Red Eye Gravy

Total Time

Prep/Cook Time: 10 min.


1/4 cup

Updated: Jun. 27, 2023
This southern classic is more of a thin sauce than a traditional thick gravy. It's made with strong coffee and drippings from a slice of cooked country ham. Red eye gravy has intense flavor with salty and bitter notes that pair well with biscuits, grits and ham. If you prefer a more mellow flavor, add a dash of brown sugar. —Peggy Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin


  • 1 slice country ham (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee


  1. In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, cook ham until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove and save for another use. Add coffee to pan drippings, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Simmer until reduced by about half.
Red Eye Gravy Tips

What do you serve red eye gravy with?

Red eye gravy is served with the ham it’s cooked with, but we suggest you also whip up some buttermik biscuits, slow-cooker grits or cowboy cornbread to soak up the gravy!

Can you use other types of ham for this red eye gravy recipe?

Red eye gravy is best made with country ham, a dry-cured variety popular in the South, but you can make a different ham and cut off a large slice for this recipe. You may need to add a little butter to the pan if the slice doesn’t have enough fat on it. Here more on how to cook a ham.

What are some variations of this red eye gravy recipe?

Red eye gravy is a simple recipe made with ham and strongly brewed coffee, but some variations of this recipe include adding a bit of honey or brown sugar for sweetness and hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes for a little heat.

Julie Schnittka, Taste of Home Senior Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 tablespoon: 29 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 3mg cholesterol, 5mg sodium, 0 carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.