As a devoted turkey lover, I take my Thanksgiving bird very seriously. When it comes to choosing between the two major brands, Foster Farms and Butterball, the options can seem endless. Which has more white meat? Will one brand break the bank? I’ve cooked more turkeys than I can count over the years and tasted the results side by side. So, what’s the difference between Foster Farms and Butterball turkeys?
Foster Farms offers more meat cut options than Butterball does. While Foster Farms meat is very juicy, Butterball is a little bit drier. They also differ in meat quality, and packaging.
In this definitive guide, I will walk you through the key differences between Butterball and Foster Farms turkeys so you can decide which is better and choose a bird you’ll be proud to serve this holiday season. Whatever brand you choose, I hope you and your loved ones enjoy an excellent, delicious Thanksgiving meal. Gobble gobble!
Size and Variety
When choosing between Foster Farms and Butterball Turkeys, size and variety are important factors for me.
Foster Farms offers more size options, from whole turkeys to turkey breasts, legs, thighs, wings, tenderloins, drumsticks, and ground turkey. Butterball also boasts an excellent offer, though a bit more limited, offering whole turkeys, turkey cuts, roasts, deli turkey, turkey sausage, ground turkey, turkey bacon, and turkey burger.
Foster Farms also has more variety, like its organic and free-range turkeys. As someone who prefers sustainably and humanely raised meat, these options are a big plus. Butterball does have some organic options, but Foster Farms seems more committed to this.
Foster Farms turkeys are fed an all-vegetarian diet without any antibiotics or added hormones. You can truly taste the difference. Their meat tends to be juicier and more flavorful, in my opinion. Butterball turkeys can still be quite tasty, but I find their meat to be a bit drier.
Another factor is that Foster Farms offers honey-roasted turkeys then fat-free and low in sodium, so you can choose the flavor you want.
Regarding preparation, I like to keep things simple with just some salt, pepper, and herbs rubbed under the skin. A Foster Farms turkey’s flavor shines through when you let the natural juices and meat speak for themselves. For extra flavor, you could place some lemon wedges, garlic, onions, or citrus inside the cavity.
Meat Quality & Packaging
Foster Farms raise their turkeys naturally without the use of hormones or steroids. Their turkeys are fed an all-vegetarian diet and given more space to roam.
They also don’t use antibiotics or added hormones in their turkeys. This means the meat is free from chemical residues and has a cleaner, more natural taste. Butterball turkeys have no artificial ingredients whatsoever, and they are minimally processed.
Foster Farms follows strict food safety protocols to ensure their turkeys are properly handled, packaged, and stored. Their turkeys are processed in facilities that meet or exceed USDA standards. 
Foster Farms uses an air-chilled system rather than a water-chilled method. Air-chilling helps the turkey retain more juices, producing a moister, fresher-tasting product. 
Butterball uses a water-chilled system, which can dilute the natural juices and introduce excess water into the meat. However, their turkeys are also raised in a safe environment on family farms’ barns, where they are fed a balanced diet of vitamins, minerals, and grains. 
Foster Farms turkeys come in plastic packaging that isn’t recyclable. Butterball uses recyclable packaging for their turkeys, which I appreciate since so much waste is generated during the holidays.
Butterball pre-brines their turkeys directly in the breast meat, ensuring customers can take the turkey from the packaging to their pan without additional preparation before cooking. Moreover, they come in a cook-proof bag, so you may as well forget to take them off.
Which Is Better, Foster Farms or Butterball Turkey?
If I had to choose between Foster Farms or Butterball, I’d go with Foster Farms. After comparing the two brands across several factors like taste, quality, availability, and animal welfare, Foster Farms comes out on top for me.
Foster Farms turkeys just seem to taste better to me. Their turkeys are bred to have more fat marbling in the meat, which leads to a juicier, more flavorful bite. The natural, vegetarian-fed diet also produces a cleaner taste without the slight “gamey” flavor.
In terms of quality, Foster Farms has stricter standards for its products. They have USDA graders on-site daily to ensure each turkey meets their high standards before being shipped to stores.
Foster Farms also gets points for animal welfare and sustainability. Their turkeys are raised cage-free without antibiotics or added hormones. Foster Farms also leads the way in sustainable farming practices like converting waste into renewable energy and recycling water.