Gammy's recipe for how to cook turkey legs and let me tell you, this meal can't get any easier! Throw some turkey legs in the slow cooker and top them with an easy homemade sauce, and in a few hours you'll be enjoying a delicious dinner!
Update Notes: This post was originally published in October 2013, but was republished with tips and step by step photos in August 2019.
Turkey Legs in Slow Cooker
Guys you're going to love this recipe! It is from my Gammy (not Grammy. 🙂 I am not sure why, but we called my grandmother 'Gammy'. It may have been a carryover from my older cousins, I suppose)!
My mother still has some of Gammy's recipes, and it is cool when I go back to my parents' house for a visit and see the ones that she wrote out by hand.
There is something so personal about those handwritten recipes. I guess we lose some of that now in the digital age, but the trade-off is that we can exchange recipes and share ideas so much more easily with all the technology!
This turkey is fall-off-the-bone tender! Once you've learned how to cook turkey legs in your crock pot, it will be an easy go-to weeknight meal!
I've been making whole chicken in the slow cooker for years, but my mother makes turkey legs in the crock pot, and I found out recently that the sauce was a recipe from my grandmother!
Crock Pot Turkey Legs
In any case, these turkey legs are SOOOOOO good! I actually had a hard time getting them ready for the photo because the meat was so tender, the legs kept falling apart as I was trying to position them on the plate.
Grocery list for Turkey Drumsticks in Slow Cooker
- turkey drumsticks
- brown sugar
- yellow mustard
- salt and pepper
Easy stuff, right? I bet all you will need to pick up are the turkey legs!
Slow Cooking Turkey Legs
How do you know when turkey legs are done?
When the turkey is done, a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the drumstick will register 165 degrees.
If you do not have a meat thermometer, insert a knife into the thickest part of the meat and juices should run clear.
Can you eat undercooked turkey?
Definitely not! Invest in a good quality instant read meat thermometer. They aren't that expensive and you'll know your meal is ready to serve to your family.
Do you rinse turkey before cooking?
The USDA does not recommend rinsing poultry before cooking. It can easily spread bacteria. Just pat it dry with a paper towel prior to cooking.
How do you reheat turkey legs?
You can microwave them, but I'd recommend putting them in a covered casserole dish and reheating them in a preheated oven at 350 until the temp is about 155 degrees.
Of course, that is if you even have leftovers! Thing 2 rated this at 4.5 out of 5 biscuits, which is an extremely high rating. He liked it, yippee!
How to make turkey legs in the crock pot - Step by Step
Step 1.Place the turkey legs in the crock pot and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Step 2.Combine the ketchup, water, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, and paprika in a medium bowl and mix well.
Step 3.Pour the sauce over the turkey legs.
Step 4.Cover and cook on low. Then enjoy!
HOW TO COOK TURKEY LEGS PERFECTLY EVERY TIME
- This method is very forgiving, so don't worry! The slow cooker and the barbecue sauce work together so that your turkey legs will not easily dry out.
- The turkey legs are done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the drumstick registers 165 degrees F.
- To get that delicious golden brown crispy skin, place the slow cooked turkey legs on a baking sheet and broil for 3-4 minutes before serving.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Make sure to include some of the juices for when you reheat!
- Reheat the leftovers in a 350 degree F oven in a covered casserole dish along with some of the juices until very warm (20-30 minutes). You can also microwave them for 1-2 minutes at a time, rotating the legs in between, but the oven method will give you the best results.
What can I serve with Crock Pot Turkey Legs?
Now that you know how to cook turkey legs in your slow cooker, what are the best side dishes to serve with them? Here are my suggestions:
- Potato and Grilled Corn Salad - love the crunch that grilled corn gives this salad!
- Boston Baked Beans - always a delicious side dish!
- and bread.... you'll definitely need some bread to sop up all that good sauce, right? Check out Slow Cooker Olive and Parmesan Bread or Crock Pot Garlic Parmesan Bread. Both are super easy and SO GOOD!
- Dessert? Well of course! This Lemonade Pie with a Sugar Cone Crust will have everyone smiling at the end of your meal!
Love this recipe? Awesome! Please give it a 5 star ⭐ rating below! And if you make this, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram. You can find me at DizzyBusyandHungry or #dizzybusyandhungry!
How to Cook Turkey Legs
📋 Recipe Card
How To Cook Turkey Legs: Crock Pot Recipe
- 6 turkey legs
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup ketchup
- ⅓ cup water
- ¼ cup brown sugar (loosely packed)
- 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
- 3 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (use regular paprika if you don' have this handy)
- Season the turkey legs with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker.6 turkey legs, salt and pepper
- Combine the ketchup, water, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, and paprika in a medium bowl and mix well.1 cup ketchup, ⅓ cup water, ¼ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard, 3 tablespoons vinegar, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Pour the sauce over the turkey legs, and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
- Typically there is no need to worry about drying out your turkey legs. The slow cooker and the barbecue sauce work together to keep the meat tender and moist. However, due to differences in slow cooker temperatures, the first time you make this, check your turkey legs at the 6 hours mark to make sure they are not drying out.
- Check doneness with a meat thermometer, It should read 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the drumstick.
- Before serving, you may want to place the slow cooked turkey legs on a baking sheet and broil for 3-4 minutes to get a nice brown color and crispy skin.
- In a hurry? Just use your own premade barbecue sauce, or even store-bought barbecue sauce!
- Store leftovers for a couple of days, along with some of the juices from the crock pot, in a covered container in the refrigerator.
- Oven reheating is best. Place the turkey legs with juices in a covered casserole dish in a 350 degree F oven until very warm (20-30 minutes).
- If you need to reheat quickly, you can use the microwave, 1-2 minutes at a time, rotating the legs in between, until warm enough.
Nutritional information is an estimate. The nutritional values for your final dish may vary based on measuring differences and products used.
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You have written the best ever set of directions for any recipe I have seen yet! Love that the ingredients are listed with each step of the method...saves me having to scroll up and down on my tablet when cooking. I will be checking all of your recipes for sure.
Oh, thanks, Lynn! So glad to hear that you like this format! 🙂
Beim ersten Mal sofort perfekt gelungen.
That's great to hear! Thanks, Peter! 🙂
Yell I’ve always wanted to learn how to cook these and this is such a great recipe! Easy to follow, simple and everyone loves it! Thank you, I love using leftovers for turkey and rice soup also.
Oh yay, so glad to hear that you like this recipe! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
What a great idea to cook turkey legs in a slow cooker. And with easy prep like this and a delicious result, I can make this more often
Will this work using skinless wild turkey?
I don't see why not. Let me know how it turns out!
I'm looking at making this recipe. I have a few questions:
1: the legs I have are around 2 pounds each.
2: I don't have a slow cooker, instapot or pressure cooker, only old fashioned oven. How long would these cook for and on what temperature given the above size.
3: could I use tomato passata/ pureed tomatoe instead of ketchup
Hi! Yes, I think you could use pureed tomato, your result will taste different however. I haven't made this recipe in the oven so I don't have oven directions to give you. Sorry about that!