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!
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.
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?
- Ultimate Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Mushroom Rice
- Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
- Roasted Garlic Butter Mushrooms
- How To Cook Spaghetti Squash (The Ultimate Guide)
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.
- 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
- 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.
- * Please see additional flavor options above in the post for more variety.
We prepare these all the time. They always come out juicy and tasty. For a bit of a flavor variation we sometimes rub the skin with some smoked paprika, crushed fresh garlic and dried Rosemary in addition to the salt and pepper. An easy and flavorful dinner.
Turkey thighs and drumsticks are on the menu for Thanksgiving this year. Do I have to make any adjustments if I roast turkey drumsticks at the same time? Same temp and timing?
I also added some soft butter on the outside of the skin too. Dusted with Greek Seasoning. salt and pepper. Went with more pepper than salt because of the Greek Seasoning. WOW good! Reached temp in 55 min.
Made this recipe for dinner tonight. Delicious! Hubby definitely approved. He loves mashed potatoes and gravy and there were plenty of good roasted bits on the bottom of the pan for some boiling water to loosen for gravy. If people think that 1 hour for 2 one pound thighs is not long enough, please advise them to get a good oven thermometer and check just how accurate their ovens are heating. Mine turned out beautifully browned and definitely fall off the bone done. Thank you for a great recipe!
I think the thighs are the best part of the turkey. Just roasted two using this recipe. So good! So easy!
I have 2 turkey thighs but they don’t have any skin. How do I keep them from drying out?
Sabrina, will be trying your recipe for Thanksgiving. Question, I am cooking three 2.5 lb turkey thighs. Do I cook longer at same temp? How long do you think it will take in oven?
Yes I would stick to the same temp and cooking times.
Do you brine the thighs?
Sabrina, I am cooking turkey thighs this year for 10 people. After prepping the thighs, do I baste the skin and cook uncovered?
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.
You shouldn’t rate until you actually try.
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.
You’re very welcome, Sandi!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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)?
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!
This looks so easy and good. Was wondering if I wanted to roast wings with the thighs, would they cook in same timeframe?
Yes! Go for it. I’ve roasted mine along side each other too. (family loves wings and I love turkey thighs!)
Do you put the turkey thighs on a rack?
I did not, but you absolutely could. Happy Thanksgiving!
. 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
Jensen beach ,Florida.
Man I wish I was enjoying thanksgiving with you! This sounds amazing, I hope you love your meal!
Do you cover your Turkey thighs while baking?
Nope! Hope you enjoy it.
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.
I recommend asking the butcher at your local grocery store. Good luck!
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…
Gelsons Market, if you have one in your area.
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.
It was enough for mine. It could be how well the oven deals with cooking temperature.
Just made four thighs using this recipe.
They turned out moist and well seasoned.
Easy prep and bake.
Looks so yummy! I have mine in the oven as we speak. Update to follow…
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
I always lay mine skin side up to allow them to get crispy.
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.
Thanks for coming back to leave a review.
I must have done something wrong. These were dry and tasteless. I followed directions perfectly with 2 turkey thighs. ?
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?
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.
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!!
You could follow this recipe but just with the turkey and dressing. https://dinnerthendessert.com/slow-cooker-thanksgiving-dinner/
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.
Leftovers are the best so I totally get why you’d want to recreate your own, haha! So glad you both enjoyed it.
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.
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.
Just the recipe I need for Thanksgiving. Thanks!
You’re welcome! Enjoy!
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.
Thank you so much, Ben.
This looks great. Have you ever tried brining the meat?
I have, definitely adds more flavor too!
Does it matter if I roast with skin up or down? And I plan on doing 4 thighs so should I roast them longer?
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!
Can you use Turkey breast instead of Turkey thighs?
They are going to cook a bit differently. I have a Roasted Turkey Breast recipe with the different cook times and temps: https://dinnerthendessert.com/roasted-turkey-breast/
Cook in oven covered or uncovered?
Uncovered. Hope this helps!
Can I do this recipe with Chicken thighs instead of Turkey?
Yes though it’ll only need about 30 minutes in the oven. Enjoy!
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
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!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! You can always post a photo on instagram and tag me #dinnerthendessert
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
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!
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!!)
Love it! I’m so honored to be your first review!
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
Yes, you can roast the at the same time. Timing should still be the same. Enjoy!
Will there be enough pan drippings to make gravy?
Hi if baked 2 theighs an 2 legs of the turkey is 60 min to bake or would it be longer Sabrina.
It might need more time but use your meat thermometer to check for doneness.
Can l put stuffing under the thighs while baking for extra stuffing?
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.
Absolutely delicious, came out perfect
So glad to hear you enjoyed it Danielle!
Can turkey thighs be cook Ed in Dutch oven
Can make this with boneless turkey thighs
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.
Going to try tonight, looks great will have mashed potatoes and peas. Yeah!
I hope you enjoy it!
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
I hope you enjoyed it!
These thighs looks so good! I am going to have to make them soon!
My mouth is watering just thinking about this. Simply amazing!
I can’t resist to these roasted turkey thighs! These look addicting and so easy!
Thank you, Catalina! They are definitely hard stop eating once you start! They’re so good!
This turkey looks so juicy!
Yes, make sure to have napkins! haha!!
That crispy skin!! OMG, totally making these soon!
Love that you included a list of flavor options! Such a great recipe — thighs are our favorite!
Thanks, Jenn! The more options, the better!
Can you roast veggies in same pan as Turkey thighs?
Yes absolutely. Just don’t crowd the pan too much.