut bacon rather than thin for more meaty texture

  • Choose bacon without too much added sugar, which can burn

  • Seek out artisan or small-batch bacon for premium flavor

  • Play around with flavored versions like applewood smoked, maple, or peppered

  • Cook the bacon until very crispy to render all the fat needed for the roux

Taking a little extra care with the bacon prep will really maximize the flavor of your gravy.

Final Thoughts on Dairy-Free Bacon Gravy

With such a simple swap of non-dairy milk alternatives, anyone can enjoy authentic-tasting bacon gravy regardless of dietary needs or preferences. The keys are starting with high-quality bacon, reserving the grease, and using flavorful seasonings.

We hope these tips give you the confidence to whip up the perfect dairy-free bacon gravy. Whether you serve it over fluffy biscuits or a pile of eggs at breakfast, this recipe is sure to satisfy your bacon cravings without the dairy. Adjust the flavors and thickness to suit your taste.

So fire up that skillet and enjoy a hearty helping of this Southern favorite made dairy-free. Just be prepared for everyone to beg you for the recipe! Let us know how it goes.

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What can you substitute for milk in gravy?

Pour in almond milk gradually, stirring constantly until gravy starts to thicken, up to 12 minutes. Add a little more almond milk if too thick. Season with pepper and salt. Continue stirring vigorously until gravy reaches desired thickness.

Can I use water instead of milk in gravy?

Yes, you can use water to make white gravy. Substitute the milk an equal amount of water, chicken stock, beef stock, or vegetable stock.

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