How to Carve a Turkey

Knowing the right techniques to carve up a turkey will take you from an eager eater to an experienced expert.

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How to Carve Turkey Breast

  1. First, allow your cooked turkey to sit for about 20 minutes before starting to carve.
  2. Beginning halfway up the breast, slice straight down with an even stroke.
  3. When the knife reaches the cut above the wing joint, the slice should fall free on its own.
  4. Continue to slice breast meat by starting the cut at a higher point each time.

Turkey Tips

Did You Know?

Carving begins with the utensils. Use a sharpened, straightedge knife and carving fork to carve your turkey.

How to Carve Turkey Drumsticks

  1. Cut the band of skin holding the drumsticks.
  2. Grasp the end of the drumstick, place your knife between the drumstick/thigh and the body of the turkey, and cut through the skin to the joint.
  3. Remove the entire leg by pulling out and back, using the point of the knife to disjoin it.
  4. Separate the thigh and drumstick at the joint.

Turkey Tips

Did You Know?

A thawed turkey may be kept in the refrigerator (40 degrees F or below) up to 4 days before cooking.

Frozen Whole Turkeys and Frozen Whole Turkey Breasts need to be thawed before cooking.

Thaw Fully Cooked Baked and Smoked Turkeys via the refrigerator method.

Refrigerator thawing is preferred and the least labor-intensive but requires more time.

Cold water thawing takes less time but requires more attention.

How to Carve Turkey Wings

  1. Insert a fork in the upper wing to the steady turkey.
  2. Make a long horizontal cut above the wing joint through the body frame.
  3. The wing can be disjointed from the body, if desired.

Suggested Products

We believe people should feel good about what they eat. That's why all Butterball® products are made with quality turkey for everyone and for any occasion.

Butterball Turkey Talk-Line™

Got a turkey-related question? We can answer it!

Call 1-800-BUTTERBALL or text us at 844-877-3456 to chat with our turkey experts

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More Turkey Tips

How to Brine

Brining is the key to a juicy, flavor-filled turkey. Never tried it before? We'll show you how.

How to Stuff

Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, it's at the heart of any Thanksgiving. Let us show you how to prepare a stuffed turkey.

How to Thaw

Ready to get cooking? We'll show you the do's and don'ts of thawing your turkey.

How to Inject a Turkey

Looking to add a little extra flavor? Try injecting your turkey with a favorite marinade. It's simple and easy.

How to Carve

There's one last step before you dig in: carving! Don't be intimidated. We're here to guide you.

Food Safety Essentials

Get the information you need to store, prepare and enjoy your meal safely.

How to Make a Leftover Turkey Sandwich

Got leftovers? Make a sandwich! Turn your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers into another tasty meal.

How to Choose a Turkey

Fresh or frozen? Big or small? We can help you choose the right turkey for your next gathering with our how-to video.

How to Place a Meat Thermometer

Unsure of how to check if your turkey is done cooking? Use a meat thermometer!

How to Marinate

When you know the basics of marinating, you can guarantee great flavor every time. Let us show you the steps and some great recipes, too. There's a marinade for every occasion and every palate.

How to Inject a Turkey

Looking to add a little extra flavor? Try injecting your turkey with a favorite marinade. It's simple and easy.

How to Check for Doneness

Is the turkey done yet? You may have heard of different ways to check, but there’s only one way to be sure.