I love roasted turkey, and have always thought it was a shame that most of us eat it just for Thanksgiving. Earlier this year, I stumbled on a recipe using turkey parts instead of a whole bird. The turkey tasted like it was roasted all day, but without all of the work.
Since this recipe uses turkey parts instead of a full bird, it’s the perfect solution if you want Thanksgiving turkey but are cooking for a small family. I hope this recipe will also encourage you to enjoy turkey all year long.
I think the reason that most of us only eat Thanksgiving style roasted turkey once or twice a year is because it involves buying a 10-20 lb turkey and then spending all day cooking.
Unless you have a huge crowd coming over, it’s expensive and a lot of work to roast a turkey…and you end up with a huge amount of food. This recipe uses turkey parts, so it works whether you are cooking for just yourself, cooking for 2 or for a small family.
I followed the recipe that I found on My Sweet Mission except I used turkey thighs instead of a turkey breast the first time I made it. The second time I used this recipe, I added some fresh parsley to the top. I like it both ways so feel free to add whatever herbs you like on top, or stick to salt & pepper and keep it simple.
I personally like the dark meat better than white breast meat, so I always use thighs. Not only is the dark meat a lot moister, but it is cheaper too. But use whatever you prefer.
I also tweaked the preparation instructions and cooking times based on best practices I found while researching cooking turkey.
Easy Roasted Turkey Parts:
2 turkey thighs or 1 turkey breast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried herbs or 1/4 cup fresh herbs, chopped (optional)
Start by patting them dry your turkey parts with a paper towel. Split the butter between your parts, using about 1/2 tbsp of butter for each thigh or a 1 tbsp for a larger breast.
Rub the butter across the skin of the turkey, and then tuck the extra butter under the skin.
Next drizzle the oil over the turkey, using your hands to smear it around so that the entire skin is covered.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then place on a roasting rack in a 9×13 metal baking pan (or a larger pan if you are making more parts). If you are using herbs, add them at this point too.
Make sure you place the turkey parts skin side up.
Place the pan in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.
Cook the turkey until your meat thermometer reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. Be sure to put the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut the turkey in the thickest section and if the juices are clear, it’s done. If the juices are pink, put it back in the oven.
According to the Perdue Turkey website, bone-in breasts should take about 15-20 minutes per lb (1.25 – 1.75 hours) and thighs should cook for 1 hour 10 minutes.
That said, it’s really a good idea to spend the money on a meat thermometer. You can get one at just about any store with kitchen utensils.
If you cook your turkey parts without any added herbs, you’ll end up with turkey like this. Crispy skin and juicy meat.
Here is the finished turkey when I added some fresh parsley. You could easily use dried herbs, fresh ones or just stick with the salt and pepper.
Printable recipe card below…click on the + sign for nutrition information for this chicken recipe.
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Easy side dishes to go with your turkey parts…