Roast Turkey Thighs for Two

Not cooking for a crowd this Thanksgiving? No problem, I’ve got you! These Roast Turkey Thighs for Two are a mouthwatering, tender turkey dinner without the hassle of roasting a whole bird!

turkey thighs

Roast Turkey Thighs

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My mom does this thing every Thanksgiving. If it’s not her year to host, she has a second Thanksgiving with just us kids because she likes to have lots of leftovers. So last year, instead of making a gigantic turkey like she usually does, she opted to make a smaller turkey and serve some roasted turkey thighs alongside it.

Each turkey thigh was so flavorful and tender. We all went pretty crazy over them! It was a second-Thanksgiving win, if ever there was one. And now every year I start dreaming of those juicy turkey thighs all over again.

So naturally, I did what I always do, I recreated them. My mom gave me some basic information and I got to work. A little less than an hour later, I was thrilled to open my oven to find a couple of the most juicy, tender turkey thighs ever. They had just the right amount of seasoning and the most crispy, crackly skin on top.

This is special enough to make and serve for a holiday but simple enough for your usual Sunday or weeknight dinner. You can whip it up in an hour and it’s very easy to put together as well. Don’t you just love recipes that use simple ingredients that everyone has on hand?

roasted turkey thighs

Tips for making turkey thighs

  • I left most of the ingredient amounts pretty open. I always season it to taste, although I do tend to have a lighter hand with the poultry seasoning.
  • Everyone’s oven may vary, as will the size of your turkey thighs. I’d recommend temping each turkey thigh with a digital thermometer at 45 minutes. While these still taste great if they’re a little over cooked (gotta love dark meat!) they’re best when they temp out at 165 degrees.
  • Let them rest for 10 minutes to redistribute the juices. Trust me on this!

turkey thigh

Frequently asked questions about turkey thigh recipes

  • Can I make these for more than 2 people? Definitely. That’s part of the reason I left the basic ingredient amounts open. Just be sure to use the right size baking dish to accommodate the amount of turkey thighs you make so as not to overcrowd the pan. They’re also a great way to supplement and have extra dark meat available alongside a whole bird.
  • How long do the leftovers last? These last 3-5 days covered in refrigerator.
  • Can I you use a turkey breast instead? You can! You’ll want to roast it for about 20 minutes per pound but keep an eye on it so as not to overcook. You can also check out my recipe for smoked turkey breast if you have a smoker.
  • What temperature do you cook turkey thighs? I like to do it at 400 degrees
  • What temperature are turkey thighs done? 165 degrees is a safe temperature for consuming poultry.
  • How many turkey thighs per person? 1 per person is plenty if it’s the only meat.

turkey thigh recipes

Make it a meal!

A few great recipes to round out and complete this meal are:

Roast Turkey thighs

Helpful tools:

  1. Chef’s knife
  2. Cutting board
  3. 9″ x 9″ baking pan or a cast iron skillet

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4.8 from 5 votes
Not cooking for a crowd this Thanksgiving? No problem, I've got you! These Roast Turkey Thighs for Two are a mouthwatering, tender turkey dinner without the hassle of roasting a whole bird!
Roast Turkey Thighs for Two
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Resting time
10 mins
Total Time
6 mins

Not cooking for a crowd this Thanksgiving? No problem, I've got you! These Roast Turkey Thighs for Two are a mouthwatering, tender turkey dinner without the hassle of roasting a whole bird!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: turkey thighs
Servings: 2 turkey thighs
Author: Patty Scuteri
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 turkey thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Lightly drizzle a small amount of oil on the bottom of the pan.

  3. Spread the sliced onions into a layer on the bottom of the pan.

  4. Season the turkey thighs on each side with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning to taste (the poultry seasoning is strong so use a light hand with this).

  5. Cut each pat of butter into smaller cubes and place them on various spots all over the skin on each turkey thigh.

  6. Place the turkey thighs, skin side up, on top of the onions.

  7. Roast for 50 minutes-1 hour until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

  8. Remove them from the oven and let them rest in a foil tent for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to our winners Jeanne and Lola!

If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it 🙂 I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions! And if you make it please tag me on Instagram with @thelifejolie so I can share it <3

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Roast Turkey Thighs for Two is one of my favorite turkey meat recipes. This easy and healthy turkey dish is a great option for tender roasted turkey with crispy skin and minimal dishes for you to wash! This includes simple directions for how to cook this dish- it makes a great alternative for Thanksgiving if you don't want to cook a whole turkey and is also great for other holiday dinners or simple weeknight dinners!

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  • Reply
    September 30, 2016 at 1:01 am This dish looks delicious. Since I'm only cooking for one, it is helpful to have a recipe geared for 2 people cuz it gives me leftovers, too! Thanks for posting.
    • Reply
      October 4, 2016 at 8:50 am Thanks, Dianna! Leftovers are never a bad thing :)
  • Reply
    November 23, 2016 at 8:14 pm I am also on my own! :) I needed a recipe that told me the basics for these - 400F/30 mins/165F.... So now I am armed with the right tools. I am going to make this tomorrow for my own private T-day feast with my dogs, with some only slight variations to the recipe. Thanks, Jessy! Can't wait!
    • Reply
      November 23, 2016 at 9:34 pm I'm glad to hear it- I hop you love them as I do. I'd start temping a bit early because each oven is different. Please let me know how they turn out and what variations you use- Happy Thanksgiving! :)
  • Reply
    July 15, 2017 at 5:49 pm Hi, your recipe sounds delish and I love that it uses ingredients I'd usually have on hand. Could you clarify the temp and cook time? 400 degrees for at least an hour sounds like they would be well beyond dry when I take them out. Thanks in advance :=)
    • Reply
      July 16, 2017 at 9:16 pm Thank you, Rhonda :) I'll tell you, if it were chicken thighs, I'd totally agree and likely have a shorter cooking time. The turkey thighs that are available in my area are much larger and which is why the recipe has a longer cooking time. Different stores carry different products (every bird is different too) and every oven is a little different as well- mine actually has a hot spot in the very back which requires me to turn my pan half way through cooking. With that in mind, if you're nervous, start temping it earlier and if it gets to 165 (or even a tad less) pull it and let it rest for a couple minutes and then enjoy. I hope you love them!
  • Reply
    July 24, 2017 at 7:40 pm Made this dish tonight and it turned out perfectly! Delicious. Thanks for sharing it!
    • Reply
      July 24, 2017 at 8:50 pm I'm so glad you liked it :) Thanks for giving it a try!
  • Reply
    vickie conner
    August 9, 2017 at 7:28 pm Getting ready to put in on my BBQ instead of the oven, and I am using a cast iron pan ....Can't wait and thanks for this recipe
    • Reply
      August 10, 2017 at 9:00 am Oh wow- Vickie, I think you may be a genius. This sounds amazing! Please let me know how they turn out!
  • Reply
    September 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm Does this recipe leave drippings to make a turkey gravy or no? Either way, I'm making it for sure! Thanks!
    • Reply
      September 20, 2017 at 4:15 pm Hi Sarah! There are a small amount of drippings, but probably not enough for gravy. It's probably be a good idea to have some turkey or chicken broth on hand. You can even pour all the onions from this recipe into the gravy as it cooks and either strain them through a sieve or or blend them into the gravy with a stick blender or regular blender for better flavor. Enjoy!
  • Reply
    November 23, 2018 at 8:44 am Fine recipe, thanks. Any alternatives for the remaining 1 1/2 cups or so of turkey/onion stock?
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      November 23, 2018 at 5:50 pm Thank you! I'm a huge fan of soup! You could totally use my Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe for turkey soup ad add that stock when you add the water!
      • Reply
        October 16, 2019 at 5:10 pm Use it to moisten your stuffing.
  • Reply
    Michael Garrity
    December 27, 2018 at 8:48 am Before Christmas, I had to go to my local Publix store to get some items to make a few baked goods I was making for the holidays, a Tres Leches Cake to take to a Talmalada being held by one of my Mexican-American neighbors and a no bake cheesecake Key Lime Pie recipe for a family Christmas meal. I found some really good looking turkey necks and a package of two turkey thighs to make a post-Christmas day meal for just my mom and I. Not really having any idea as to how I was going to prepare the thighs, but as I now so often do, I did a search online for a recipe on a way to cook them and I found this one. I can say that it is a really easy and wonderful recipe for only making just a few parts of a turkey rather than an entire bird. I have much experience doing that both for family meals and in one of my "past lives" back in the day I was in the Coast Guard and later, doing things like working in either restaurants or for pure catering companies, or every so often, volunteering to help make holiday meals at "soup kitchens" and some of those big community Thanksgiving meal events that take place in many communities. I have made turkey in both the conventional means by baking and also do deep fry them every so often, but anymore, I really don't want to make a whole bird if I don't have to, in part because I am not eating like that much anymore--big huge meals with meat as the centerpiece. I now mostly eat foods that are a version of vegan in the name of weight loss and better health. The prep work and cooking of the thighs as this recipe directs---could not be any easier and the results are really great. I would recommend this recipe to anyone looking to make such a meal and will surely be adding this recipe to my cooking repertoire to make again in the future. I did add some fresh made mashed potatoes, gravy and steamed asparagus to the meal I took over to my mom's place. The necks played a role in the making of the gravy and at least when taking part in cooking the holiday turkey bird at home since the time I was a kid many years ago, both of my grandmothers would make sure that I got to eat the turkey necks. They are one of my favorite parts of the bird. Final word about this great recipe---give it a try---you won't be sorry I am sure and you will be most pleased with the results.
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      December 29, 2018 at 5:28 pm Thanks Michael- I'm so glad you liked it! I'm with you on the Turkey necks- great flavor for turkey and soup and the most tender and delicious meat!
  • Reply
    Mrs M Johnson
    November 27, 2019 at 11:38 pm Can I put my stuffing under the thighs instead of the onions?
  • Reply
    Ryan H.
    November 29, 2019 at 7:18 pm I would suggest using an oil with higher smoke temp if you're cooking at 400 to reduce smoking and carcinogens. Something like Avocado, Peanut or Safflower would work.
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      December 2, 2019 at 8:48 pm Thanks for the suggestion- you can always sub in your oil of choice. Enjoy!
  • Reply
    August 7, 2020 at 9:16 pm Where do you buy your turkey thighs? I’ve only been able to find turkey legs here in NW Indiana! I’ve checked multiple stores in a couple surrounding cities! I’m trying to find something that might’ve be as good as Jennie o turkey pot roast! This recipe looks great!
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      August 8, 2020 at 12:56 pm Hi Christi! They sell them at my grocery store. Turkey legs would also work, just keep an eye on them so they don't overcook- enjoy!
  • Reply
    Carol Anne
    October 31, 2020 at 5:09 pm I am wanting to make them at a lower temp., about 350, to allow me to bake some other dishes at the same time. Can I adjust the time on the turkey thighs to do this, and about how much? Also, a friend asked me about cooking just one turkey thigh. How would she adjust the approx. time? Thanks!
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      November 2, 2020 at 11:26 am Hi Carol Anne- I've never tested it at a lower temperature but I'm sure it would work. I always say go by the temperature and not the time, so begin temping at the time listed in the recipe and remove around 162 degrees and rest for 10 minutes. I wouldn't adjust the time for just doing one thigh, but you can always temp it a little earlier.
  • Reply
    Sybil Eggmann
    November 22, 2020 at 10:10 pm So I dont need to brine the thighs?
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      November 23, 2020 at 3:53 pm Nope- you can if you'd prefer, just know they'll likely cook a bit faster :)
  • Reply
    November 25, 2020 at 9:25 pm Do I need to wash the thighs and pat dry? If I made 2 tonight and they turned out rubbery or chewy what does that mean? I have tow more..
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      December 7, 2020 at 11:41 am Hi Sybil- I don't wash poultry unless it's brined which these are not. It sounds like they could have been overcooked- I always pull my poultry when the thickest part reaches 160 or 161 and it will continue cooking as it rests and hit 165 then. Every piece of meat is different and every oven is different, so cooking by temp is the best way to ensure tender meat.
  • Reply
    Alvin L
    December 6, 2020 at 8:51 am I plan on making this (turkey thighs) for dinner tonight. It's only two of son & me....and this looks perfect. Even the smallest Turkey is too much. Plus my son is a dark meat kind of again..perfect. I also plan on making one or two of your sides as well. I'll let u kno how it all turns out.
  • Reply
    LaDawn Ward
    January 12, 2021 at 1:24 pm I am cooking this tonight. Do you put foil tented for cooking?
  • Reply
    LaDawn Ward
    January 12, 2021 at 5:08 pm Thank you!
  • Reply
    April 8, 2021 at 10:48 am I LOVE this recipe and use it all the time! I think turkey is so underrated and we love it year round. This is a great easy recipe that yields perfect results and makes it a perfect weeknight dinner options with great leftovers! Thanks! Btw: if you take the onions and pan drippings and add broth to your liking in a blender you have instant gravy that's super yummy!!
  • Reply
    May 15, 2021 at 8:22 am Tried this recipe yesterday. Easy and yummy. I just added lemon slices. Loved it! Thanks.
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      May 23, 2021 at 8:37 pm So glad you loved it- I bet it was fantastic with the lemon- good thinking!

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