Jennie O Turkey vs. Butterball Turkey: Differences & Which Is Better

Jennie O Turkey vs. Butterball Turkey
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Both Butterball and Jennie-O are well-known turkey brands specializing in the production of whole turkeys as well as turkey products. One of the hardest questions to answer is which is better because they both follow the “from farm to table” concept. Since Thanksgiving is nearing, I have researched and tried both, so I have the answers to all possible questions. So, what are the differences between Jennie-O and Butterball Turkey? 

Butterball turkeys are known as rich and juicy, while Jennie-O turkeys are known as leaner. Both brands produce high-quality meat, with the Jennie-O milder and Butterball more flavorful. Both brands have their turkey farms and offer excellent products.

Though both brands have excellent quality turkey products, you should know a thing or two about what they offer. So, to help you enjoy them to their full potential, I will tell you everything you need to know about both turkey brands in this article. Let’s get started!

Size and Variations 

Both Jennie-O and Butterball are well-established turkey brands and really know what they are doing. Both brands know that to boost sales, they have to offer availability and, more importantly, variety. 

Not only do both brands offer various turkey meat products, but they also offer different size turkeys suited for any occasion. I really appreciate the wide selection both brands carry, starting from turkey breast to ground turkey meat to small, medium, and large whole turkeys. 

To make things even better, they offer fresh whole turkeys for immediate cooking and frozen whole turkeys that come in handy around holidays. So, if you want to have your turkey shopping taken care of well in advance, you can buy a frozen turkey and just pull it out of the freezer whenever it suits you. 

Nothing ruins Christmas and Thanksgiving like struggling to find the bird that is supposed to be the centerpiece of your holiday table. 

Now, to describe them separately, Jennie-O offers a variety of turkey products, such as whole turkeys of different sizes, turkey breasts (bone-in or boneless), ground turkey (various lean percentages), turkey sausages, turkey burgers, and even pre-seasoned or marinated turkey options. 

The turkeys that Butterball offers are pre-brined and nicely tenderized, so all you have to put in is the necessary minimum. 

In addition to turkeys, Butterball provides a range of turkey products, which comes pretty much equal to Jennie-O’s selection, but the best thing is both brands complement each other in this regard. 

While Jennie-O offers turkey sausages, Butterball offers turkey bacon and turkey deli meats. They also carry turkey bacon, turkey deli meats, and even fully-cooked turkey products, like their oven-ready whole turkey. So, whatever you may need, these two brands have got you covered.

Taste and Meat Quality 

When it comes to taste and meat quality, both brands take utmost care to offer their customers top-quality products that taste just as advertised. These two brands, however, have managed to do the impossible, i.e., create signature products coming from the same base0 — turkey meat. 

What I admire about Jennie-O and Butterball is the fact that they have created brand-specific products and have managed to remain original and recognizable. 

Jennie-O turkeys are leaner than Butterball, so they have a more natural and milder flavor. That isn’t to say that they are flavorless or dry, but you can definitely feel that they are less fatty. They are lighter than the turkeys of most brands and are the perfect option for those seeking a healthier option. 

Again, this isn’t to say that Butterball turkeys aren’t healthy, but Jennie-O turkeys are noticeably leaner. The meat is very tender and chewy and extremely easy to work with. I love how easy it is to season a Jennie-O turkey because it absorbs all flavors you put in. Whether you decide to traditionally roast the turkey or combine it with other ingredients, the Jennie-O turkeys are shape-shifters pairing deliciously with almost everything. 

Butterball turkeys are pre-brined, which means that the meat is tenderized and marinated even before it gets to your kitchen. This leaves you with very little work, so you can just pop the turkey in the oven and be done. Since the brand farms the turkeys, the meat is top-quality, and the meals are beyond exquisite. 

When I’m in the mood for something juicy and full, I always go with a Butterball turkey, and I have never regretted that choice. The brand takes much pride in the fact that their turkeys come with as little processing as possible, so you can expect a natural flavor. 

Butterball turkeys are easy to season and absorb additional flavors, but they are delicious unseasoned as well, which is probably an advantage they have over Jennie-O turkeys. Not that an unseasoned Jennie-O turkey would taste bad, far from it, but Butterball specializes in tenderized and juicy turkey meat. 

Packaging and Prices 

Jennie O Turkey vs. Butterball Turkey Packaging Differences

Both Jennie-O and Butterball brands follow the highest turkey packaging standards taking utmost care to pack and deliver their products in a sanitary manner. They both sell packaging-wrapped turkeys, sealed and safe from external impact. 

Although they both have fresh and frozen turkeys, the fresh turkeys aren’t entirely defrosted but kept at proper temperatures, so they are perfectly safe to eat. When I buy a fresh turkey from either of these brands, I have to let it thaw a little before I cook it. 

Jennie-O and Butterball turkeys come in branded packaging, displaying the company’s logo and product information as well as basic cooking instructions on some packages. 

The prices of Butterball and Jennie-O turkeys are definitely competitive and well-adjusted to the market and standard of living. However, consumer prices are mainly dictated by the retailers selling their products. So, you may encounter different prices at different stores. 

Still, these variations are not overly significant, but if you find the price too high, you can always get the turkey of either brand from a different store more cheaply. You can also find both brands at discount prices, depending on where you get them from. 

They are available all year round, but be very careful around the holidays because the demand is very high, so you may not get your Butterball or Jennie-O turkey if you are too late.


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Treatment of Turkeys and Antibiotics/Hormones 

Both Jennie-O and Butterball practice the “from farm to table” method, meaning they farm the turkeys they sell. Both brands are known for their farming practices, where they let the turkeys roam and feed naturally, satisfying their nutritional needs. [1]

Both brands consider the carnivorous nature of the turkeys, so they provide them with animal protein resulting in excellent-quality meat. 

Both brands use grain-based turkey feed and allow the turkeys to feed freely without force-feeding them. The use of antibiotics is minimal and only when absolutely necessary and recommended by a veterinarian. Antibiotics are used when the health of the turkeys requires such treatment and never for commercial purposes. 

Hormones and artificial growth substances are also out of the question for both brands, as their primary goal is to produce organic and top-quality turkeys and turkey products. The processing they apply for their turkeys and turkey products is minimal and only for sanitary purposes as required upon packaging. 


Costco Meat Aisle

Both these brands wouldn’t have become as successful as they are today if they weren’t widely available. It seems that the business strategies in terms of price and availability are the main marketing pillars for Jennie-O and Butterball since you can easily get them for normal prices. 

Still, the availability of the Jennie-O and Butterball turkeys is highly dependent on the demand and the season in question. During the holiday season, and by the holiday season, I mean from October to January, the turkeys are in very high demand and not as available as during the rest of the year. Still, it seems to me that Butterball turkeys are everywhere, but lately, I have been preparing them a lot so it may be because of this.

On the other hand, you can always pre-order your turkey and not worry about it. During the holiday season, the supply matches the demand, but you may be too late if you wait just a tad longer. 

Which Is Better, Jennie-O or Butterball Turkey?

To say which is better is probably an impossible answer. Both brands deserve the title, and they both have it, so objectively, it is a borderline crime to say that one is better than the other. Since Jennie-O and Butterball have different goals in terms of the final product, their turkeys are different but still excellent. 

So, it all boils down to personal preference. If you are looking for a leaner option, you should choose the Jennie-O turkey. On the other hand, if you are more in the mood for something juicier and slightly fattier, Butterball turkey should be your choice. 

If you don’t have a particular preference and aren’t so concerned about calories and fats, you can select whichever is more available to you. Both brands offer top-quality meat, they are affordable, and you will definitely find one or the other at your usual store.

Which one is the winner for you? Do you prefer some other brand? I would love to hear from you! So, tell me all about it in the comments below.

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