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Roasting a few turkey legs is a great way to have a small scale Thanksgiving dinner, or a delicious turkey dinner anytime of the year. You don't need to worry about cooking a whole roasted turkey from scratch, and this recipe can be increased very easily.


These simple roasted turkey legs are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, perfect for a small-scale holiday dinner idea or an impressive entrée to serve any time of year."

Where to Buy Turkey Legs

Whole turkey legs are made up of the thigh and drumstick, but many people use "turkey leg" to refer to just the drumstick. Drumsticks should be readily available in the meat section of your local grocery store. Though whole legs are harder to come by, you may be able to find them at a butcher. 

How to Cook Turkey Legs

It's easier than you think to roast turkey legs at home. You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect: 

Prepare the Turkey Legs 

Rinse and dry the turkey legs. Use a sharp knife to create two or three pockets deep into the tissue, then press a piece of celery into each pocket. Rub butter and sprinkle salt under and over the skin. 

Roast the Turkey Legs

Place the legs in a roasting pan and roast in a preheated oven, basting occasionally with the juices, until the skin is golden brown.

How Long to Cook Turkey Legs In the Oven

The turkey legs should be perfectly golden brown and juicy in about 90 minutes to an hour. 

When the turkey leg is done, an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat should register 180 degrees F. 

What to Serve With Turkey Legs

If you don't want to cook a whole turkey for Thanksgiving, consider serving these roasted turkey legs instead: They come together much more quickly and they're perfect for small groups. Pair the turkey legs with traditional holiday sides such as mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, or macaroni and cheese. 

Need some delicious inspiration? Explore our collection of Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes.

How to Store Turkey Legs

Store your leftovers turkey legs in the fridge in an airtight container for up to four days. Enjoy them cold or reheat gently in the microwave. 

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"This turkey was amazing," raves Ang. "Something about the celery makes this sooo good and juicy, and my kids don't even like celery. Next time I will add garlic and thyme for more flavor, but that is just an option for a different flavor."

"The meat is so juicy and tender," according to Misty Paiement. "I also roasted vegetables alongside it to complete the flavor. For a side dish, I cooked some wild grain brown rice." 

"Delicious," says Lisa P. "I used sweet onions (like Vidalias) since I don't care for celery. The flavor permeated the meat well and gave it added tenderness. I'll be doing this one again."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


Original recipe yields 3 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Rinse the turkey legs and pat dry.

  • Stand the turkey legs upright (as if the turkey were standing). Press a knife downward into the deep tissue, creating 2 or 3 long pockets. Press a piece of celery into each opening. Pull back the skin on the legs, rub with butter, and season with a little salt. Put the skin back into place, rub with more butter, and season lightly with salt. Lay the turkey legs in a roasting pan.

  • Roast uncovered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the legs are golden brown and the internal temperature is 180 degrees F (82 degrees C) when taken with a meat thermometer. Add more water if needed while roasting, and baste occasionally with the juices or butter.

Nutrition Facts

643 calories; protein 73.1g; carbohydrates 1.2g; fat 36.9g; cholesterol 239.4mg; sodium 399.4mg. Full Nutrition