10 Most Frequently Asked Questions from the Butterball Turkey Hotline


Cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving can be overwhelming but Butterball is here to help with the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line™.

If you need the hotline, it’s open on Thanksgiving. Call 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372) or text 844-877-3456.

Butterball Turkey Talk-Line™ Hours:

Weekdays Nov 1 – Nov 17, 8 am – 8 pm CST
Nov 18 – Nov 19, 8 am – 6 pm CST
Nov 20 – Nov 22, 7 am – 9 pm CST
Thanksgiving Day 6 am – 6 pm CST
Nov 24, 8 am – 6 pm CST
Weekdays Nov 27 – Dec 15, 8 am – 6 pm CST
Dec 18 – Dec 22, 8 am – 6 pm CST
Dec 23 – Dec 24, 8 am – 2 pm CST

Below are some frequently asked questions.

1. How do I thaw a Turkey?

Watch the Butterball video below on how to thaw your turkey. They suggest you thaw your turkey one week before Thanksgiving.

2. 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.

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 their How To section to learn about different cooking methods.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. How do I determine what size turkey to buy? 

Check out the Butterball calculator to determine the Butterball® Turkey size range to purchase for your holiday meal.

8. What is the sell-by date on the Butterball turkey?

As a general rule, you can keep your frozen turkey in the freezer in its original packaging for up to two years. Butterball uses the coding system known as the lot code system. See the example below. You should find this number on the back of the Butterball turkey.


5026: Plant Information
6: Last digit of the year the turkey was processed, for this example it would be 2016
229: Julian date, 229th day of the year in 2016, the 229th day of the year was Aug. 16
00: Code place holders

9. Does Butterball treat its turkeys humanely?

Animal care and well-being is central to Butterball. They lead the industry in animal care and well-being standards with ongoing efforts.

They have established an independent Animal Care and Well-Being Advisory Council made up of well-known animal care experts. Strengthen employee training by identifying and implementing best practices.

Implement audits by American Humane, a highly recognized independent third party that audits their facilities and practices according to peer-reviewed, science-based criteria.

10. What does “all-natural turkey” mean? 

Turkey contains no artificial flavoring, color ingredients, chemical preservatives, or any other artificial or synthetic ingredient and that is minimally processed.

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