Easy Roasted Turkey Thighs

Easy Roasted Turkey Thighs make a small Thanksgiving meal a one oven dinner. Tender, browned, crispy skin and easy to make, they’ll cook quickly!

Easy Roasted Turkey Thighs make a small Thanksgiving meal a one oven dinner. Tender, browned, crispy skin and easy to make, they'll cook quickly!
Easy Roasted Turkey Thighs

Easy Roasted Turkey Thighs cook in a single baking pan alongside three other dishes in one oven making your whole Thanksgiving meal easy enough to cook in one oven.

I love easy Thanksgiving meals, one of my first was Slow Cooker Turkey with Gravy, Candied Sweet Potatoes and Green Peas which was just 7 ingredients (not counting salt and pepper) in the entire meal.

Then this year I released the whole thanksgiving dinner in 1 slow cooker post: Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Dinner (for 2!) with more than 7 ingredients but it includes stuffing!

Totally tender and crispy roasted turkey thighs in the oven for the easiest Thanksgiving dinner ever!

This dish is meant to be an easier way to make your Thanksgiving turkey! I already have posts for Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Thighs that can help when you don’t have oven space, but this easy roasted turkey thigh is the perfect oven cooked option for a small Thanksgiving gathering.

Cooking turkey parts instead of the entire bird serves a few purposes. First it cuts WAY back on the cooking time. Second it allows you to cook more of your favorite pieces. Breasts and wings are generally considered white meat, turkey thighs and turkey legs are dark meat.

Roasting both dark meat and white meat works well, but with turkey thighs you’re able to roast longer and have a deeper browning without losing the moistness you’d want in your turkey.

Looking to bump up the flavors? Yes, I stick to Kosher salt and pepper here for a reason, I want you to have the basics so you can decide how you want to season your turkey. Here are some flavor options for your turkey thighs:

  • Lemon, garlic and rosemary: lemon zest, kosher salt, black pepper, minced fresh garlic and minced fresh rosemary will make a delicious bird, just be careful the rosemary smell can take over anything else in the oven with the turkey.
  • Orange, cranberry: orange zest, minced cranberries, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, kosher salt and black pepper. This dish will play nicely with any oven neighbors.
  • Truffle Butter, fresh thyme: Kick up the flavor (Trader Joe’s has $2.99 truffle butter right now too!) and slather the turkey in truffle butter, kosher salt, black pepper and chopped thyme for a rich umami flavor.
  • Bacon: Drape the turkey in bacon along with your Kosher salt and black pepper for a smoky flavor.
  • Tarragon, Shallots, Lemon: Fresh minced tarragon and shallots with lemon zest, Kosher salt and black pepper, this dish will perfume the rest of the oven.

The easiest and most delicious roasted turkey thighs you'll ever eat and with almost no effort!

See that extra browned bit by the bone in the bottom of that last picture? Thats the best part of the whole thigh! Super crispy and flavorful. My husband and I both reached for it at the exact same time. I let him win 😉

Looking for more side dishes?

Tools used in the making of this Easy Roasted Turkey Thighs:
9×13 pan: Keeps the liquids the turkey releases from ending up on the bottom of the oven and browns great.
Oven Thermometer: Easy to test if your turkey is done and safe to eat without opening the oven to check and slow down the cooking.

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Easy Roasted Turkey Thighs

Easy Roasted Turkey Thighs make a small Thanksgiving meal a one oven dinner. Tender, browned, crispy skin and easy to make, they'll cook quickly!
Yield 4 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 2 1-pound turkey thighs bone in and skin on
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt *
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Lift the turkey skin and stuff it with the softened butter, then pat it down in an even layer (gently).
  • Place the thighs in the baking pan.
  • Roast the turkey thighs for  50-60 minutes or until the thermometer shows the turkey is cooked to 170 degrees.

Notes

  • * Please see additional flavor options above in the post for more variety.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 102kcal | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 682mg | Vitamin A: 355IU | Calcium: 3mg
Keyword: Easy Roasted Turkey Thighs
The easiest and most delicious roasted turkey thighs you'll ever eat and with almost no effort! #turkey #thanksgiving #holidays #smallbatch #recipe
Easy Roasted Turkey Thighs make a small Thanksgiving meal a one oven dinner. Tender, browned, crispy skin and easy to make, they'll cook quickly! #turkey #thanksgiving #holidays #smallbatch #recipe

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. I’m about to try this recipe. For anyone in Florida, Publix grocery stores carry turkey parts.
    I gave it 4 stars because it sounds great. Will probably rate 5 after I’ve done it.

  2. I have used this recipe many times and it always turns out great. I am disabled and have never cooked a whole turkey, now that I’m a senior I find this gives me a couple of really lovely meals, and I can handle the prep. I cook a little bit longer, my oven is older. Try to ensure the thighs are not TOO large as this can affect cooking time. Butter with Mrs. Dash seasonings keeps me away from the salt, but I have tried the bacon slices (it’s Easter!!) If it wasn’t for this recipe I would still be having turkey twice a year, when someone else cooks a bird. We get alot of thighs and breasts prepared and packaged by Butterball, so I feel lucky. I put them in the freezer to have often in the winter months. Thrilled that it’s as good as eating out! Thank you Chef Sabrina.

  3. I love the timer aspect in this recipe!! Great idea and makes me want to come back to your website the next time I am searching for a recipe.
    thank you

  4. Great technique, but IMHO , turkey thighs require a bit more time to relax in the oven to be super tender. An hour or less just doesn’t get you there. I cover mine and braise/roast for a min of 1.5 to 2.5 hrs, uncovering the last 30 min to brown/crisp the skin.

  5. This is a wonderful recipe for me to try. I like your format for teaching me how to roast a turkey thigh. Thank you. I’m a senior and I don’t know what an E-Cookbook is but learning is fun. Thank you.

  6. I made this for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it. Plus, it was easy and fast. I used the butter and herb combo from your roasted Turkey Breast recipe: softened butter, fresh rosemary, and fresh sage. It was excellent. The one thing that didn’t work was I put the thighs skin down. I thought you mentioned in one of the comments this makes the skin crisp. The skin turned out soggy. I would cook it skin up next time so it self-bastes and browns.

    1. Glad it turned out well for you! I’m sorry about the skin issue. When I have done it I used a cast iron skillet and it rendered the fat well, but skin side up is a great failproof way to go. Happy Holidays!

      1. Ah. I used a 9×13 Pyrex pan and left all the fat. The fat and pan drippings did make great gravy! Thank you for the recipe. Had never cooked turkey parts before always cook a whole bird, but was just with the immediate family this year so cooking less.

        1. No, my fault for not being more clear in the comment. Sometimes I’m answering them while cooking so I don’t get into enough details. I’m glad you still enjoyed your meal, even though it was a pared down year. Happy Holidays!

  7. This was great for the two of us! I used the shallot, lemon zest version, and the thighs were moist and tasty. Mine cooked much faster, but it was probably my oven which is more powerful than most.
    Thank you for offering this option during our pandemic Thanksgiving. I didn’t even miss my 25 lb turkey.

    1. Alene, thank you so much for the review, I am so glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner! The shallot and lemon version is actually my favorite one too!

  8. Hi! When you say 9 x 13 pan, do you mean a metal sheet pan or a glass Pyrex dish? OR, do you think a traditional roasting pan would work well? (Wondering of its better that the thighs cook in their juices or if it’s better to keep them elevated or a roasting rack)?

    1. I use baking dishes that are metal and a couple inches high, same idea as the pyrex. I wouldn’t use a sheet pan. Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. This looks so easy and good. Was wondering if I wanted to roast wings with the thighs, would they cook in same timeframe?

    1. Yes! Go for it. I’ve roasted mine along side each other too. (family loves wings and I love turkey thighs!)

  10. . We are mostly dark meat eaters so along with Turkey, I bought 4 Turkey thighs. My plan is to roast thighs as per your directions, let them cool.
    Slice and cover with scant chicken broth to keep moist until dinner.
    I will also cook 16 lb. spatchcock Turkey. This will be 4 th thanksgiving….cooks in about
    1 1/2- 1 45 mins. Turkey browns beautifully and white meat stays moist due to decreased roast time.
    This baked thigh recipe is just what I was looking for
    Many thanks
    And
    Happy Thanksgiving
    MARY
    Jensen beach ,Florida.

  11. Where do you all find turkey thighs. I cannot locate any for the life of me. I found two places online at over 12 bucks a pound and at ridiculous shipping rates.

    1. Most grocery stores should have frozen name brand packages of them (Butterball, Foster Farms, etc.).

      Got mine at Winco for $2.98/lb. Bought a pack of 2 huge thighs, 3 lbs total, about $9.

      We prefer thighs, only have 3 of us this year, so with all of the sides we will be ready to eat in an hour with no waste or hassle…

  12. For those of us who don’t have a meat thermometer, 60 minutes is no where near long enough at 350 degrees. Maybe 75 minutes would work.

  13. Just made four thighs using this recipe.

    They turned out moist and well seasoned.

    Easy prep and bake.

  14. I appreciate the ease of this recipe, but on line I found much mixed information on what is better for crispiness of thigh skin: skin side up, side down, a combined time of both, or does it depend on the recipe? Please advise. Thanks

  15. I made this with two bone-in turkey thighs, kosher salt, pepper, unsalted butter, a large crushed garlic clove with a few drops of liquid smoke in the pan, and thick smokey bacon on top. I’m in a high altitude location so it took almost 2 hrs. (gas oven) to reach the right temp but was still moist, moist, moist. The result was astonishing because the butter/smoke/bacon combo gave the meat some red color and a taste very close to Asian BBQ duck. Go figure! Loved it. A new unexpected Top 10 recipe. Went well with a chopped salad w/avocado, cabbage, lettuce, corn, and a chilled Shiraz.

  16. I must have done something wrong. These were dry and tasteless. I followed directions perfectly with 2 turkey thighs. ?

    1. Oh no! How big were the thighs? I’m just thinking maybe they were smaller and would take less cook time. Did you use a meat thermometer to check for doneness?

  17. Ridiculously easy way to enjoy delicious turkey. Just watch your heat and be careful not to overcook and dry it out. Feel free to baste it with the pan drippings and a little broth or water.

  18. Hi! This recipe looks great for the turkey leg I just bought. Is there any way to cook the leg (bone-in thigh and drumstick with skin) along with dressing in a slow cooker? Thanks much!!

  19. We were out of town for Thanksgiving, so no leftovers! Tonight I made a half recipe for the two of us and have one thigh leftover for another night! So easy, husband approved and delicious. Thank you – this recipe is a keeper.

  20. Can I safely bake turkey thighs on top of a casserole of dressing (bread cubes with chopped onion, celery, apple, broth, and spices)? Thank you in advance for your advice.

    1. This is Barbara again. I hope you were having an excellent day-ahead-of-Thanksgiving, cooking and doing other things you like. I went ahead and baked turkey thighs on top of dressing. The thighs turned out perfectly, browned on the outside and juicy on the inside. The dressing was very tasty but soggy. If I had skipped the broth for moistening the dressing before baking it, I think the dressing would have been perfect also.

  21. Perfect for our small Thanksgiving gathering here in Vienna. I am going to serve it with mashed potatoes, gravy, and probably some coleslaw. I may to a “stove top” stuffing if I get extra energetic. We’ll see…..

    Hey, I wanted to tell you that I think that you are a very lovely and very talented young lady. Your husband is a lucky man!

    Cheers from Austria. BZ.

    1. I would roast them skin up so they get crispy. Also, if you’re planning on making 4, you may need to add on about 30-45 minutes more of cook time. Enjoy!

  22. Hi for the extra flavor would I mix the tarragon and shallots in with the butter and put it under the skin just found two turkey thighs managers special $ 1.94 can’t beat that

  23. I wish I could post a photo. Under the skin I added fresh rosemary and chopped garlic to the butter. In addition to the salt and pepper I also sprinkled it with smoked paprika. Delicious and easy. Thank you!

      1. Hi do you mix the tarragon and shallots in with the butter before putting under skin thanks do not know if you got my previous ones

        1. So sorry, I didn’t realize you were asking. Yes, you can mix it first and put it under the skin. It really does sound delicious!

  24. OMG! As a chronic “ procrastinator “ I waited until the last minute to start Christmas dinner. This was the BEST recipe. I cooked for 4 picky kids, my exhausted self and boyfriend and did easy basic sides.
    I cooked 4 in a 9×13 and it needed quite a bit more time ( guesstimate: 30-45min) but I should have increased the temperature for faster results, but, hey, the cook has to relax with a glass of vino for the chaos of opening presents, adjusting to a new home and the return from their other families. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful dinner! Thank you!!!!!!!!!
    ( ps.. I Never leave a review, so this really is a Christmas miracle!!)

  25. Can you roast the easy roasted turkey breast and easy roasted turkey thighs at the same time in the oven? If so, how much time do you use to cook them? Still 90 minutes for breast and 50 for thighs? Thanks
    Bobbie

    1. Unfortunately the stuffing will create extra moisture and will steam the turkey thighs vs browning it. I would recommend making it on the side separately.

    1. Honestly, I would try and stick to bone in. The bone is waht protects the meat from getting dry. If you do use boneless, make sure it still has the skin on it and tuck it around to cover it….kind of like a roast.

  26. I’m baking turkey parts this year. Don’t like white meat- its like eating cardboard in taste and texture. I was thrilled to find a recipe for my quirky turkey, legs, wings and thighs