Are you preparing juicy turkey legs in an oven? Then, you’ll want to get the timing right. Turkey is quite juicy, but its lean condition causes it to lose moisture real quick, and you don’t want that in your recipe. So, it helps to learn the best ways to calculate the cooking time for oven-roasted turkey legs and make the best batches for your vegetables, mashed potatoes, and other holiday dishes. Let’s get started!
Why Cook Turkey Legs in the Oven?
Numerous reasons may push you to opt for cooking turkey legs in the oven, as opposed to frying or grilling. But it doesn’t mean the technique is lost on this small batch of the bird. Yes, you may be used to roasting a whole bird in the oven, but note that turkey pieces are also prepared this way excellently. And if you doubt it, perhaps these perks will change your mind;
Large Batches in Quick Time: Frying will have you cooking in smaller batches, which may take hours, but this problem is solved by the oven! One tray can easily fit up to 12 turkey legs in a short time; enough to feed at least 10 people!
Crispy Skin: Do you crave the crispy exterior of turkey legs but don’t want to fry or grill them? Then, the oven is your next best thing!
Great for White Meat: There’s a reason we’ve been cooking the whole turkey in the oven for holidays, and it’s because this equipment and white lean meat are a match made in heaven!
Flavor-Flexible: You can use dry or wet spice options to flavor turkey legs for the oven and still come out with excellent results.
Prepping the Turkey Legs
For frozen turkey legs, ensure to thaw them before using them, and you can do this by letting them sit in the fridge overnight or dropping them in cold water. For the second option, you may have to change the water every 30 minutes, depending on how solid the turkey legs are frozen and their thickness. Once the turkey legs are fully thawed, let them sit at room temperature to lose the chill, and tap them dry with paper towels. The paper towel angle also goes if they’re fresh.
Seasoning the Turkey Legs
You can season turkey legs as you would any lean white meat; with dry or wet spices. If you’re in a hurry, a quick rub with butter or oil and a rich sprinkle of black pepper and salt will do the trick. But you can also go the extra length by featuring other spices and fresh herbs like cayenne, thyme, paprika, chili powder, rosemary, Ancho powder, poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning, cumin, sage, oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder.
You can also prepare a marinade and keep the turkey legs in it for a considerable period so the flavor penetrates the meat. A dry rub can also be allowed to sit on the meat for a few hours before roasting. And if you love cooking with condiment sauces, consider a generous rub of Worcestershire, soy, Sriracha, BBQ, or hot sauce.
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Cooking Time and Temperature for Turkey Legs
You’ll be cooking the turkey legs a 350F for a total time of 50 minutes to one hour. The meat should be placed on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and cooked uncovered for the first 20 minutes, so the skin grows crisp. Afterward, cover the turkey legs with foil and continue cooking for the final 10 minutes.
However, poultry must cook to a safe temperature of 165F, regardless of the suggested cooking time above. So, ensure that the turkey legs reach this internal doneness temperature before setting them down. You’ll need a meat thermometer to check this value and ensure that the probe is stuck into the thickest part of the thigh without contacting the bone.
After cooking, cover the turkey legs in foil and rest them for 10 minutes before serving.Print
- Set the oven to 350F and while waiting, line a rimmed baking pan with foil. Place a roasting rack over the lined pan and grease with avocado oil.
- Blot the turkey legs with paper towels and brush the skin with butter, then combine the spices in a bowl and generously rub the mix on the meat.
- Arrange the seasoned turkey legs on the rack, and spray with a light coating of avocado oil. Then, stick a meat thermometer in the thickest part of one turkey leg, avoiding the bone.
- Cook the meat uncovered for 20 minutes so the skin browns, then cover the turkey legs with foil and continue cooking for another 30 minutes. The meat should become fork-tender with juice running clear or hit internal doneness of 164F.
- Rest the turkey legs in a foil tent for 10 minutes before serving.
If you’d love more tips, watch this video.