How to Cook a Butterball Turkey


This post is sponsored by Butterball, but as always, all opinions are 100% our own!

After much discussion about what to do for our next Butterball-related post, we decided the best option was to talk about how to cook a Butterball turkey. We came to this conclusion for many reasons:

1) Cooking a turkey is easy. But it can be scary. Mostly because you’re often cooking it for a crowd and because there’s a lot of talk about turkey being dry and not great. We were often intimidated by cooking a turkey but after three fantastic years working with the people at Butterball we felt so confident sharing this with you!

2) We haven’t done a post together in a while. After our Project Food Blog series last year we got a lot of comments from people saying they loved seeing us cook and in the kitchen together.

Sues came over to my place Monday night and we got to work preparing our very basic turkey. You can obviously go above and beyond with how you prepare your turkey, but we wanted to keep it simple just for the sake of showing you just how easy it really is!


Step 1: If your turkey is frozen, you need to have a defrosting plan! Use this guide to learn how to thaw your Butterball turkey properly. Also note that thawing is the #1 question the Butterball ladies get on Thanksgiving from people who didn’t plan in advance. Remember you need days to fully thaw a frozen turkey!

Step 2: To brine or not to brine? One of the awesome things about Butterball turkeys is that you don’t have to brine them. They’re already pre-brined with a salt solution! BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t brine them. My dad actually always brines our Butterball turkeys and swears by Alton Brown’s recipe. The brine or not brine debate is already so hot, so it’s really just up to personal preference and what you feel like doing.

Step 3: Decide how you want to cook your turkey. For the purposes of this post, we’re going to go with a simple oven roasting method. But at Butterball University, we learned to cook turkey 11 different ways. Yes, 11! That includes cooking a turkey in the microwave (yes, it can be done!).

Step 4: Decide if you want to stuff your turkey. We never stuff ours and simply serve the stuffing (dressing) on the side. But if you want to stuff it, do so now. Just be sure you read the note below on taking the temperature of the stuffing!

Step 4: For the traditional roasting method, pre-heat your oven to 325.  Remove the giblets and turkey neck and pat your turkey dry with paper towels.

Step 5: Place turkey breast side up on a flat rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2½ inches deep.

Step 6: Turn the wings back to hold the neck skin in place, so your turkey will be stabilized in the pan and for carving. Brush the skin with a little bit of olive oil or cooking oil.

Step 7: Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the lower part of the thigh without touching the bone. The thigh is the thickest part of the turkey, so that’s where you need to make sure the turkey is up to temperature and safe to eat. BUT! If you stuffed your turkey, you’ll also need to make sure the stuffing is up to temperature. Lots of people forget to do this and it’s so, so important as the stuffing is actually what can make people sick. If you don’t have an oven safe thermometer, you can simply take the temperature yourself when the turkey is close to being done. I couldn’t live without my Thermapen for cooking meat!

Step 8: Cook turkey! When it’s about 2/3 of the way done, loosely cover the breast with foil so it doesn’t overcook (the breast will be done first, but the rest of the turkey needs more time!)

Step 9: You’ll know your turkey is done when the thigh  is 180 degrees and the breast and stuffing are 170 degrees.

Step 10: Remove your turkey to a platter and let stand for 15-30 minutes before carving and serving!

Yes, it’s that easy to cook a Butterball Turkey!


Butterball’s website is also a wonderful resource for tips and tricks, so be sure to check it out as well!

For your reference, here are Butterball turkey cooking times:

4.5 – 7 lbs
Unstuffed: 2-2.5 hours
Stuffed: 2.25-2.75 hours
7-9 lbs:
Unstuffed: 2.5-3 hours
Stuffed: 2.75-4.5 hours
9-18 lbs:
Unstuffed: 3-3.5 hours
Stuffed: 3.75-4.5 hours
18-22 lbs:
Unstuffed: 3.5-4 hours
Stuffed: 4.5-5 hours
22-24 lbs:
Unstuffed: 4-4.5 hours
Stuffed: 5-5.5 hours
24-30 lbs:
Unstuffed: 4.5-5 hours
Stuffed: 5.5-6.25 hours.

The Butterball website offers information on:

How to Select a Turkey

How to Carve

How to Know When Your Turkey is Done

How to Stuff Your Turkey

And many other useful tutorials!

If you have any questions at all about preparing your turkey this Thanksgiving (or any time of year!) please feel free to ask us! And more importantly, the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is officially taking calls for the season so call 1-800-BUTTERBALL for any and all turkey-related questions you have. These women are turkey geniuses, not to mention some of the sweetest people we’ve ever met, so don’t ever feel nervous to give them a ring! They’re here to help 🙂

What are your turkey plans this Thanksgiving? Are you preparing it or is someone else? Do you have any fancy turkey recipes?

While we are being compensated and working for Butterball this holiday season, like always, all opinions are 100% our own. As you know, we only work with and talk about companies on We are not Martha that we love and support.

3 Responses to "How to Cook a Butterball Turkey"

  1. Deanna says:

    LOL you guys are funny. My sister has selected the turkey that we’re using this year. I hope it comes out as tasty looking as yours!

  2. Susan says:

    Emailing this to everyone I know. And also demanding that I make the turkey next Thanksgiving.

  3. Erica says:

    Thanks girls! Your video helped me last Christmas as it was the first time I ever prepared or cooked a turkey, ever! It was a Butterball and it turned out perfect thanks to your instructions so thank goodness I found your video again and reviewed it to make sure my 2nd turkey turns out as well.

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