How Do I Roast Turkey Thighs?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann
A roasting should be used when roasting turkey thighs.
A roasting should be used when roasting turkey thighs.

There are several ways that you can roast turkey thighs, and one of the more common ways is preparing them with stuffing or dressing. The thigh is a large piece of dark meat and is often made in place of roasting an entire bird. While you can typically roast turkey thighs in a much shorter time than an entire turkey would take, you might be able to enjoy the taste of turkey much more often provided you only use the thighs of the bird. For added flavor, you may want to include some additional spices when you roast turkey thighs as compared to when you roast an entire turkey.

Roast turkey thighs are a good option for enjoying the taste of turkey at a meal without the extensive preparation required for cooking a whole bird. The large piece of meat found on the turkey thigh will provide a nice portion of meat to serve on any occasion. The time required to roast turkey thighs is comparable to what it takes to prepare a small roast, in most cases. Most thighs are sold fresh and not frozen, further reducing the time it will take you to cook the entire meal.

If you intend to roast turkey thighs alone, you will want to clean and dress the thighs prior to placing them into a roasting pan. Trim any excess fat you might find from the thighs and place them in the pan, skin-side up. You can apply any type of herbs and spices that you enjoy on the turkey before placing an aluminum foil cover over the pan and placing it in a hot oven. You will want to roast the thighs in the oven at a medium-high heat until the meat begins to pull away from the bones. You can uncover the thighs for the final 10 or 15 minutes to encourage browning and crisping of the skin.

When you roast turkey thighs with dressing, you should prepare the turkey as normal and place it in the roasting pan. You can make your stuffing from scratch as you would normally prepare it to stuff a bird, however, you will want to pack it around the thighs in the roasting pan and then cover it with foil. This preparation method can also be accomplished with a boxed stuffing mix. Once the stuffing is packed around the thighs in the pan, the turkey thighs should be roasted until nearly done, then finished by removing the foil cover and allowing the entire pan of food to brown.

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Discussion Comments


There are some members of my family who won't eat white meat turkey at all, so I'll usually buy a pack of turkey thighs and roast them at the same time I'm cooking the turkey. I have to keep an eye on them, since they will get completely done in maybe an hour or hour and a half at most. Sometimes I'll start the oven at 500 degrees to get the skin crisp, then turn it down to 350 degrees and let the thighs roast until the internal temperature is at least 170 degrees. I'll pull them out and let them cool while the whole turkey continues to roast.


I prefer dark meat when it comes to turkey, but I have rarely been able to find fresh turkey thighs at the grocery store. I can find drumsticks, but it's not always easy to remove the dark meat from those things. I prefer to buy several turkey thighs and roasting them in a disposable aluminum pan. I'll use several ribs of celery to hold the thighs above the bottom of the pan, so the excess fat won't work its way back into the thighs and make them greasy.

I also brine the thighs just like I would a whole turkey. I'll make a brining solution with equal parts brown sugar and salt, dissolved into a mixture of chicken stock and water. I'll keep the thighs in that brine for 24 hours before roasting them. After they've cooled off enough to handle, I'll remove the bone and slice up the thighs for serving.

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    • A roasting should be used when roasting turkey thighs.
      A roasting should be used when roasting turkey thighs.