Our editors chose the turkey from D'Artagnan as our overall winner after sampling a Green Circle turkey for a holiday dinner, in addition to other high-quality meats from their extensive offerings throughout the rest of the year. To satisfy everyone at the table, Harry & David has a Sliced Ham and Turkey Sampler complete with 2 pounds of each type of meat.
Sure, you can go to the grocery store and buy a basic frozen turkey, but it's no secret there are many more choices available online, no matter what time of the year it is. You can find everything from heritage birds that are not at all like the ones you see at the grocery store to cooked birds that you simply have to heat, slice, and serve. Whether you’re craving something different or simply looking for a free-range and organic bird, you can order online and make the dinner exactly what you want.
We ordered turkeys online and sent them to the homes of our experienced testers and editors so they could evaluate the taste and presentation. Each turkey (or turducken) was rated on the delivery process, freshness, taste, and ease of preparation. We collected additional insights on how long preparation and thawing take so you can decide exactly when to order your bird. Whether you're looking for a turkey for a large family gathering, looking for something to save you time in the kitchen, or you want to experiment with something a little different, our list of mail order turkeys has an option for you.
Here are the best mail order turkeys to help you enjoy a delicious feast.
Farm-raised heritage birds
Wild and organic available
Smoked breasts available
D'Artagnan has earned a reputation as one of the best places to buy mail-order turkeys and other gourmet meats, and after our Associate Editorial Director, Mary Kate Hoban, prepared one of the Green Circle birds for her family's Thanksgiving dinner, we knew the brand was deserving of our best overall spot. D'Artagnan's turkeys are all farm-raised. In fact, each farmer D'Artagnan works with signs an agreement saying they will never use antibiotics or added hormones. The company offers organic birds, heritage turkeys, bone-in-turkey breast, and even wild turkey, ranging in size from 8 to 24 pounds.
The Green Circle label means the turkeys are certified by Humane Farm Animal Care. These turkeys are fed a diet of vegetables (surplus from markets) and whole grains. The turkey that was sent as a sample arrived on the specified day, packaged frozen in a box with insulated foam. The flavor of the cooked bird impressed everyone, and the whole process was incredibly easy.
Other editors have also ordered from D'Artagnan at other points throughout the year. "You really can't go wrong when you order from D'Artagnan," says Julia Warren, VP of Commerce. "Any of the meats you can choose from are high quality and the shipping process is pretty seamless. I've ordered a few things and have yet to be disappointed."
Price at time of publish: $130.99 for a frozen 18-20-pound Green Circle Turkey or $140.99 for a 20-22-pound frozen Green Circle Turkey
Size: 18-22 pounds | Serves: 14-18 people | Shipping: Delivery available for a specific date chosen at checkout
"I sampled a Green Circle turkey from D'Artagnan for my family's Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone agreed it was one of the best turkeys we've ever had. Plus, ordering it ahead of time and receiving it frozen in enough time to thaw in the refrigerator before the big day was so convenient." — Mary Kate Hoban, Associate Editorial Director Commerce
Fossil Farms Turkey Whole Bird
Large range of turkey sizes
Very flavorful turkey
Well packed for shipping
Prepared foods are local delivery only
No cooking instructions
Fossil Farms sells turkeys raised in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where they are free to roam and fed a vegetarian diet that includes a variety of grains. These Nicholas-breed turkeys are never given antibiotics, steroids, or hormones.
Turkeys are available in a wide variety of sizes, from 8 pounds up to 28 pounds, so you can find the size you need to feed just about any size of the family. Other options from the company include game birds like quail, ostrich, and goose.
We sent our tester a 9-pound bird that came well-packed and still mostly frozen, despite a one-day delay in shipping. There were no cooking instructions included, so our tester was on her own for time and temperature, but this wasn’t a problem since turkey recipes abound online, and meat thermometers in the breast and thigh worked well to alert when the bird was done. Compared to grocery store birds, our tester found this one much more flavorful. Of course, the turkey stock made from the bones and bits was incredibly flavorful as well.
Price at time of publish: $90.00-$270.00
Size: 8-10, 10-12, 12-14, 14-16, 16-18, 18-20, 20-22, 22-24, 24-26, or 26-28 pounds | Serves: 6-30 people | Shipping: Next Day Air is available, but no Saturday, Sunday or Monday deliveries
"This is not a standard grocery store turkey, that's for sure. The flavor was much deeper—more turkey-like. The stock I made from the bones and bits was outstanding." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Gourmet Butcher Block The All-Madden Turducken
Free shipping only in selected states
This turducken came to fame thanks to former NFL coach and sportscaster John Madden. Dubbed the official food of the 1997 "All-Madden Team," this hefty dish features two layers of sausage stuffing and one layer of cornbread dressing jam-packed inside a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey. That may sound like a lot—because it is. Weighing in at 16 to 18 pounds, this monster bird can serve 20 to 25 people.
We sent one to the home of one of our editors, who was impressed with the quick and smooth delivery process as well as the ease of preparation. Turduckens take a minimum of 18 hours to defrost at room temperature and up to five days in the fridge, so plan accordingly. One thing to note is that it arrives without directions, but there are ample instructions on the Goldbelly website for storage, defrosting, and roasting. Our test editor roasted her turducken according to those instructions, and her meat came out perfect. She recommends adding about 2 cups of water to the roasting pan in the last hour—combined with the pan drippings this creates a gorgeous, flavorful sauce and makes for easier cleanup.
Our editor appreciated the fact that you do not have to deal with any bones, aside from the wings (which you can save to make turkey stock). Then, you simply cut in half lengthwise and carve to reveal all three types of meat and stuffing.
Price at time of publish: $199.95
Size: 16-18 pounds | Serves: 20-25 people | Shipping: 2-day shipping available in 19 states, scheduled delivery available
"If you find the typical Thanksgiving roast turkey bland, this is a great alternative. The Cajun seasoning is tasty with subtle peppery-ness but not overpowering. And the turkey breast came out moist without my having to do anything to it." — Adriana Velez, Senior Editor
Best Ham and Turkey Sampler
Harry & David Sliced Ham and Turkey Sampler
Preparation is easy
Nice smoky flavor
Great for gifting
Turkey tasted slightly salty
Known for fruit baskets and nut selections, Harry and David is also one of the best places to order turkey and ham online. The pre-sliced ham and turkey sampler lets you enjoy the best smoked meats all year long. We sent a sampler to one of our editors to test and she gave both the ham and the turkey high marks for flavor and freshness. It arrives pre-sliced so all you have to do is take it out of the refrigerator and heat it on the big day.
If you're someone who gets more excited about sides than the turkey, this sampler could be the perfect addition to your table. You can spend all your time on cranberry, dressing, and casseroles and still have a delicious choice of meat to round out your meal. It's also ideal for next-day sandwiches and would make a great gift for someone any time of the year.
If you're looking around the rest of the site, you can also buy a complete meal, so you won’t even have to worry about side dishes. The fun doesn’t stop there—you can pick up some relish, buy a platter to serve the food on, or pick up an extra dessert or two.
Price at time of publish: $99.99
Size: 4 pounds | Serves: 5-6 people | Shipping: Express two-day shipping is included
"I really enjoyed the smoky flavor of both the ham and the turkey, and the convenience cannot be beaten. If you want to save hours on prep time, this should be your go-to. I'd recommend this to anyone who doesn't want their entire day to be about cooking a turkey. It's the perfect low-maintenance addition to a table full of delicious sides." — Mary Kate Hoban, Associate Editorial Director Commerce
Best Turkey Alternative
Great swap for anyone who isn't a fan of turkey
Tender, juicy meat
Longer cooking time
Whether you are looking to change it up or you have guests who aren't fans of regular turkey, D'Artagnan offers some tasty alternatives. We spoke to D'Artagnan's founder Ariane Daguin and she recommends capon as her number one turkey alternative. "It’s actually the favorite holiday bird for most of Europe!" she explains. "Capon is easy to make, just like roasting a chicken, but it’s bigger—at about 8 pounds—and so tender and juicy."
Price at time of publish: $134.99
Size: 8 pounds | Serves: 6-9 people | Shipping: Delivery available for a specific date chosen at checkout
Best for Free Shipping
Butcherbox Turkey Box
No membership required
Scheduled delivery available
Raised without antibiotics
Turkey ships frozen
There's no hassle involved with shipping when you order the Turkey Box at Butcherbox—"shipping and delivery are always free," the company says. And while other meats are part of the signature subscription service, the Turkey Box and the Turkey Feast (which includes a Whole Turkey, Italian Ground Sausage, Charcuterie Variety Pack, and a Boneless Turkey Breast) do not require a membership.
If you're sticking with the Turkey Box you'll get their medium-sized whole turkey for the set price, and not anything more. Be ready to season the bird how you like, it comes raised without antibiotics, all-natural with no basting or artificial ingredients. Just thaw, cook, and enjoy.
Price at time of publish: $85.00
Size: 14-18 pounds | Serves: 8-12 people | Shipping: Free shipping on any order, with scheduled shipping available
Best for a Full Meal
Purdue Premium Holiday Turkey
Feeds over 15 people
Sides and other foods available for purchase
Long delivery time
Feeding a crowd can take a lot of work, but this up to 20-pound turkey from Purdue is delivered right to your door and then only requires thawing and cooking. It can feed over 15 people, and costs less than many other mail-order turkeys on the market. Plus, Purdue offers things like classic sides and other foods you can get delivered at the same time, including Crème Fraiche Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Almondine, Twice Baked Stuffed Potatoes, as well as Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes, Mini Cheesecakes, and more.
It comes without any spices or seasonings, allowing you to roast or cook it in whatever you'd like. With this turkey it is necessary to note the delivery times—Purdue usually ships in 1-3 business days.
Price at time of publish: $94.99 and $114.99
Size: 10-16 and 16-20 pounds | Serves: 10-16 people | Shipping: All orders ship on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Those placed before 9 a.m. EST are processed the same business day, and orders placed after are processed the following business day.
How We Tested
We spent months researching the best options for mail-order turkeys of all sizes and flavors. We then ordered several turkeys to the homes of our experienced product testers and editors so that they could prepare them and provide feedback. They rated each turkey (or sampler or turducken) on the delivery process, freshness, taste, and ease of preparation. We used our research and the testing data to determine placement on this list.
What to Look for in Mail Order Turkeys
How many people are you feeding? Some companies offer a variety of turkey sizes, while others only have one, so you’ll need to calculate how much meat is necessary before you order. The general rule of thumb is you need 1 pound of turkey per guest if you don’t want any leftovers; plan for 1.5 pounds per guest if you want to have meat to spare.
When it comes to mail-order turkeys, you typically have two options: a precooked bird that just needs to be reheated or a frozen or uncooked turkey that you have to prepare yourself. The best option for you ultimately depends on how much work you want to do.
Many companies offer pre-cooked turkeys that are seasoned in various ways. Some are hickory-smoked, some are apple-smoked, and some are even fried. Consider what else you’re serving to find the perfect turkey flavor to round out the meal.
How much turkey should you order per person?
The general rule when buying a whole turkey is 1 pound of turkey per person. That seems like a lot of meat for a single diner to eat, but a whole turkey has a lot of inedible bones to consider. Of course, if you’re looking forward to lots of leftovers and a big pot of soup, or if you like to give leftovers to guests, it’s fine to buy a larger bird and enjoy turkey sandwiches for days.
What is a heritage turkey?
A heritage turkey may be from one of many breeds of turkey that are closer to their wild ancestors—but they’re still domesticated. A heritage breed turkey is likely to have a much smaller breast and may have a stronger flavor than the big-breasted birds that are found in the supermarket.
What is the difference between free-range and organic turkeys?
Free-range turkeys have access to the outdoors. This doesn’t mean, however, that they spend a lot of time outside—they simply have to have access for this label to be applied, and they can get most or all of their food supplied by the farmer. Pasture-raised turkeys sound like they’d be similar to free-range, but they have more freedom and are raised on food they get outdoors, and are not supplemented with grain. Organic turkeys may be free-range, but they don’t have to be. Organic turkeys are raised on an organic diet, which may be supplied entirely by the farmer. They can also graze on organic pasture. In addition to organic food, these turkeys are never given antibiotics.
How long does it take to thaw a frozen turkey?
It takes one day for every 4 pounds of frozen turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. The outside of the turkey may feel thawed in less time, but the thicker areas and joints take longer. Turkeys should never be thawed on the counter at room temperature. If the turkey needs to be thawed quickly, it can be placed in a sink full of cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. If the turkey is too large to stay submerged, it should be turned every 30 minutes. It will take a minimum of 30 minutes for each pound of turkey, so this still isn’t quick—a 12-pound turkey will take about six hours.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author as well as a writer and product tester for The Spruce Eats, specializing in all the latest kitchen gadgets. When the local butcher comes up short, Donna Currie knows where to find what she needs online. She’s ordered from half of the companies on this list on her own, and she personally prepared and tested three of the turkey options on this list for The Spruce Eats.
This roundup was updated by Sharon Lehman, a home cook, registered dietitian nutritionist, and freelance writer for The Spruce Eats, where she specializes in small kitchen appliance reviews.
Amanda McDonald is an editor at The Spruce Eats and has over seven years of experience researching, writing, and editing about all things food — from what new products are at the grocery store to chef-approved hacks that keep tricky leftovers fresh for days. She updated this story to include the most up-to-date information.
The Livestock Conservancy. Definition of a heritage turkey.
United States Department of Agriculture. Turkey from farm to table. Updated March 26, 2021.
Certified Humane. "Free range" and "pasture raised" officially defined by HFAC for Certified Humane label. January 16, 2014.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Organic 101: what the usda organic label means. March 13, 2019.