Roasted Turkey Legs

Roasted turkey legs on a plate

The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 95 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 4 to 6 drumsticks
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
328 Calories
20g Fat
0g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 328
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 191mg 64%
Sodium 631mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 28mg 2%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 367mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Roasted turkey legs are a great choice at Thanksgiving for smaller families where dark meat is the favorite. These large drumsticks have tender and moist meat with rich, delicious flavor, making for a satisfying meal. Around the holidays, you can usually find turkey legs in the supermarket, but other times of the year, you may have to ask the butcher for them.

This recipe is very easy, calling for just a few simple ingredients and an unattended cooking time in the oven. A homemade compound herb butter is spread all over the turkey legs, and chicken broth is added to the pan to keep the meat nice and moist while roasting. The flavored butter is made with poultry seasoning, a combination of herbs usually including sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, salt, and pepper. You can buy it in the supermarket or make your own. Feel free to include more seasonings, add some minced garlic or onion, or change the herbs and spices.


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"Disneyland isn’t the only place to enjoy turkey legs! A compound butter makes these legs super flavorful. No fuss. Going forward, only turkey legs for Thanksgiving." —Renae Wilson

Roasted Turkey Legs Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 4 to 6 turkey legs or drumsticks (bone-in, skin-on)

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (or turkey broth)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    Ingredients for roasted turkey legs recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

  2. Pat the turkey legs dry with paper towels and place them in a large roasting pan. Avoid rinsing poultry in the sink; that will just spread bacteria around your kitchen.

  3. Create a compound butter by mixing the softened butter, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and thyme in a small bowl.

    Mixing softened butter and seasonings in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

  4. Rub this mixture over the turkey legs. You can also rub it on the flesh under the skin for even more flavor.

    Turkey legs rubbed with compound butter in a baking pan

    The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

  5. Pour the chicken broth into the pan around the turkey legs. This will help keep the legs moist.

    Browned roasted turkey legs in a baking pan

    The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

  6. Roast the turkey legs for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 170 F. Remove the roasting pan from the oven, cover it with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes.

    Roasted turkey legs on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

  7. You can serve whole legs or slice the meat off the bones and serve it that way.

    Cooked turkey legs on a plate
    The Spruce / Emily Baker

Recipe Variations

Mix up the flavor by making these roasted turkey legs with one of these compound butter recipes:

  • Beurre Maître d'Hôtel: Combine 1/2 cup butter with 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Add fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Basil Butter: Use about 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves for every 1/2 cup butter. Add a clove of minced garlic if you like, and/or a grating or two of lemon zest as well as fine sea salt to taste.
  • Cilantro Lime Butter: For each 1/2 cup of butter, use 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves and 2 teaspoons lime zest. Add a bit of green chile sauce (or green Tabasco) if you're so inclined.
  • Garlic Butter: Combine 1/2 cup butter, 1 clove minced garlic, fine sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. You can also add minced parsley for a bit of color.​
  • Lemony Butter: Combine 1/2 cup butter with 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (just the yellow part of the peel, being sure to avoid the bitter white pith beneath when you grate).