New cook? No problem! Butterball® helps you cook with confidence. Just use our simple instructions, recipes, cooking tips, calculators, and more to make every cooking experience easy and fun. Also, check out our Holiday Guide and Entertaining Section under Tips and How-tos.
Allow more time.
Your first few attempts at cooking will take a little longer until you get the hang of things. Plan to try a new recipe when you’re not in a time crunch.
Set yourself up for success.
Choose a recipe that calls for only a handful of ingredients and doesn’t take long to make. Small victories in the kitchen will prepare you to move on to bigger and better dishes.
Use your favorite spices.
Spices add more flavor to your favorite dishes. For Italian night, use Italian seasonings such as basil, oregano, and parsley. Or for a recipe with Mexican flavor, try using cilantro, garlic, and lime. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
Follow four simple safety guidelines.
- Wash your hands often throughout the cooking process.
- Use separate utensils for each dish to avoid cross contamination and cut raw meat with separate utensils.
- Cook food to proper temperatures
- Refrigerate leftovers promptly
Relax and have fun!
Cooking should be an enjoyable experience. Try sharing it with someone you love. And remember, mistakes and messes are bound to happen, so let them roll off your back and keep trying.
Guide to a Picture-Perfect Turkey Dinner
When preparing your first turkey dinner, set yourself up for success. Don’t feel like you have to do everything. If your guests ask if they can bring a dish, say “yes!” They’ll be happy to share one of their favorite side dish or dessert recipes and you can focus on the main event: your Butterball turkey.
Step 1: Take it Step-by-Step
Not sure where to start? Print out our Timeline Checklist to help you organize and prioritize so everything comes out in time for dinner!
Step 2: Planning Perfect Portions
Determine how much turkey and stuffing you will need to feed your family and friends by using our Plan Perfect Portions Turkey and Stuffing Calculator:
Step 3: Selecting a Turkey
Fresh vs. frozen? It’s totally up to you. Here are the pros for either choice:
- Fresh turkeys need no thawing and are ready to cook.
- Fresh, non-basted Butterball® turkeys are all-natural.
- Frozen turkeys can be purchased weeks in advance but require several days of thawing time.
- Butterball deep-bastes the breast meat of frozen turkeys for juiciness and additional flavor.
Step 4: Thawing
Refrigerator thawing is the recommended method. However, if you’re short on time, use the cold-water method. Thawing the turkey at room temperature is not recommended as it could promote bacterial growth. Follow these simple Thawing Instructions. Quick rule of thumb: Allow 1 day for every 4 pounds of turkey.
Step 5: Marinating
Marinades can add unique and delicious flavors to your turkey. Follow these Marinating Tips for a tender and flavorful turkey every time. Quick rule of thumb: Allow 1/4 cup of marinade for every 1 pound of meat. Marinate 2 to 8 hours, depending on desired strength of flavor.
Step 6: Prepping
Now that your turkey is thawed and marinated, preheat your oven. Remove the turkey from the packaging and remove the neck and giblets from inside. Drain juices and pat turkey dry with paper towels. No rinsing is required.
Step 7: Stuffing
Whether or not you stuff your turkey is a matter of personal preference. If you decide to make this part of your meal, we recommend following our How to Stuff guidelines. Be sure to prepare your stuffing just before cooking the turkey and use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the stuffing to ensure that it’s cooked all the way through.
Step 8: Roasting
Use our open-pan roasting method for a tender and juicy turkey every time. Follow the Roasting Guidelines. It’s easy!
Step 9: Testing for Doneness
Using this roasting schedule as a guideline, start checking for doneness about 30 minutes before recommended completion times:
|Net Wt. (lb.)||Unstuffed (hrs.)||Stuffed (hrs.)|
|10 to 18||3 to 3 1/2||3 3/4 to 4 1/2|
|18 to 22||3 1/2 to 4||4 1/2 to 5|
|22 to 24||4 to 4 1/2||5 to 5 1/2|
|24 to 30||4 1/2 to 5||5 1/2 to 6 1/4|
Turkey is done when a meat thermometer reaches the following temperatures: * 180 degrees deep in the thigh. Juices should be clear, not reddish-pink, when thigh muscle is pierced deeply. * 165 degrees in the center of the stuffing, if turkey is stuffed. * See How to Know When Your Turkey Is Done.
Step 10: Carving
Carve like a pro by following these straightforward Carving Techniques. To help make carving easier, use a straight, sharpened knife.
How to Wow
For a special dinner, set the mood with personal touches like elegantly folded napkins, centerpieces and other decorations. Also, learn how to select wine that pairs well with your meal. See our Entertaining section for tips and ideas.