Thurston, a two-time Dally M Medal winner and 2011 Golden Boot recipient, completed the highly-anticipated deal to stay in north Queensland on Monday.
Thurston, 29, has played 169 games for the Cowboys and 197 overall, after he made 29 appearances for Canterbury way back in 2002-04.
The Origin star's commitment comes after his good mate and co-captain Matt Scott re-signed late last month, also until the end of 2017.
Thurston said he was thrilled to have completed his new contract at North Queensland.
“I'm very excited to announce that I’m re-signing with the Cowboys until the end of the 2017 season,” Thurston told the club website.
“That's four more years after this one that I will get to enjoy being an on-field representative of the great club we have here in North Queensland.
“I'd like to thank everyone for being patient as the signing process played out.
“Unfortunately these things take some time but as I said all along, it was always my first preference to remain with the Cowboys and I'm over the moon that is what's happened.
“I'm really looking forward to seeing a huge Cowboys crowd for our first home game this Saturday night and will cherish being able to lead the side out with one of my best mates, Matthew Scott, once again.”