How to Carve a Turkey

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Follow this simple, methodical tutorial for how to carve a turkey. Using a sharp carving knife, carve one side completely before moving on to the second side. Anyone can do it!

Carving roasted turkey breast into slices.

Carving notes

  • Resting: Let your roasted turkey rest, tented with foil, for 30 minutes before carving. It’s a great time to make the gravy!
  • Tools: Use a good, sharp carving knife and a two-pronged fork or your hand.
  • One side at a time: It’s easiest to carve one entire side of the first and then move on to the second side.
  • Carving the breast on the bird: Just above the thigh and shoulder joints, carve a deep horizontal cut through the breast toward the bone to create a base cut. Starting near the breastbone, carve thin slices vertically, cutting downward to end each slice at the base cut.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. On a large cutting board, place the turkey breast side up. Remove the truss. Begin carving one side of the turkey completely before moving on to the other side.
A roasted turkey on a cutting board.
  1. Removing the wing: Pull the wing away from the body and slice through the skin to locate the shoulder joint. Cut through the joint to remove the wing.
Carving a wing off a roasted turkey.
  1. Removing the whole leg: Pull the leg away from the body and slice through the skin to locate the thigh joint. Cut through the joint to remove the entire leg.
Carving a roasted turkey leg off a full turkey.
  1. Separating the thigh and leg: Cut through the joint that separates the drumstick from the thigh. Serve these pieces whole, or carve them by cutting off the meat in thin slices parallel to the bone.
Carving a roasting turkey leg.
  1. Removing the breast: Cut along the breastbone while following the curvature of the bones. Using your hand or a carving fork, gently pull the breast meat away while using the knife to remove the meat from the ribs.
Carving roasted turkey breast off a whole turkey.
  1. Place turkey breast on the cutting board. For larger slices, slice the breast meat on an angle.
Carving roasted turkey breast into slices.
  1. Repeat with the second side of the turkey. Arrange cut portions on a serving platter and pass the gravy separately.
Plates of Thanksgiving food including turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and asparagus.

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More turkey techniques

Carving roasted turkey breast into slices.

How to Carve a Turkey

Follow this simple, methodical tutorial for how to carve a turkey. Using a sharp carving knife, carve one side completely before moving on to the second side. Anyone can do it!
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 10 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 636

Ingredients 

For the turkey:

  • 1 (14 pound) whole turkey roasted

Instructions 

  • On a large cutting board, place the turkey breast side up. Remove the truss. Begin carving one side of the turkey completely before moving on to the other side.
  • Removing the wing: Pull the wing away from the body and slice through the skin to locate the shoulder joint. Cut through the joint to remove the wing.
  • Removing the whole leg: Pull the leg away from the body and slice through the skin to locate the thigh joint. Cut through the joint to remove the entire leg.
  • Separating the thigh and leg: Cut through the joint that separates the drumstick from the thigh. Serve these pieces whole, or carve them by cutting off the meat in thin slices parallel to the bone.
  • Removing the breast: Cut along the breastbone while following the curvature of the bones. Using your hand or a carving fork, gently pull the breast meat away while using the knife to remove the meat from the ribs. Place turkey breast on the cutting board. For larger slices, slice the breast meat on an angle.
  • Repeat with the second side of the turkey. Arrange cut portions on a serving platter and pass the gravy separately.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Resting: Let your roasted turkey rest, tented with foil, for 30 minutes before carving. It’s a great time to make the gravy!
  2. Tools: Use a good, sharp carving knife and a two-pronged fork or your hand.
  3. One side at a time: It’s easiest to carve one entire side of the first and then move on to the second side.
  4. Carving the breast on the bird: Just above the thigh and shoulder joints, carve a deep horizontal cut through the breast toward the bone to create a base cut. Starting near the breastbone, carve thin slices vertically, cutting downward to end each slice at the base cut.

Nutrition

Calories: 636kcalProtein: 98gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 325mgSodium: 505mgPotassium: 1010mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 252IUCalcium: 50mgIron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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