How to Cook a ButterBall Turkey

How to Cook a Butterball Turkey

Are You Cooking a Turkey for the First Time? Not a Problem. This holiday turkey recipe will show you how to cook a Butterball Turkey with buttery flavor. Learn the Quick and Easy Butterball Turkey Recipe from Dad Cooking Blogger and Butterball Turkey Talk Line Spokesman, RJ Jaramillo


Butterball Turkey Back Story

This year marks the first time Butterball Turkey selected a Male Spokesperson to represent and attend their famous, Butterball University. A nationwide search was done asking hundreds of eager; Male cooks to offer their best Turkey recipes and tips on a 1-2 minute video. After the six-week search was concluded, the winner was recently announced live on the Good Morning America TV show.

And the winner was… ME!

That’s right, I am the first ever, Butterball Turkey SpokesMAN!

In celebration to this historic event, I want to share some of my “Turkey Knowledge” and pass it along to help anyone who is experiencing his or her first Turkey recipe. So sit back, relax and learn how to cook a Butterball Turkey


Ingredients / Equipment:

Turkey Size: 1.5 – 2 Lbs. of Turkey per guest, this ensures leftovers for guests. I am using a 12lb. Turkey in this video.

2- Sticks, Salted Butter

1-Tablespoon poultry seasoning

½ Cup of Fresh Sage, chopped

¼ Cup Fresh Rosemary

Equipment: Preheat Oven to 325 F*, Roasting Pan, Roasting Rack

Note: this is a turkey recipe with the stuffing inside the turkey while roasting. I will assume you have prepared stuffing before starting this recipe.  For stuffing recipes and turkey tips, click here.

Cooking time: 12lb. Turkey, 3.5 Hours, 325F*

First Time Turkey Recipe

This recipe is geared for the cook who is making their first Turkey for the holidays. I can relate to anyone who feels intimidated by the Turkey. The Turkey is a large object and depending on the size of the turkey you buy: you can feel the pressure around making the perfect Turkey for a gathering of friends and family. However, the truth is; you don’t need to put that unnecessary pressure on yourself because as long as you around family and friends, your holiday Turkey is going to be fine. Enjoy the experience and follow my “Quick and Simple” recipe and these cooking steps:

PREHEAT OVEN: 325 Degrees F* – Fahrenheit

Step 1: Thawing and Packaging

I am assuming you have already thawed your turkey and you are ready to go. If not, here is a quick and simple way to thaw your turkey using the “Water Method” to defrost a frozen turkey:

  • Place Turkey in a Large container, ( Large Ice Cooler or Bath Tub)
  • Poor COOL Water into the container, cooler or tub
  • For EVERY 1- Pound of Turkey = 30 Minutes in Water,

Example: 12 pound Turkey= 6 Hours in Water

  • Circulate (ADD) more cool water every 30-45 minutes  because the frozen Turkey acts like a big ice cube and will cool the surrounding water and delay your defrosting time.

When the turkey is thawed, take your fingers and place them at the end of the Butterball Turkey package. You will see the 2- Large holes at the end of the package. Place your index fingers in the holes and pull the turkey packaging apart. There is no need to rinse or wash your Butterball Turkey. Just take a paper towel or kitchen towels and damp dry the outside and inside the cavity and absorb any excess juices.

At each end of the turkey, you will find (2) distinct items in the cavity: The giblets’ packet and the neck of the turkey. There is no need to save these items, (unless you have a special recipe for them, which I don’t). Just go ahead and discard these two items and move on to your turkey recipe.


Step 2: Special Seasoning, Option

The Butterball Turkey is already seasoned, so if you are short on ingredients, you do not have to take this next step on my “special seasoning”. All you have to do is spray the Breast (Top) of the Turkey with cooking spray and place your Butterball on the roasting rack and follow the oven directions I stated above for the 12lb. Turkey.

For those who want my special seasoning, follow these steps:

Take (2) sticks of softened butter and place in a shallow bowl. Add 1- Tablespoon of Poultry Seasoning, ½ Cup of fresh Sage, ¼ Cup of Fresh Rosemary. Use your hands and blend all ingredients into the butter. You can add more dry poultry seasoning if you like, however, just make sure you blend all ingredients well into the butter.

The next step is to take your hand and ‘wedge’ your hand in between the turkey meat and the turkey skin. You will see how I do this technique in my video. Your goal is to work your hand all the way across the breast of the turkey. Once this task is complete, take a handful of your seasoned butter and place throughout the gap that you created. If you have any leftover butter-mix, you can place the excess butter on the top of the breast for extra flavor.


In this recipe, I have chosen to stuff my turkey with stuffing before I place it in the oven. For stuffing recipes and tips, click here. I will assume you have your stuffing ready. Place your stuffing in the cavity of the turkey and make sure you stuff BOTH ends.

At this stage of the game, we have a turkey that is ready to roast. Before placing in the oven, you need to have (2) Meat Thermometers to place in your turkey. I like to have two because I want to make sure I have thoroughly cooked my Butterball Turkey. There are two places I prefer to measure the Turkey Temperature: The Stuffing Temp and The Thigh Temp. These are my recommended temperatures:

Stuffing: 165 Degrees F*

Thigh: 180 Degrees F*

As stated in my recipe, I am using the Butterball recommended Oven Time of 3.5 Hours for my 12-pound Turkey at Conventional Heat Temperature of 325 Degrees F*.  If your turkey is a different size than mine, you can verify proper cooking time at


Ready, Set? Start Roasting!

The final Step is to take your Butterball Turkey on a Roasting Rack and place in a Roasting Pan ( See video) Breast Side UP. No lid or cover is necessary in the open Roasting Method that I use in this video.

Just past the half-way point of your cooking time (1 ½ o 2 hours), I recommend “Tenting” the turkey. Tenting is placing a sheet of Aluminum Foil over the breast of the turkey to allow the rest of the Turkey to cook, while keeping the turkey breast from drying out due to over-cooking.

When cooking time is done, allow 30-minutes for the Turkey to “rest” outside of the oven. Resting the turkey allows the juices to soak back into the turkey meat. It also allows you time for prepping the gravy and other side dishes for the meal. For carving Tips, check out my video on “How to Carve a Turkey” at


Food Safety Tip: Make sure the process of resting, carving, and consuming the Turkey is done in 2- hours or less. Package the leftover turkey with a sealed container and refrigerate or freeze.


Got a Turkey Question? Ask CookLikeADad

If you have a Turkey or any other Holiday Recipe question or idea, please send me an email to:  I will respond to all questions and requests in a timely manner. Thank you!



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