How to cook turkey legs and thighs together as leg quarters or separately in the air fryer or the oven is here. Tender meat inside with crispy skin it is a great protein packed meal.
It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving or Christmas time to roast turkey legs and thighs. They come out great and can be served up year round. Use our simple butter rub or dry rub on the outside for great flavor. We’ll share it as an easy air fryer recipe and baked too. (affiliate links present)
How to Cook Turkey Leg Quarters
Whether you bought these at the store just like this or cut up a raw turkey yourself this year you may want to know how to cook this dark meat. Honestly it is my favorite part. Way more flavor and tender than the more popular white meat counterpart for sure. Overlooked I think but we’ll make you believers too.
If you have ever air fried chicken leg quarters this is really no different, other than it takes longer. Only reason for that is that they’re larger and thicker. The easiest way to do it is to leave them together as you see here. If you want to cut them apart at the joint I will share how to cook legs and thighs on a turkey that way too.
Air Fryer Turkey Legs and Thighs
I will start with those first since the printable recipe card gives you instructions of them attached. I used light seasonings to roast turkey thighs in our Ninja Foodi this year and my husband was obsessed. He is not a “I love anything you make” kinda’ guy, he’s pretty picky so this was a huge compliment.
If you wanted to bake turkey legs in the oven it does take much longer, but gets the insides tender like no other. Like fall off the bone, and you can get it crisp with a few minutes under the broiler at the end too.
Alternatively you can follow our air fryer turkey legs directions and go that direction. Faster and the skins get crispier than the other for sure. You can use any brand you might have at home, we have an AirWave and Cosori we love.
How to Cook Turkey Pieces
We have cooked them all. If you have only baked a moist turkey whole you really should try dismantling it and baking like like parts of a turkey together using your method of choice. Reason being is it’s much faster and you can get the crispiness all the way around each piece, that is important to us.
If you want to cook everything together at once, I suggest using our sheet pan turkey directions too. That is a pretty popular one. As far as this one goes, with just the dark meat on the legs here is what you’ll need;
- Leg quarters
- Butter that is room temperature, softened not melted butter
- Parmesan grated is of course optional
- Minced garlic
Salt and pepper is a given as far as seasonings go but use what you normally would on this bird. Another idea is that you could brine turkey the day before which adds tons of flavor and makes it even more moist. We do have a turkey dry rub recipe too you can use which is killer.
Ninja Foodi Turkey Leg and Thigh
There is a printable recipe card at the bottom but here is a quick rundown. When using the air fryer you want to heat to 400 degrees F first to preheat for 5 minutes. Place grated parmesan, softened butter, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix everything thoroughly until you get a paste.
- Rinse a attached thigh and drumstick part of the turkey and dry thoroughly with paper towels, then spread the butter and garlic paste with a knife. Spread the paste on the other side of the turkey as well.
- Transfer a quarter turkey to the basket of the preheated air fryer and roast, skin side up for 15 minutes cooking time on one side.
- Then turn it to the other side and cook for another 15 minutes until golden brown. A total of 30 minutes is usually perfect.
- Check the readiness by piercing the meat to the bone with a skewer.
- If pinkish juice appears, then most likely the turkey is not yet fully cooked, so you should increase the cycle by 5-10 minutes, turning the turkey several times.
If juices from meat are clear and you use a meat thermometer to determine whether internal temperature is 165 F, it is done. Serve the finished turkey quarter whole or cut into pieces, with turkey neck gravy and extra parmesan.
Roasting a Quartered Turkey
Always allow your proteins to rest for 10 minutes when done so it stays juicy meat inside. Serve your pieces with mashed potatoes and veggies on the side. After you enjoyed this you will also love making our easy roasted turkey breast on a sheet or roasting pan.
How do you reheat cooked turkey legs
This goes for both pieces. You don’t want to dry them out so keep some of that gravy in the fridge with it overnight. Spoon a tbsp of that over the top and heat in a skillet, in the microwave or again in your air fryer for a few minutes just until warmed in the center.
Better yet it really turns out a lot better if you skip that, remove the meat from the bones and add it into a new leftover turkey recipe. That way the sauce from the casserole, turnover or pot pie will soak into the meat and liven it up again. Dark meat has a bit more moisture but it is still easy to dry it out heating it again so use gravy or broth on top first.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
Turkey Drumstick and Thighs
How to Cook Turkey Legs and Thighs
- Set the air fryer to heat at 400 F and preheat for 5 minutes. Place grated parmesan, soft butter, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix everything thoroughly until you get a paste.
- Rinse a quarter of the turkey and dry thoroughly with paper towels, then spread the butter and garlic paste with a knife. Spread the paste on the other side of the turkey as well.
- Transfer a quarter turkey to the basket of the preheated air fryer and roast for 15 minutes on one side. Then turn it to the other side and cook for another 15 minutes, then check the readiness by piercing the meat to the bone with a skewer.
- If pinkish juice appears, then most likely the turkey is not yet fully cooked, so you should increase the cycle by 5-10 minutes, turning the turkey several times. If juices are clear and temp is 165 F. it is done.
- Serve the finished turkey quarter whole or cut into pieces, with gravy and extra parmesan.