Often served on top of fluffy biscuits, and full of tomatoey goodness, this old-fashioned breakfast treat is the stuff legends are made of. Tomato gravy is thick and rich with chunks of tomatoes studded with bits of bacon, onion, and bell pepper, and doesn’t bear any resemblance to the more traditional brown gravy.
There are as many recipes for tomato gravy as there are tomatoes in the South and every cook that makes it has their own personal touch or subtle twist. In lean times, it was often called desperation gravy because it was usually made with leftover ingredients and whatever happened to be in the pantry.
Why you will love this recipe:
- Tomato gravy is not just for breakfast. It’s versatile and can quickly turn an ordinary meal into an extraordinary one. While it’s delicious served over biscuits, it’s also wonderful on beef or pork roasts, meatloaf, baked chicken or chicken fried steak, fried catfish, or baked fish. It’s also glorious over grits, rice, polenta, and pasta.
- Made with pantry and fridge staples, you can easily change it up or leave out ingredients you might not have on hand.
- It’s also a great way to use up an overabundance of fresh tomatoes from your garden, and it’s just as delicious made with canned tomatoes when you don’t have fresh ones.
- Easy to make, you can have it on the table in less than twenty minutes.
Here’s what’s in it:
Here is how to make it:
Add bacon to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for about three minutes and stir frequently.
Add the bell pepper and onions and continue to cook and stir for another four to five minutes or until the bacon is browned and crispy.
Sprinkle the flour over the top.
Cook and stir for about two minutes or until the flour has turned a light golden brown.
Slowly add in the chicken stock and continuously whisk until the mixture has thickened, about two minutes.
Add the brown sugar, tomatoes, and salt and cook while stirring for another two to three minutes.
Spoon over biscuits and optional garnish with chopped basil. Serve hot.
This recipe can be modified depending on what ingredients you have on hand.
If you don’t have bacon, you will need about two tablespoons of butter, olive oil or vegetable oil.
Onions can be frozen or fresh and can be left out altogether if you don’t have them. Same with the bell pepper.
You can substitute water for the chicken stock or milk diluted with water or tomato juice. If you would like to make your chicken stock, here is a link to my homemade chicken stock.
If using fresh tomatoes, you will need about two cups of diced tomatoes. You will also need to add an additional 1/4 cup of chicken stock.
If your gravy looks too thick, feel free to add additional chicken stock until it gets to a consistency you like. You could even add a little white wine instead.
Leftovers, if you have them, will keep covered in the fridge for up to four days.
If you don’t want to make homemade biscuits, I like and have used Mrs. B’s Frozen Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits and they work great in this recipe.
If you would like to make homemade biscuits to go along with this recipe, here are links to some popular biscuit recipes on my blog: Easy Southern Cheddar Biscuits, Cornmeal Biscuits, and Sweet Potato Biscuits.
Other breakfast recipes you might like too, include:
- Easy Crispy Southern Fried Potatoes
- Ultimate Blueberry Bread with Lemon Glaze
- Easy Hoecakes aka Fried Cornbread or Johnnycakes
- Butterscotch Pecan Monkey Bread
- Spinach Bacon Quiche with Tomatoes
If you need more ideas or menu suggestions, check out all of my breakfast recipes here.
More fresh tomato recipes:
If you like fresh tomatoes as we do, you might also like these easy recipes: Southern Fried Green Tomatoes, Southern Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam, Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal Cheddar Biscuits, and Easy Baked Fresh Tomato Casserole.
★ If you make this dish, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Southern Tomato Gravy Recipe
- 3 pieces of bacon finely chopped
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped green bell pepper about 1/3 of a large bell pepper
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil optional garnish
- Biscuits for serving optional
- Add bacon to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for about 3 minutes and stir frequently. Add the bell pepper and onions and continue to cook and stir for another 4-5 minutes or until the bacon is browned and crispy.
- Sprinkle the flour over the top and cook and stir for about 2 minutes or until the flour has turned a light golden brown.
- Slowly add in the chicken stock and continuously whisk until the mixture has thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Add the brown sugar, tomatoes, and salt and cook while stirring for another 2-3 minutes.
- Spoon over biscuits and optional garnish with chopped basil. Serve hot.