Cranberry Glazed Turkey Legs: Sweet and Tart Goodness

Cranberry glazed turkey legs offer a delightful combination of sweet and tart flavors that perfectly complement the rich and savory taste of turkey. This mouthwatering dish is a wonderful addition to any holiday feast or special occasion, capturing the essence of seasonal flavors and culinary indulgence. Here’s how to create this delicious recipe:


  • 4 turkey legs
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh cranberries and orange slices, for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
  2. Prepare the Glaze: In a small saucepan, combine the cranberry sauce, orange juice, honey, minced garlic, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Prepare the Turkey Legs: Pat the turkey legs dry with paper towels and season them generously with salt and pepper on all sides.
  4. Brush with Glaze: Place the turkey legs on the prepared baking sheet and brush them generously with the cranberry glaze, coating them evenly on all sides. Reserve some of the glaze for basting during cooking.
  5. Bake the Turkey Legs: Transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven and bake the turkey legs for about 30 minutes.
  6. Baste and Bake Again: After 30 minutes of baking, remove the turkey legs from the oven and brush them with additional glaze. Return them to the oven and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes, or until the turkey legs are cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) when measured with a meat thermometer.
  7. Serve and Garnish: Once cooked, remove the turkey legs from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh cranberries and orange slices for a festive touch.
  8. Enjoy: Serve the cranberry glazed turkey legs hot and enjoy the succulent meat infused with the sweet and tart flavors of the cranberry glaze.

Serving Suggestions

Serving suggestions can elevate the dining experience and complement the flavors of cranberry glazed turkey legs. Here’s how to create a memorable meal with perfect accompaniments:

1. Holiday Side Dishes

  • Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes provide a comforting and indulgent contrast to the savory turkey legs. Season with butter, garlic, and fresh herbs for added flavor.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots, and sweet potatoes add color, texture, and earthy sweetness to the meal. Toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese before roasting for extra depth of flavor.
  • Stuffing: Classic stuffing made with bread cubes, onions, celery, herbs, and broth is a timeless favorite that complements the richness of the turkey legs. Consider adding dried cranberries or toasted nuts for a festive twist.
  • Cranberry Sauce: A side of tangy cranberry sauce pairs perfectly with the cranberry glazed turkey legs, adding brightness and acidity to each bite. Opt for homemade cranberry sauce or a high-quality store-bought version for optimal flavor.

2. Festive Beverages

  • Chilled White Wine: A crisp and refreshing white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, enhances the flavors of the turkey legs and complements the sweetness of the cranberry glaze. Serve chilled for maximum enjoyment.
  • Sparkling Cider: Non-alcoholic sparkling cider offers a festive alternative for guests of all ages. Its effervescence and subtle sweetness provide a refreshing palate cleanser between bites of savory turkey.

3. Leftover Inspiration

  • Sandwiches: Use leftover turkey legs to create hearty sandwiches with crusty bread, lettuce, tomato, and your favorite condiments. Add a smear of cranberry sauce for a burst of flavor.
  • Salads: Slice leftover turkey legs and toss them with mixed greens, dried cranberries, toasted nuts, and a tangy vinaigrette for a satisfying salad option.
  • Casseroles: Incorporate sliced turkey legs into comforting casseroles such as turkey and rice bake, turkey pot pie, or turkey tetrazzini for easy weeknight meals that the whole family will enjoy.

By pairing cranberry glazed turkey legs with these complementary side dishes, beverages, and leftover ideas, you’ll create a memorable dining experience that celebrates the warmth and flavors of the holiday season.

Bottom Line

Cranberry glazed turkey legs offer a delectable twist on traditional holiday flavors, combining the succulence of turkey with the sweet and tangy notes of cranberry sauce. With its simple preparation and irresistible taste, this dish is sure to become a favorite among family and friends, adding warmth and joy to any festive gathering or special meal.

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