Braised Turkey Legs

Delicious Turkey Stew! Made with flavorful turkey legs, browned and braised, served with root vegetables.

Braised Turkey Legs
Elise Bauer

Everybody loves turkey breast for their turkey sandwiches, right?

Actually the most flavorful part of the turkey comes from the dark meat of the turkey thighs and legs, which are much less expensive than the breast meat.

Here's one of our favorite budget-friendly winter stews—turkey legs that have been slowly braised on a bed of celery and onions until fork tender, then shredded and served with a sauce of their braising liquid. We often include potatoes and root vegetables as well.

Perfect for a cold winter day!

Braised Turkey Legs

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings


  • 2 turkey legs and 2 thighs, about 4 pounds

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped

  • Salt, pepper, and cayenne

  • 2 cups water or other braising liquid (dry white wine or stock)

  • Cornstarch

  • Parsley, chopped, about 1/4 cup

  • Optional 3 cups chopped or quartered potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, and/or parsnips


  1. Brown turkey legs and thighs:

    Sprinkle turkey thighs and legs with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan with high sides on medium high heat. Add the turkey legs and thighs to the pan and sear until browned on all sides, about 5-8 minutes.

  2. Add chopped onion and celery:

    to form a nest under the turkey pieces. Sauté an additional 5 minutes.

  3. Braise until tender:

    Add 2 cups of braising liquid - either water, stock, wine, or a combination. Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer covered, on low heat, for an hour and a half, or until the turkey is so well cooked and tender that the meat easily falls off of the bones.

  4. Remove the turkey meat from the pan and remove the bones:

    taking special care to remove the many small narrow bones of the legs. Remove the skin.

  5. Cook the potatoes and root vegetables (optional):

    Add the vegetables to the pan with the turkey braising liquid. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer on medium high heat. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook covered, until done, about 20 minutes. When done, remove the vegetables from the pan so you can reduce the remaining liquid to make a sauce.

  6. Make the sauce:

    Increase the heat to high and bring the remaining liquid in the pot to a boil. Reduce the liquid remaining in the pan by half to intensify some of the meat juices for added flavor.

    Take a teaspoon of cornstarch and dissolve in a 1/2 cup of water. Add cornstarch mixture a little at a time to sauce, adding more liquid, until the sauce achieves the desired body.

    Adjust seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed, add a little cayenne or Tabasco sauce. If the sauce is too sweet, add a little vinegar or lemon. Add parsley.

  7. Add the turkey and vegetables back to the pan:

    with the sauce. Serve immediately over rice or bread or with the vegetables if you have chosen to make them.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
480 Calories
23g Fat
4g Carbs
64g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 480
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 272mg 91%
Sodium 305mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 64g
Vitamin C 4mg 22%
Calcium 52mg 4%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 666mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.