Our simple secret to a juicy Cajun Turkey recipe is all in the spice blend that’s used to season it. With a crispy outer layer, this year’s Thanksgivings dinner will include a fascinating twist.
Made with the goodness of paprika and Cajun rub, this meal is a perfect way to spruce-up the old-dated roast recipes. Savor the flavors and enjoy some heat, let’s talk about this goodness-filled Cajun Turkey recipe!
Everything You Need To Know About Cajun Turkey
Cajun turkey is made the same old way but with the essence of Cajun seasoning that adds an amazing punch of flavor. Skip the hassle of trying to order the famous Cajun style Popeyes turkey, as this turkey recipe is incredibly scrumptious and boasts a bold flavor.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Cajun turkey is filled with American, African, and French influenced flavors. The Cajun rub is used to season the turkey, which is made from local ingredients.
This is a filling and hearty dish that’s meant to tickle your taste buds. With the addition of garlic powder and cumin to the mix, you will enjoy a much better flavor.
It can also be flavored with seasoned butter as prepared in our Cajun Turkey Breast recipe, our seasoning blend is similar to Popeyes turkey Cajun seasoning; however, our recipe brings out the tenderness and creates a fine balance of sweet and spicy.
When cooked right, you will enjoy a juicy meat, and the golden skin adds much-needed crispness to the bite.
Also, if you want to make Cajun turkey, butter is the secret ingredient that adds to the tenderness of the meat yet providing you with a crispy outer layer texture. It can be baste continuously every 30 minutes to an hour to ensure every bite is full of relish and flavor.
Our Turkey vs. Popeyes Turkey – What’s So Unique About This Recipe?
Ranging from top-notch Cajun rub to regular basting, and of course the option to add lots of butter, this process delivers the most vibrant smells and zest.
Popeyes Turkey is one of the most popular turkey around this time of year for great reasons, however, our turkey pieces will leave you wanting more after each bite.
Though we have seen great reviews regarding the Cajun Popeyes turkey, the most distinctive point of our Cajun turkey is that it’s a modern approach to the traditional turkey recipe (brine turkey recipe), making it another perfect Thanksgiving recipe to have on hand. Secondly, it has the crispiest and most succulent skin.
On top of everything, it’s made with premium yet authentic Cajun seasoning and rubs, so it gives a unique flavor to turkey that you’ve never tried before. Not to forget, tenderness is another winning point of this recipe!
This Cajun turkey is bursting with flavors for obvious reasons, and all it requires is regular basting. In fact, the Cajun cuisine is healthy, which makes this turkey recipe healthy as well.
The cayenne pepper in the rub helps enhance the metabolism and it may also help with blood pressure. In fact, the combination of different spices help improve the digestive health.
To illustrate, one serving of Cajun turkey has 1g protein, 24 calories, 5g of carbs, and zero fats, so it’s suitable for people on a diet and overall healthy eaters.
It’s a rich recipe and has various nutrients. Not to forget, the leftover turkey makes a delicious sandwich with multigrain bread and desired dressing!
What Is Brining – Wet & Dry?
The brining method is where the turkey is placed in a stockpot filled with salted water and the aromatics of garlic, herbs, peppercorns, and various ingredients of choice for a couple of hours or days. This method is used to help keep the meat or turkey moist while it bakes.
This method is known as wet brining.
Dry brining is just about the opposite of the wet method. Although the results are the same in regard to flavors and moisture, the method used in the dry rub method omits submerging the meat in water.
The dry rub method is used when the dry seasoning is applied to the meat and allow it to marinate from 30 minutes to over 48 hours.
Both methods are really a personal choice. We use either or depending on which way the wind blows when we are hosting Thanksgiving dinner.
Advantages Of Wet & Dry Brining
Both methods work well, and they both have their advantages for obvious reason – juicy turkey!
Unfortunately, I find that wet brining requires a little more cleanup afterwards. From water spilling on the counter and floor to having to find place in the fridge to house the stockpot.
The meat will suck all the flavors from the brine and will leave you with a very moist and delicious turkey. If you are concerned about your turkey releasing too much water, have no fear. The liquid that’s released from the meat is completely fine. This will help in preparing the gravy or rice.
Though we love the wet brine, it can be a little too salty to use for gravies. If you are using the juice from the turkey brine to season your gravy, I recommend adding a little at time so you can have a better control of the amount of salt that’s added to the gravy.
Alternatively, to wet brining, when used the dry brining method, the juice that’s released from the turkey is from the seasoned bird itself, since no water is added.
How To Thaw A Turkey?
|Turkey Size:||In Refrigerator:||In Cold Water:|
|10 to 18 Lbs.||3 to 4 days||5 to 9 hours|
|18 to 22 Lbs.||4 to 5 days||9 to 11 hours|
|22 to 24 Lbs.||5 to 6 days||11 to 12 hours|
|24 to 30 Lbs.||6 to 7 days||12 to 15 hours|
Thawing a turkey take time and patience. A frozen turkey is a daunting block of ice that takes days to thaw.
When preparing your thanksgiving meal, it is imperative you factor the thawing process into your timeline!
There are two ways you can thaw your turkey:
Method 1: Thawing The Turkey In The Fridge
Thawing the turkey in the fridge is a long but safe process.
- It will take a frozen 3–4-pound turkey between 30-34 hours to thaw.
- It can take up to 3 days for an 11 lb. turkey to thaw out.
- As well as it can take a 15 -20-pound turkey up to 5 days to thaw out in the fridge.
Method 2: Thaw Turkey In The Sink
This is the fastest way to thaw the turkey. However, for safety reasons we prefer method 1. That way, if you are unable to cook the turkey right away after it has been thawed out, you do not risk the meat going bad and or becoming sick from mishandling the meat.
To thaw the meat in the sink you can allow the meat to thaw out for a few hours in an empty sink (depending on the size).
Or, fill the sink with water, place the meat in a leak proof bag and submerge the turkey in the water.
It is best to drain the water and refill every 30-minutes and rotating the meat or turkey until it has been completely thawed out.
It takes about 30 minutes per 1 lb. for a turkey to thaw out.
Can You Brine A Turkey While Partially Frozen?
We do not recommend you to season or brine a turkey or ANY meat without letting it thaw out completely, and CLEANING AND WASHING your meat.
Cook Times For Turkey In The Oven
If you are wondering how long to cook turkey in the oven, here are some suggested times:
|10 to 18 Lbs.||3 to 3 ½ Hours||3 ¾ to 4 ½ Hours|
|18 to 22 Lbs.||3 to 4 Hours||4 ½ to 5 hours|
|22 to 24 Lbs.||4 to 4 ½ Hours||5 to 5 ½ hours|
|24 to 30 Lbs.||4 ½ to 5 Hours||5 ½ to 6 ¼ Hours|
Also keep in mind the suggested times above are for whole turkeys. This recipe is for turkey parts (legs, breast, and thighs), which will deviate from the suggested cooking time. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
Internal Temperature Of Cooked Turkey
To check for doneness, insert the meat thermometer between the leg and the breast to read at 170 degrees, as this is the USDA recommended internal cooked temperature of turkey.
How To Roast Cajun Turkey?
Watch the video and follow the step-by-step picture guide below where we walk you through every step for this roasted Cajun Turkey recipe.
It is always helpful to have a visual, and we’ve put our guides to motion on our cooking show on our YouTube channels here and here.
Wash and pat dry the turkey as directed here in our how to clean a turkey post. Set aside.
Next, in a separate bowl, add in the melted butter, salt, ground pepper, Cajun seasoning, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine.
Using a pastry brush, apply the seasoning mixture all over the meat. Cover the meat with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. And allow to sit or “marinate” for 24 hours. If you are press for time, 30 minutes will also be sufficient.
To begin, Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Transfer the meat to the oven and bake uncovered for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Then remove the meat from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 1 hour and 30 minutes.
When the timer goes off, uncover the meat, baste with 1 tablespoon of butter, and continue baking for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the meat from the oven, serve and enjoy.
This recipe is for turkey parts (see recipe card below).
Always allow the turkey to marinate with the dry or wet brine; this will result in a juicy meat.
Be sure to allow the turkey to thaw out completely BEFORE brining or seasoning.
Use a meat thermometer to insert between the leg and thigh to see if the temperature reaches 165°F.
This recipe also works well with turkey breast.
If roasting a turkey breast, consider the following tips listed below:
For an extra juicy turkey breast, roast the turkey upside down. Allow the meat to rest for about 15 – 30 minutes.
How To Store
For storing the leftover Cajun turkey, you can simply wrap it in aluminum foil, and it will stay fresh for four to five days when stored in the refrigerator.
However, it’s not suggested to freeze the Cajun turkey because it won’t remain tender, and the crispy skin will be gone as well!
There is so much that you can enjoy with Cajun turkey, such as this baked Boston Market Sweet Potato Casserole or with these instant pot carrots.
Also, the flavor is accentuated with the cranberry sauce, and not to forget the cheesy Haitian Macaroni Au Gratin or this Smoked Mac & Cheese!
PIE RECIPES TO DRY AFTER THIS DISH
If you loved this Cajun Turkey recipe, we recommend trying one of these recipes next.
MORE HOLIDAY RECIPES TO ENJOY
This Cajun Turkey pairs well with the following recipes listed below.
More Turkey Recipes To Enjoy
HAITIAN RECIPES TO TRY WITH THIS DISH
If you loved this Cajun Turkey recipe, we recommend trying one of these Haitian recipes next.
We’d especially would love to know if you tried this recipe, tag us on Instagram or Facebook so we can see your beautiful dish.
Also, we would appreciate if could give it a star rating below!
Cajun Style Turkey
- 3 Lbs. Turkey Legs We used 2 packs of 1 ½ pound per pack
- 1 ½ Lbs. Turkey Thighs2 ¼
- 2 ¼ Lbs. Turkey Breast
Cajun Seasoning Blend
- ½ Stick Unsalted Butter Melted
- 2 Tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Tsp. Cajun Seasoning
- 2 Tsp. Paprika
- 2 Tsp. Cumin
- 2 Tsp. Garlic Powder
- ½ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper Optional
- 1 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter For basting
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and pat dry the turkey parts as directed here in our how to clean a turkey post. Set aside. Next, in a separate bowl, add in the melted butter, salt, ground pepper, Cajun seasoning, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper (optional). Mix well to combine. Using a pastry brush, apply the seasoning mixture all over the meat. Cover the meat with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. And allow to sit or “marinate” for 24 hours. If you are press for time, 30 minutes will also be sufficient.
- Transfer the meat to the oven and bake uncovered for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Then remove the meat from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 1 hour and 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, uncover the meat, baste with 1 tablespoon of butter, and continue baking for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the meat from the oven, serve and enjoy.
Can you use this recipe on a whole turkey about 15 pounds? Thanks!
Yes, you can use the recipe on a whole turkey. You will need to triple the ingredients to ensure that the turkey is covered fully.
Love, love the idea of adding a Cajun blend to the Turkey. Can’t wait to try it out on Thanksgiving
I love a good cajun recipe and this was no exception! A delicious and unique twist to traditional turkey recipes for Thanksgiving, indeed!
Thank you, Sara
I love this version of a Thanksgiving Turkey. I agree…butter is needed to make this a moist bird. You can never go wrong with butter. The spices are perfect and this turkey was amazing.
Thank you, Gina.
The cajun seasoning blend is so good on this turkey! It adds so much flavor and my family loved it!
Thank you, Jamie!
Love the cajun sesonings on this Turkey and that it is baked in the oven. It looks amazing!
I made this recipe on a 15lb turkey for Thanksgiving dinner and everyone LOVED it! It was the perfect taste to jazz up the traditional holiday dinner. Two of my kids who usually don’t care for turkey even loved it. I’m going to make this recipe our new tradition. Thank you!
Thank you, Tricia!
Thats some delicious turkey. Looks juicy and well spiced. Definitely a keeper.
Thank you, Roxana.
Ooh loving all the spices and some heat going on in this turkey recipe. My husband loves a little heat, and those spices so I am definitely going to make this for him!
Thank you. I hope he likes it.
Such a fantastic option for Thanksgiving! Your turkey looks incredible with the crispy outer layer and Cajun seasoning blend. Yum!
Thank you, Tara
Oh my! The seasonings on this Turkey sound marvelous. The Turkey itself looks divine. Definitely need to try this on my next Turkey.
Thank you, Julie
OMG! This looks amazing! I love Cajun Turkey with all the flavor from the Cajun seasoning. I know how I’m seasoning my turkey this Thanksgiving! Thanks so much for the recipe.
Thank you so much, Michele