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Best Turkey Leg Recipes

Best Turkey Leg Recipes

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Top Rated Turkey Leg Recipes

Red beans and rice is a perfect side dish that can go well with other Cajun and Creole classics. This recipe is courtesy of Claw Daddy's

Jambalaya is a popular and classic Louisiana dish that you can probably find at any restaurant in New Orleans. This recipe is by a New York restaurant specialized in Creole and Cajun cuisines called Claw Daddy's. This recipe contains shrimp, chicken, vegetable and rice with a cajun seasoning blend.This recipe is courtesy of Claw Daddy's.

How to Cook Turkey Legs, the Easiest (and Most Elegant) Thanksgiving Main Dish

Roasting an entire turkey can be cumbersome, expensive, and time intensive, not to mention a burden on all your oven space. Turkey drumsticks, however, are much easier to prepare, aren&rsquot prone to drying out like an entire bird, and yes, they're just fun to eat. This turkey drumstick recipe uses Prosecco to add a crispy lacquer to the crust, but any white wine will work. Be sure to use high quality drumsticks for the best tasting dark meat and crispy skin&mdashutter perfection when dipped into the delicious gravy. These turkey drumsticks are sure to shine at your Thanksgiving table, and beyond. (P.S. Don&rsquot forget to save the oversize bones to make stock.)

This Is the Thanksgiving of Dark Meat (And We’re Never Switching Back)

Epi Test Kitchen director Chris Morocco has a confession—although it didn't take much prodding to get it out of him when I asked about his newest Thanksgiving recipe. “I can't stand roasted dark meat turkey,” he told me. Honestly? Shocking.

For me—and I think for many turkey lovers—the dark meat is where the party starts on a bronzed bird fresh out of the oven. But Chris reasons that in a typical roast, the dark meat “hangs out partly shielded from the oven's heat, which prevents the skin from getting crispy and the thigh from getting cooked enough from a texture perspective.” Well, I guess that's fair enough.

To remedy that, Chris based his new Thanksgiving turkey leg recipe on duck confit, but pulled in aromatics from the Mexican pantry to add warmth and deep, savory flavor. To make it, he sets whole turkey legs in a baking dish and dusts them with black pepper and just a touch of brown sugar before tossing in a few smashed cloves of garlic. He lets this mix cure for two to 12 hours, and suggests that if you can swing it, it's best to aim for 12.

After the rest, he tosses a few guajillo chiles—a dried chile that's more savory and sweet than it is hot—more garlic (this time halved heads he says using smashed cloves in the first round is the quickest way to get that flavor into the meat, while the halved heads slowly diffuse their flavor throughout the confit), and sprigs of oregano around the legs and submerges everything in oil where it all cooks low and slow for several hours. (Prepare yourself for an afternoon of maximum tantalizing aroma.) When you're ready to eat, you'll get the skin nicely browned in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet.

The resulting legs are luxuriously tender with a flavor reminiscent of carnitas. The meat shreds apart beautifully, and has a crispy skin that you'll be dreaming about for days to come.

This Thanksgiving, give your turkey a spa day with some dried chile and garlic. You might even want to double the recipe, as shown here—the leftovers make excellent tacos.

Photo by Joseph De Leo, Prop Styling by Megan Hedgpeth, Food Styling by Rebecca Jurkevich

To finish the dish, Chris blends the oil-poached chiles with almonds and sesame seeds to make a salsa macha-inspired sauce that my colleague Kendra Vaculin says she's been spooning relentlessly over everything since testing the recipe a few weeks ago. Kendra also says to take note of the garlic confit that cooks with the turkey, but isn't used for serving. She suggests squeezing the softened, golden cloves out of their husks and spreading them on toast or piling them into a little bowl to serve on a Thanksgiving cheese plate.

You'll also be left with lots of flavorful fat: the aromatic oil leftover from cooking the turkey legs, chiles, and garlic. Strain that oil and stash it in your fridge overnight. As it chills, the fat will separate and solidify above a smaller amount of rendered turkey stock. Save both, and use the sticky, gelatinous spiced stock as the base of a soup and that fat for roasting potatoes, frying eggs, or making cornbread. Whatever you do, don't pour it down the drain.

This turkey leg recipe is the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving for a Small Crowd menu, one of several meal plans we put together for what's sure to be a holiday season unlike any other. If you're contending with two instead of the four to six people this recipe serves, you could scale back to one leg. But we suggest going ahead with the whole recipe. The turkey confit leftovers are as good—or even better—than the roasted turkey leftovers you might've had in years past. (Plan ahead for taco Black Friday.) Plus, the meat freezes beautifully and reheats like a dream, in case you want to savor this better-than-ever Thanksgiving feast again a little later down the line.

How to roast turkey legs

I realize that many recipes will tell you to bake them for an hour and a half at 350 degrees F. But as always when roasting poultry, I find that baking them for a relatively short time at a high temperature yields the best results! Crispy, well-browned skin and juicy, succulent meat.

Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:

1. Pat the turkey legs dry with paper towels. Brush them all over with melted butter and sprinkle them with the seasoning mix, pressing to help it adhere.

2. Place the turkey pieces on a greased rack fitted into a rimmed baking sheet (it's a good idea to line the baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup). Spray them with avocado oil. This helps keep the spices and herbs moist and helps prevent them from burning in the hot oven.

3. Roast the turkey uncovered for 20 minutes in a preheated 450°F oven.

4. Now loosely cover the turkey pieces with foil and keep roasting them until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. For medium drumsticks, this should take about 30 more minutes.

5. Let them rest, still covered in foil, for 10 minutes.

Are Disney’s Turkey Legs Really Emu Legs?

Rumors that the turkey legs sold at Disney’s theme parks are in actuality emu meat have long been in circulation in the online world, and the claim got a boost when it was referenced on a March 2017 segment of TBS’ Conan talk show where Zachary Levi (who is the voice actor for Flynn in Disney’s Tangled) declared his suspicion that they were really emu legs.

“The turkey legs at Disneyland, I’ve come to find out, are not actually turkey. They’re emu legs. Shocker right? No, I swear. I have friends that have worked for Disneyland, and I was talking about how the turkey legs tasted more like ham than they tasted like turkey, which is already befuddling, and they said, ‘Well, they’re actually emu. Those are big, big old emu legs.’ So if you’ve had a turkey leg at Disneyland, you’ve eaten an emu, folks.”

Zachary Levi

Snopes has actually investigated this report and pronounced it false, citing multiple reasons and direct statements from Disney chefs on the issue.

So no, you are NOT eating emu when you indulge in a Smoked Turkey Leg at Disney.

Best Wild Turkey Recipes

I have more than just wild turkey recipes, check out more links at the end of the page.

Before I give you my favorite recipes , I want to briefly explain to you the basics on prepping a wild turkey.

After you or your significant other bags the turkey, it needs to be washed well after drawing and skinning the bird. Do you want to roast it, deep fry or grill it?


For those of you that wish to try some of my wild turkey recipes and if you want to pluck your turkey I have some simple steps for doing so.

To loosen the feathers - heat a large pan of water until it is very hot and dunk the turkey in the water many times (I do it 15 times or so). If they are still hard to pull, repeat this process again. Pluck the bird just down to the legs and wings - because you will be removing them in the next step.

A lot of hunters just keep skinless, boneless breast meat too.

Using a game shears you now can remove the head, wings and feet. Grab the entrails and pull them out. Place the turkey in a kitchen sink filled with very cold water to cool down the meat.

Wild Turkey Recipes


Sometimes I like to use Italian Dressing to marinate turkey, chicken, and steak, so here is a homemade dry mix you can make ahead and add oil and vinegar when ready to use. Great way to save money.

1-1/2 tsp 1 tsp homemade garlic powder
1 TBS onion powder
2 TBS oregano
1 TBS dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 TBS white sugar
1 TBS kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried celery leaves or flakes

Mix ingredients together and store in a tightly closed container in a cool and dry place.

To make dressing:
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 TBS water
2 TBS Italian Dressing Mix (above)

Shake well and chill the night before you use it.

2 cups Homemade Italian Dressing (see above recipe)
1/2 cup cayenne pepper
1/2 cup freshly ground black pepper
2 TBS garlic powder
1 TBS onion powder

Whisk the above ingredients together. Place this marinade under the turkey skin, in the cavity and all over the entire bird. Inject the marinade into the turkey breast and legs.

Place the turkey in a NON SCENTED garbage bag and marinate the turkey in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready to make one of my wild turkey recipes, remove from the bag and you are ready to go.

I make this wild turkey recipe in the winter usually during the holidays, and I'll tell you why. I use leftover dressing for dumplings in this soup. It's delicious and so comforting.

I serve it with warm buttered homemade bread , and a crisp garden salad with my homemade salad dressing .


wild turkey breast or leg quarters
3 celery ribs, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 cup fresh onion, grated (use cheese grater)

1 TBS dried parsley
1 TBS Better Than Bouillon Turkey or Chicken Base

5 to 6 cups leftover stuffing

Combine chicken, celery, carrots, garlic powder, onion powder, grated onion, parsley, Better Than Bouillon turkey base, salt and pepper in a dutch oven fill almost to the top with water. Bring to a boil reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until turkey is done and can easily be removed from the bone.

Remove turkey breast or leg quarters only and let stand until cool enough to handle. Pick the meat off the bone and place back into the stock pot.

Mix the stuffing with 4 egg whites and roll into small balls. Fry them in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter - until browned on all sides.

Drop the dumplings into the soup to heat through a few minutes before serving. Best served with crusty bread and butter.

Dry Rub

Use your favorite dry rub to coat the turkey legs an all sides. We like to include smoked paprika and/or chipotle powder in our dry rubs (see the recipe card for ingredients and quantities) to impart extra smokey flavors.

  • Pat the drumsticks dry after removing them from the brine and discard it, then set to work and liberally season them with the dry rub.
  • Let the seasoned drumsticks come to room temperature and get familiar with the dry rub while you get the smoker ready.


Step 1

Season turkey with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Working in batches, cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides, 15–20 minutes per batch transfer to a large plate.

Step 2

Add onion, leeks, celery, and garlic to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5–8 minutes. Add wine, parsley, and thyme and sage sprigs bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half, 8–10 minutes.

Step 3

Return turkey to pot and add broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer until meat is tender and cooked through and liquid is reduced by half, 2½–3 hours. Add carrots and cook, uncovered, until carrots are soft and meat is falling off the bone, 35–45 minutes longer season with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Transfer turkey and carrots to a platter. Strain sauce serve alongside. Top with chives and chopped parsley.

How would you rate Braised Turkey Legs?

This recipe was so delicious! My brother raved about how tender and juicy the legs were. And my husband, who was never a turkey fan, wants me to make this again very soon! I thought there was way too much liquid - will cut down on broth next time. and I finished in the oven- placed turkey and veg in roasting pan, poured in the liquid half way up meat , covered and cooked for amount of time in recipe. I loved that I could make this the day before Thanksgiving and only needed to reheat on Thanksgiving day!

Thank you for a great alternative to a whole roast turkey. There were only 4 of us at Thanksgiving this year (hell, yes, a FABULOUS thing), and only 3 meat eaters. We made the braised turkey legs and then went on to use the extra juice to make some yummy grave - our vegetarian sista makes an exception to have gravy on Thanksgiving, so everyone was super happy. Cheers!

Easy Smoked Turkey Legs

Do you want to know what we love to do during the summer? Smoke lots of meats! I even bought a new smoker this year for my husband, so we’ve really been on a roll smoking several types of meat. This past week though, I decided to try a favorite, Smoked Turkey Legs.

I mean really, why wait for the fair to enjoy a smoked turkey leg? They are so delicious and so simple to make at home! It had been a while though since we had them and once they were done, one bite and I was hooked. Our kids were too. My son was just in love with them, he seriously devoured it.

I would have thought he was half animal watching him eat that. What is it with kids and eating food? Everything is better messy I guess, isn’t it?

I decided to season these with a black pepper and garlic rub, then glaze them with a bit of barbecue sauce.

They turned out fabulous, juicy on the inside and a nice crispy skin on the outside. That would be just the way that I like them! Plus, they are super easy to eat outside and wrap with foil, just like they serve them at the fair.

We had a long day of swimming and then enjoyed these smoke turkey legs for dinner. I paired them with the okra and corn on the cob to complete the meal.

We had some okra from our garden, which happens to be one of the only things really doing well this year in the garden.

We do have tomatoes too, but that okra is my favorite. Sadly, we lost all our squash to squash bugs this year, where do those things come from? They have just destroyed it, so we decided we may not plant any more squash in the years ahead.

Turkey Leg Recipe

I don&rsquot know about you, but I have rarely cooked a whole turkey. They are quite expensive and soooo large and there is no Thanksgiving tradition in Germany, which might entice me to such experiments.

That doesn&rsquot mean we don&rsquot eat lots of turkey meat, I have lots of turkey leg recipes in my repertoire, like baked turkey drumsticks or other recipes for oven cooked turkey legs.

And many other recipes using the breast of the turkey, something like this roasted turkey breast or turkey rolls, recipes using the wings and the neck, for instance turkey stock or bone broth for soups and many more.

We are so lucky to be able to buy our turkey and beef directly in the village, from farmers raising their birds and cows organically. The price is reasonable and the quality fantastic and it is so nice to know where your meat comes from and that there are no antibiotics or weird stuff in the meat.

I recently got another turkey, this time a whole bird. Last year I only ordered half of a huge bird, but it was gone so quickly, I decided to get a whole one this year. Of course, not in one piece&hellip

We already ate both legs, both cooked the same way, this turkey leg recipe is so good that I just didn&rsquot want to risk it and try something different.


Preheat oven to 275°F (135°C). Season turkey legs generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat oil in a large straight-sided sauté pan over high heat until shimmering. Add turkey legs, skin side down. Cook, without moving, until turkey is deep golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip legs and cook until second side is browned, about 5 minutes longer, reducing heat as necessary if oil smokes excessively. Transfer turkey to a large plate.

Return sauté pan to heat and add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are well browned, about 8 minutes total.

Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Nestle turkey legs into pan, letting them rest on the vegetables so that only their skin is exposed. Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered, until legs are fall-apart tender, sauce is reduced, and skin is deep mahogany, about 2 hours. Carefully remove from oven and transfer turkey legs to a plate using a slotted spatula.

Strain liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl or medium saucepan. Discard solids. Skim excess fat from surface and discard. Set liquid aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in hot turkey-cooking liquid until fully incorporated. Bring to a boil to thicken and season to taste with salt and pepper. (You may not need any salt, depending on how salty your broth was to begin with.)

Carve each turkey leg between the thigh and the drumstick, removing thigh bone if desired. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chives and serve with hot gravy.