How To Carve A Turkey – Video Tutorial

how to cut a turkey

Preparing an oven-roasted whole turkey is a challenge in and of itself, but carving the bird and making it look presentable is a challenge, too! With my step-by-step video tutorial, you can overcome the fear once and for all and learn how to carve a turkey like a pro! After doing this just once, you’ll have no fear of carving any type of whole-roasted bird!

My Turkey Carving Video Tutorial!

Watch my YouTube video tutorial for all the details to learn how to carve a turkey! Want to receive new recipe emails in your inbox? Make sure to subscribe to my website and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!

Tools You’ll Need for Carving

You’ll need just a few tools for carving a turkey, or any other bird!

  • Sharp, carving knife: a carving knife is a long knife with a thin and flexible blade. This will allow you to work around bones and cartilage. 
  • Carving fork: a fork is handy for keeping the turkey stable and for lifting pieces of meat.
  • Cutting Board: I like to use a carving board, which is specially designed cutting board with a moat around the edge to capture all the juices

Prepare Your Turkey First

The first step is preparing your turkey! Check out my recipes for ‘Garlic Butter Turkey’ and ‘Smoked Turkey’ – both are great options for Thanksgiving or the holidays!

Once your turkey is done baking with an internal temperature of 165F, allow the turkey to rest in the roasting pan for about 20 minutes, basting a few times with the juices. Allowing the turkey to rest will let those juices sink into the meat and stay there! Once it’s rested, transfer the turkey onto a large carving board with a rim to catch all the juices.

Arrange all the pieces on a large platter and garnish with oranges, lemons, cranberries, fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme and bay leaves.

A plate of carved turkey, with fresh fruit and herbs

Carving the Turkey Drumstick & Thigh

Using a sharp knife, begin with the drumsticks and thighs, which are attached together. Cut the drumstick away from the body and gently pull the drumstick away and down. A well cooked turkey will come apart very easily! Turn the drumstick down and find the thigh joint, cutting and pulling the thigh away. Separate the drumstick and thigh along the natural joint, then use a paring knife to cut away the bone from the thigh, keeping it as whole as possible. Serve the drumstick whole and slice the thigh into bite sized pieces.

Carving the Turkey Breast

Slice off the turkey breast next, starting from the top and allow your knife to be guided by the breast bone. Slice the breast into bite-sized pieces and keep the skin intact by gently holding it in place. Pull away the turkey wings last; these are also composed of two pieces – the wing and the little drumstick. Separate the two and serve them whole.

A close up of sliced turkey pieces on a plate with fresh fruit and herbs

Arranging the Carved Turkey

Arrange the freshly carved turkey on a large platter. Arrange the larger pieces, like the sliced turkey breast and drumsticks on the top, over any smaller cuts of turkey. I like to garnish the turkey with orange segments, fresh berries or cranberries and greenery. You can use fresh herbs or decorative greens. Small, bite sized apples are also a great addition to the platter! 

Recipes to Try!

You can use this carving technique not only for turkeys but also for other birds: duck, chicken and even geese! Check out my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

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How to Carve a Turkey Video Tutorial

20 mins prep + 0 mins cook
Learn how to easily carve a turkey for Thanksgiving with a step-by-step video tutorial!

Equipment

  • Carving Knife
  • Carving Fork
  • Carving cutting board

Ingredients 

  • 1 cooked turkey
  • 2 large oranges, sliced
  • 1 cup cranberries, or other berries
  • bunch of fresh rosemary and thyme
  • decorative greens, optional
  • small apples or persimmons

Instructions

  • Allow the turkey to rest for 20 to 30 minutes prior to carving. The turkey will be extremely hot immediately out of the oven! Be extra careful!
  • Using two large lifting forks, lift the turkey out of its roasting pan and onto a carving board. Cut away the twine, if needed.
  • Using a sharp knife, begin with the drumsticks and thighs, which are attached together. Cut the drumstick away from the body and gently pull the drumstick away and down. A well cooked turkey will come apart very easily! Turn the drumstick down and find the thigh joint, cutting and pulling the thigh away.
  • Separate the drumstick and thigh along the natural joint, then use a paring knife to cut away the bone from the thigh, keeping it as whole as possible. Serve the drumstick whole and slice the thigh into bite sized pieces.
  • Slice off the turkey breast next, starting from the top and allow your knife to be guided by the breast bone. Slice the breast into bite-sized pieces and keep the skin intact by gently holding it in place. Pull away the turkey wings last; these are also composed of two pieces – the wing and the little drumstick. Separate the two and serve them whole.
  • Arrange the freshly carved turkey on a large platter. Arrange the larger pieces, like the sliced turkey breast and drumsticks on the top, over any smaller cuts of turkey. I like to garnish the turkey with orange segments, fresh berries or cranberries and greenery. You can use fresh herbs or decorative greens. Small, bite sized apples are also a great addition to the platter!