Turkey legs are a perfect dish for a Thanksgiving feast as well as for regular weeknight dinners. I love to bake turkey legs in oven at 400 degrees. The turkey leg cook time is key for a good result. Now here’s the question. How long to bake turkey legs in oven at 400 degrees? Let’s cover this in this guide as well as tips for perfecting the recipe for the best homemade roasted turkey legs in oven.
It takes 60 minutes to bake turkey legs at 400 degrees in the oven. This involves 30 minutes with the turkey leg uncovered, followed by 30 minutes with the turkey legs covered in foil. The result is a turkey leg with crispy skin and succulent meat. Turkey gets done at an internal temp of 165 degrees F. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey legs in the last minutes of baking to check it for doneness. This will ensure the meat turn out cooked just right.
Being bigger than chicken drumsticks, turkey legs is well suited for a full broiling session without its internal juices drying out too fast. We would recommend you to use the lowest broiler temperature of 450 degrees F. If you go for higher temperatures, the legs may fail to cook properly in the middle. By baking the turkey legs at 450 degrees for 40 minutes in the oven, you get an outstandingly crispy skin and a super juicy meat. For a slightly thinner crust, bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes in the oven. If you are not into crispy food, you can go for 350 degrees that provides a baking time of 1 hour and 20 minutes. This slow cooking of turkey leg will produce meat that is tender and luscious while the skin will be moist and silky.
Turkey legs are best cooked at 400 degrees F because it provides a perfect balance of crisp, juice and tenderness. If you crave a melt-in-your-mouth and succulent turkey drumstick wrapped in a crunchy crust, this cooking temperature is for you. The 450 degrees option is also a great choice, but it provides a hard crust with undercooked inner meat as the exterior meat cooks faster than the inside. But if you like the combination between ultra crunchy skin and ultra juicy meat, 450 degrees will not disappoint you.
There are many recipes for turkey legs online. But there’s one easy recipe for turkey leg that I love. And here’s how to cook turkey legs in the oven.
Remove the turkey legs from the fridge 40 minutes ahead of time to properly defrost it. Otherwise, the frost will lead to uneven cooking. Pat dry the legs so that the turkey legs can get a brown and crispy skin as moisture hinders the processing of getting crispy.
Brush the turkey legs with melted butter. Then rub with a seasoning mix including salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and thyme. Other spices that go well with turkey are sage, tarragon and nutmeg.
Arrange the marinated turkey legs on a rack placed on a baking sheet. You are good to cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil to prevent the legs from sticking to the sheet. Place the legs at a distance from each other to ensure the air circulates between them freely. This helps with cooking them evenly.
Bake the turkey legs uncovered in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. This will allow the turkey legs to become crispy. Once the time has passed, flip the turkey legs and cover them with tin foil. Then bake for another 30 minutes. Covering with foil will allow the heat to be more concentrated around the turkey legs, helping the meat to cook evenly and faster. Once baking is done, remove the turkey legs from the oven and allow them to rest for 10 minutes for the juices to redistribute.
Turkey legs can be cooked wrapped in tin foil from start to finish. While this can shorten the cooking time by a few minutes, you will get steamed turkey legs rather than roasted ones. Foil prevents the turkey legs from crisping up. So if you want a crispy turkey leg, this method is not a good idea.
You can use the convection instead, as it doesn’t moisten the turkey. It helps the turkey leg to cook faster and more even by circulating the hot air around it. In this way, your turkey legs can also become crispy.
You can also broil the turkey legs to get an extra crispiness for 3 to 5 minutes. Then continue baking at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. This will also help you to save a bit of cooking time.
Turkey legs goes well with many dipping sauces including apricot dijon, Buffalo blue cheese, soy ginger, pineapple lime, and creamy parmesan. For side dishes, we would recommend mashed potatoes with garlic and chives. The creaminess of this dish complements well with the crispiness of turkey legs. If you are a fan of squash, this is another side dish that goes good with turkey legs. You can cook it in any way you want and be sure that it will not disappoint alongside turkey legs. To make roasted squash even better, garnish it with feta, smoked paprika, and sage leaves at the end of baking.
Another stunning side dish you can try with turkey legs is mushroom green beans. Mixed with sautéed mushrooms and covered with garlic and chili, the beans will surely become a favorite on the Thanksgiving table. Moreover, don’t hesitate to combine savory turkey drumsticks with something sweet, such as roasted pears or vanilla sweet potatoes. The contrast of tastes is simply irresistible.
Turkey legs is the equivalent of chicken leg on a turkey. It is made up of the turkey thigh and the drumstick.
The internal temperature of turkey legs is to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit for it to be fully cooked. As turkey thighs are quite thick, the internal temp should be taken at this thickest part of the legs since the thicker meat will take longer to cook.
It takes 1 hours and 40 minutes to cook turkey legs at 325 degrees F in oven. This slow cooking method is ideal for producing turkey legs with meat that is tender and juicy while the skin remains moist and smooth, without any crisp.
At 375 degrees F, it takes 1 hour 10 minutes to cook turkey legs in the oven. This temperature is good if you want a turkey leg that have tender and juicy meat and yet have a slight crispy skin.