Can I Use an Electric Knife to Carve a Turkey?

Not only are electric knives superfluous, but they also run the risk of ruining whatever you’re cutting.

Every product is carefully selected by our editors. Through links to purchases, we might receive a commission. Learn more.

Thanksgiving is filled with many wonderful traditions, like endless football watching, arguments with long-gone family members, midday naps, etc. However, taking out that dusty, outdated electric carving knife is not one of them.

You know the one. Its electric motor is unbelievably loud, and it has a large plastic grip. It comes with a strangely formal, felt-lined storage box and is used twice a year. You search your kitchen for fifteen minutes, opening each drawer, and eventually discover it hidden behind the juicer. It is that useless.

Yes, you can absolutely use an electric knife to carve a turkey! In fact it’s a great way to achieve a clean, even cut with minimal effort.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to carve a turkey with an electric knife:

Before you begin:

  • Make sure your turkey has rested for 20-30 minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful bird.
  • Use a sharp electric knife with a serrated blade. This will help you cut through the turkey skin and meat easily.
  • Have a large cutting board, a spare cutting board, and a platter ready. This will make the carving process more efficient and organized.

Carving the Turkey:

  1. Remove the string: If you used string to truss the turkey, cut it off before you begin carving.
  2. Stabilize the bird: Place the turkey on a large cutting board and use a carving fork to hold it steady. You can also use a kitchen towel for additional stability.
  3. Remove the leg quarters: Use the electric knife to cut the skin between the leg and the breast, exposing the ball joint. Start with gentle cuts so you can see where you are going. When you get halfway to the bone, pull the leg down and cut straight through the joint, removing the leg and thigh. Repeat on the other side. Place the leg quarters on the spare cutting board.
  4. Remove the wings: Follow the same procedure as for the legs, cutting through the skin and joint to remove the wings. Set them aside on the cutting board with the legs.
  5. Separate the breast meat: Find the breastbone and carefully cut down along the ribcage to remove the breast from the turkey. As you get toward the bottom, you can slice up the bottom at an angle, making it easier to remove. Repeat on both sides and set the breasts aside.
  6. Slice the breasts: Start with one breast and carefully slice the meat down with the electric knife. Avoid sawing the meat; it’s not necessary with an electric knife. To place the sliced breast on the platter, carefully put the knife, a fork, or a spatula under the breast and carry it to the platter. Gently slide the breast off, and it should all stay together. Repeat with the other breast.
  7. Cut the thighs: Take one thigh at a time from the secondary cutting board and separate the leg at the joint. Place the leg aside if you want to serve them whole. If you’d rather cut that meat, too, use the same basic technique as the thigh, but be careful to remove all the bones and cartilage first. Lay the thigh skin-side down on the cutting board. Using your fingers or a paring knife, carefully remove the bone from the center. Feel around with your fingers to make sure there is no lingering cartilage. Roll the thigh up and cut it into slices with the skin side up. Carefully transfer them to the platter.


  • Use a sawing motion with the electric knife to cut through the turkey skin and meat.
  • Don’t press down too hard on the knife; let it do the work.
  • If the knife starts to bog down, slow down your cutting speed or use a back-and-forth motion.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself. Always use the electric knife with caution.

Plating the Turkey:

  • Place the sliced breasts on the sides of the platter.
  • Arrange the thigh meat down the center.
  • Place the drumsticks on top.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.

Additional Notes:

  • The turkey carcass and wings can be used for making a delicious homemade stock.
  • You can also use the electric knife to slice ham, roast beef, and other large cuts of meat.

Carving a turkey with an electric knife is a simple and efficient way to get the job done. By following these steps, you can achieve a beautifully presented turkey that will impress your guests.

Products in the Guide

  • Middleton Made Knives Echo 8 Inch Chef Knife

    Read more

  • Tojiro DP Sujihiki Slicer

    Read more

  • Victorinox Swiss Classic Carving Knife

    Read more

Jerome Murray, who also created the medical pump used in open cardiac surgery and the airplane boarding ramp, is credited with creating the electric knife. Basically, a motor is attached to two serrated blades that have been clipped together. Murray’s idea was to simplify the process of carving larger cuts of meat, like whole turkeys. To be honest, electric carving knives aren’t wholly awful at doing that one task either. Cook’s Illustrated conducted an extensive test and discovered that they were particularly skilled at maintaining the crispy skin of chicken and turkey attached to the meat. The problem is everything else.

The plastic storage box for carving knives mentioned earlier, featuring a red felt interior

An electric carver has many places where residual grease and food residue can remain uncleaned and corrode the blades, in addition to being generally unappealing. These areas include the clip area, the space between the bottom of the blade and the handle, and the twin blades. Additionally, although using an electric knife as a kind of dinner bell, doing so can harm your ears. In preparation for this piece, I put the electric knife my family has been using to carve birds to the test and found that it consistently produced sound north of 90 decibels, which is slightly louder than a concert and slightly louder than standing next to a lawnmower.

Beyond this, the electric knife is unforgiving. You will have already cut through three-quarters of the bird if you apply pressure in the incorrect spot before readjusting your trajectory. Slicing and carving knives have to bend slightly to fit the anatomy of birds, such as chickens and turkeys, which is why they are longer and (usually) thinner than other kitchen knives. With electric knives, it’s extremely hit or miss. As mentioned in the Cook’s Illustrated rundown, some can cut through the meat with ease and produce portions that are adequate. Some people tear and shred the meat, giving you uneven, stringy slices.

Just use an ordinary knife for your family, your turkey, and your sake.

Even though telling you to give up your electric knife is a straightforward task, leaving you on your own wouldn’t be in the spirit of things. In order to address the question, “If not an electric knife, then what?”, if you follow our advice, you might need an answer. To that end, we’ve outlined three additional conventional options that should have you carving turkey correctly in no time.

Middleton Made Knives Echo 8 Inch Chef Knife

This Middleton eight-inch blade, with its walnut handle and AEB-L stainless steel construction, is our top pick among the best chef knives available in the United States. Despite its high price tag, our tester discovered that it is highly ergonomic, excels at precise cutting jobs, and is perfect for everyday use when it comes to meat carving.

How To Carve A Turkey With An Electric Knife


What kind of knife should you use to carve a turkey?

We recommend the Victorinox Swiss Classic 8″ Chef’s Knife, which has Victorinox’s patented Fibrox easy-to-grip, slip-resistant, ergonomic handle. Another great choice for a turkey carving knife is a hollow-edge slicer such as the Wusthof Classic 9″ Hollow-edge Carving Knife.

Why not to use an electric knife?

But any halfway decent reasonably sharp knife is going to be handier and if it’s properly sharpened, it’s DEFINITELY going to cut better and faster. In addition, electric knives can only SLICE. They can’t be used for chopping, dicing, filleting, and all of the other things that you do with a regular knife. Avoid them.

Is electric or manual carving knife better?

Manual VS Electric Since they have smooth blades, standard carving knives create cleaner cuts through meat than the serrated bread knife, steak knives, or the edges of electric knives, which can tear the meat and leave marks on every cut.

Can electric knife cut raw meat?

Electric knives are designed to cut through fresh or thawed meats more effectively.

What tools do you need to carve a Turkey?

Before we get started, here are the tools you’ll need to carve your turkey: Knife. For this tutorial, we’re learning how to carve a turkey with a knife. While I generally use an electric carving knife, any sharp boning or chef’s knife will work just fine. Carving Board.

Can you use an electric knife to carve a Turkey?

While you can use an electric knife for lots of tasks—everything from dicing loaves of stale bread for stuffing to slicing tomatoes for the next BBQ—we know that 99% of the time, you’re breaking out the electric knife to carve turkey, ham or other holiday meats.

Can you cut a Turkey with an electric knife?

Beyond carving turkey, an electric knife is versatile and can be used for other tasks in the kitchen, such as slicing bread, carving roasts, or cutting large fruits like watermelons [ 2 ]. How Thick Should The Slices Be?

How do you cut a turkey breast with an electric knife?

Place the turkey on a stable cutting board with the breast side up. Make sure your hands are dry. Plug in the electric knife [ 1] and familiarize yourself with its controls. Always keep your fingers away from the moving blades. Hold the drumstick end and cut through the skin between the leg and the body.

Leave a Comment