How to Tuck Turkey Wings: A Comprehensive Guide for Crispy Skin and Easier Carving

Tucking the wings of a turkey is a simple yet crucial step in preparing the bird for cooking. This technique helps to prevent the wings from burning and promotes even cooking, resulting in a beautifully browned turkey with crispy skin. Additionally, tucking the wings makes the bird more compact and easier to handle, especially when carving.

Why Tuck Turkey Wings?

  • Prevents Burning: Turkey wings are thin and delicate, making them prone to burning during the cooking process. Tucking them under the breast protects them from direct heat, ensuring they cook evenly without burning.
  • Promotes Crispy Skin: By tucking the wings, the skin on the breast and back of the turkey remains taut, allowing the fat to render and crisp up beautifully during cooking.
  • Easier Handling and Carving: Tucking the wings creates a more compact bird, making it easier to handle and maneuver in the oven or smoker. This also makes carving the turkey more manageable, as the wings won’t be in the way.

How to Tuck Turkey Wings: A Step-by-Step Guide


  • Whole turkey
  • Kitchen twine
  • Sharp knife
  • Carving board or roasting rack
  • Paper towels
  • Kitchen gloves (optional)


  1. Prepare the Turkey: Put on your kitchen gloves if desired. Ensure the turkey is cleaned of giblets and stuffed according to your preference. Place the bird on a clean carving board or roasting rack for stability.

  2. Tuck the Wings: Grab the wings that protrude from the bird’s body. Using a forward motion, pinch the wing tips and tuck them under the front breast meat. The weight of the turkey should hold the wings in place, preventing them from popping back out.

  3. Tie the Turkey: Cut a length of twine long enough to wrap around the entire bird with the wings tucked. Securely tie the twine around the breasts, then wrap it around the entire turkey, including the tucked wings Pull the twine tight and wrap the remaining ends around the turkey legs, tying them together like a shoelace.

  4. Cook the Turkey: With the wings tucked and tied, you can now cook the turkey according to your preferred method, whether it’s roasting, smoking, or frying. Remember to use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches a safe 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh.


  • If your turkey has a pop-up thermometer, make sure it is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching the bone.
  • Basting the turkey with butter or broth during cooking can help keep the skin moist and flavorful.
  • Let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.

Tucking the wings of a turkey is a simple yet effective technique that enhances the cooking process and the final presentation of the bird. By following these steps, you can ensure a beautifully browned turkey with crispy skin, making your next Thanksgiving or holiday meal a success.

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Keywords: turkey, wings, tucking, cooking, crispy skin, easier carving, Thanksgiving, Christmas, holiday, roasting, smoking, frying, meat thermometer, basting, resting.

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Why do you tuck turkey wings?

If the wings are too short to be tied, Rodgers suggests tucking the wing tips into the shoulders of the bird. This allows for a more even cooking and prevents the wings from burning. Cook the bird according to your recipe and enjoy!

Should turkey legs be tucked or untucked?

Neither chefs nor food writers can agree on whether—or why—you’d want to tie up your turkey. Some say that the splayed legs of an untrussed bird cook faster due to more exposure to hot air, plus more of the skin crisps.

How do you Tuck Turkey wings?

In a forward motion, pinch the wing tips and tuck them under the front breast meat. The weight of the turkey should hold down the wings and stop them from popping back out. Once you have tucked the wings we need to secure them with twine. – Estimate the length of twine you will need to wrap around the entire bird with the wings tucked.

How do you fold a turkey wing?

With the wing joints exposed, carefully fold each wing inward towards the turkey’s back. The goal is to tuck the wings snugly beneath the bird, keeping them as close to the body as possible. This will help prevent them from drying out or getting burnt during the roasting process. To begin folding the wings, start with the right wing.

Should you Tuck a turkey wing?

Tucking the wings will make it much easier to handle the bird and gives you a picture–perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving dinner. Before you begin, make sure that the inside of the turkey has been thoroughly cleaned out and rinsed. If you’ll be adding stuffing or any accoutrements to the bird, now’s the time.

How do you lift a turkey wing?

Place your turkey on a pan or cutting board, breast side up, this will keep your counter clean as you prep your turkey. Grab one of the turkey’s wings in one hand, and with your other hand, lift the bird. As you lift the bird, pull the tip of the wing beneath the turkey. Lower the turkey, the wing should stay in its new position.

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