Roasted Turkey Legs are a great low fuss alternative to roasting a whole turkey. After roasting in a herb butter, the meat becomes super moist and richly flavoured while the skin is nice and crispy. This is a great option for anyone planning for a smaller Thanksgiving this year with just a few people. 

Roasted Turkey Legs

Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to look very different this year, but smaller family gatherings of just a few people doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice cooking a turkey. These Roasted Turkey Legs are a great option alternative to cooking a whole bird. These roasted turkey legs are perfect for anyone that loves dark meat, but I have also included instructions if you would like to roast a combination of leg and breast together. The advantage of cooking them as separate parts is that they cook more evenly, and take just an hour and a half to two hours maximum. 

Roasted Turkey Legs

Why you are going to love this Roasted Turkey Leg:

  1. Much less fuss and hassle than roasting a big turkey: Turkey legs are so quick to make! Unlike a large roast turkey which can take 4 hours + to cook, this is ready in just under 2 hours. 
  2. Perfect option for a small gathering: This is a great option for anyone doing a smaller Thanksgiving this year, or if you are having a few different Thanksgiving themed meals. One large leg will serve 2-3 people, so you can  adjust the numbers accordingly. 
  3. Dark meat lovers rejoice! A great option for dark meat lovers. The meat is moist and has a much richer flavour than it’s white meat counterpart. 

Roasted Turkey Leg


Tips and Tricks for getting the perfect Roasted Turkey: 

  1. Take all of the guesswork out of cooking a turkey by using a meat thermometer. 170º Fahrenheit is the magic number you want to hit in the thickest part of the leg to ensure it’s cooked through.
  2. When spreading the ghee/butter and herb mixture over the legs, separate the the skin from the meat and spread it underneath for maximum flavour and extra juicy meat. 
  3. Adding chicken or turkey stock to the bottom of the baking dish while it cooks will ensure the turkey is super moist. 
  4. Baste and baste some more. I think there is zero downside to basting the turkey legs every 30-40 minutes. This ensures the meat will be super moist and give the skin extra flavour. 


Would this work for a Turkey Breast too?

Yes definitely! If  you would like both white and dark meat for a small dinner, you could roast a 2-3lbs turkey breast and 1-2 legs together. Place them all in a large baking dish and seasoning the breast the same way you do the leg. As long as the breast is 2-3lbs, it should be done at the same time as the legs (but be sure to use a meat thermometer to confirm this).

Roasted Turkey Leg

What should I serve with these Roasted Turkey Legs?

Save all of the liquid from the bottom of the roasting pan so that you can make this Flourless Gravy. It only takes a few minutes to prepare and is delicious poured over the turkey. I would also recommend making my 3-ingredient Cranberry Sauce to serve on the side. 


Roasted Turkey Leg

What should I do with leftover turkey?

  • Don’t let them go to waste! You can freeze any leftover sliced turkey and use it in future in soups, stews or as a substitute for chicken in recipes. Frozen cooked turkey will last up to 4 months in the freezer. To help it remain moist, I recommend freezing it in a container or ziploc bag with and of the excess liquid from the pan or alternatively 1/4 cup of chicken or turkey stock.
  • Use leftover turkey in soup! My mom used to always make Turkey Mulligatawny Soup 2 days after Thanksgiving and it’s now something I make each year too. If you are looking for a more “classic” soup, you could substitute the chicken in my Chicken Pot Pie Soup recipe for turkey. Both of these soups also freeze well, so you can have them on hand for easy meals throughout the winter.
  • Add it into other dishes such as this Creamy Broccoli, Bacon & Chicken (sub Turkey) CasseroleBLT Chicken (sub Turkey) Sandwich Wraps or Creamy Chicken (sub Turkey), Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Here are a few more recipes to add to your Thanksgiving spread…

If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!

Roasted Turkey Legs

Every Last Bite
Roasted Turkey Legs are a great low fuss alternative to roasting a whole turkey. After roasting in a herb butter, the meat becomes super moist and richly flavoured while the skin is nice and crispy.
3.25 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Diets Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Keto, Paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal, Whole30
Servings 4
Calories 637 kcal


  • 2 large turkey legs
  • 1/3 cup softened ghee (or butter)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2/3 cup chicken or turkey stock


  • Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit (175º Celsius)
  • In a bowl stir together the softened ghee or butter with the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper
  • Pat the turkey legs dry with a paper towel and place them in a baking dish large enough to allow them to lie flat.
  • Use your hands to separate the skin from the meat of the legs. Rub the herb butter/ghee in between the skin and meat of each leg on both sides, as well as all over the top of the skin.
  • Pour the chicken stock into the bottom of the baking dish. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and cook the turkey for an hour and 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg reads 170º. I like to baste the turkey legs with the liquid from the bottom of the pan every 30-40 minutes as it cooks.
Calories: 637kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 67gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 280mgSodium: 598mgPotassium: 976mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1g
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment below and let us know how it was!