Sawmill Gravy Recipe With Sausage

Skillet of sawmill sausage gravy with a black serving spoon.

Nothing says “weekend morning” quite like biscuits and gravy! This sawmill gravy recipe is fast to whip up! In about 10 minutes you will have a creamy, rich gravy that is the perfect accompaniment to buttermilk biscuits!

Pan of sawmill sausage gravy with basket of biscuits.

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What is Sawmill Gravy?

Sawmill gravy is a southern white gravy made with meat drippings, flour, and milk. It can be traced all the way back to the early 1800s. Sawmill workers needed an inexpensive, calorie-dense breakfast to feel them for a day of hauling logs.

When I was young my mom would often make biscuits and gravy as a weekend treat. This recipe is the exact same one that she made! While super simple, it is so good that even after years of making it myself I never needed to change a single thing.

4 Ingredient Sawmill Gravy

That’s right, this recipe is so easy, there are just 4 simple ingredients!

  • Sausage
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Salt

How to Make Flavorful Sawmill Gravy

Step One: Brown the Sausage

  • In a medium skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat, breaking it into small crumbs as it cooks.
  • Continue cooking until there is no more pink.
Pan of browned breakfast sausage.

Step Two: Cook the Flour

  • Depending on the fat content of your sausage, you may have several tablespoons, or you may need to add a little more oil. You want 2-3 tablespoons of oil total.
  • Stir the flour into the oil, and cook along with the sausage for 2 minutes.
  • If you do not cook your flour then the gravy will have a glue-like taste. When the flour is just beginning to turn golden, you are ready to add the milk.

Step Three: Add Milk

  • Pour the milk in all at once, and continue cooking, while stirring occasionally.
  • After about 5 minutes, the gravy will thicken.
Gravy with milk added to it, before it has been cooked to thicken.

Step Four: Finish with Salt

  • Don’t forget the salt! I cannot tell you how many times I have served biscuits and gravy, only to take one bite and exclaim, “I forgot the salt!” Fortunately, it’s an easy thing to fix. But still best if you remember to add the salt before serving. It’s a game-changer with the flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this sausage gravy recipe without milk?

Gravy can be made dairy-free with an equal substitution of either almond milk or cashew milk!

Can I make sawmill gravy without the meat?

Traditionally, sawmill gravy is made using the grease leftover from cooking bacon or sausage. You can use these drippings and save your meat for later, if you want a smooth gravy. This is often desired when serving with fried chicken.

For a completely meat-free gravy, skip the sausage completely and use 3 tablespoons of canola oil or butter to make your roux.

Why is my gravy lumpy?

If you add the milk into the gravy before the flour has been cooked into the oil, the flour will form clumps in the milk. To avoid this, cook the flour and oil together for a couple of minutes, then add the milk all at once, and stir well.

What Should I Serve With Sawmill Gravy?

  • I think the best way to enjoy sawmill sausage gravy is with buttermilk biscuits. It is one of our family’s favorite things to make for brunch!
  • It is also delicious with fried chicken!

This recipe was a part of our Exploring the States series. We enjoyed it for our Mississippi state dinner!

Skillet of sausage gravy with a spoon, blue checkered towell on the side.

If you like this recipe, please share it with your friends! And once you taste it, let me know your thoughts by providing a review.

pan of gravy with basket of biscuits.

Sawmill Gravy

This 10-minute gravy is rich and flavorful. Serve it with buttermilk biscuits for the perfect breakfast meal!
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 275 kcal


  • 1/2 pound good quality sausage I like to use the hot variety
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • In a skillet with high sides, brown sausage over medium heat. Break up the sausage into smaller chunks as it cooks. Once the sausage is browned, take a look at the amount of grease in the pan, and add additional oil, if necessary, to bring it to a couple of tablespoons of oil. 
  • Add in the flour to the pan and stir for a couple of minutes.
  • Add milk all at one time, and whisk well. Cook until thick and bubbly, stirring occasionally.
  • Add salt, and serve.


Calories: 275kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 13gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 704mgPotassium: 302mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 240IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 143mgIron: 1mg
Keyword comfort food, southern cooking
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