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Where you can (still) order a mail-order turkey online for Thanksgiving

Wondering about the best turkeys to order for delivery this year? We've got the skinny for buying Thanksgiving turkeys online and on time.

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.

There's still time to order your turkey online and have it delivered for Thanksgiving, but the clock is very much ticking. There are just a few options left for bagging your turkey online that will still arrive before next Thursday -- Thanksgiving -- but not many. The demand for these big birds is always high this time of year, but the Thanksgiving dinner staple is in relatively short supply in 2021. 

Goldbelly's preassembled (but not yet cooked) turducken that feeds 10 to 15 people is my pick. That's a turkey stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a duck, for the uninitiated. You can still get yours for $129 and have it delivered by next week. I tried cooking a turducken earlier this fall and totally loved it.

We've outlined the best places to buy a turkey online in 2021 and a few helpful hints for locking down the perfect bird for Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time. We've noted which vendors are now sold out or will not arrive in time for Thanksgiving.

Can you buy your turkey online now and have it sent closer to Thanksgiving?

Yes, in some cases. Reserving and buying your mail-order turkey online from a purveyor such as D'Artagnan or Williams Sonoma means you'll likely get the exact type and size of bird you want without having to arm wrestle with your neighbors. While most of the online turkey vendors we listed here allow preordering, not all vendors do, so double-check before you order. 

It's also worth noting that the global and US supply chains are wonky and unpredictable right now. Because of that, you may want to have your mail-order turkey delivered on the early side, even if the vendor promises to have it on your doorstep before Nov. 25. We make no promises about online turkey logistics, even if the sellers do.

Can you buy your turkey now and freeze it?

Yes, absolutely. You can freeze a turkey safely for up to a year. The big issue is generally space, but if you're gunning for a smaller bird, you may be able to freeze it until the big day. Well, actually the day before the big day, because that sucker is going to take at least 24 hours to safely thaw, depending on the size, so give it even more time than that.

Consider ordering a larger turkey if that's what's available

Allow me to introduce you to a beautiful thing I like to call Thanksgiving leftovers. Perhaps you've met. We're very anti-wasting food but we're also very pro having delicious turkey leftover for sandwiches, soups, tacos and a good many other tasty things. If you have to size-up a bird, just send folks home with some of the extra and then get crankin' on some beautiful leftover recipes. 

This year we're more thankful than ever for home delivery of the all-important turkey in exactly the size we need. Check out the best places to order your organic, heritage or pasture-raised turkey online. Mashed potatoes and gravy not included.

Note about delivery and testing: Please check with the individual vendor to ensure timely delivery dates before placing an order. Also, note that while we have tested numerous products from every vendor on this list, we haven't personally tested this year's Thanksgiving turkeys, and our "best" determinations are based on their specialties or menu differentiations as outlined below. But these are the suggestions we'd make to our family and friends, based on our research and prior experience with each service overall.

Best mail-order turkeys for Thanksgiving

Goldbelly

If you really want to get your Thanksgiving gathering some social media attention, go for the turducken. That's a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey. Many of them have stuffing too, so we're talking a lot of food all ready to roast. Goldbelly has large turduckens to feed as many as 10 people starting at $129.

KellyBronze

These turkeys are famous and well-awarded in the UK and they've recently flown across the pond. KellyBronze birds are raised on diet "more strict than organic," and don't just live in open pastures but in literal woods like wild birds. They are actually bred to be wild and then aged twice as long as standard turkeys (more cost for them but more flavor for you) and hand-plucked before being shipped to you -- raw, not frozen. These fancy birds cook faster than most turkeys so be wary of the instructions when your KB arrives.

Wise

We had a hard time locating kosher turkeys online and supplies seem to be dwindling at this late stage. But Amazon still has some double-certified kosher Wise turkeys in stock, if that's the type of mail-order bird you're looking for this holiday.

Rastelli's

If you're not tied to the idea of that Norman Rockwell image of a fat shining roasted turkey sitting on a table, I would suggest something like Rastelli's stuffed turkey roulades instead. These are far less likely to dry out than a massive 16-pound bird and the stuffing is already in there -- although you may need to make a little extra. The turkey breast is rolled and crammed with juicy apple and cranberry stuffing and they should serve at least six hungry people.

Southside Market

Listen, if you've committed to hosting Thanksgiving but the idea of cooking an entire turkey is keeping you up at night or you simply just don't want to deal with all of that, I'm here to tell you that you've got options. Buying a precooked turkey online does have a higher likelihood of it drying out, but the exception is smoked turkey. It's a more complicated cooking process. 

A tried and true barbecue outfit like Southside Market will have it down, and smoked turkeys keep their moisture much better than oven-roasted. Southside will deliver these precooked 12- to 14-pound turkeys anywhere in the country. All you do is warm it in the oven on the big day for 60-90 minutes at 350 degrees F and you're good to go. 

Note: We personally tested this precooked turkey, which was full of flavor and not at all dry.

Fancy online food purveyor Goldbelly also has a slew of precooked turkey options if Southside's birds sell out.

Cooks Venture

Maybe turkey isn't your thing on Thanksgiving. If so, that's totally OK. For those who claim chicken as their poultry of preference, I'd suggest Cooks Venture. These certified humanely raised heirloom chickens were bred to be healthy, not just big, and raised with sustainable farming practices. You can have these great eatin' birds sent to your front door for $20 each when you buy four or $18 per bird when you buy six.

Cream Co.

These pasture-raised turkeys are brought up on a 500-acre regenerative ranch in the Sierra Foothills of California. As good as the birds have it, the strict farming standards and practices are dually important since they net minimal negative impact on the environment, unlike those factory farms. 

The regen turkeys start at $99 and can be ordered online now. Or you can bag a Spanish heritage mail-order turkey for $84. Both are still in stock - for now.

Diestel

This high-end culinary vendor is a solid choice for ordering turkeys online and the retailer has a slew of quality and even small turkeys to preorder for Thanksgiving dinner. Organic turkeys are selling out almost everywhere but Williams Sonoma still has options including the Willie Bird organic turkey starting at $140 for a 10-pounder and or Diestel's 10-pound organic heirloom bird for $290.

Williams Sonoma

The upscale retailer might be best known for cookware and tableware, but it's actually got a wide selection of turkeys available for purchase online including pre-brined birds. Snag a 6- to 10-pound Diestel turkey brined in lemon and herb for $120, for instance, and treat guests to a roasted bird full of flavor.

Williams Sonoma also has Willie Bird free-range prebrined turkeys that come in sizes all the way up to 22 pounds or just snag an organic boneless breast for your smaller group. A fresh turkey without the brine from the same producer can be had for $150 for a large 14- to 16-pounder.

Amazon

If you're on the hunt for a budget bird, the mega online retailer is the best place for ordering a cheap turkey online. These birds are animal welfare certified which is one of the highest animal rights badges a producer can earn. The turkeys are going for just $1 a pound right now.

Crowd Cow

This 15-pound mail-order turkey from Blackwing Farm is available for $110 over at Crowd Cow -- one of the many great online butchers that have emerged lately. This bird is big enough to serve 10 to 12 people and is raised free of hormones and antibiotics. There's a limited supply but if you order now, Crowd Cow will ensure it arrives before Thanksgiving sometime around the week of Nov. 14. 

Crowd cow has one of the largest selections of meats of any market, so if you'd like to tack some rib roasts or steaks onto a turkey order, this is the place to do it.

D'Artagnan

This online market and butcher has organic and heritage mail-order turkeys for preorder now. You can snare a Narragansett Heritage bird starting at $166 or Green Circle's hormone-free turkeys in a slew of sizes starting at $57. Many of the vendor's birds are starting to sell out so better act quick.

Note: We've tested D'Artagnan's wares plenty of times and were impressed enough to have it land on our list of best meat delivery in 2021. Preordering your turkey requires delivery between Nov. 19 and Nov. 23.

Butcher Box

ButcherBox is another one of our favorite services for meat delivery, and you can score a free turkey if you act quickly. With ButcherBox, you can customize and then optimize your monthly box of quality steaks, pork ribs, ground beef, chicken and more and if you place a new order now, ButcherBox will throw in a free 10- to 14-pound turkey to arrive before the big day.

To get the free mail-order turkey, there are five boxes to choose from (starting at $129), including a beef-and-pork box, beef-and-chicken box, all-beef box, mixed box with beef, pork and chicken or a custom selection. The best part? You can cancel at any time, making this a low-risk way to try a great butcher delivery and bag a free turkey while you're at it. 

Note: If you don't cancel, the orders keep coming.

Porter Road

Porter Road is one of our favorite online butchers for having high-quality meats delivered to your door. While dry-aged beef has been its go-to offering, the Nashville-based purveyor is getting in on Thanksgiving festivities with pasture-raised, mail-order turkeys delivered to your door in time for the big feast. 

Porter Road turkeys, which come in two sizes (10 to 12.5 pounds or 12 to 15 pounds), start at $125 and come from Jolly Barnyard turkey Farm outside of Nashville, where they're raised in a natural setting with no antibiotics or hormones. These mail-order turkeys are now available for online preorder, so snatch yours up while supplies last. 

More meat for the holidays