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34 Funny Butterball Hotline Calls to Share This Thanksgiving

Your turkey troubles are nothing compared with these real calls received by experts at the Turkey Talk-Line

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Saving Thanksgiving

If you’ve seen a ghost, you call the Ghostbusters. If you’re terrified of putting a dried-out turkey on your holiday table, you call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. The Butterball hotline is available to help concerned cooks through December 24. Though they may not be the right people to call to ask when Thanksgiving is or what the most popular Thanksgiving pie is, they can tell you how long turkey needs to defrost and how often you should baste.

To reach Butterball’s experts, users can simply say, “Alexa, ask Butterball …” to enable the Butterball Skill for Amazon Alexa. There’s also a text option (844-877-3456), but the tried-and-true way to get help is by calling 800-BUTTERBALL (800-288-8372). Whether you’re calling with funny Thanksgiving quotes or with a genuine question, the Butterball hotline is there to help. If you’re afraid your question will sound silly, get a load of these hilarious stories from the Talk-Line’s frontline. The only thing funnier are these Thanksgiving memes and funny Thanksgiving cartoons!

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Crockpot central

The slow cooker is an extremely useful kitchen tool that is well worth the counter space it consumes. However, a California cook took her appreciation of the crockpot to new levels one Thanksgiving. This particular caller preferred breast meat. To ensure she had plenty at her Thanksgiving feast, she borrowed nine(!!!) slow cookers from her family and friends. Worried a fuse might blow because of the many contraptions in use all at once, she called the Turkey Talk-Line and they calmed her fears. If she did blow a fuse, she could always use an alternate Talk-Line-recommended method to prepare those turkey breasts: the oven, grill or air fryer. Good friends willing to share with you are one of many reasons to be grateful.

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Kiddie callers

For frazzled Thanksgiving cooks, Butterball’s expert help is no laughing matter. But for the kids in the house, it’s all about the jokes. Periodically, the Turkey Talk-Line receives funny phone calls, like a call from some very young boys who wanted to share a joke they thought was pretty darn hilarious.

Q: What is the turkey’s favorite black-tie event?

A: The Butter Ball

It’s a good thing the experts have a sense of humor!

For more laughs, check out these funny turkey jokes.

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Meow mischief

The parents of a newly married couple arrived at their home for their first Thanksgiving meal as newlyweds. One of the dads noticed the turkey thawing in the sink in cold water with a dish drainer and a rubber mat on top of it all. The bride’s father inquired why she was thawing the turkey that way. She said that was the way her mom thawed the bird. The mother’s response: “Well, yes, but we had a cat!” For more laughs, read through these funniest quotes.

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Name game

We’ve heard of people naming their cars, bikes or even a laptop, but there’s at least one person out there who takes the idea of naming their stuff to another level. According to a phone operator with the Butterball Talk-Line, one caller names her turkey every year after the biggest “turkey” of the year. For more puns and double meanings, try your hand at these Thanksgiving riddles.

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The gambler

A call came into the Talk-Line from a senior home in Pennsylvania. On the other end of the line was a gentleman who had won a turkey at the casino. Thrilled with his prize, he brought it home on the bus. He wanted to know if the turkey was still safe to eat even though it had thawed out a bit on the ride. If you’re not quite as lucky, these tips will help you buy the perfect bird.

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Pool party

One year a man called using the Talk-Line as more of a confessional, not really asking a question. He was letting the expert on the call know that, in his experience, the cold-water-thaw method doesn’t really work. Curious, the Butterball hotline operator asked what he meant, because they use that thaw method all the time at Butterball. His response: “I put it in the pool, and when I came back it was missing.” Good thing there are stores open on Thanksgiving!

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Family feud

A few years back, Butterball received a call from a young woman who was cooking her first turkey. Both the woman’s mother and her mother-in-law were there, disagreeing over the proper way to cook the turkey. So, on the sly, she decided to call the Butterball hotline and get Butterball’s opinion. When the expert told her the Butterball method of cooking she was so relieved because her mother had, in fact, been right. Maybe reading these Thanksgiving poems will help smooth over the awkwardness at dinner!

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Double duty

A father in charge of thawing the turkey and bathing his toddler twins decided to hit two birds with one stone. “We could hear water splashing in the background, and turns out he has his kids and the turkey in the tub all at the same time,” says Nicole Johnson, Talk-Line co-director. The man was calling to find out if the bath water would be an acceptable method for thawing the turkey. We’re not sure this one should become a Thanksgiving tradition!

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Turkey treasure

After discovering a turkey from 1969 in his dad’s freezer, an Alabama man called the Butterball hotline to ask about the best way to cook the 30-plus-year-old bird. Although the Butterball hotline staffer recommended the open roasting pan method to cook most turkeys, this time she suggested that the first step was to purchase a fresher fowl! This same gentleman also had in his freezer the top of his wedding cake and a snowball from every snowstorm he’d experienced in Alabama. That turkey was so old, it could probably teach us about the history of Thanksgiving!

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Sun-kissed feast

Some holiday chefs take extreme measures to please all guests. A caller was emailed a photo featuring a turkey with a “bikini look.” As she was entertaining guests from the Bahamas, she asked the Talk-Line how she could create a “tropical turkey.” Believe it or not, Talk-Line vet Mary Clingman suggested using aluminum foil as a way to make the turkey look like a sun goddess! It almost sounds like one of these Thanksgiving crafts for kids.

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Mother-in-law knows best

One woman called the Butterball hotline from a closet so her family couldn’t hear her. “Can you hear me? I’ve never cooked a turkey, and my mother-in-law is convinced I can’t cook—and I can’t cook, but I want to do it,” she whispered. The expert walked her through all the steps, advising against basting the turkey (even though the mother-in-law insisted).

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Food baby

A few hours after his wife had given birth, a new dad called the Butterball hotline to make sure the turkey hadn’t been thawing too long while he’d been at the hospital. The Talk-Line staffer asked how much it weighed, to which the flustered father replied, “The turkey or the baby?” After determining the turkey’s weight and thawing time, she assured him he would be able to deliver a safe, delicious Thanksgiving dinner by the time mom and baby got home. This is how to properly set a table for Thanksgiving.

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Third time’s a charm

One caller was well versed at walking down the aisle, but not so versed when it came to cooking her Thanksgiving turkey. The caller explained to Carol Miller, a 20-plus-year hotline veteran, that Thanksgiving with her first husband was a bust, since she forgot to thaw the turkey. She blundered Thanksgiving with her second husband when the foil pan she was using bent and slipped out of her hands, leaving the feast on the floor. She was hoping the third time would be the charm, so she called the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line to make sure she was doing everything right!

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Santa’s helpers

Even Santa has Turkey Day questions—he and his wife called the Butterball hotline before making a showing in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. The jolly pair wanted to check in on the Turkey Talk-Line experts to see who was naughty and nice, plus get roasting information to make sure their bird turned out picture-perfect. “Guess the Turkey Talk-Line expert made the nice list, because Mrs. Claus was very happy with the help,” says Johnson.

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Borrowed time

Realizing his oven was too small to fit his Thanksgiving turkey, a landlord came up with a solution: switch roles and “rent” one of his tenant’s ovens for $25. He figured his problems were solved until he realized he’d have to constantly interrupt his tenant to baste the turkey. In a panic, he turned to the Turkey Talk-Line to ask how often he’d have to baste. The staffer assured the relieved landlord that just once would do the trick.

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Tools of the trade

Another gentleman called to tell the operator he cut his turkey in half with a chainsaw and wanted to know if the oil from the chain would adversely affect the turkey. That’s a Thanksgiving quote you won’t soon forget!

The great turkey expansion

A new bride cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time in a small, apartment-size oven wanted to make sure her turkey wouldn’t expand during cooking (as baked goods do) and thus get stuck in the oven.

It’s a wrap

A proud gentleman called to tell the staff how he wrapped his turkey in a towel and stomped on it several times, breaking the bones so it would fit in his pan.

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Snow day

A lady from Colorado called the Butterball hotline about how to thaw her frozen Butterball. She proudly shared the fact that her turkey was stored in a snow bank outside! It had snowed the night before, and it then dawned on her that she didn’t have a clue which snow bank her turkey was in. At that point, the conversation was really over because she was now on a mission to go find her turkey. Good thing there are some restaurants open on Thanksgiving!

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Help in a pinch

One caller had always cut the legs off the turkey before putting it in the oven, thinking that was how you had to cook a turkey. She later learned that the only reason her mom had been doing that was because their oven was so small it was the only way to get the bird into the oven!

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Wash, rinse and never repeat

A first-time Thanksgiving chef called Marge Klindera, a 20-plus-year Talk-Line veteran, in tears one Thanksgiving morning. She was so proud to have thawed the turkey successfully and continued to rinse it—with dish soap! The tears started flowing when the turkey wouldn’t stop sudsing. If only she’d called before she would have found out you don’t have to rinse the turkey—just pat it dry with paper towels. Oh well, there’s always Costco pumpkin pie!

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Not-so-smooth sailing

Having lost power an hour into roasting, a woman called the Butterball hotline for advice on how to finish safely. Little did the Talk-Line operator know that the caller’s adventurous neighbor had crashed into a power line while hang gliding, leaving the whole neighborhood without power. The caller was able to transfer her turkey to a gas grill to finish cooking, but the Turkey Talk-Line couldn’t save Thanksgiving for the hang glider, who spent the rest of his holiday in the ER. Safety comes first in the kitchen too. Experts agree that if you stop making these stupid kitchen mistakes you’ll be a better and safer chef.

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Keeping it cooking

One mom called in to share how her little girl had asked if they could slow-roast the turkey for three or four days because she liked how it made the house smell. The experts at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line told her that the turkey should only stay in the oven for a few hours and that it wasn’t a good idea to leave it cooking for four days!

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State bird

When a Talk-Line staffer asked a caller what state her turkey was in (meaning how thawed it was), the caller responded with “Florida.” If you like these Butterball hotline conversations, you’ll also laugh at these food jokes almost everyone will find funny.

All in the family

A woman in her 70s, cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, called for help because her mother said she was tired of cooking and it was time her daughter learned how to prepare the Thanksgiving meal.

Flipping for turkey

A disappointed woman called, wondering why her turkey had no breast meat. After a conversation with a Talk-Line operator, it became apparent that the woman’s turkey was lying on the table upside down.

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Keeping up the ruse

The wife of a chef called in, saying she and her husband were ready to spend their first Thanksgiving together as a married couple. Her husband was convinced she was a great cook … but only because she’d been sneaking restaurant meals into pots and pans before her husband got back for her “homemade” meals. She didn’t want the magic to end on Thanksgiving, so she pulled off the special meal with advice from the Butterball hotline.

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The secret ingredient

A Kentucky mother had followed Butterball’s instructions for roasting a turkey, and everything seemed to be going smoothly. The bird came out of the oven golden-brown, but there was a strange, bright red color when she started to carve it. Turns out her son had helped her “season” the turkey with Legos, and she wanted to know if it was still safe to eat.

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Is this thing done?

One woman was getting worried. Her turkey had been in the oven for seven hours and was still only 140 degrees, when Butterball recommends cooking it to 165 or 180 degrees. The Talk-Line operator figured there was no way it was still undercooked and asked the caller to take it out of the oven and try carving it. Suddenly, there was a burst of laughter in the background. “When she went to pick the turkey up and put on the carving board, the whole thing just disintegrated into pieces,” the operator says. “It wasn’t that the turkey wasn’t done, it was the thermometer that wasn’t working, and it had just been cooked until it was practically falling apart.”

Lesson learned: An accurate meat thermometer is worth the investment. Maybe the turkey wasn’t her best Thanksgiving dish to cook, based on zodiac signs?

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Hot wheels

“How do I make gravy?” asked one man. The question wouldn’t be so strange if it hadn’t been for the suitcase he was rolling down the sidewalk. Inside was a fresh-out-of-the-oven turkey he was bringing to his mom’s house.

Mum’s the word

Two sisters called from a strange location: the closet of the spare bedroom. They were in charge of making Thanksgiving dinner for the first time and didn’t want their mom to know they needed advice from the Butterball hotline.

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Getting into hot water

A 16-pound turkey can take longer than expected to thaw, so one caller put the frozen bird in the hot tub and called to ask how long until it was ready to eat, according to Esquire. The answer: never. Letting it defrost in cold water—without heat and jacuzzi chemicals—is the way to go. This is the ultimate Thanksgiving menu you need.

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Lost and found

“We had one mom call, and she was stuffing the turkey, and the kids had their little Matchbox cars, and they would park them in the garage, so to speak,” Talk-Line co-director Sue Smith told Esquire. “So they went to carve the turkey and found the cars in the stuffing.” The kids were thrilled to find the toys they thought they’d lost, but the mother was more concerned with food safety. The stuffing had to be thrown out, but luckily, the turkey got the green light.

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Not-so-hot dog

A couple’s oven kept turning off while it was preheating, so they called Butterball to find out if they could use the grill as a Plan B, according to Esquire. The Talk-Line adviser said it was a great option and stayed on the line with the wife while her husband fired up the grill. Before they moved the turkey outside, the wife realized the problem: The dog kept jumping up and turning off the oven.


  • Esquire: “The Strangest Calls to the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line”