Roasted Turkey Thighs

Roasted Turkey Thighs

The Spruce

  • Total: 70 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
488 Calories
29g Fat
2g Carbs
55g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 488
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 38%
Saturated Fat 12g 58%
Cholesterol 284mg 95%
Sodium 722mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 55g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 637mg 14%
*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.)

Dark-meat lovers will be thrilled with this tasty and easy turkey thighs recipe. The thighs, part of the meaty legs of the bird, are ideal for a small Thanksgiving dinner for which a whole turkey can be too much. This is also an excellent way to cook dark turkey meat for other recipes such as casseroles and salads. The meat is tender, moist, and flavorful, and the recipe doubles easily if you are serving bigger parties or want to freeze some portions.

Thyme and sage, the traditional turkey herbs present in our recipe, can be replaced or added to by other flavorful ingredients. Use our recipe as a template and mix and match the suggestions in our recipe variations section to flavor the thighs to your liking.

This quick preparation frees up your time to make side dishes; much of the job in this recipe is done by the oven. Serve the thighs with other recipes that can be cooked at the same temperature, like a corn casserole or a baked pasta. Other delicious sides that can pair with the thighs include roasted or mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, balsamic Brussels sprouts, and cranberry sauce.

For this recipe, a food thermometer is a good tool to have at hand to ensure the meat is thoroughly and safely cooked.

Ingredients

  • 3 (1-pound) turkey thighs (bone-in, skin-on)

  • 1/4 cup butter (softened)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves

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

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Roasted Turkey thighs recipe ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  3. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Never rinse the turkey before cooking it as the bacteria on the surface of the meat will aerosolize and spread around your kitchen. A good pat dry is a reliable procedure and enough for the seasonings to adhere to the skin.

    Turkey legs have been patted dry
     The Spruce
  4. In a small bowl, combine the softened butter, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, and sage and mix well.

    Softened butter is mixed with seasoning
    The Spruce 
  5. Loosen the skin from the meat and rub the butter mixture into the meat. Smooth the skin back over and rub the remaining butter mixture on the skin.

    Seasoned butter is rubbed into the meat
     The Speuce
  6. Place the thighs in a roasting pan and pour the broth around the turkey.

    Turkey thighs are placed in a pan with broth
     The Spruce
  7. Roast the turkey thighs for 60 to 70 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 170 F when inserted in the meat away from the bone.

    Roasted turkey thighs in pan juices
     The Spruce
  8. Remove the pan from the oven, cover tightly with foil or the pan lid, and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

    Roasted turkey thighs served with baby potatoes
     The Spruce
  9. Enjoy.

Other Delicious Flavoring

Use our recipe as a guide for cooking the thighs, but have fun making your own mixture of seasonings. Here are a few ideas:

  • Citrus: Place the thighs in a zip-top bag and add the juice and zest of two lemons, plus 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey. Let them marinate for 30 minutes before using the herby butter. Add lemon slices to the bottom of the roasting pan, plus the marinade juices, and place the thighs on top before roasting.
  • Herby: Use a finely chopped half-handful each of cilantro, Italian parsley, and basil instead of the thyme and sage. Mix with the butter, rub on the thighs, and roast.
  • Mustard: Mix 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard with 2 tablespoons of honey and the butter and other ingredients, except the thyme and sage. Cover the thighs with the mixture and cook.
  • Bacon: Follow the recipe as is, but wrap each thigh in 2 to 3 bacon strips. Cook until the meat has reached a safe temperature and the bacon has crisped up.

Cast-Iron Skillet Thighs

If you want to crisp up the skin and stove-cook your thighs midway before placing them in the oven, follow the recipe up to step 6, and then place the thighs skin-down in a very hot cast-iron skillet. Allow the skin to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, turn the thighs, add the broth, and cook for 20 minutes at medium-high, covered. Place the skillet in the oven, giving the turkey enough time to cook thoroughly, about 20 to 30 minutes at 350 F. If you'd rather cook the thighs all the way on the stove, uncover after 20 minutes, turn the thighs, cover again for another 20 minutes, and check the inner temperature of the meat. If needed, give them an additional 10 to 15 minutes. In both cases, let the thighs rest for 10 minutes, covered, before serving.