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How to Carve a Turkey

Fall is in the air! Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

If you’re planning to host the holiday, or at least cook at home, you might be wondering how to carve a turkey. Using a good technique will help you get as many servings as possible.

Before you start, make sure you read our guides for How to Brine a Turkey and How to Roast a Turkey

Roasted Turkey Photo

When to Carve a Turkey

Let the cooked turkey rest for 20-30 minutes before carving it. This will allow the meat to absorb the juices.

Roasted Turkey Picture

What is the Best Type of Knife to Carve a Turkey?

Use a sharpened, slicing knife with a straight-edged blade. Don’t use a serrated knife (with teeth) or it will tear the meat.

You may find it easier to use a 5-to-6-inch blade for cutting off the legs, wings and breasts, then switching to a long, 10-inch knife to slice up the meat.

Instant Pot Turkey Breast with Carrots and Homemade Gravy Pic

How to Carve a Turkey

Place the turkey on a carving board. Cut away and discard the strings from the legs.

Cut away the legs first, then the wings. Carve the turkey breast last.

Roasted Turkey Image

How to Carve Turkey Thighs/Drumsticks

  1. Pull a leg away from the body of the turkey and cut through the skin and meat in between the leg and the body.
  2. Cut along the joint to separate the leg from the rest of the turkey.
  3. To separate the thigh and drumstick, insert your knife at the V section, where the joint is. Cut through this section.
  4. To remove the bone from the thigh, cut around the bone while pulling and twisting the bone away.
  5. Cut away the skin from the thigh. Slice the thigh meat.
  6. Repeat with the other leg.
Instant Pot Turkey Breast with Carrots and Homemade Gravy Picture

How to Carve Turkey Wings

  1. Insert a fork in the upper wing to the steady turkey.
  2. Pull the wing away from the turkey and insert your knife at the V section. Cut the wing off the turkey.
  3. Repeat on the other side of the turkey.
Instant Pot Turkey Breast with Carrots and Homemade Gravy Image

How to Carve the Turkey Breast

  1. Peel the skin back, exposing the meat. Pull one breast away from the center bone, as you insert the point of your knife along the curve of the bone to remove the meat.
  2. Repeat with the breast on the other side of the bone.
  3. With a long slicing knife, slice the meat against the grain (in the opposite direction of the lines of the meat).
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Image

Now that you know how to carve a turkey, you might want to think about gravy and all the Thanksgiving sides. And don’t forget the pies for dessert!