Whether you are looking for a new dish to serve during the holidays or something for your next family gathering, you’ll love our Cranberry Orange Roasted Turkey Legs recipe. They offer a taste of the holiday season, and the dish is packed with the flavor of fresh cranberries and oranges. This recipe provides the perfect combination of savory and sweet tastes in one bite, and this dish is sure to be a hit with your whole family.
You’ll love how this recipe only uses three main ingredients and takes less than ten minutes to prepare before cooking. It’s a hands-off dish that’s great for a special occasion but also ideal for serving at the end of a busy day at work or school or for a simple weekend lunch or dinner.
I love this recipe for a few reasons, but one of the best things about this dish is that it uses just one casserole dish for both preparation and cooking. That means far less time is spent in the kitchen cleaning up afterward!
You’ll simply take your turkey legs out of the fridge or freezer and put them straight into the dish. Your oranges and cranberries can then be placed directly on top of the turkey, and your meal is ready to head into the oven.
The other thing I love about this simple recipe is its flexibility. If you don’t have any turkey legs at home at the moment, these can easily be substituted for chicken legs instead. Your orange slices can be switched out for lemons for a more zesty dish that would pair well with rice and vegetables.
If you don’t have fresh cranberries on hand, you can sprinkle dried cranberries over your turkey after cooking instead. While we recommend adding some salt and pepper for seasoning, if you want additional flavor, consider adding fresh thyme or rosemary on top. Cooking is all about using what you have in your kitchen at the time, so get creative and have fun with this recipe!
Our recipe today recommends cooking one drumstick per person, but of course, you can adjust this to fit your needs. Using some of the most delicious fall flavors, this is an ideal dish to serve at a family gathering or for a special Sunday lunch. It’s a protein-rich dish that’s packed with flavor, and you can serve this dish with a variety of side dishes.
If you are cooking for a small group or just for yourself, you can still cook a whole dish of these turkey legs and save the rest for the next few days. Any leftovers can be stored in your fridge for three to four days in an airtight container.
It’s an excellent option for anyone who loves to meal prep, and you’ll have enough turkey to see you through the next few days for lunch and dinner. As turkey can be served with so many various sides, you’ll be able to enjoy a different meal each day with a good protein source thanks to the turkey legs.
This recipe can also be used with a turkey breast and could even be spiced up with red pepper flakes! To make a complete meal, we recommend serving this dish with potatoes, but you can substitute these for anything you have to hand.
A potato gratin would be the perfect addition to a dinner party spread, and you could also serve plates of fresh vegetables and salad alongside your turkey. The turkey makes a beautiful centerpiece to any dinner table, especially with the colorful cranberries and orange slices it’s adorned with.
Below you’ll find our step-by-step instructions for how to make these tasty Cranberry Orange Roasted Turkey Legs. You’ll want to cover your tray with foil before cooking for best results, but personally, I like to remove the foil fifteen minutes before the cooking time is complete, so the legs are nicely browned before serving. Make sure you test the internal temperature of your meat so that it reaches the required temperature.
For this recipe today, you can use either frozen or fresh turkey legs. If you do opt for frozen turkey legs, the preparation method is exactly the same, and you’ll just need to add an additional thirty minutes of cooking time before serving.
I hope you enjoy this turkey leg recipe today. It’s a flavorful dish that’s still simple enough to serve to kids, teens, and picky eaters, and it is great for catering to a wide variety of dietary requirements.
With minimal hands-on prep time, you’ll create a delicious dinner or lunch without sacrificing time with your family or dinner guests. The ingredients list is minimal for this recipe, so hopefully, you’ll have most of the items in your home already to try out this dish today!
Cranberry Orange Roasted Turkey Legs Notes:
- Serves: 1 drumstick per person
- Prep: 10 minutes
- Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes (if frozen), 1 hour (if thawed)
Cranberry Orange Roasted Turkey Legs Ingredients:
6 turkey leg drumsticks
1 1/2 cup cranberries
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
How to cook turkey legs -Step-by-Step Instructions:
- Start by taking out a 9×13 inch casserole dish, and add in your turkey legs. You’ll want to spread the legs evenly throughout the dish before pouring in your cranberries and topping everything with the sliced oranges. Add salt and pepper to season.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Before putting your dish in the oven, you’ll want to cover the casserole dish with foil for the best cooking environment. Place your dish in the oven and bake for one hour if your turkey legs were thawed out already, or for one hour and a half if you are cooking your turkey legs from frozen.
- To check that your turkey legs are fully cooked, you’ll want to test their internal temperature, which should reach 180 degrees F. Once your turkey legs have reached that temperature, you may want to remove them from the oven. Alternatively, you could cook the turkey until they’re browned or broil to a crisp by removing the foil from the dish for the last 15 minutes of cooking to brown the legs nicely.
- Your turkey legs are now ready to be served. Add potatoes and the cooked cranberries alongside the turkey legs for a complete meal! Enjoy!
As you can see, this is a quick and simple recipe that offers incredible results. Whether you are using frozen or fresh turkey legs, you’ll want to ensure they are thoroughly cooked before serving everything to your family. This recipe makes the ideal centerpiece for a family gathering and is a simple yet effective dish to make during the holiday season. It can be served with potatoes or the side of your choice to fit any dietary requirements you are catering for today. I hope you and your family love this recipe as much as I do and that you’ll enjoy returning to this dish over and over again in the future!
Turkey Leg FAQ
How Do You Cook Turkey Legs?
When you’re cooking turkey legs, the biggest challenge is keeping the legs nice and juicy. The turkey’s leg is one of the most muscular parts of the bird, so if the meat isn’t cooked low and slow it has a tendency to turn stringy and tough. The turkey leg also has lots of cartilage and other connective tissues that need to be broken down.
Do You Roast Turkey Legs Up or Down?
Whether you roast turkey legs up or down depends on how you’re cooking the rest of the turkey. If you’re roasting turkey legs that have been separated from the turkey, it doesn’t really matter if they’re up or down since they’re a conical shape.
However, if you’re roasting multiple turkey legs, it’s a good idea to space them out from each other in the roasting pan or rack to allow each leg plenty of space to cook.
If you’re roasting your turkey legs on the whole turkey, it’s recommended that you roast your turkey upside down (with the breast facing downward). This allows all the juices from the turkey to collect in the breast meat, which is typically the driest cut on the bird. This position also places the turkey legs in the bottom of the pan where they can soak up extra moisture.
For cooks who would rather roast their turkey right-side up for presentation, it’s a good idea to cover the turkey legs with foil. This can protect them from getting dried out or burnt since they stick up and are closer to the hot coils in the oven in this position. Otherwise, you may end up with overcooked legs while you try to make sure the rest of the bird is done.
What Temperature Should I Roast My Turkey On?
Most people cook turkey between 325 and 350 degrees. Cooking turkey at lower temperatures requires a longer cooking time, but results in a more tender bird. Cooking turkey at higher temperatures won’t get the turkey cooked more quickly, it’ll just overcook the exterior while it leaves the interior raw.
For the perfect roast turkey, follow these temperature tips:
- Avoid opening the oven. Every time you open the oven, the oven loses twenty degrees of heat. Constantly opening the oven to check the turkey will throw off your cooking times and may result in an undercooked or overcooked turkey when you try to compensate.
- Get a meat thermometer. Testing the temperature of the turkey meat at the breast and thigh is the best way to ensure that it’s cooked enough to eat safely.
- Tent the bird with foil. Putting a tent of aluminum foil over the turkey for the majority of its cooking time and removing it during the last thirty minutes or so of cooking will allow your turkey to develop a golden brown crust without becoming burnt from direct exposure to the oven’s heat.
How Do I Know When Turkey Legs Are Done?
The safest way to tell when turkey legs are done is to use your meat thermometer. Once the meat of the turkey has reached 170 degrees internally, it is safe to eat.
Using a thermometer is the easiest way to tell if turkey legs are done because unlike white meat, the dark meat of the turkey legs will not turn a lighter color as it cooks. It may still look somewhat pink on the inside even when it’s completely cooked.
How Do You Keep Turkey Legs From Drying Out?
There are several different methods you can use to help keep turkey legs from drying out during the cooking process. Here are a few quick tips for getting the best out of your roasted drumsticks:
- Let the turkey sit out for one hour before roasting. This allows the turkey to come up to room temperature on the inside, allowing the meat to cook more evenly. Otherwise, the exterior of your bird will cook faster than the middle.
- Try a salt brine. Soaking your turkey legs in a saltwater brine with some allspice berries, sage, and other herbs can add extra flavor and help keep the meat moist while roasting.
- Use aluminum foil. Placing a cover of aluminum foil over the tops of the turkey legs can keep them from burning.
Why Do You Put Foil on Turkey Legs?
People use aluminum foil on turkey legs for a few different reasons:
- It reduces cooking times. Since the foil around the turkey legs traps in heat, this steams the turkey legs in the bird’s own juices and causes them to cook more quickly.
- It keeps the meat tender. Turkey legs can dry out quickly since they don’t have much fat and a lot of stringy muscle, so any method for reducing the loss of moisture in the oven will only help them.
Do You Wrap Turkey Legs in Foil?
Aluminum foil should be gently molded over the tops of the turkey legs while they’re in the oven. Once the turkey is cooked internally, the foil can be removed and the bird can be brushed with butter or basted in its own fat before allowing it to brown.
Keep an eye on the turkey legs carefully at this point, as they can become overcooked if you’re not careful. This is especially true if you put the broiler on for a few minutes to crisp up the turkey skin.
Are Turkey Drumsticks the Same as Turkey Legs?
While many people refer to turkey legs and turkey drumsticks interchangeably, a turkey leg joint (or leg quarter) includes both the drumstick and the turkey’s thigh area where the leg is attached to the torso.
Is Turkey Healthier Than Chicken?
Turkey is similar to chicken in terms of health benefits since they’re both forms of poultry, but turkey meat is slightly leaner than chicken, with less fat and calories in both the white and dark meat of the bird. Both turkey and chicken are high in terms of low-calorie protein, which makes them great dietary choices for people who are trying to lose weight or improve their nutrition.
Roasted Turkey Legs With Cranberry Orange
- 6 turkey leg drumsticks
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- 1 orange
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- In a 9x13 casserole dish add in turkey legs. Pour in cranberries and top with sliced oranges. Add salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Add foil to the top of the casserole dish. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour if turkey legs are thawed or 1 hour and a half if turkey legs are frozen.
- Internal temperature should be 180 degrees F. Once they have reached that you maybe remove and cook till browned or broil to crisp. I usually remove the foil the last 15 minutes to brown the legs.
- Serve with potatoes and the cooked cranberries.