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How to Carve a Turkey (with Easy Video Steps!)

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5 from 7 votes

Carve a turkey like a pro with these 10 easy steps, including a video to walk you through every move! Your stunning Thanksgiving turkey platter will “wow” your dinner guests!

No matter how big the bird is, you’ll be able to carve your turkey in just a few minutes. Roll up your sleeves, get your knife and cutting board out, and let’s do this thing! Once you’ve mastered the skill of cutting a turkey once, you’ll have this skill with you for every Thanksgiving ahead.

Plus the turkey carver has another important job…to taste the turkey while slicing for quality assurance, of course! Wink.

Don’t forget to make the Ultimate Turkey Sandwich or Turkey Club Pasta Salad with those leftovers!

What You’ll Need

  • Chef’s knife and fork: a sharp chef’s knife is the best choice for carving a turkey. A serrated knife can be used if you don’t have a large chef’s knife.
  • Large cutting board: a large, sturdy cutting board is the best working surface to carve a turkey!
  • Platter for serving (optional)

How to Carve a Turkey

Carving a turkey is a messy job regardless of how masterful you are with a knife. But these 10 steps (with video in recipe card) will help you carve your turkey in just a few minutes, no matter how big the bird is!

  1. Rest.

    Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving, to seal in its juices.

  2. Legs and thighs.

    Remove the leg and thigh from the breast by finding the crevice between the leg and the breast. Use your knife to slice through that crevice. You’ll feel some resistance once you hit the ball joint. Cut right through the ball joint to the bottom of the thigh.

  3. Separate thigh from leg.

    Now that the leg and thigh have been detached from the rest, cut and separate the leg from the thigh.

  4. Remove thigh bone.

    If you’d like to slice the thigh meat, you can easily find the bone with your fingers and pull out the thigh bone. Slice the meat.

  5. Repeat.

    Repeat steps 2-4 for the other leg and thigh.

  6. Breast.

    The breast bone is right in the center of the turkey. It separates the two breasts. Locate the bone and cut alongside the bone, carving out the entire breast in one piece.

  7. Other breast.

    Repeat step 6 for the other breast.

  8. Slice breasts.

    Slice breasts against the natural grain of the turkey; the lines in the turkey meat go in one direction, so cut perpendicular to those lines.

  9. Wings.

    Use your hands and the knife to pull off the wings.

  10. Serve.

    Serve on a big platter.

Leftovers and Storage

Carved turkey lasts about 4 days, covered, in the refrigerator.

Serve chilled, to make the Ultimate Leftover Turkey Sandwich. Or heat in a sealed foil package at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes depending on how much turkey you’re reheating.

You can also freeze cooked turkey meat for up to 3 months!

More Thanksgiving Recipes You’ll Love!

How to Carve a Turkey

Carve a turkey like a pro with these 10 easy steps, including a video to walk you through every move!
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Main Course, tips & tricks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fall, winter
Servings: 1 carved turkey
Calories: 454kcal
Author: TastefullyGrace

Equipment

  • Chef's knife and fork
  • Large cutting board
  • Serving platter (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 whole turkey cooked (any size)

Instructions

  • Rest. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving, to seal in its juices.
  • Legs and thighs. Remove the leg and thigh from the breast by finding the crevice between the leg and the breast. Use your knife to slice through that crevice. You’ll feel some resistance once you hit the ball joint. Cut right through the ball joint to the bottom of the thigh.
  • Separate thigh from leg. Now that the leg and thigh have been detached from the rest, cut and separate the leg from the thigh.
  • Remove thigh bone. If you’d like to slice the thigh meat, you can easily find the bone with your fingers and pull out the thigh bone. Slice the meat.
  • Repeat. Repeat steps 2-4 for the other leg and thigh.
  • Breast. The breast bone is right in the center of the turkey. It separates the two breasts. Locate the bone and cut alongside the bone, carving out the entire breast in one piece.
  • Other breast. Repeat step 6 for the other breast.
  • Slice breasts. Slice breasts against the natural grain of the turkey; the lines in the turkey meat go in one direction, so cut perpendicular to those lines.
  • Wings. Use your hands and the knife to pull off the wings.
  • Serve. Serve on a big platter, or skip right to the turkey sandwiches!

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • The nutrition facts are based on a 15 pound turkey yielding 15 servings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 454kcal | Protein: 70g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 232mg | Sodium: 361mg | Potassium: 721mg | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 3mg
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TastefullyGrace

Welcome to my kitchen! Cooking and baking with the seasons has been a part of my life since I was just a little kid. Here in New England, seasonal cooking is more than the fresh produce available during that time of year. It’s the “feeling” that you get when making popsicles or grilled meats in the summer, or a warm bowl of pasta in the winter! Whether it’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter or any holiday in between, I hope these recipes satisfy your seasonal cravings.

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