This Is the Best Way to Carve a Turkey

Robby Melvin, our Test Kitchen Director, shares the easiest way to break down and serve a roasted bird.

How to Carve a Turkey Step 1
Southern Living
How to Carve a Turkey Step 1a
Southern Living

1. Remove the Leg and Thigh

Place the cooked turkey on a large cutting board, breast-side facing up. (A cutting board with a juice channel is especially helpful when you're carving a turkey.) Using a sharp chef's knife or carving knife, slice off a leg and thigh in one piece, keeping the blade of the knife close to the bone. The meat should separate from the body easily. Make nice fluid strokes until you expose and separate the thigh joint, keeping your blade as close to the carcass as possible. Set aside.

How to Carve a Turkey Step 2
Southern Living
How to Carve a Turkey Step 2a
Southern Living

2. Remove the Breast

Next, remove one of the breasts. Find the breast plate and use the knife to make long cuts right along the breastbone, keeping the blade flush with the breast plate. Use your hands to pull apart and separate the meat from the carcass. Continue cutting around the wing joint to remove the breast. Leave the wing intact. Set aside, skin-side-up.

How to Carve a Turkey Step 3
Southern Living
How to Carve a Turkey Step 3a
Southern Living

3. Repeat on the Other Side

Remove the remaining leg and thigh and breast, following the natural shape of the bird as you cut. Slice off both wings at the joints. Set aside.

How to Carve a Turkey Step 4
Southern Living
How to Carve a Turkey Step 4a
Southern Living

4. Slice the Thighs

Use your hands to expose the joints and separate the thighs from the legs. Slice the thigh meat right off the bone into pieces (keep them as large as possible). Keep the legs intact, and transfer them to a serving platter. Arrange the pieces of dark meat around the legs.

How to Carve a Turkey Step 5
Southern Living

5. Slice the Breasts

Place the breasts skin-side-up on the cutting board. Slice both breasts, on a slight angle, into ¼-inch thick slices, keeping the crisp skin intact. Transfer the sliced white meat to the serving platter, along with the wings. Fan out the meat slightly for a nice presentation.

How to Carve a Turkey Step 6
Southern Living

6. Keep it Warm

Cover the serving platter with aluminum foil to keep the turkey warm before serving. Save the turkey bones (or put them directly in your slow cooker, along with water and some chopped vegetables) to make delicious turkey stock.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles