5 from 2 votes

Easy Roasted Turkey Legs

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This easy turkey leg recipe helps create perfectly cooked turkey legs every time. Expect roasted, tender meat and flavorful, crispy skin.
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
£2.28
Makes: 4
mains
brit
Freezable

I love creating this easy, roasted turkey leg recipe when I’m craving state fair food without the price tag. These yummy, bone-in turkey legs are made without brining/basting, cutting down on the steps, and effort to create fall-off-the-bone meat. By adding a herby butter mixture, this recipe offers a delicious flavour to every bite of dark meat.

This recipe allows you to enjoy a smaller portion of turkey without having to cook an entire bird. These simple, whole turkey legs are great for a small Thanksgiving or weeknight dinner. 

2 dark browned roasted turkey legs with some rosemary on an oval white serving platter.

Why you’ll love Roasting Turkey Legs

  • Delicious and tender dark meat – These roasted turkey legs are dark meat, so they’re juicier and more tender than turkey breast.
  • No brining or basting – This turkey leg recipe allows you to skip the brining and basting yet still create delicious turkey legs.
  • No dealing with a 9kg-14kg (20-30 pound) turkey – The best part about this recipe is you don’t have to try to work with a large turkey in a baking dish. Simply bake turkey leg quarters in foil and enjoy juicy meat and crispy skin.
  • Flavourful – Fresh herbs, butter, and seasoning help create a yummy oven-roasted turkey legs recipe.
  • Simple pantry ingredients – Most of the ingredients for this turkey drumstick recipe are likely already in your pantry/kitchen.

If you have leftover turkey, consider making one of these yummy recipes; Leftover Turkey Salad, Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup or Turkey Sandwich in 10 minutes!

Ingredients

Ingredients to make the roasted turkey legs laid out on a wooden board and a place blue back ground.

Turkey Legs – This turkey leg recipe will work for any size of thighs/drumsticks. You can use large turkey legs or small. Keep in mind, the amount of time in the oven will vary depending on the size of turkey legs you use.

Butter – I recommend using butter for these turkey legs, as it will help create an even more flavourful recipe. You can also use olive oil if you prefer, but it will change the flavour slightly.

Fresh Rosemary Sprigs – Rosemary pairs beautifully with turkey meat. However, you can also use other fresh herbs, like lemongrass, sage, or thyme.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to know when turkey legs are done?

The key to learning how to cook turkey legs is knowing when they’re done in the oven. If the turkey leg recipe is overcooked, you’ll have dry/tough meat. Here are a few tips for knowing when to remove the turkey drumsticks from the oven.

How to keep the skin from burning
I recommend cooking turkey legs in foil for the first 40 minutes, which will help keep the skin from burning. If you cook this recipe entirely without foil, the skin will likely be burnt and have shrunk.

How do you keep turkey legs from drying out?
There are a few methods for keeping turkey legs from drying out. For one, be sure not to overcook the turkey. Another method is using foil or a roasting bag, as these options help keep the moisture inside the legs while they cook.

Using a meat thermometer – tender dark meat is 175-180°F (79-82°C)
Cook the legs until the internal temperature is 175-180°F (79-82°C); this will help ensure you have tender, juicy meat.

Should you rest a turkey leg?

When making this roasted turkey leg recipe or any version of turkey legs, you should always let them rest before digging in. This step allows the juices to redistribute into the meat, so you can enjoy a juicier dish.

Variations/ Adaptations

This turkey drumsticks recipe is easy to adjust to your taste preferences. If you want to change the flavour of the turkey legs, you can change the spice blend. You can turn this turkey leg recipe into a Mediterranean or Asian-inspired dish. You can also swap out the fresh rosemary for other herbs.

Adapt these recipes, by substituting the chicken with turkey to make some delicious soup recipes ; Green Chili Chicken Soup, Vietnamese Inspired Noodle Soup and Creamy Spiced Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

How to make baked turkey legs

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°F. 

  1. Pat the turkey legs dry with paper towels (Image 1).
  2. Mix together the melted butter and the seasoning (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with 2 raw turkey thighs on a chopping board and the second with a saucepan with dress and a brush over the legs.

3. Brush over some melted butter mixed with the seasoning on the roast rack (Image 3).

4. Cover both legs with the seasoning mix (Image 4).

2 step by step photos, the first with 2 turkey legs on a baking rack on a tray, one turkey leg being basted witha brush and brown sauce mix and the second with both turkey legs covered in the sauce.

5. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, allowing the skin to start to brown (Image 5).

6. Remove from the oven and then cover with foil and continue to roast for another 30 minutes until the juices run clear.  Internal temp should be 165°F /74°F  (Image 6).

2 step by step photos, the first with 2 turkey legs on a baking rack on a tray covered with a brown sauce and the second with foil over the legs.

7. Remove the turkey legs from the oven and remove the foil (Image 7).

8. Leave to rest for around 20 minutes and serve on a platter (Image 8).

2 step by step photos, the first with 2 baked, browned turkey legs on a baking rack on a tray and the second with the 2 legs on a white platter with some rosemary.

Tips for the best result

  • Remember to flip the leg halfway through cooking. This step will ensure the turkey legs cook evenly and the skin crisps up on all sides.
  • Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the leg. Since turkey legs can vary quite a bit in size, the cook time will also vary.
  • Use a cooking thermometer to judge doneness. Make sure the thermometer does not touch the bone, or you may get a false reading. Once the internal temperature of the legs reaches 175 -180°F (79-82°C), they’re done. Remember to remove them at this temperature, as they’ll continue cooking while they rest.
  • Make sure your turkey leg has been out of the fridge for at least 15 minutes before roasting so it cooks evenly. This tip will also help ensure the roast turkey legs are juicier because there will be less of a temperature change when the meat goes into the oven than if you put it in while it’s still cold.
  • Once the skin browns, cover the leg loosely with foil while cooking to prevent burning. If you notice the skin is browning too fast, you can cover the legs with foil so the skin doesn’t burn.

Need inspiration for some main meal recipes? Try my ; Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Puff Pastry Crust, Baked Chicken and Cauliflower and The Best Chicken Meal Prep (over 50g protein!)

2 dark browned roasted turkey legs with some rosemary on an oval white serving platter with a peppermil behind in partial view.

Serving Suggestions

These turkey legs pair well with many dishes/recipes. I love to serve roasted turkey legs with stock/broth gravy and stuffing. They’re also great alongside mashed potatoes, roasted veg, Yorkshire puddings, mac and cheese, soup, and fresh salad.

Storage and Reheat Instructions

Allow the roasted turkey legs to cool fully, then store them in an airtight bag or container. They will stay good in the fridge for up to four days. You can also freeze leftover baked turkey legs. The leftovers will stay good in the freezer for about three months.

Allow the legs to thaw in the fridge overnight to reheat from frozen. Then, you can microwave them for a few minutes with broth. Or, toss them in the air fryer at 350°F (176°C) for about four minutes or until heated through. Be sure to spray the air fryer basket with oil first to prevent sticking.

Here are a few reheat instructions for some of your favorite recipes: How to Reheat Rotisserie Chicken, The Best Way to Reheat Chicken Wings in the Airfryer and The Best Way To Reheat Salmon

Uses for Leftovers

What’s great about this turkey leg recipe is that you can repurpose leftover turkey legs for quite a few recipes. Turn leftovers into soup, add them to salads for extra protein, make turkey pot pie, create tacos, add mayo to make turkey salad (like chicken salad)—the options are endless!

2 dark browned and roasted turkey legs with some rosemary on a large white serving platter.

FAQs

Can you roast frozen turkey legs?

Yes, you can roast frozen turkey legs. However, I don’t recommend cooking them frozen, as there’s a higher possibility of making the turkey legs dry. Plus, with this method, you’ll need to keep the turkey in the oven for longer.

Can you roast turkey legs in a roasting bag?

You can also cook this turkey leg recipe in a roasting bag. Like foil, it will help keep the legs moist in the oven.

Should I wrap my turkey legs in foil?

I recommend wrapping them in foil for about half the cooking time to keep the skin from burning.

How long do you cook turkey legs in the oven at 350°F (176°C?

The time they take to cook at 350°F (176°C) will vary depending on how big the legs are. Expect the turkey legs to take about 1.5-2 hours to cook at this temperature. However, the best way to measure doneness is with a meat thermometer.

Should you brine and baste turkey legs?

If you’re following this recipe, you don’t need to do either. However, if you’re planning on smoking the legs instead, you can brine and baste them beforehand to ensure they’re juicy and flavourful.

If you tried this Roasted Turkey Legs recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

 

Easy Roasted Turkey Legs

Print
5 from 2 votes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
£2.28
mains
brit
Freezable
Servings: 4
This easy turkey leg recipe helps create perfectly cooked turkey legs every time. Expect roasted, tender meat and flavorful, crispy skin.

Ingredients

  • 1400 g 2 turkey legs (£4.00×2)=(£8.00)
  • 3 tbsp butter (£0.50)
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs (£0.60)

Cupboard Essentials

  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Crack of black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried thyme

Method

Preheat oven to 374F° (190°C)

  • Start by coating the turkey legs in a generous layer of salt. Place in the fridge for 10-20 minutes uncovered (or up to an hour if you have time).
  • Remove the turkey from the fridge and use a paper towel to pat the skin dry. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan or in the microwave.
  • Add all of the seasoning to the butter and stir to combine, adding an extra pinch of salt. Using a brush, evenly coat the turkey legs in the seasoned butter. Place a wire-wrack within a baking tray and pop the turkey legs onto the tray. Cover with foil and cook for 40 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and cook for a further 40 minutes, basting with the released juices/fat half way through. Cook until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 175-180°F (79-82°C)
  • Once cooked, the skin should be crispy and golden.Leave to rest for 30 minutes before carving. I like to serve my turkey on a bed of rosemary for a festive twist. Season with flakey salt and pepper, then carve and dig in!

Note: Depending on the size of the turkey legs, adjust the roasting time.

    Notes

    • Remember to flip the turkey leg halfway through cooking for even crisping of the skin.
    • Cooking times vary based on leg size; adjust accordingly.
    • Use a cooking thermometer, ensuring it doesn’t touch the bone, to gauge doneness (175-180°F).
    • Let the turkey leg sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before roasting for even cooking and juiciness.
    • Cover with foil if skin browns too quickly to prevent burning.

    Nutrition

    Servings: 4 servings
    Fat: 32g
    Calories: 696kcal
    Protein: 98g

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    Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I hope you loved it. I’d be so grateful if you could leave a comment/rating - it makes my day hearing your feedback!

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