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Southern Tomato Gravy

Tomato Gravy is such a Southern dish served over biscuits for breakfast, rice for supper or mashed potatoes.  I like it with pasta and I use leftover gravy in hamburger dishes. A great way to use up all those tomatoes from the garden.  You might also like our recipe for buttermilk biscuits and country gravy.

Southern Tomato Gravy

2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped (can use a 14.5 ounce can of tomatoes)

5 tablespoons bacon drippings

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups water (some prefer to use milk instead of water)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Cut up tomatoes in bowl. Add the salt, pepper, sugar and garlic powder and mix with a spoon.  Put bacon drippings in a hot skillet on stove top.  Add flour and make a roux or cook until thick.  Pour in tomatoes and water and cook until the consistency of gravy.  Serve over biscuits.  ENJOY!

Southern Tomato Gravy
Print Recipe
5 from 32 votes

Tomato Gravy

Tomato Gravy is such a Southern dish served over biscuits for breakfast, rice for supper or mashed potatoes. Wonderful way to use fresh tomatoes from the garden but can use canned tomatoes. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Breakfast, Gravy, Sauce
Cuisine: American, southern
Keyword: biscuits and gravy, Tomato gravy
Servings: 2 cups
Author: The Southern Lady Cooks


  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes peeled and chopped (can use a 14.5 ounce can of tomatoes)
  • 5 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups water some prefer to use milk instead of water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Cut up tomatoes in bowl. Add the salt, pepper, sugar and garlic powder and mix with a spoon.
  • Put bacon drippings in a hot skillet on stove top. Add flour and make a roux or cook until thick. Pour in tomatoes and water and cook until the consistency of gravy. Serve over biscuits.

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Southern Tomato Gravy
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  1. Egg gravy is made the same way you make tomato gravy . Just crack 2 to 3 eggs into the gravy in stead of tomatoes and keep stirring until the eggs are done. It is very good over a biscuit . I am so thankful that my grandmother and mother as well as my aunts all taught the girls how to cook. They were all wonderful southern cooks and passed it down to us, a tradition that I am afraid is not as traditional Today as it was in my generation.

  2. Terri Mitroka says:

    My dad was from Czechoslovakia, and we had tomato gravy on meatloaf. It made it taste so much better. Mom made a white roux and added tomatoes. I will try your version soon. Thanks, Terri

  3. Carolyn N Lewis says:

    Speaking of gravy, have you ever heard of egg gravy? My husband said his mother used to make it for him and it was like a scrambled egg, finely mashed, with a roux made using flour and meat grease. I sure wish she was here to teach me how to make it. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes!

    • The Southern Lady says:

      I’ve never heard of it Carolyn but it sure sounds delicious! Thank you for the kind comment. Have a wonderful week 🙂

      • Margie Styles says:

        My Swedish gram made egg gravy. She made a roux of milk & flour. When it was thickened, she added egg yolks until it made a thick gravy. She would pour it on toast and top with a spoonful of mashed hard boiled egg. We loved it!

  4. Yes, all I use.

  5. I grew up eating this and it was called “rations” by the old folks. So good !

  6. Teresa Davis says:

    Can you substitute self rising flour for the all purpose flour?

  7. It’s not just a southern dish. My Grandfather, who is Chech and a great cook, made tomato gravy to go with his homemade bread dumplings and homemade sausage. Delicious!

  8. You need to try it with Hunts Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes

  9. This would also be wonderful with cheese dumplins!

  10. This recipe is delicious. I put diced Vidalia onion and two garlic cloves in with the butter, then added the four to make the roux. I used canned diced tomatoes and it worked perfectly.5 stars

  11. My family loves this over meat loaf & mashed potatoes.5 stars

  12. Cathi Keene says:

    Luv this! I always throw in a can of Rotel to give it an extra Louisiana spicy kick!5 stars

  13. Jane Matthews Moody. Blackville, SC says:

    My mother’s was substantially similar but she added cream or milk to give a creamy consistency. We called it Tomato Sauce. Served it over rice usually with butter beans and either fried pork chops or country fried steak. Daddy would usually make his dessert out of a biscuit with tomato sauce. What a sweet memory. I’ll get cooking soon.

  14. Is this the same as Red Eye Gravy?

  15. I just made a version of this a couple days ago! My mom used to put hamburger patties in it and serve over cornbread. We ate it over rice too, being from Louisiana. Memories are in our cooking.5 stars

  16. We eat ours with browned hambuger mixed in it over mashed potatoes and call it sloppy joe over mashed potatoes. Just had it last week.

  17. I’m from southeast Alabama and my mom made this all the time when we were kids. it was one of our favorite meals. we always had it with homemade biscuits but it goes great with just about anything, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. she’s showed me how to make it myself and it is one of my go to meals because my family loves it. I make mine with cooking oil because I didn’t like the consistency with the bacon drippings. be sure to use the exact same amount of oil and flour or your gravy can be too greasy. potato gravy is delicious as well!5 stars

  18. I made mine using 1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup water! I like the creamy texture of the milk! I plan on making it next time just using water and see which one we like best! 🙂

  19. I still make this for my daughter and myself.It is my favorite .breakfaast food with biscuits.I make a large pot of it and freeze it in small containers.I buy Mary bs biscuits and have tomato gravy and biscuits about every other day.5 stars

    • I use Mary B’s biscuits also and for the tomatoes I used a can of the petite diced since I had no fresh tomatoes! gonna try it with the crushed tomatoes next!

  20. My question is, what makes this any different that homemade Tomato soup.


  21. Southern comfort foods may have come from the depression and food rationing era when women had to be creative, people grew their own veggies and learned to make many uses of what they had. Just a thought. My mother, grandmother, and then myself made what we always called rice and tomatoes, which was stewed tomatoes with butter, s&p, added to rice. It is one of my family’s favorite comfort foods. We just left out the step of adding it to roux to make it a true gravy. No clue why not, but it sounds DELISH!!

    • Shirley Lindsey says:

      That’s what my mother cooked and called it Tomatoes and Rice. I loved it, but can’t replicate her recipe.

  22. joan albert says:

    for the first time last night i had grit cakes with shrimp and tomatoe gravy and i cant believe how very delicious it was..i cant wait to make it myself 🙂5 stars

  23. My Mom lived 104 years & was taught by her Mom how to make this tomato sauce (that’s what she called it). She would serve it over steaming rice & bacon on the side. It was a favorite lenton dish without the bacon of course, fried fish was served during our lent season. Living in Louisiana, fish was always available. This is so tasty !!!5 stars

  24. Linda Sebern says:

    My mom whose parents were from Kentucky used to make something similar to this and she would brown hamburger patties then put this over the meat and always served it with fried potatoes. Delicious!5 stars

  25. My mother was from Louisiana and made this when I was growing up in the 50’s. I thought it was her made up thing. Had no idea others had it too!5 stars

  26. Sandi Woodcock says:

    I’m from PA and my mom was from WVA. She used to make tomato gravy every summer with tomatoes from our garden. We always served it over mashed potatoes. I will have to make this recipe. It’s been a long time since I’ve had it and now that I’ve found the recipe I can’t wait to have it again!


  28. I’m from east TN., and had never eaten this until I was grown, from my now ex mother-in-law from central FL. The recipe is pretty much the same, but they always served it over rice. They eat a lot of rice in central FL. It’s really good, much better than you would think. I haven’t made it in a long time, but seeing this makes me want to!5 stars

  29. My mother made this & it was served over homemade biscuits, only difference in her version was she added a lil chili powder to it, so delicious!

  30. Margaret Pittman says:

    I almost made tomato gravy this morning. Only difference in yours and mine is that I don’t use garlic powder and do use Worcestershire and tobacco ~ A Mississippi girl.

  31. We grew up on this. We called it creamed tomatoes and I liked it best on cornbread. Sometimes I even add a little extra sugar.

  32. I’m from PA & my PA Dutch mother made this frequently. Besides having it on biscuits, we put it on mashed potatoes. Yummy!

  33. I cut up okra and put in my tomato gravy it is good.

  34. Ohh, I’m so glad I found this! I haven’t had it in so long and this sounds exactly like what I grew up eating. I do remember that my mom and mawmaw used canned tomatoes in theirs. I have to make this soon, for old times sake…. Thanks for sharing.

    • Well, I got around to making this tonight, and it was just like I remembered many years ago. Brings back so many memories….. I used canned tomatoes and butter since I didn’t have bacon fat. My husband ate 2 biscuits covered with it after telling me beforehand that he didn’t like tomato gravy!!! LOL Thanks for sharing a recipe that I had totally forgotten about.5 stars

  35. Joan Dieter says:

    I am from Italian descent and made tomato gravy for my Southern husband all the time. I added a little grape jelly to it instead of sugar to take a little of the acid out and used butter instead of bacon. We liked it over toast. Good way to use up stale bread.

  36. Marsha Jean Henley says:

    Do you have a recipe for tomato jam or preserves? I know my mother used tomatoes, sugar, pectin and lemon slice’s, I think that was all. We ate it on biscuit’s or toast. I would appreciate a reply if you have time.

    • Hi Marsha, I have my mother’s handwritten recipe. You know how the older cooks used a little of this and that. I am giving you her instructions. I have made it by this recipe before but just had to guess at most of what I was doing. This is for Ripe Tomato Preserves or yellow tomato preserves. 5 lbs. firm red or yellow tomatoes. 5 lbs. sugar. 1 lemon sliced, 1 teaspoon ginger. Skin and cut up tomatoes and add other ingredients. Cook till thick, stirring. 40 to 45 minutes.Pour into jars and seal.

      • Marsha Jean Henley says:

        Thank you so very much. I am so happy you took the time to answer. I am 70 yrs. old and still remember those preserves. Thanks again. Marsha

      • They were wonderful Marsha. I used to make them, too, when my children were small and we lived on the farm and had a big garden.

      • Thank you,My mother made tomato preserves and Ihave looked every where for a recipe like hers you nailed it

      • The Southern Lady says:

        So happy I could be of help to you Frances! My mother made them every year and we enjoyed them so much. She would be happy to know her recipe is still being used today! Have a great weekend.

  37. My Mom would start out with stewed tomatoes, S & P, little sugar thicken it and serve it over mashed potatoes we had this with fried fish. So good.

  38. Debra Cha ndler says:

    I am 59 and have always enjoyed tomato gravy…As a child, Mom served it with salmon patties and grits…I still do, as well as adding fried chicken to the gravy…Momma used to smother her fried chicken with gravy…I like the tomato gravy better with the chicken…

  39. Kathy from Alabama says:

    I fry bacon then I use the fat to make my gravy, then when all else has been added, I crumble the bacon and add back to the gravy. trust me you won’t go wrong trying this….My husband loves it

  40. My grandmother is 90 years old, she made this for us growing up, we would spoon it over our fried taters! YUMMY…think I will make some tonight 🙂5 stars

  41. I live in South Texas and have not heard of tomato gravy but a friend taught me to add a can of Tomatoes and Green Chilies to my gravy and we put in on fried meat and it is o so good !

  42. Stella Wilson says:

    Standard meal when I was growing up – pork chops, rice and tomato gravy! Yummm-

  43. My mouth is drooling over this recipe and the suggestions of others. I grow up in East
    texas and never heard of this before.. Sounds so yummy. Thanks for this.!

  44. I have not had tomato gravy in such a long time THANK YOU for sharing!!!!! Hope you have a wonderful day…5 stars

  45. I have been eating this all my life, but didn’t call it gravy. The little bit of sugar helps cut the acid in the tomatoes. I’m from Savannah, from Savannah, GA. I’m 70 years old.

  46. Tomato gravy is also excellent over meatloaf–YUM YUM!5 stars

  47. My dad recently passed away. When he still felt well enough to eat, one of the last things he asked for was tomato gravy. We always put molasses over our biscuits; then, topped them with tomato gravy. If you don’t have homegrown tomatoes, canned aren’t too bad!!

  48. My folks always fried cube steak–then made tomatoe gravy–Lots of times we put the steak into the gravy to smoother-always served steamed rice with this.My crowd will often ask for it for supper. Can’t get any better than this

  49. I think this must be a deep South dish as one commenter mentioned we don’t eat it in east TN. I never had it till I moved to central FL. & a friend native to the area made it for me. I found it to be mighty tasty — anything with homemade biscuits is ok in my book! 🙂 We always had sliced homegrown ‘maters with our gravy & biscuits in the summertime so, this is just a spin on that I reckon.

    • Sandi Quinif says:

      McMinnville, TN is east and they eat it there. I have family and friends all over the state of TN. They are prepare it! Home canned tomatoes..yum, yum.

    • I live in East TN and was served tomato and chocolate gravy on a regular basis by my grandmother.

  50. My mother was from Mississippi and she just took homemade canned tomatoes and put them over her biscuit and then she would make what she called Streaky Gray which consisted of bacon drippings and black coffee, she would use the drippings from the bacon and when it was hot she would add the black coffee. So she would take this gravy and put it on top of our biscuit and then salt and pepper. NO one has ever heard of this unless u lived deep in the south of Mississippi. It was great, we also put the streaky gravy on our over easy eggs. I know people are thinking instant heart attack,LOL I eat it very rarely but she lives a good life of 87.

  51. GrannyKitty says:

    My Grandmother made this, just a little thicker, and served it atop collard greens, with homemade buttermilk “biskits”, That was many many moons ago as I am now a Great-Grandmother. Such memories, not a care in the world, and collards with thick tomato gravy plus biskits, mmmm…<3<3<3…LYM

  52. I actually remember my mother serving us this over grits!

  53. Thanks so much for this recipe. I am excited to try this on my husband, he talks of tomato gravy all the time and I was never sure how to make it.

  54. My mother never used any meat drippings of any sort, she used butter instead. She made the roux with butter and flour. Then, added the tomatoes, salt and pepper. I loved her tomato gravy over buicuits. Miss

    • Hi Diana, Thanks for stopping by. Your mother’s tomato gravy sounds great as well. My mother was a wonderful cook. No matter where we go or what we do, we will never find anyone that cooks like our mother. So happy to have you here.

  55. Ain’t nothin no better than tomato gravy and homemade biscuits! And I know that yours are absolutely delicious!5 stars

  56. This looks like it tastes so good, another must try.

  57. I have lived in the South all my life and have never seen or heard of this but it looks amazing! I may have to try this! (and I am not a big tomato eater)

    • Yes, it’s definately southern. I’m from MS and have eaten it my whole life. Actually it is my very favorite thing to eat and after 18 yrs of marraige have convinced my husband the same. As a kid I didn’t realize that everyone didn’t eat it or even know what it was unti we went on vacation TN (which I consider the South). When I tried to order it in restaurants and they looked at me like I was crazy and offered me bisquits and white gravy instead. My recipe is very similar to y’alls execpt I add a little onion to mine when browning the roux. It adds a great layer of flavor to it and that’s the way my mom did it. I have recently found that it is also good on grits.

    • Amy, it’s never too late to introduce a “new” tradition to your family. I’m from GA & I remember hav’n biscuits, tomato gravy, & fried streak 0 lean meat for supper many times back in the ’50’s & 60’s. My children & grandkids love it…..we don’t put the garlic powder in it tho. It’s good stuff! Try it.

      • I live in Ga. grew up in south Ala. Ate tomato gravy a lot sometimes for breakfast and sometimes for supper. My children in their 4o’s that’s what they always want me to make unless it’s the holidays. Homemade biscuits and tomato gravy with bacon nothing no better. I do not add sugar or garlic just good old comfort food.

  58. Love tomato gravy. My recipe is similar with the exceptions of garlic and sugar. GOOD STUFF!

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