Expert tips to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving turkey

There’s a lot to consider in preparing the perfect turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner — and it can be daunting for even the most seasoned hosts. These tips from the experts at Butterball will ensure you bring the best turkey to the table.


Of all of the things to consider when picking a turkey, Butterball suggests starting with choosing the weight based on the number of people you’re serving. Butterball recommends two pounds per adult and one pound per child — but you may also want to bank extra weight if you want leftovers or know of those who will want extra helpings during dinner. For a precise decision, use a portion calculator.

After deciding on the weight, there’s the choice between fresh and frozen. This decision is mostly based on preference, but also on how soon you plan to cook the bird. Fresh turkeys are better if there’s less time — since it takes a day of thawing for every four pounds of frozen turkey.


When it comes to preparing the turkey, there are a number of options to choose from — marinating, injecting, brining and stuffing.

There are even more options when it comes to actually cooking the bird. Most are familiar with frying, roasting and smoking — but there are several other options. Adventurous cooks can try their hands at air frying, spatchcocking or grilling their birds.

Though deciding how to prepare and cook your bird can be overwhelming, Butterball’s how-to’s explain the difference between the options and what you’ll need for each one, so you can decide the best method for your dinner.


There is only one way to be sure of a turkey’s doneness: the temperature. It should be 180° F in the thigh, 170° F in the breast and 165° F in the stuffing.


Let the bird rest for at least 20 minutes before trying to carve. It’s best to use a sharpened straightedge knife and a carving fork and to take your time with each cut. Each part of the bird should be carved a little differently. Click here for instructions on carving the breast, drumsticks and wings.


If an emergency arises while you’re cooking, you won’t be without help. Butterball has the answers to any turkey questions you ever could have and the experts are reachable through the “Turkey Talk-Line.”

The talk line provides answers to all types of turkey questions until December 24. Butterball has your back on topics like how to pick a turkey, how to thaw the bird and all kinds of cooking questions.

The line is open to call or text from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the three days before the holiday and open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day itself.

To reach a Butterball expert, call 800-288-8372 or text 844-877-3456.

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