Appalachia Appalachian Food

Chocolate Gravy

Chocolate gravy from appalachia
One of my favorite make do recipes that has been passed down through our family is chocolate gravy. I grew up eating it on Granny’s biscuits. It was only when I started making it myself that Granny told me the story behind it.

Granny Gazzie and a young Granny
When Granny was growing up (that’s her with her mother Gazzie) they often ate chocolate gravy. It was a family of 9 children-and when there wasn’t much milk and there was no meat to fry for grease-Granny Gazzie fed her family chocolate gravy and biscuits for breakfast.

Since there wasn’t many sweets back then-Granny said it seemed like a treat to get chocolate gravy. I’d say Granny Gazzie was pretty smart-she made them think they were getting something special-when actually it was a way of making do when there wasn’t much else to eat.

For a pretty good size bowl of chocolate gravy put 3 tablespoons of flour into a pan on medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons of sugar and 3 tablespoons of cocoa.

Mix the dry ingredients well. Gradually add water to the mixture-stirring constantly. Continue to add water till the mixture thickens to your liking-just like you would do any other type of gravy.

Crumble up some biscuits-pour some chocolate gravy on and enjoy!

I know chocolate gravy is common throughout different parts of Appalachia-but The Deer Hunter had never seen it till he met me. He said it sounded like an abomination to him-but after a few years of living around this bunch he decided it wasn’t so bad after all.

So now you know my favorite thing to eat on Granny’s biscuits. Have you ever had chocolate gravy?




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  • Reply
    Debbie Nixon
    October 22, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    This is my favorite breakfast. I never tried it with water I always use milk. Just when the gravy starts to thicken I throw a big chunk of butter and add vanilla flavoring. It is the bomb. So glad mom taught me how to make it.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 3:15 am

    My Granny (born in Gainesboro, TN) would made chocolate gravy as a special treat for our biscuits). Been more than 20 years since I had it. Going to make it soon. Thanks for bringing back memories 🙂

  • Reply
    March 5, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    My mom never made it, but I remember my Aunt Dorothy making it. We were in east Tennessee.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    MMM My grandmother used to make
    “sop chocolate” for us before we went off to school. Mom and dad would leave early for work so Grandma would fix this for us.
    Its the same as chocolate gravy.
    Such sweet memories you bring
    back for us Tipper!!
    Tom in Georgia

  • Reply
    February 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I made biscuits & chocolate gravy for the Kelischek’s Sunday. They loved it!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Yum! Aunt Victoria used to make the best chocolate gravy! She passed away several years ago. Sadly, I never paid much attention to how she made it. My mom raised a large family and also fed us choclate gravy when sugar was available. I’m sure neither used a recipe and added milk or cream instead of water when it was available.
    My cousin was a Nashville celebrity who ate in the finest restaurants across the country, but always said he would trade it all for a bowl of Aunt Vic’s chocolate gravy. She always had a big bowl ready when he came to visit.

  • Reply
    May 19, 2011 at 9:01 am

    I had never heard of it before my daughter met her husband. Still I have never eaten it.
    But you can bet I will be.

  • Reply
    May 19, 2011 at 2:39 am

    I’ve never had chocolate gravy. It must be delicious especially on your granny’s biscuits! I was just wondering if you could have this on ice cream as well.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I’ve never had chocolate gravy but all my friends here in N GA talk about it.
    I saw Ms. Barb mentioned tomato gravy. Yeah boy! We thicken up our bacon drippings and brown it till it looks like peanut butter. Then we add crushed tomatoes, a little salt, black pepper and let it simmer. Add back some of the cooked bacon (nice size chunks) and pour over hot biscuits!
    Oh, sorry! My slobber shorted out the keyboard!

  • Reply
    May 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I have never had chocolate gravy, but know others in the area who have. It doesn’t appeal to me, I don’t even like honey on my biscuits, but so many people can’t be wrong. Maybe one day I will get brave and give it a try!

  • Reply
    May 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Love chocolate gravy, But my mom added a bit of butter (i think). Any way my favorite way to eat biscuits is plain old buttered with fresh cantaloupe. MMMM

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Somehow chocolate gravy just doesn’t seem like it is something to “endure” like you would expect from a make do sort of situation. But that is the miracle God gave us, Moms, who could make tight times seem alright somehow.

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I have to fall into the “never heard of it” group. Maybe its just the term “gravy”. A chocolate sauce, chocolate spread? I don’t know, sounds funny to us in Missouri, ha ha! Sure looks good though.

  • Reply
    SandyCarlson (USA)
    May 17, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Gosh, that looks delicious!

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    May 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Chocolate gravy wasn’t handed down in my family, but Mitchell’s mama fed them so much of it (there were THIRTEEN kids) he can’t even look at the stuff!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Never, ever heard of chocolate gravy, but me thinks it’s gonna become a favorite! Yum, yum!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Now this is a new one on me.
    With love.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    May 17, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    This is something I’ve heard of but never had —

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    A lot of people are blogging about food (chocolate) today and I’m trying to lose weight. I’ve never heard of chocolate gravy before, I think it would be good on ice cream.

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    May 17, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Tipper, I am so glad to have your recipe! I had never heard of chocolate gravy until we stopped at a place for breakfast last spring in Savannah, Tennessee. It was a buffet and they served it! I couldn’t believe it! I am such a chocolate lover and I thought I was in chocolate heaven!

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    May 17, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    tipper you continue to amaze me with all the things you know and that have been passed down.. i adore hearing all of this.. and that gravy looks delicious.. and would be perfect on this cold drizzly day…. and chocolate.. wow a treat no matter what its poured on 🙂
    hope all are well and loved in your corner of the world
    big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    Rose C.
    May 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    This is a new one on me! Never, never heard of chocolate gravy till today! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Can’t say I’ve ever heard of it, but…anything chocolate HAS to be scrumptious! 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Tipper, I never heard of Chocolate Gravy till you talked about it. It always sounded odd to me. But I’ll try anything so when you made it, I tried it…..and found it very good!
    It would have to be good though, it has chocolate and sugar in it.
    B.Ruth my mother made pretty good fudge but once she was talking on the phone and let it cook too long. This particular batch of fudge was for a Fair at school and she really needed it.
    She looked in the refrigerator for something to save it. Her eyes fell on a jar of apple jelly. She dumped the whole jar in the fudge and it worked. It softened it and added a very nice flavor. From then on she always added a jar of apple jelly anytime she made fudge because it added such a nice flavor.
    I remember her fudge fondly. It was good before the apple jelly and better after!
    I like to remember her fudge fondly….because she wasn’t much of a cook and fudge was one thing she could do really good. lol

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Have heard others talk of making it but i never did. When money was short I’d water down the milk and make gravy. Might have to try the chocolate gravy now after reading all the comments.

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    you got me on this one tipper, never had it or even heard of it. all new to me. i do know that gravy was on the menu for all 3 meals when we lived in KY, it was a way to stretch and i love what Miss Axie called chicken gravy, made with some of the grease she fried her chicken in, and it was so thick we could pick it up on a spoon and it would sit there and jiggle.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    May 17, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Ive not heard of chocolate gravy til now, but I will try it. When Mamaw’s family didn’t have syrup(surp as she called it,) and if they had sugar, they made some with sugar and water and had that with their bread.

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I ate chocolate gravy just about
    every morning when I was little
    and going to school. Sure made you
    perky for about 3 hours, musta been the sugar. My brothers called
    it ‘lick em’, but it sure was good.
    And I got to say something about
    Pap, he sure knows how to pick ’em. Your mom is gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Barb Johnson
    May 17, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Never had Chocolate gravy..sounds good though! I have had a milked based tomato gravy and that is the most delicious gravy ever. My Dad makes it for us..another make do gravy from his childhood. It is a special treat to us too!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Never had that up here. Mom used to make chocolate sauce for ice cream using a Jiffy frosting mix. If she had known about chocolate gravy she definitely would have made it. She loves chocolate!

  • Reply
    Amy Phillips
    May 17, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I have never seen such a thing! It sounds delightful though! I will try it!
    I would like to share w u that my Dandy Jelly was Amazing! Thanks for all your posts!
    — Amy Jo Phillips

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    May 17, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I had never eaten, never heard of, chocolate gravy until 1983–when I was 31 years old! I was visiting with some people up on the Tennessee-Kentucky border and they served it with breakfast. I tried it. Once. I’m with the Deer Hunter on this one. For me it’s just a good way to ruin a biscuit!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I have never heard of this! Sounds super interesting! And it looks awesome!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 9:07 am

    I’ve never had it, but grew up with a lot of people that loved it. Your recipe looks easy–I may talk my gang into trying it! Thanks, Tipper!

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph.D.
    May 17, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Now Tipper, I love chocolate and I love gravy but have never had the combination! So today, guess what Jim is going to get surprized with this morning – after YOGA!!!!
    Thanks! Eva

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 8:35 am

    oh I just love chocolate gravy also it was such a good treat for us growing up and now my daughter’s know how to make it. It’s hard to explain though to others – I just say it’s like pudding.

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    May 17, 2011 at 8:23 am

    This is a new one for sure. I think I’ll stick good ole red eye gravy or sausage gravy and biscuits.

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 8:10 am

    That looks delicious! I think I will try it on my ice cream, though:)

  • Reply
    grand pa ken
    May 17, 2011 at 8:05 am

    I am a baby boomer born in the 40s but I grew up hearing stories.
    Appalachian folks and flatlanders alike struggled through those bad times. As a child all of us children heard stories of hoover carts, milk and cornbread, biscuits and syrup. Anything that could be used to feed a large family. Chocolate gravy was what a friend used to treat a family of 9, they grew up thinking that it was a luxury they were amazed that everybody didn’t have it.
    Most of these thing were grow on the land. A local store took chickens and produce in trade for sugar, flour, cocoa the bitter unsweet kind, coffee, and more. Barter was revived and was a way of getting things they could not grow.
    The children of the depression are getting older, thanks for looking back on their struggle.

  • Reply
    kat magendie
    May 17, 2011 at 8:00 am

    When I’d visit my adoptive granny in Arkansas, she’d make chocolate gravey – hers we very thin and oh so sweet – we kids would eat it up! 😀

  • Reply
    Melissa P - Misplaced southerner
    May 17, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Never did hear of it either, but sure would be good. Just think if you could crumble some bacon over it… Course, I think bacon goes with everything.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 17, 2011 at 7:46 am

    This sounds like what my Gramma used to make to put on pancakes when I stayed at her house. We used to beg for it. I didn’t know about the flour though I thought it was cocoa, water and sugar.

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I’ve never heard of it either… but after reading this and seeing that picture I WANT SOME.
    You just never know when hard times will hit and sometimes it’s something you foresee. In any case it’s always a good idea to be ready, be prepared. Not too long ago I bought a large bag of cocoa to keep in my pantry in case prices get so high I can’t afford it.
    I will copy this recipe & keep it on file for those hard times when everyone is feeling a bit down. Of course that’s AFTER I try it real soon 🙂

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Clint-it would be interesting to see how many Jenkins grandkids had eaten it before. And you-should for sure try it : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 7:30 am

    B.-one of my best friends growing up-her Mother made chocolate gravy too-but it was indeed more like a syrup than Granny’s gravy.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Bradley-it’s really like gravy : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Never had chocolate gravy but, just from the ingredients, it would have to be good. Wonder if it thickens once it is poured over the biscuits so as to become a sort of light fudge?

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 17, 2011 at 7:02 am

    I have heard of Chocolate Gravy but have never eaten it…However, Mom made a chocolate syrup, we thought,when I was growing up and we ate it on bread, biscuits, toast. She never called it Gravy, Now after thinking about it, I wonder if this was really Chocolate gravy? She cherished her cocoa and used it for chocolate cakes, icing and fudge..but she could’nt make good fudge. She would get after us for slipping in and making cold cocoa and sugar milk! My Father was the fudge this day I can’t make it like his nor could my mother..It was just old-fashioned cocoa, milk, butter and sugar and vanilla always made in an iron kettle. He would whip it with a spoon until it started to set. It was always smooth and delishious…
    So, I guess I must have eaten Chocolate gravy and didn’t realize it..but Mom called it syrup…

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 7:02 am

    This is a new one on me, but it sounds like it is right up my alley!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2011 at 6:40 am

    have heard many stories about it, but never have had any. how is that possible?

  • Reply
    Phyllis Salmons
    May 17, 2011 at 4:28 am

    I never had it and up until a couple of months ago, I had never heard of it. I doubt that Mama knew of it either — she has an 85 year old sister and a brother in his late 70s still alive — when I see them this summer I will ask if they know of it or not. It sits twists the brain a bit to think about it.

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