How to Bake a Turkey Leg

Turkey legs are commonly neglected in favor of breasts and thighs as a main course. However, turkey legs contain very flavorful meat and can be easily cooked with few spices and seasonings. Even better, the fat inherent in dark meat results in the roasted meat being both tender and moist. Pair baked turkey legs with traditional side dishes, such as mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted carrots and green peas, for a delicious and filling meal.

Step 1.

Remove the turkey leg from the refrigerator and rinse it with cold clean water.

Step 2.

Pat the turkey leg dry with paper towels and allow it to warm to room temperature for 30 minutes, keeping it covered with plastic wrap.

Step 3.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 4.

Combine the extra-virgin olive oil and unsalted butter in a small saucepan or heatproof measuring cup. Heat the mixture over low heat on the stove or in the microwave until the butter is fully melted.

Step 5.

Place the turkey leg in the bottom of a baking dish or roasting pan and brush it all over with the olive oil and butter mixture. Season the turkey leg with sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Step 6.

Cover the baking dish or roasting pan with aluminum foil and bake the meat in the oven for one hour.

Step 7.

Remove the aluminum foil from the baking dish after 60 minutes has passed. Bake the turkey leg uncovered in the oven for an additional 45 minutes.

Step 8.

Use a meat thermometer to test the internal teperature of the turkey leg. Remove the turkey leg from the oven. Allow the meat to rest on a serving plate for 10 minutes so that its natural juices can redistribute throughout the meat before serving.

Things You Will Need
  • 1 turkey leg, approximately 1 lb.

  • Paper towels

  • Plastic wrap

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

  • Small saucepan or heatproof measuring cup

  • Baking dish or roasting pan

  • Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Aluminum foil

  • Serving plate


For extra flavor, add 1/4 tsp. garlic powder to the turkey leg along with the salt and pepper. Alternatively, 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, dill or herbes de Provence can be rubbed on after the olive oil and butter mixture, right before the salt and pepper.

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