How to Cook Turkey Legs, the Easiest (and Most Elegant) Thanksgiving Main Dish


Dark meat aficionados, your time has come.

Photo: Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
Prep Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Rest Time:
1 day
Total Time:
1 day 1 hrs 30 mins

Roasting an entire turkey can be cumbersome, expensive, and time intensive, not to mention a burden on all your oven space. Turkey drumsticks, however, are much easier to prepare, aren't prone to drying out like an entire bird, and yes, they're just fun to eat. This turkey drumstick recipe uses Prosecco to add a crispy lacquer to the crust, but any white wine will work. Be sure to use high-quality drumsticks for the best-tasting dark meat and crispy skin—utter perfection when dipped into the delicious gravy. These turkey drumsticks are sure to shine at your Thanksgiving table, and beyond. (P.S. Don't forget to save the oversize bones to make stock.)


  • 6 Turkey drumsticks

  • salt, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons paprika

  • 3 tablespoons oregano

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened, plus one melted

  • 3 tablespoons Prosecco or dry white wine 

For the Gravy

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot starch

  • 1 Fresh spring of rosemary, optional


  1. Up to two days before making turkey legs, remove from packaging and arrange on a baking rack or cooling rack. Sprinkle liberally with salt and rest in the fridge until skin is dry. When ready to cook, remove from fridge half an hour before cooking and preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Mix the salt, pepper, paprika, and oregano in a bowl. Rub on turkey legs, pressing under skin if possible. Use a pastry brush to then coat the legs in the softened butter. Return to rack and place in a roasting pan. Cover with foil. Meanwhile, mix melted butter and wine together to baste turkey with.

  3. After 20 minutes, uncover the legs, and brush them with butter and wine mixture. Return to oven for 20 more minutes and baste again. After an hour, check to see if the meat has reached 165°F. If not, return to oven for 5-10 more minutes. For crispier skin, slide under the broiler, on low, for about two minutes. Remove rack from roasting pan and let drumsticks rest for 10 minutes.

  4. Put the roasting pan on the stove or transfer drippings to a saucepan. Stir in wine, cornstarch and rosemary, constantly swirling to thicken. Once the gravy starts to bubble, remove from the heat, strain into a heatproof dish and serve immediately with the drumsticks.

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