Cajun Roasted Turkey

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Cajun Roasted Turkey made with paprika, cayenne pepper, and other cajun spices is the PERFECT twist on a traditional roast turkey this Thanksgiving!

We’re turkey crazy this week, trying to find every recipe we can to help you have the best Thanksgiving possible with Turkey Brine, Spatchcock Turkey, and Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey.

Cajun Roast TurkeyCajun Roasted Turkey

Cajun Roasted Turkey is just like your traditional roasted turkey, but with an incredible spice rub that adds some heat and a TON of flavor. We make this recipe with chicken throughout the year, because it’s too good to leave for just the holidays.

For this recipe we’re going to mix the spices with the butter that goes under the turkey skin, soaking all of that flavor into every bite of the meat. Some of it also drips down into the pan, which is what we’ll use to make gravy, giving the gravy a little bit of heat, too. This turkey is also incredibly aromatic, so your house will smell AMAZING while it’s in the oven.


The most important step to cajun turkey is the rub. Mix the spices with the butter until really well combined. The paprika is what gives this spice rub that signature red color, while the cayenne adds the heat, so don’t skip these two.

We are going to add the cajun butter between the skin and the meat of the bird, which will add a TON of moisture to the meat. You’re going to get the most tender, juicy cajun turkey you’ve ever had in your life, I promise.

We’re also adding the seasonings to a small food processor like this one because then the dried herbs don’t overpower the bird, its an overall seasoning that is built into the turkey and the skin, plus it doesn’t take over the look of the turkey, it just looks like a deep reddish color.

You can also combine all of these spices together to make a dry rub if you don’t want to use butter. Drizzle the bird with extra virgin olive oil, then rub the spices on the outside until everything is well seasoned, adding more oil as needed.


You can make this in the slow cooker if you have a big enough slow cooker for a whole turkey, at least 6 quarts or larger for a 9-10 pound bird. If you have a bigger bird, you’ll need a bigger slow cooker. If you don’t want to slow cook a whole turkey, check out my Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast or Slow Cooker Thanksgiving for 2.


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  • If you don’t want to make a whole turkey, you can make this recipe with a whole chicken by cutting the seasonings in half. Or just go for cajun boneless turkey breast.
  • Make sure the innermost part of the turkey thigh is at 165 degrees F. This is how you know your bird has come to a food safe temperature and is properly cooked through.
  • Make a cajun turkey brine by adding these spices to my Turkey Brine recipe. It basically guarantees that your turkey will come out tender and juicy.
  • You’re going to have some cajun turkey lunch meat the next day. This goes PERFECTLY with my Moist Maker Sandwich recipe.
  • Try not to open the oven unless you’re basting the turkey. The temperature drops each time, which can make your cooking time longer.

Roasted Cajun Turkey

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Cajun Roasted Turkey

  • Yield: 25 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Course: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina

Cajun Roasted Turkey made with paprika, cayenne pepper, and other cajun spices is the PERFECT twist on a traditional roast turkey this Thanksgiving!


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 turkey 16-18 pounds, patted dry
  • 8 cups chicken stock


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, remove the innards from the turkey and pat dry with paper towels.

  2. Add the seasonings to a small food processor and pulse until its a fine dust then mix with butter to make a paste.

  3. With the back of a large spoon pull the skin away from the turkey gently being careful not to tear it and slowly add chunks of the butter under the skin then pat it down a bit flatter.

  4. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock to the bottom of the pan. Cover with pan with foil. Set a timer to go off every 30 minutes.

  5. After 30 minutes, baste the turkey with the stock from the bottom of the pan (add 2 more cups any time it gets low)

  6. After 2 hours, remove the foil and keep basting every half hour for an additional 2 hours.

    Rest for 20 minutes and serve. Test that the thickest part of the thigh is cooked to 165 degrees for food safety reasons.

Recipe Notes

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 25 servings, Amount per serving: 239 calories, Calories: 239g, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 96mg, Sodium: 319mg, Potassium: 316mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 6.9g, Vitamin C: 0.2g, Calcium: 1.6g, Iron: 6.1g

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Keyword: cajun roasted turkey
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