How Long Should a Turkey Rest Before You Carve it

When roasting a turkey, we recommend allowing 45 minutes for it to rest before serving. To put this delay in perspective, think about how big a turkey typically is. Allow plenty of time for the juices to disperse. While the main course is resting, the sides can be made and warmed up.

How Long Should a Turkey Rest Before You Carve it

This is the perfect moment to take advantage of the extra room in your oven or smoker that you now have after cooking the turkey. During this time, you can also utilise the drippings from the pan to make gravy.

Plating A Carved Turkey

Once the meat has been sliced, it can be presented artistically on a dish. Truthfully, there is no best method to proceed. As well as the size of your platter, you’ll also want to consider whether or not you plan to use any additional garnishes, such as fresh herbs, lemons, cranberries, apples, etc.

Adapt the structure to your liking. I just make sure the best cuts, like the drumsticks and breasts, get all the attention they need. Then I’ll add garnishes to make up for it.

Serve it Right Away

It won’t take long for the turkey meat to cool after it’s been taken from the bird. Make sure that the salads, sauces, and other Thanksgiving treats you’ve been planning are ready to serve. Then, sneak up on your visitors with a masterfully sliced turkey and use it as a showpiece.

Serve it Right Away

The recommended resting time for a roasted turkey is 45 minutes. Some studies suggest that smaller birds only need 30 minutes of rest.

The same holds true if you’re not roasting a full turkey but rather just a few breasts or wings. The recommended resting time for smoked turkey is merely 15 to 30 minutes due to its rapid cooling.

Don’t Carve the Turkey Until The Last Minute

The USDA recommends not leaving a turkey out for more than 2 hours, and for no more than 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Expect to wait no longer than an hour.

Wrapping a turkey with foil is the standard method for keeping it warm. Don’t cut into the turkey until the very end, as the slices will cool off much more quickly than the whole bird.

Precautions While Preparing A Turkey:

Preparing the perfect turkey is an art form, a culinary feat that involves precision, timing, and expertise. One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to turkey preparation is about the timing—when to carve it, how long to let it rest, and what to do if it’s done too early.

In this SEO-optimized article, we’ll answer all your burning turkey-related questions so you can achieve that juicy, tender, and flavorful bird you’ve been dreaming of.

Can a Turkey Sit for 2 Hours Before Carving?

Yes, a turkey can sit for up to 2 hours before carving. Allowing the bird to rest after it comes out of the oven is crucial for retaining its juices. A turkey that has rested well is easier to carve and will be more succulent.

Two hours should not be a cause for concern when it comes to food safety, especially if the bird has been properly cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Do You Cover the Turkey When Resting?

It’s recommended to loosely tent the turkey with aluminum foil while it’s resting. This helps to keep the bird warm without making the skin soggy. Covering also helps in retaining the internal moisture of the turkey, ensuring that the meat remains juicy and delicious.

Can You Wait a Day to Carve a Turkey?

While it’s possible to wait a day to carve the turkey, doing so may compromise the quality of the meat. Ideally, the turkey should be carved within 2 hours of cooking to maintain its juiciness and flavor. If you must wait, be sure to store the cooked turkey in the refrigerator to prevent bacterial growth, and reheat it properly before carving and serving.

How Long Can a Turkey Sit Before Cutting?

For optimal flavor and juiciness, allow the turkey to rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving. However, the turkey can sit for up to 2 hours without posing a food safety risk if it has been cooked to the proper internal temperature.

Can I Carve the Turkey Early and Keep it Warm?

Yes, you can carve the turkey early and keep it warm. To do this, slice the turkey and arrange the pieces in a dish, then cover it with foil and keep it in a warm oven (around 200°F or 93°C). Alternatively, you can place the dish in a warming drawer if you have one.

What if My Turkey is Done Too Early?

If your turkey is done ahead of schedule, don’t panic. Tent it with foil and let it rest as you normally would. If you have more than 2 hours before serving time, you may want to keep the turkey in a warm oven to ensure that it stays at a desirable temperature.

Can You Let a Turkey Rest Overnight?

Letting a turkey rest overnight is not recommended due to food safety concerns. The risk of bacterial growth increases significantly over prolonged periods. It’s best to carve the turkey within 2 hours of cooking and store any leftovers in the refrigerator as soon as possible.

How Long Should I Keep My Turkey Covered with Foil?

During the resting phase, keep the turkey covered with foil for at least 20-30 minutes, and up to 2 hours if needed. This helps in juice retention and keeps the meat warm and succulent.


It’s not necessary to fear the chore of carving a turkey. As long as you don’t make the typical mistakes, it’s not hard at all. If you know how to carve a chicken, you already know how to carve a turkey; if you don’t, you just need some practise.

Prepare for success by setting up your equipment. Because turkeys are so big, you’ll need a substantial cutting board to prevent the bird from dangling and shaking while you slice it.