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Turkey Breast vs Whole Turkey: Which One to Choose?

Are you trying to choose between whole turkey and turkey breast for your next dinner?

You need to know the difference between the two to make an informed choice.

Learn what sets them apart in this informative article and find out which option is best for you.

What is Turkey Breast?

Turkey breast is a part of the turkey that contains only white meat.

It is the meat from the chest of the bird, and it is commonly sold boneless and skinless.

Turkey breast is considered to be a healthier option than other parts of the bird due to its lower fat content.

Turkey breast can be cooked in various ways, including roasting, grilling, or frying.

It is a popular choice for those looking for a leaner source of protein or for those on special diets.

When purchasing turkey breast, it is essential to look for packages with no added marinades or seasonings as these can contain unwanted sugars and sodium levels.

Instead, stick to plain turkey breast, which can be seasoned according to personal preference.

What is Whole Turkey?

Whole Turkey is the entire bird which includes the white and dark meat, bones, and skin.

It is a popular dish served during festive occasions especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The turkey is generally roasted or grilled and garnished with various sides such as stuffing or cranberry sauce to add flavor.

When buying a whole turkey, make sure that the meat feels firm to touch indicating that it’s fresh.

A good rule of thumb is to purchase approximately one pound per person to ensure there’s enough to go around since some people may have bigger appetites than others.

In summary, Whole Turkey refers to a complete bird served during festive occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It provides both white and dark meat along with bones and skin resulting in delicious flavors.

When purchasing a whole turkey, it’s essential to keep in mind the size needed to feed your guests and ensure that the meat is fresh by feeling it before buying.

Differences Between Turkey Breast and Whole Turkey

When it comes to serving a festive meal, turkey is the go-to protein.

However, choosing between a whole turkey or a turkey breast can be confusing for many people.

To make an informed decision, it is essential to understand the differences between the two.

One of the primary differences between these two options is their type of meat.

While a whole turkey provides both white and dark meat – making it great for those who desire variety – turkey breasts offer only white meat.

Furthermore, if you plan on feeding fewer people or do not require leftovers, a turkey breast will suffice as they are smaller and cheaper compared to whole turkeys.

Another crucial factor is cooking time.

As expected, cooking a whole turkey takes considerably more time than just a single cut like turkey breasts.

With this in mind, if you have limited time or fear overcooking your bird, opt for turkey breast instead.

Overall, whether you choose a whole turkey or its breast depends on various factors such as your budget, taste preferences and number of guests attending your gathering.

Cooking Time and Preparation

One of the main differences between turkey breast and whole turkey when it comes to cooking time is that turkey breast takes considerably less time to cook than a whole turkey.

On average, it takes about 2-2.

5 hours to cook a turkey breast, while a whole turkey can take anywhere from 3-4 hours depending on its size.

In terms of preparation, turkey breasts also require less preparation time compared to a whole turkey because they come boneless.

This makes them easier to handle during preparation and reduces the overall prep time needed before cooking.

However, if you prefer the taste of meat cooked with bones or want more flavor in your dishes from stock made out of bones later on – this may be something you’d like for your food.

Overall, whether you choose to prepare a turkey breast or a whole turkey depends on your individual preferences for cooking time and preparation requirements.

Portion Sizes and Serving

When it comes to portion sizes and serving, the biggest difference between turkey breast and whole turkey is obviously the size.

A whole turkey can feed a large family or even a small crowd, while a turkey breast is better suited for smaller gatherings or simply as a meal for one or two people.

Awhole turkey typically serves around eight to twelve people and can weigh anywhere from ten to twenty-two pounds.

On the other hand, a turkey breast usually only serves four to six people and weighs between two and a half to seven pounds.

This means that if you’re cooking for a smaller group or are looking for something more manageable in terms of portions, then a turkey breast might be the better choice for you.

Of course, whether you choose to cook a whole turkey or just its breast ultimately depends on your personal preference and situation.

But it’s important to consider these differences in portion sizes when making your decision.

Nutritional Value

Turkey is a protein-rich meat that contains a variety of nutrients.

As discussed earlier, turkey breast and whole turkey have different portion sizes.

The nutritional value also differs in both the options.

Turkey breast has slightly higher calories than whole turkey for every 100g serving, but it has lesser fat content as well.

Both options are low in carbohydrates and high in protein, which makes them good sources of nutrition, especially for those looking to gain muscle mass or lose weight.

For those consciously watching their salt intake, it’s worth noting that processed turkey breast may come with added sodium, making it less suitable for people with health conditions such as hypertension.

Ultimately, it all comes down to choosing between the percentage of fats and calorie content you’re looking to include in your meal plan.

Cost Comparison

When it comes to purchasing a turkey, you may be wondering if there’s a difference in cost between buying a whole turkey versus just the breast.

The answer, of course, depends on several factors such as location, time of year and sale prices at your local store.

As you can see from the table above, purchasing just the turkey breast is slightly cheaper than buying a whole turkey.

However, keep in mind that while purchasing just the breast may seem like a good deal financially, it will undoubtedly yield less leftovers for your post-Thanksgiving sandwiches.

Ultimately when deciding whether to purchase a whole turkey or just the breast, you’ll want to take into account your specific needs for your holiday meal and weigh that against any cost savings.

Popular Turkey Breast and Whole Turkey Brands

When it comes to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, turkey is usually the centerpiece on the table.

There are several brands available in the market to choose from while buying a turkey breast or whole turkey.

Butterball and Jennie-O are two popular brands that offer both turkey breast and whole turkey options at reasonable prices for consumers.

Out of these options, Butterball has been a fan favorite for years due to its high-quality turkeys with juicy meat and flavorful taste profiles.

Jennie-O is another popular brand, known for its low-fat and low-sodium options for consumers who want healthier versions of Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners.

Shady Brook Farms and Perdue Farms are also top picks among consumers looking for organic or antibiotic-free options when purchasing their turkey breast or whole turkey.

Overall, choosing the right brand depends on your preferences in terms of price, quality, taste, and health benefits.

Which One is Right for You?

Turkey is a staple during holidays, but with so many options available, it can be challenging to decide which one to choose.

You may have already read about popular turkey breast and whole turkey brands, but let’s dive into the differences between the two and determine which one is right for you.

When deciding whether to get a turkey breast or a whole turkey, ask yourself what you’re looking for in your meal.

If you are hosting a small gathering or need leftovers built-in for the next day’s lunch, then opting for a turkey breast might be more suitable as it cooks faster and yields fewer servings.

However, if you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or another big family event where large amounts of food will be consumed, then you’ll undoubtedly want to opt for the whole bird as it will yield more portions.

Ultimately, no matter what choice you make, remember to plan accordingly and give yourself enough time to properly prepare your turkey dish.


To sum up, the decision between turkey breast and whole turkey ultimately boils down to your personal preferences and cooking needs.

Both options have their own unique advantages and disadvantages that should be considered before making your purchase.

The decision between turkey breast vs whole turkey comes down to personal preference.

Consider which factors are most important to you – whether it’s price, convenience, or taste – and make your decision accordingly.

Regardless of which option you choose, with proper preparation and seasoning, both can result in a delicious Thanksgiving meal for you and your loved ones.

Turkey Breast vs Whole Turkey: Which One to Choose?

Andrew Gray
Undecided between Turkey Breast vs Whole Turkey? Evaluate the pros and cons of each option to make an informed decision for your next holiday feast or meal preparation.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That
Servings 1 Serving


  • Turkey Breast
  • Whole Turkey


  • Choose between two items based on your preference and availability.
  • Follow the cooking directions for your chosen option, using the appropriate ratio of ingredients.
  • Prepare it according to your desired recipes.
  • Incorporate them into your dish, adjusting the amount to suit your taste.
  • Enjoy the unique taste experience and experiment with different dishes to explore their versatility.
Keyword Turkey Breast vs Whole Turkey
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