Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question? Behold our most coveted turkey knowledge. Check here first for answers to your most pressing turkey questions. If you can't find what you're looking for, give us a call.
What is the difference between fresh and frozen?
Choosing a fresh or frozen turkey depends largely on preference, but also on how soon you plan on cooking your turkey. Make the right decision for you by considering these general tips.
- Fresh turkeys are ready to prepare. Fresh turkeys are best if held in the refrigerator for 24 hours before final preparation.
- Frozen turkeys can be purchased weeks in advance, but need several days to thaw and require adequate space in your freezer and refrigerator. See our How To Thaw page for more information.
Also, check out our How to Choose guide to help you decide what’s best for you.
How do I determine what size turkey to buy?
Check out our calculator to determine the Butterball® Turkey size range to purchase for your holiday meal.
What are some new ways I can prepare my turkey?
What can I do to prevent a dry turkey?
- Check the date – make sure your frozen turkey was purchased within 2 years or make sure your fresh turkey is not beyond the sell-by-date as both of these factors could impact the quality of your turkey.
- Storing turkey – make sure to keep your frozen turkey in a deep freeze rather than a frost free refrigerator as freezer burn could result in a dry turkey. In addition, make sure the packaging does not have any tears or holes.
- Thaw properly – How you thaw your turkey can make a big impact. There are a couple of different ways to do so, check out our How To Thaw page to learn more.
- Cooking process – cooking at a high temperature and too long can result in a dry turkey. Butterball has a variety of ways to cook a turkey, visit our How To's section to learn about different cooking methods.
Also, check out the Why Butterball® Turkeys are the Best Available page to learn about how our turkeys are tender and juicy.
What type of thermometer is best for cooking a turkey?
There are a variety of different meat thermometers and they range in price. The most important factor when choosing is accuracy. Test your thermometer before using in your turkey to ensure it gives you an accurate temperature read to reduce the risk of over or under cooking. When checking for doneness, always use a properly calibrated meat thermometer which should read at least 165o in the breast and 180o in the thigh.
Learn more about how to check your turkey for doneness or read incredibly easy tips for placing the meat thermometer in the turkey correctly.
What are giblets?
Giblets are the heart, liver and gizzard of the turkey. These parts should be removed from the turkey cavity before cooking but can be used to make rich, flavorful gravy. See our Holiday Turkey with Giblet Gravy recipe for more details or check out our Why Butterball® Turkeys are the Best Available page to learn about the cook proof bag our giblets come in.
How long can I store a turkey in the freezer?
You can store an unopened whole turkey in the freezer for up to 2 years.
How do I store leftovers?
Check out our Four Ts of Food Safety for details on how and how long to store turkey leftovers. You can also find detailed storage instructions on each of our product pages.
What is the "sell by" date on my Butterball product?
As a general rule, you can keep your Frozen Butterball Turkey in the freezer in its original packaging for up to 2 years and it should still be of good quality. Turkeys kept in commercial freezers, like those at grocery stores, may be kept even longer. Butterball uses a coding system known as the lot code system. An example of it has been provided below:
- 5026: Plant information
- 6: Last digit of the year the turkey was processed (in above example, the year is 2016)
- 229: Julian date (the 229th day of the year, and in 2016, the 229th day was August 16)
- 00: Code place holders
This number should be on the back of the Butterball tag. If the store has placed their sticker on the tag, you will need to peel it off to see these numbers.
Still need help? Download our Shelf Life Table for specific details by product.
Are Butterball turkeys gluten free?
All of the Butterball products are gluten free except for Butterball Stuffed Turkey (bread stuffing) and Butterball Frozen Meatballs. For our products that are packaged with gravy packets, the gravy packets are gluten free as well. The gravy contains rice flour instead of wheat flour and the modified food starch is corn based.
What does “All Natural Turkey” mean?
Turkey containing no artificial flavor or flavoring, coloring ingredient, chemical preservative, or any other artificial or synthetic ingredient and that is minimally processed (a process that does not fundamentally alter the product) may be labeled "natural." The label must explain the use of the term "natural" (e.g., no added colorings or artificial ingredients, minimally processed). Source: USDA
Do Butterball products have MSG?
Butterball, LLC does not add MSG to any of its products. According to USDA regulations, MSG must be listed in the ingredient statement if it is add to food products.
Where can I find product allergen details?
The USDA requires that any of the top 8 allergens be listed on the packaging of our products. Example: Butterball products will say “contains wheat” or “contains milk”.
- Butterball whole turkeys (fresh and frozen), bone-in breasts and boneless roasts do not contain any of the top 8 allergens.
- We cannot provide a list of ingredients in the flavorings in our products because they are proprietary. If a consumer is allergic to a specific food other than one of the top 8, please call our Consumer Affairs team at 1-800-288-8372, select option 4.
Does Butterball treat its turkeys humanely?
Absolutely! It is our responsibility to produce healthy, high-quality turkeys in a responsible way. Animal Care and Well-Being is central to who we are as a company, and we are committed to maintaining the health and well-being of our turkeys. In fact, we continue to lead the industry in Animal Care and Well-Being standards, and we’re engaged in ongoing efforts that include:
- Establishing an independent Animal Care and Well-Being Advisory Council, made up of well-known animal care experts.
- Strengthening our employee training through identifying and implementing best industry practices.
- Implementing audits conducted by the American Humane Association, a highly recognized, independent third party that audits our facilities and practices according to peer-reviewed, science based criteria.
- Rigorous continuous improvement of our operational processes through industry-leading technology and practices.
To learn more about Butterball’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, including our Animal Care and Well-Being program, click here.
What does the American Humane Certified seal on Butterball® products mean?
The American Humane Certified program, a voluntary program offered by the American Humane Association, is the nation’s first independent, third-party humane certification program for farm animals. Through rigorous inspections and examinations, the American Humane Association provides third-party, independent verification that certified producers’ care and handling of farm animals meet or exceed the peer-reviewed, science-based animal welfare standards of the AHA.
For more information on the American Humane Association, visit http://www.americanhumane.org/.
For more information on the American Humane Association’s Humane Certified program, visit http://www.humaneheartland.org.
Why is the AHA seal not on all Butterball products?/Why is the AHA seal only on certain whole turkeys and not on others?
While Butterball has always considered animal care and well-being to be a core value, we recently attained certification from the American Humane Association and added the American Humane Certified logo to our packaging. As we phase this new packaging into the marketplace, consumers may notice slight overlap in packaging with and without the logo.
The seal first appeared on fresh whole turkey packaging in 2013. We are proud of our AHA certification, so consumers will continue to see the logo displayed on whole turkey packages as well as every day product packaging, like turkey burgers, bacon and sausage.
This prestigious certification verifies that turkeys raised on Butterball’s family-owned farms meet or exceed the rigorous, science-based, peer-reviewed AHA standards for humane animal care.