If roasting an entire turkey is intimidating to you, I have the perfect solution: Easy Roasted Herb Butter Turkey Thighs! Simple to prep, cooks up in an hour and 15 minutes and no need to baste or tend in anyway. And holy cow, look at that crispy golden skin!
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Easy Roasted Herb Butter Turkey Thighs in black skillet with lemon and garlic halves

How to Make Easy Roasted Herb Butter Turkey Thighs:

This recipe is the perfect alternative for the holidays. To make, simply combine butter with herbs and place under the skin on chicken thighs, place thighs, more herbs and citrus in a large skillet and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Yup, that’s it!

Compound butter in white bowl with gold fork

Why Thighs?

Turkey thighs are more juicy and tender than breast meat, and they are super budget friendly. So you can feed a crowd without breaking the bank.

Easy Roasted Herb Butter Turkey Thighs garnished with parsley on gray plate

Serve as is or with Cranberry Sauce or Gravy:

These thighs are succulent and delicious served with just the juices and drippings in the pan, but if you want to jazz things up, my fresh tangy cranberry sauce is the perfect accompaniment to this savory turkey main course.

Cranberry sauce in a white bowl garnished with rosemary sprigs

If your tastes lean a bit more toward the savory side, try this rich gravy made from pan drippings.
Note: cut the gravy recipe in half as turkey thighs will not produce as much drippings as a whole turkey.

Gravy in a gravy boat

Feeding a Crowd? I Can Help!

This recipe calls for four turkey thighs, each thigh feeds two people. But if you are feeding more than eight, this recipe is a cinch to double. I double the recipe on Thanksgiving using a roasting pan instead of a skillet. It turns out perfectly and feeds 14-16 depending on appetites.

Easy Roasted Herb Butter Turkey Thighs in black skillet with gold serving spoons

The Recipe: Easy Roasted Herb Butter Turkey Thighs

Tips and what you need: an extra large skillet or roasting pan, and a microplane to zest citrus.

Easy Roasted Herb Butter Turkey Thighs
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 5 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins

A beautiful main course on any day or the holidays! Make in a large skillet (at least 15") This recipe can be easily doubled and made in roasting pan instead of a skillet.

Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: holiday dinner, turkey dinner, turkey thighs
Servings: 8 servings
  • 4 turkey thighs (about 4- 4 1/2 pounds meat)
  • 1/2 of one yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, two left whole and one finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, 3 left whole, 3 stripped of leaves and finely chopped
  • zest of one lemon
  • zest of one small juice orange
  • 1 full head of garlic, cut in half
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temp (separated)
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, for garnish
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees and place oven rack in center position. NOTE: you will be turning the heat up to 425 the last 15 minutes of cooking

  2. Chop onion and place in skillet. Place two rosemary sprigs in pan and chop the rest. Place three sprigs of thyme into pan, strip the leaves on the remaining sprigs and chop.

  3. Use a microplane to zest lemon, cut the lemon in half and place both halves in pan flat side down. Repeat with orange, but only place one half of the orange in pan. Cut the head of garlic in half and places both halves in pan flat side down

  4. Place 1/2 cup butter in a small bowl. Add lemon and orange zest, chopped rosemary and thyme and use a fork to mash until well combined.

  5. Use your fingers to separate skin from turkey thighs and place about two tablespoons of butter under skin of each piece. Press the skin down to work herbed butter completely under the skin. Place thighs into pan, skin side up, right on top of onions and herbs. You may need to move some of the garlic and citrus halves around to accommodate thighs. Just make it work! Generously sprinkle each thigh with sea salt and pepper and top each thigh with remaining butter (about a tablespoon on top of each thigh)

  6. Place skillet/pan in the oven for one hour. Then turn heat up to 425 for 5-10 more minutes allowing skin to brown. Remove from oven and allow to rest for five minutes before serving.

  7. Serving tips: you can either pour juices onto platter and place thighs on top, or pour juices over turkey. Just know if you pour juices over the top the skin will soften instead of remaining crispy.

    You can also serve with my cranberry sauce or a half batch of my gravy.


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