Cajun spice deep-fried turkey

While a roasted bird is always delicious, a deep-fried bird is a gourmet-level experience. The skin caramelizes to a crispy golden brown, and the meat inside remains juicy and succulent. Frying is fast — only a few minutes per pound — and thus leaves no chance for the meat to dry out. 

Deep-fried turkey: A history

Deep-fried turkey may seem like a generations-old Southern recipe, but it is actually a relatively new culinary creation.

The 1970s saw the advent of portable butane burner cookers, which most people used to boil seafood such as crawfish. Soon, people began using those cookers as fryers for chickens and other meats. By the early 1980s, newspapers began running ads about the newfangled trend of Thanksgiving turkey frying.

MORE: Find out all the details here >> How to deep-fry a turkey

Many of these frying pioneers hailed from Louisiana and seasoned their birds with a Cajun flair. In honor of these fry-oneers, here we bring you a recipe for a Cajun-style deep-fried turkey. With a spice rub and marinade that blends zesty onions, garlic, red pepper, and smoky paprika, this bird leaves no doubt: It ain’t Great Grandma’s old-fashioned turkey!

Cajun spice deep fried turkey

Yield 8-10


  • 4 tablespoons onion powder
  • 4 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons smoky paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 3 gallons peanut oil
  • One 10 to 12 pound turkey, thawed


  • 1 propane-fueled deep fat turkey fryer
  • 1 meat injector
  • 1 basting brush


  1. Pour peanut oil into deep fat fryer.
  2. Heat peanut oil until temperature reaches 350 degrees F.
  3. Mix spices together in a small bowl.  
  4. Melt butter in a small saucepan.
  5. Add spices to the butter and mix well.
  6. Fill the meat injector with the butter mixture.
  7. Pull the skin back from the breast meat, and inject the butter spice mixture into several areas of the turkey.  
  8. Repeat this process 2 to 3 times.
  9. Rub the remaining spice butter mixture inside and outside of the turkey.
  10. Carefully lower the turkey into the hot oil, making certain that it is fully submerged.
  11. Fry turkey for 3 minutes per pound, plus an extra 5 minutes per bird.
  12. Remove turkey from hot oil.  Drain on paper towels.  Allow to rest for 20 to 30  minutes.
  13. Carve and serve.