Thick, creamy and savory, this vegan creamy mushroom gravy is delicious and comforting. Try it as a topping for vegan biscuits and mushroom gravy, as a vegan toast idea or served over steamed rice with green peas. This versatile plant-based mushroom gravy is no flour, dairy-free, oil-free, wfpb and gluten-free.
Cream of mushroom gravy is especially popular in the fall and winter, when the weather turns cold and we're all collectively craving comforting, warming dishes.
It's also used when company is coming over for brunch or to serve with a big meal alongside baked potatoes, rice, toast or biscuits. If you're having a party or gathering and need a vegan gravy for your plant-based guests, this is a great option!
This gravy is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free (no flour), oil-free and wfpb (whole food plant based). Variations are provided to make it soy-free and nut-free.
🧄 Ingredient notes
- Mushrooms - fresh button mushrooms are the key ingredient in making this naturally savory gravy rich and flavorful
- Plant-based milk - use an unsweetened, unflavored milk - I recommend almond, soy or cashew milk. Make sure the milk you're using as no added sugar or flavors, like vanilla, which will ruin the dish. Also, plant-based milks that are naturally sweet or have strong aftertastes, like oat and coconut, don't work well in this.
- Mushroom powder - for a light, subtle mushroom flavor in this gravy, omit the mushroom powder. For a stronger, more concentrated mushroom flavor, use it.
📋 Substitutions and variations
Here are some suitable substitutions to use when making this creamy vegan mushroom gravy:
- Fresh mushrooms - instead of white button mushrooms, use baby bella mushrooms or big portobello mushrooms. You can also use frozen mixed mushrooms that have been diced, if you enjoy the flavors of all the mushrooms in your mix.
- Almond milk - instead of almond milk, try using unsweetened, unflavored soy milk or cashew milk, which both work well in savory dishes. Cashew milk has a quality that enhances the flavor of what you add it to.
- Sage, thyme and parsley - substitute all three seasonings with an equal total amount of poultry seasoning.
- Vegetable bouillon paste - substitute the better than bouillon paste with one cube of vegan vegetable or no-beef bouillon cube.
- Corn starch - substitute with arrowroot powder (equal amounts) or ground chia seeds (start with 1 tablespoon, stir it in well, then wait a few minutes and see if you need more). Ground white chia seeds will not affect the color as much as ground black chia seeds. You could also use cashew sour cream to thicken it slightly, but it will not thicken it as much as the cornstarch.
Mushroom powder and umami seasoning
What brand and kind of mushroom powder you can find will vary greatly, depending on where you live. We use options #1 and #2 most often in this recipe. Below are pictured 7 mushroom powder options you can try:
- Trader Joe's Umami Seasoning Blend - well-balanced, but spicy
- Simply Organic Umami Blend - Original - well-balanced with a touch of heat
- Natierra Organic Shiitake Mushroom Powder - no added salt
- Natierra Organic Maitake Mushroom Powder - no added salt
- Natierra Organic Kind Trumpet Mushroom Powder - no added salt
- Whole dried shiitake mushrooms - process in a blender or food processor into homemade mushroom powder yourself. Dried porcini mushrooms or dried button mushrooms are more difficult to find, but provide a more mild mushroom flavor.
- not pictured: Better than Bouillon makes a mushroom bouillon base that has excellent flavor for this dish, but it has oil and whey powder added to it 😢. It is a good option for vegetarians or those who don't mind a small amount of dairy or oil in their diet.
Want to switch up the flavor or ingredients to suit dietary needs? Try one of these variations:
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes (or use one of the two mushroom umami seasonings that are spicy) to infuse a little heat.
- Green peas - the freshness and sweetness of steamed green peas contrast the earthy, savory mushroom gravy. Especially good when served with rice.
- Creamy vegan condensed mushroom soup - serve with a drizzle of cashew sour cream
- Nut-free - make this nut-free by using a nut-free plant milk, like soy milk.
- Soy-free - make this soy-free by using a soy-free milk, like almond or cashew and by using a vegetable bouillon that does not contain soy (better than bouillon does have soy in it).
- WFPBNO - make this whole food plant based no oil by using a bouillon that is oil-free (such as the Better than Bouillon organic vegetable base) and be sure to use an oil-free milk
- SOS-free - make this SOS-free by omitting the salt and using a mushroom powder that is salt free, like the Natierra brand found at Whole Foods.
It takes about 20 minutes to make this easy mushroom gravy, here are the step by step instructions!
Heat a dutch oven or medium-large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and steam-sauté for 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms, bouillon, sage, thyme, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until mushrooms have reduced to half their original size, about 5 minutes.
Add milk to pan, stir well and heat milk until just below boiling.
Once the gravy has heated, taste for flavor. Adjust salt, pepper and add mushroom powder or umami seasoning, if using.
Make cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch and cool water in a bowl with a fork.
Stir your cornstarch slurry one more time, then add it to the hot gravy in the pan and stir well. It should start to thicken to a gravy consistency within 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat and serve hot.
You can also make this in the Instant Pot, using the sauté option. It's really not necessary to use a pressure cooker to make it, so I'm giving just stovetop instructions.
🧯 Food safety
- Wash hands with soap and water before cooking
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
⭐️ Expert tips
- Don't be tempted to skip the cornstarch slurry step! If you add it dry to the hot gravy, it will clump and ruin it. You have to mix it with cool water first to dissolve it completely before adding it. Ask me how I know this! Haha, been there, done that.
- Allow the gravy to cool before storing in the refrigerator.
- Dutch oven or medium-large pot
- Santoku knife or chef's knife, for cutting up the mushrooms, onion and garlic
🥡 Make ahead and storage tips
Store the prepared gravy in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
👨👩👦👦 Serving suggestions
Ways to serve this vegan creamy mushroom gravy:
- Creamy mushroom rice with steamed green peas or broccoli
- Vegan creamy mushrooms on toast - use whole grain bread like Dave's Killer Bread or sourdough bread - it's delicious as a vegan toast topping idea
- Vegan biscuits and mushroom gravy - use this oil-free vegan biscuit recipe from Chuck over at Brand New Vegan
- Creamy mushroom sauce for vegan meatballs
☕️ Tea pairing
This recipe would be delicious paired with pu-erh tea, to complement the earthiness of the mushrooms. To contrast the savory gravy flavor, try a green tea or black tea, especially when serving at brunch or breakfast time.
No, it is not, since it uses dairy milk and butter or lard, which are animal products.
To make gravy vegan, you have to substitute the milk for a plant-based milk like soy milk, cashew milk or almond milk. And, if you're using fat to make your gravy, you have to substitute the butter or lard for vegan butter made from vegetable oil. In my vegan mushroom gravy recipe, I use a cornstarch slurry to thicken it so I can make it without oil or vegan butter. This reduces the calories drastically, as well.
Mushroom gravy is made of mushrooms or mushroom powder, milk of some sort, flour and fat (or cornstarch, as in this recipe) and aromatic seasonings.
No, not usually, since they often have buttermilk as one of the main ingredients. However, you can make homemade vegan biscuits!
🗺 Cultural influences
Gravy is traditionally made with a roux base (flour and fat, like butter), cream or milk and flavoring agents like mushroom, onion, garlic, salt and black pepper. A basic cream gravy will usually just have flour, butter (or lard), milk, salt and pepper.
It is used throughout the Southern United States of America as a sauce for biscuits, toast, meat-based breakfast dishes and more.
This vegan version of creamy mushroom gravy uses cornstarch instead of flour, since we are making it without oil or large amounts of fat.
💜 More recipes you'll love
If you love this vegan mushroom gravy recipe, check out these other plant-based sauces and condiment recipes!
Vegan Creamy Mushroom Gravy (dairy-free, oil-free)
- ½ yellow onion minced - about 6 ounces
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 16 ounces white button mushrooms diced
- 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon paste I used better than bouillon brand
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme or ¼ teaspoon ground dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 5 cups almond milk unsweetened, unflavored
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅓ cup cool water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon mushroom umami seasoning optional (see above blog post for brand options)
- 2 slices toast whole grain or sourdough
- 1 vegan biscuit
- 1 cup steamed white rice
- 1 baked potato
- Heat a dutch oven or medium-large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and steam-sauté for 5 minutes. Add splash of water if it starts sticking.½ yellow onion, 6 cloves garlic
- Add mushrooms, bouillon, sage, thyme, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until mushrooms have reduced to half their original size, about 5 minutes. Add a splash of water if they start to stick.16 ounces white button mushrooms, 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon paste, ½ teaspoon dried sage, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Add milk to pan, stir well and heat milk until just below boiling. Do not bring to a boil, as it will make the almond milk start to separate a bit. It tastes just the same but it will have white specks in it and not be as appetizing.5 cups almond milk
- Once the gravy has heated, taste for flavor. Adjust salt, pepper and add mushroom powder or umami seasoning, if using.½ teaspoon mushroom umami seasoning
- Make cornstarch slurry by combining the cornstarch and cool water together in small bowl. Whisk the two together with a fork or small whisk to form a cloudy liquid with no lumps. (Tip: Do not attempt to add the cornstarch to the hot liquid without making a slurry first, it will clump up and ruin your soup. Been there, done that.)4 tablespoons cornstarch, ⅓ cup cool water
- Stir your cornstarch slurry one more time, then add it to the hot gravy in the pan and stir well. It should start to thicken to a gravy consistency within 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat and serve hot with toast, vegan biscuits, steamed white rice or a baked potato.