Roasted turkey drumsticks, tender meat, crispy skin, and delicious gravy included. Cooking drumsticks in the oven couldn’t be easier.
Roasting turkey drumsticks has never been easier or more delicious! Tender meat, smothered in the most amazing smooth sauce made with the roasting juices and vegetables, this is one of my favorite ways of cooking turkey legs.
Smaller Thanksgiving turkey dinner?
Do you feel that cooking a whole turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas might be too much for your family?
I certainly think so! Turkeys usually come in extra extra large and although I absolutely love turkey, I still think it a bit boring to keep eating it for a whole week…
Of course, there are lots of delicious ways of dealing with leftovers, but even when only cooking thighs, drumsticks or breast, I still find myself with enough leftovers for at least another meal. And some sandwiches on top of that.
- This is a very basic recipe for roasted turkey drumsticks, using simple and easy to find ingredients. Not to mention cheap ingredients: you can cook a really festive and delicious Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without overstretching your budget at all.
- Onion, garlic, carrots, celeriac (or 2-3 celery sticks depending on size), bell pepper. The veggies will be smothered with the legs and you will need them to make the most delicious gravy.
- Potatoes to serve. They are optional though, you could also serve the dish with noodles or dumplings.
How to roast turkey drumsticks?
- Dry the turkey legs with kitchen paper. Season them generously with salt, pepper, and sweet paprika powder all over.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or another large ovenproof dish. Brown the meat on all sides. Add 250 ml/ 8.5 fl.oz/ 1 cup chicken stock, cover the pan and let cook gently for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the prepared vegetables and tomato paste to the pot.
- Place in the oven and roast.
- When the drumsticks are ready, carefully transfer them to a large platter and let rest for about 15 minutes.
- Add a bit more chicken stock if necessary, if things threaten to get too dry and stick to the pan.
- Baste with the cooking liquid from time to time and turn them on the other side after about 30 minutes of cooking time.
How long to bake turkey legs?
- About 60 to 80 minutes depending on the size of the legs.
- Start checking after 60 minutes, stick a toothpick in the thickest part of the drumstick, the juices should run clear. If they are still reddish continue the cooking process checking every 5 minutes or so.
- Using a meat thermometer is the safest, the inner temperature of the meat should be 82 degrees Celsius/ 180 degrees Fahrenheit. (Read below for more information on the inner temperature of cooked turkey.)
The inner temperature of cooked turkey
- The FSIS – Food Safety and Inspection Service in the USA states that 73 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit are enough to guarantee a safely cooked turkey with no risk of you getting a salmonella infection.
- I bought myself a meat thermometer, which I insert in the thickest part of the meat to see if the inner temperature has been reached. I keep to the recommended temperature of 73 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit when it comes to turkey breast which otherwise would turn out too dry.
- However, when cooking legs I prefer to leave them until they reach 82 degrees Celsius/ 180 degrees Fahrenheit like recommended in some older recipes, I feel safer that way and the legs still turn out really nice and juicy, dark meat is definitely more forgiving than the breast meat.
- This gravy is amazing! I love this kind of gravies you get when cooking meat and vegetables in the oven, they have no rival, at least not for me. 🙂
- And if I happen to have too much of the gravy at times, I always freeze it and try to remember to use it again during the following weeks.
- I would not keep it in the freezer forever, it does lose its flavor if kept for too long. Try to serve it during the next 2-4 weeks over some easy turkey meatballs and noodles for instance.
How to serve?
- The roasted turkey drumsticks can be served immediately or they can be reheated in the sauce.
- You can make the dish in advance, let cool and refrigerate. Reheat the whole dish. Remove the legs and keep warm. Make the sauce and serve.
What to do with leftovers?
- Read above concerning gravy leftovers.
- Use the leftover meat to make sandwiches, salads, turkey fricassee, lasagna, pasta bake, risotto, filo vegetable turkey strudel.
More delicious turkey recipes:
How to Cook Turkey Drumsticks
- 4 turkey drumsticks Note 1
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 ¼ cup chicken stock divided (Note 2)
- 1 onion
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 large piece of celeriac about 7 oz/ 200 g (Note 3)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- sweet paprika powder
- salt and pepper
- some parsley
- Prepare turkey: Dry the turkey legs with kitchen paper. Sprinkle them generously with salt, pepper, and sweet paprika powder.
- Brown: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or another large, heavy-bottomed ovenproof dish. Brown the turkey drumsticks on all sides, about 3 minutes on each side.
- Simmer: Add 1 cup (250 ml) of the stock, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven: In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/ 200 degrees Celsius.
- Prepare vegetables: Clean and chop the vegetables. Whisk the tomato paste into the remaining chicken stock. Add the vegetables and tomato paste to the pot.
- Roast covered: Place the pot in the oven and roast for about 35-40 minutes. Baste the drumsticks with the cooking liquid twice while roasting. If necessary, add a bit more chicken stock.
- Roast uncovered for another 10 minutes to allow the skin to get crispy.
- Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer; it should be 170 degrees Fahrenheit/ 77 degrees Celsius (Note 4).
- Rest meat: Transfer meat to a large platter and let rest for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, make the gravy.
- Remove about 1/3 of the vegetables from the pan and set them aside.
- Blend the remaining veggies and adjust the taste with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Return the reserved vegetables to the sauce, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.
- Large turkey drumsticks, about 1 lb/ 500 g each.
- Chicken or turkey stock. If buying it, it is preferable to use low-sodium stock.
- If celeriac is unavailable, use 2-3 celery sticks or replace them with the same parsley root.
- The best way to check is with a digital meat thermometer (Amazon affiliate link); this ensures that the meat is safely cooked without being overcooked. Otherwise, make a small cut into one leg close to the bone; the meat should be white, there should be no traces of red anymore.