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How to carve a turkey plated with herbs featured image

How to carve a turkey recipe card

  • Author: Sachi
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 bird 1x
  • Diet: Diabetic


You've roasted a beautiful Thanksgiving turkey! Here's an easy step-by-step guide to carving it!



1 turkey


  1. Remove legs & thighs. Grab hold of a leg and pull it slightly away from the bird. Use your knife to cut along the fold of skin between the breast and thigh, cutting all the way down to the joint.
  2. Fold the leg outward to expose the thigh. Push up from the backside of the turkey thigh to pop the joint. Use your knife to carefully cut around the bone and separate the entire leg from the body. Repeat on the other side.
  3. Separate thigh & leg. Wiggle the thigh and leg back and forth to locate the joint that connects them. Slice through the skin and meat down to the joint, then use your hands to gently pop it. Use the tip of your knife to cut through the joint. Repeat on the other leg.
  4. Remove thigh bone. Flip one thigh so the skin side faces down. Make a cut along one side of the thigh bone to remove a large chunk of meat. Make another cut along the other side to remove the bone completely. 
  5. Slice thigh meat. Flip the meat chunks so the skin is facing up, then cut it against the grain into roughly ½-inch wide pieces. Moving quickly, place the sliced turkey on your warmed platter and cover it with foil. Repeat on the other leg.
  6. Remove breast meat. Locate the breastbone and slice down along the bone until the breast meat is completely separated from the bone.
  7. Where is the wishbone? The lucky wishbone is an inverted Y shaped bone located above the neck bone. To find it, position the bird with the tail facing away from you, breast-side up. Using the tip of your knife, cut a slit along both the inside and the outside of each branch of the Y. Now, cut a shallow, horizontal slit where the two branches of the wishbone meet.
  8. Remove the wishbone. Using your index finger and thumb, grab the place where the two branches meet and gently pry the wishbone loose. If it is stuck, continue to make small incisions as needed to remove it. 
  9. Remove wings. Wiggle one wing back and forth to locate the shoulder joint. Slice down to the joint, then use your hands to pop it out before using the tip of your knife to slice through it. Repeat on the other wing.
  10. Separate the wing and drumette. A drumette is the thick first section of a chicken wing that resembles a drumstick. Articulate the wing back and forth to find the elbow joint. Pop it, then slice through to separate the pieces. If desired, remove the wing tips by slicing through the wrist joint.
  11. Slice & plate breast meat. With the skin side up, slice the turkey breasts on a bias, working against the grain. I suggest roughly ½-inch wide pieces as thicker pieces won’t dry out quite as much as thin slices. 
  12. Arrange meat on platter. Arrange sliced meat, legs, drumettes and wings on a warm serving platter. Make a mound of the messier pieces beneath the neater looking pieces. I like to separate the dark meat from the white meat. Cover with foil, to keep warm, until ready to serve. 


  • To neatly transfer sliced meat from the cutting board to a serving platter, slide a kitchen knife under the slices and hold them in place with the other hand.
  • Serve immediately or keep warm, by tenting with aluminum foil, until ready to serve. Now is a good time to decorate the platter with garnishes such as fresh herbs.
  • Waste not, pick the carcass. There’s plenty of good meat on the carcass for turkey pot pie, turkey salad and turkey soup.
  • Save the bones and carcass to make turkey stock.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Thanksgiving
  • Method: carving
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: how to carve a turkey, turkey, thanksgiving, carve, prep, serve, plate, keto, low-carb