The light-hearted ceremony in the Rose Garden on Wednesday afternoon featured Iowa-raised turkeys Tater and Tot.
The White House asked people on Twitter to vote for which turkey will receive the pardon, though both typically get a reprieve. Tot won the popular vote.
The White House blog provides a biography for each bird to help in the decision. For example, Tater's favorite snack is worms. Tot prefers tomato slices.
Presidents as far back as Abraham Lincoln have spared turkeys. President George H.W. Bush is credited with beginning the tradition of a pardon.
After the ceremony, the president and first family volunteer at a community service event.
Watch President Obama pardon Tater and Tot:
The Associated Press has contributed to this report.