Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

How to carve a turkey

For those of us who aren’t as savvy in the kitchen as our mothers and grandmothers were, you’re in luck.

Thanksgiving turkey

We’ve got great step-by-step turkey carving tips that are sure to leave your guests impressed.

What you’ll need:

  • Cooked turkey
  • Carving knife
  • Carving fork
  • Boning knife
  • 1 or 2 cutting boards

Step 1:  Cool off

Before you get too gung-ho about carving away at this year’s bird, make sure you let it properly cool first. Whole Foods Market suggests letting the turkey rest for 20 to 30 minutes after taking it out of the oven. This allows the juices to saturate your turkey, making it that much more flavorful and delicious.


Cooking experts strongly suggest carving your turkey in the privacy of your kitchen and not at the table:  Less pressure and less mess!

Step 2:  Prep time

First things first: Wash your hands. While the carving fork can be of help as you cut up the bird, some prefer simply using their hands, so make sure they’re nice and clean before you start. After you’ve washed up, set out your cutting boards, along with your knives and carving fork so they’re easy to access.

Step 3:  Time for the knife

Make sure your turkey is laid out so the breast bone is facing up. Start by slightly pulling one of the legs away from the body and carving through where the skin is loose. When you get to the hip socket, continue to pull the leg away from the body until the ball pops out of the socket. Cut this away until the leg comes cleanly off in one piece.

After you’ve removed the leg, separate the thigh from the drumstick by slicing through the ball joint. Simply feel for the bulge of the joint to find the correct spot to cut. Now take the thigh and cut out the bone by running the knife along both sides and cutting it away from the meat. You’ll be left with a big piece of thigh meat to slice into equal serving sections. Repeat the same steps to remove and slice the meat on the other leg.


No need to cut the meat off the drumstick — there’s always someone who likes this part whole.

Step 4:  The good stuff

Now it’s time to prepare your breast meat. Start by cutting off the wings from the body of your turkey. For this step you can either twist the wing off or find the joint and cut around it until you can remove the wing from the body in one piece.

Set the wings aside and find the breast bone down the center of your turkey. Take your knife and cut along both sides of the bone, one side at a time. Be sure to carefully follow the line of the bone down the entire turkey as you make your way across the rib cage. Once you have both sides of breast meat separated from the bone, slice the meat into even, parallel lines. Remember, the more cleanly you slice this meat the more presentable it will be on the platter.

Step 5:  Finishing touches

Fan your breast meat out across the platter, then place your drumsticks and thigh meat around the plate. Add some fresh herbs to the platter for presentation purposes, and you’ve now have a perfectly carved turkey on your hands!

Related links:

How to avoid holiday weight gain
Pumpkin fluff dip inside a pumpkin
3 Unique holiday pie recipes

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed.