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How To Carve a Turkey

Your step-by-step guide to carving the holiday bird like a pro

turkey tips: how to carve a turkey

Follow these steps to wield your knife with flair:

  • Step 1: Let it rest. After you take your turkey out of the oven, carefully transfer it to a large cutting board and let it stand for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing the juices to redistribute and the meat to firm up—which makes carving easier and neater. To keep the turkey warm, be sure to cover it loosely with foil while it rests.
  • Step 2: Remove the drumsticks and thighs. Hold onto a drumstick and pull leg away from the body to expose the joint. With a sharp carving knife, cut through skin and meat. Use the knife’s tip to separate the joint while gently pulling the leg out and back. Repeat with the other drumstick/thigh. Cut through the joint to separate the two parts; repeat with the other leg. Slice meat from the drumsticks and thighs.
  • Step 3: Slice the breast. Remove both breast halves by cutting around the breastbone, keeping as close to the bone as possible to remove the most meat. Then slice each breast in half crosswise, against the grain, as shown above. (This method yields thicker slices and more tender meat than slicing the breast off the bone.)