Cutting up raw turkey could save you hours in the oven—and save the day if you waited too long to defrost your Thanksgiving bird.

aw turkey legs in white casserole
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A broken-down turkey roasts much faster than a whole one, cutting hours off of your cooking time. And while a butcher can sell you ready-to-roast pieces, it's not hard to tackle a full turkey at home.

No need to be, er, chicken—just follow our step-by-step guide to help you cut up a raw turkey in no time flat.

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Illo: remove the turkey wings
Credit: The Ellaphant in the Room

Remove the turkey wings

Pull a turkey wing away from the body; wiggle it to locate the joint. With a sharp knife, cut through the joint where the wing meets the body. Repeat with the other wing.

Illo: remove the legs
Credit: The Ellaphant in the Room

Remove the turkey legs

Pull each leg away from the body and slice between the leg and breast until you hit the thighbone. Bend the leg away from the body to pop the joint out of its socket. Cut through the joint and skin to remove the leg.

Illo: halve the legs
Credit: The Ellaphant in the Room

Halve the legs

Divide the legs into thighs and drumsticks by turning each leg skin-side down and cutting through the joint at the top of the drumstick.

Illo: remove the backbone
Credit: The Ellaphant in the Room

Remove the backbone

With kitchen shears, cut down both sides of the backbone where it meets the rib cage and remove it. Place the bird breast-side up and press to flatten.

RELATED: How to Prep a Turkey for Roasting

Illo: split the breast
Credit: The Ellaphant in the Room

Split the breast

Flip the bird over, breast-side down, and cut through the cartilage that runs between the two breasts. Use a firm pressing motion to snap the breast in two through the wishbone.

Tip: Save the backbone and other trimmings, like the giblets in the cavity, to make stock for turkey soup.

RELATED: How Long to Cook a Turkey, in One Easy Chart