What Is the Difference Between Butterball and Jennie O Turkey?

Last Updated on May 28, 2023 by Lauren Beck

When it comes to turkey, two brands have earned their place at the center of our holiday feasts: Butterball and Jennie-O. Having experienced both firsthand, I can confidently show the differences between these turkey powerhouses. 

So, let’s cut through the gravy and get to the meat of the matter.

Differences Between Butterball and Jennie-O Turkey:

Brand Reputation:

  • Butterball: Butterball has been a trusted name in Turkey for over 60 years. They are known for their expertise in turkey farming and consistently delivering high-quality products.
  • Jennie-O: On the other hand, Jennie-O is recognized for its focus on producing healthier turkey options. They offer a wide range of turkey products, including lean ground turkey and turkey bacon.

Processing Methods:

  • Butterball: Butterball turkeys are typically pre-basted, which means they are injected with a solution to enhance their flavor and juiciness. This can be an advantage for those who prefer a moist turkey with minimal effort.
  • Jennie-O: Jennie-O turkeys are not pre-basted, making them a good choice for individuals who prefer to season and flavor the turkey according to their preferences.


  • Butterball: Butterball turkeys are widely available in most grocery stores and supermarkets. They offer a variety of sizes, from small turkeys suitable for intimate gatherings to large ones for feeding a crowd.
  • Jennie-O: Jennie-O turkeys are also readily available, but their product range may be slightly more limited than Butterball. However, they offer a range of turkey cuts and options beyond whole turkeys, catering to different dietary needs.

Pros and Cons: Butterball VS Jennie-O Turkey:

Butterball Turkey Pros:

  • Pre-basted for enhanced flavor and juiciness
  • Wide availability and variety of sizes
  • Trusted brand with a long-standing reputation

Butterball Turkey Cons:

  • Limited customization options for seasoning
  • Some may prefer a turkey without added solutions

Jennie-O Turkey Pros:

  • No pre-basting, allowing for more seasoning options
  • Focus on producing healthier turkey products
  • Variety of turkey cuts and options

Jennie-O Turkey Cons:

  • Availability and product range may be slightly limited
  • Some may find the taste less intense compared to pre-basted turkeys

Are Butterball Turkeys Better Than Jennie-O?

Roasted Turkey

The answer to this question ultimately depends on personal preferences and priorities. Butterball might be the way to go if convenience and a trusted brand are important. 

On the other hand, if you prioritize customization and healthier options, Jennie-O could be your top choice.

Tips When Buying Turkey:

  • Size Matters: Consider the number of guests and the number of leftovers you desire when choosing the turkey size.
  • Fresh vs. Frozen: Fresh turkeys are often seen as more flavorful but require careful handling and shorter storage time. Frozen turkeys are convenient and can be purchased in advance.
  • Read Labels: Check for added ingredients or solutions, especially if you have dietary restrictions or preferences.

Is Purchasing a Fresh Turkey a Better Option Than Going for Butterball or Jennie-O?

While Butterball and Jennie-O offer convenience and consistent quality, buying a fresh turkey from a local farm or butcher can be a delightful experience. 

Fresh turkeys often have a distinct flavor and can provide a unique touch to your holiday meal.

Is Butterball Turkey Real Turkey?

Yes, Butterball turkeys are real turkeys. They are bred and raised specifically for consumption, like any other turkey. The pre-basting process is aimed at enhancing their flavor and juiciness [1].

Do Frozen Turkeys Measure up to the Quality of Fresh Ones?

Both frozen and fresh turkeys can be delicious, provided they are handled and cooked properly. 

Fresh turkeys may have a more pronounced flavor, while frozen turkeys offer the advantage of being stored for longer periods.


There’s no clear winner in the grand turkey showdown between Butterball and Jennie-O. It all boils down to personal preferences and priorities. 

Butterball brings decades of expertise, pre-basting their turkeys for a juicy, no-fuss experience. On the other hand, Jennie-O caters to those seeking healthier options and the freedom to season their bird as they please. 

Whichever path you choose, both brands offer quality turkeys that will satisfy your holiday cravings. So, gather your loved ones, embrace your inner chef, and let the turkey feast begin!


Lauren Beck

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