How to Carve a Turkey

The only step-by-step guide you'll ever need

November 1, 2022  |   by Staff Writer

It’s something that most of us do only once a year, and yet somehow, we are expected to be expert carving masters by the time that turkey hits the table—carving fork in one hand, knife in the other. So we’ve broken it down step-by-step to make it easy. Ready to carve with confidence?

step 1 of carving a turkey, turkey covered in foil

Start with the Bird

Pull your fully cooked turkey out of the oven and cover it with foil, allowing it to rest for 15-30 minutes. Note: This is the perfect time to make your gravy.

Remove the Legs and Thighs

Pull one drumstick outward and cut down, separating it from the body as you go. Cut the joint at the bottom using a twisting motion with the knife and remove the leg. Repeat with the other drumstick.

removing legs of turkey

Remove the Breast

This is done in two pieces. Locate the backbone in the center of the breast. Take your knife and slice along the center just to the side of the bone, not on top of it. Continue your cut and slice downward and along the bottom of the breast near the wing. Finish the cut at the wing and remove it. Repeat on the other side.

removing the breast of a turkey

Remove the Wings

Slice through the joint to remove one of the wings. Cut off the tip of the wing and discard. Cut the rest of the wing into two pieces through the joint. Repeat with the other wing.

removing wing from turkey
removing last bits of turkey

Get the Last Bits

Using your knife, remove any remaining large pieces of meat on the bird. Save the bones for a tasty turkey stock.

Slice and Arrange

Starting with the turkey breast, cut against the grain for slices at desired thickness, we recommend about ½ to 1 inch thick. Arrange on a warmed serving platter.

slicing and arranging a turkey

Add the Dark Meat

Use your knife to remove the dark meat from the wings and it to your serving platter. Then, cut the thigh and leg apart at the joint that connects them. Serve the drumstick whole, or slice the meat off and add to the platter. Slice the thigh meat to desired thickness, and add to the tray. Cover the meat with foil until it’s time to serve.

adding dark meat of turkey


Use a bit of fruit or fresh herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary, or thyme to garnish the serving dish. Serve and enjoy!

garnish the turkey

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