Roasted Turkey Thighs: A Delicious Alternative to the Whole Bird

Roasted turkey thighs are the perfect Thanksgiving dinner solution when you have a small family to feed. They’re easy to prepare, juicy, and delicious!.

Around the holidays few things say holiday dinner like a wonderfully juicy, perfectly roasted turkey. For many people this means a big 10 or even 20 pound bird. However for those that are having a smaller gathering. As an alternative, these roasted turkey thighs are a great option for folks like me who have a strong preference for dark meat. The meat is succulent and flavorful, everything I look for in my Thanksgiving turkey.

Are you looking for a delicious and easy way to enjoy turkey without the hassle of cooking a whole bird? Look no further than roasted turkey thighs! This simple recipe is perfect for a small Thanksgiving gathering, a weeknight dinner, or any occasion where you crave juicy, flavorful turkey.

Why Choose Turkey Thighs?

Turkey thighs are a fantastic alternative to turkey breasts for several reasons:

  • Flavor: Thighs are naturally more flavorful than breasts due to their higher fat content. This means you can enjoy a delicious, juicy turkey without the need for elaborate marinades or brines.
  • Juiciness: Thighs are less prone to drying out than breasts, especially when cooked at a lower temperature. This ensures that your turkey remains moist and tender throughout the cooking process.
  • Convenience: Turkey thighs are often more affordable than breasts, and they are readily available at most grocery stores.

Easy Roasted Turkey Thighs Recipe:

This recipe is incredibly simple and requires minimal ingredients:


  • 2 turkey thighs (bone-in and skin-on)
  • 2-3 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • Fresh sage leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Probe thermometer (optional)
  • 13×9 inch baking sheet


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Season the turkey thighs generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Gently loosen the skin of the turkey thighs with your fingers to create a pocket.
  4. Stuff each pocket with a few sage leaves and a tablespoon of softened butter.
  5. Place the turkey thighs in the baking sheet, skin side up.
  6. If using a probe thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone.
  7. Roast the turkey thighs for 25-45 minutes, depending on their size.
  8. Check the internal temperature of the thighs with a thermometer. They are done when the temperature reaches 160-165°F (71-74°C).
  9. If desired, broil the thighs for 3-5 minutes to achieve a crispy skin.
  10. Let the turkey thighs rest for at least 5 minutes before carving and serving.

Tips and Variations:

  • For extra flavor, try adding other herbs and spices to the butter, such as rosemary, thyme, or garlic powder.
  • If you don’t have fresh sage, you can use dried sage or another herb of your choice.
  • You can also add vegetables to the baking sheet, such as carrots, potatoes, or onions.
  • Leftover roasted turkey thighs can be used in sandwiches, salads, or soups.

Roasted turkey thighs are a delicious and easy way to enjoy turkey. This recipe is perfect for a small Thanksgiving gathering, a weeknight dinner, or any occasion where you crave juicy, flavorful turkey. Give it a try and see for yourself!

What ingredients do you need?

  • TURKEY THIGHS: Bone-in skin on turkey thighs.
  • BUTTER: Unsalted and melted
  • DRIED THYME/ROSEMARY/SAGE: These three together are the quintessential Thanksgiving blend.
  • GARLIC POWDER or GRANULATED GARLIC: either works. To avoid oversalting, omit the extra salt in the recipe if all you have is garlic salt.
  • PAPRIKA: Adds a touch of smoky flavor but also color.

These roasted turkey thighs were my first experimental Thanksgiving recipe way back when.  Before I even made a whole turkey.

I found them at my local grocery store, near the ground turkey and turkey cutlets. I just quickly brushed them with melted butter once I got home, added some seasoning, and baked them. Soon after, I was salivating at the wonderful smell of roasted turkey.

Thanksgiving Turkey Thighs !


What temperature is a turkey thigh cooked at?

Checking the Internal Temperature The breast and thighs must reach different internal temperatures for ideal doneness. The breast should register 165°F and the thigh, 175°F. Begin testing for doneness about 30 minutes before the total roasting time is reached.

Why are my turkey thighs tough?

Why are my turkey thighs rubbery? If your oven’s temperature is too low, it won’t render the fat in the skin, which results in rubbery skin and dry meat. You might also hit a stall wherein the turkey thighs stop cooking even though some fats aren’t entirely rendered.

Are turkey thighs good to eat?

The thighs, part of the bird’s meaty legs are ideal for a small holiday dinner for which a whole turkey can be too much. Bone-in turkey thighs are also a great alternative to chicken thighs. Roasting turkey thighs is also an excellent way to cook this dark meat for other recipes, such as casseroles and salads.

Do turkey thighs take longer to cook than breasts?

The breast is exposed to the heat and has less fat, so it cooks and dries out more quickly. The legs and thighs, when attached to the bird, are surrounded by connective tissue and also more protected by the carcass. They cook by heat conduction rather than direct heat, so take longer to cook on the whole bird.

What is a turkey thigh recipe?

This tender and flavorful baked turkey thigh recipe is a mix of fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme folded into creamy butter then coated on each thigh giving you tender meat with crispy skin for your next family weeknight dinner. Simple and delicious mid-week dinner recipe as well as a great option for a small Thanksgiving gathering.

How can one get rid of upper thigh fat?

Some of the ways to lose upper thigh fat are cutting down on carbohydrates in the diet like eating less rice, starch, and sugar items. Drinking juice or soda with high calories should also be avoided. The diet should be rich in fats and proteins. Regular exercise or physical activity like swimming, jogging, walking for 1 hour per day, and brisk walking every day for a minimum of half an hour is advised to reduce upper thigh fat. Eating processed food items must be avoided as they are rich in transfat. Climbing stairs daily, and skipping is the best way to reduce upper thigh fat. Other exercises like cycling, bodyweight squats, ballet-style workouts, and participating in sports help to reduce upper thigh fat.

How do you make a good turkey thighs crust?

Prepare the Butter and Spice Mixture: In a bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of butter with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/3 teaspoon of paprika, 1/3 teaspoon of granulated garlic, 1/3 teaspoon of coriander, and 1/3 teaspoon of meat spice mixture. This mixture will be your secret to achieving that rich, flavorful crust on your turkey thighs. 3.

How do you cook a turkey thighs in a bag?

Rinse turkey thighs and pat dry with paper towels. Rub olive oil under the skin and on the outside of the thighs. Sprinkle seasoned salt liberally on turkey thighs and rub it under the skin (see Cook’s Note). Arrange thighs on top of vegetables. Close the bag with the tie. Make six slits in the top of the bag with a sharp paring knife.

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