Jamie Oliver's Unexpected Secret Ingredient Makes Gravy Delicious

We love a secret ingredient. Whether it’s honey in spag bol, semolina on roast potatoes and parsnips, or curry powder in lentil soup, there’s nothing better than discovering a cheap and easy way to uplift everyday foods.

Which is why I recommend Jamie Oliver’s gravy trick to everyone I know. It’s cheap, it makes your gravy taste subtly richer, and best of all, it’s probably in your cupboard already.

In a Facebook video, the chef revealed that he put celery, onions, carrot, and garlic in a bed underneath the beef he was roasting. When the meat was done, he removed it to rest and mashed the veggies into the beef juices.

Then, he added a heaped tablespoon of flour and a small glass of red wine to the gravy before adding his cheap-as-chips twist.

The chef spooned some strawberry jam into the mix, saying “The little secret ingredient that I love is just some beautiful jam. That little sweetness really helps the gravy sing.”


Yep! My family used to swear by this trick growing up, but I thought it was a Glover exclusive until I saw the video ― we’ve always loved the unctuous, juicy flavour gravy gets after a dollop of the sweet stuff.

Part of the reason why it works is because the brown, distinctly meaty flavour of browned meat’s outer layer has actually caramelised to create something called a Maillard reaction in the oven.

In this case, Science ABC says, “Sugars interact with sulphur-containing amino acids, such as cysteine and methionine, to form volatile compounds with meaty flavour notes. These will then react with sulphur-free amino acids to form nitrogen compounds, such as pyrazines. Lysine gives that dark browning effect to the Maillard reaction.”

So, sweet additions ― like honey-roast ham and cranberry sauce with turkey ― can help to highlight the uniquely meaty taste of produce.

Aside from that, a bit of sweetness in your savoury dishes and salt or umami in your sweet dishes helps to create a delicious balance that your tastebuds love.

In other words, I don’t know exactly and completely why it’s so great ― I just know you should try Jamie Oliver’s jammy gravy tip ASAP.