Cajun Turkey Injection Marinade

Cajun Turkey Injection Marinade

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Yield: 3 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
84 Calories
8g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 84
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 1801mg 78%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 20mg 2%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 47mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Fried turkey is becoming more popular with each passing year. Although there is nothing wrong with a roasted turkey, frying a bird yields a flavorful and crispy skin—not always available in an oven-cooked turkey—and juicy meat all over, a far cry from the sometimes dry and bland pieces of white meat on Thanksgiving tables. To achieve the perfect fried turkey you need to start with the perfect marinade for your injector. By injecting the turkey with a delicious mixture of spices, lemon juice, and oil, the meat takes on moisture and flavor.

Deep-fried turkey actually started as a Cajun dish. Our delicious and easy-to-make marinade is the perfect addition to make an unforgettable bird for your next celebratory meal. This easy mixture has a bold flavor, and the perfect amount of spice thanks to a touch of liquid crab boil seasoning, Tabasco, and cayenne.

Before injecting, be sure the marinade is well mixed and that all spices are properly blended with the liquid to avoid clogging the needle. If you are deep-frying this turkey, make sure to wipe off any excess marinade before it hits the oil.


  • 1 cup lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup liquid crab boil seasoning

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons onion powder

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cajun Turkey Injection Marinade ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat until the butter is completely melted. Stir well and continue cooking until the sauce has completely liquefied.

    Cajun Turkey Injection Marinade ingredients in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool for at least 5 minutes.

    pour sauce into a bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Use while still warm enough to remain in a liquid state. Inject directly into the breast, leg, and thigh meat. Do this a few times to make sure the marinade is well dispersed throughout the turkey. Wipe away any excess that may leak out. Deep-fry or roast as desired.

    inject sauce / Cajun Turkey Injection Marinade into the turkey

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Frying a Turkey 101

If you've never fried a turkey, there are some things you should keep in mind before attempting it. Here are a few experts tips, and remember to use caution and keep kids and pets away from the frying pot at all times:

  • Use a thoroughly thawed turkey; 24 hours in the fridge per 4 to 5 pounds of weight is recommended.
  • Fill your frying pot with water. Remove the neck and giblets from the thawed turkey and place it in a plastic bag. Submerge the turkey in the frier filled with water and check the fill line—this is how much oil you'd need. Use oil with a high smoking point such as peanut, canola, or corn.
  • Prepare the turkey by injecting it, rubbing, it or both. Let marinate for the recommended time.
  • Use gloves, a thick apron, and shoes with good grip. Keep your cooking floor clean and clear of objects you might trip on.
  • Pat dry the turkey, and if possible weigh it.
  • Fill the fryer with oil and place your thermometer. The oil needs to be at least 325 F and up to 350 F. Carefully submerge the turkey and fry from 3 to 3.5 minutes per pound.
  • Lift the turkey with care and insert an instant-read thermometer in the thigh, away from the bone. It should be 180 F. If inserting in the breast it should be 170 F. If done, place the fried turkey on a rack so it can rest for at least 20 minutes, as well as drip the excess oil.
  • Carve and enjoy!

Should I Rest the Injected Turkey Before Deep-Frying It?

It depends on how much time you have, and on personal preference. In general, allowing the meat to rest after being injected is the best practice. Marinating the meat when injected could go on for as little as 5 minutes to as long as 36 hours, so it's up to the cook and the time frame.

The general consensus is that resting the turkey overnight is great, but 24 hours is a strong second suggestion especially if you dry-rubbed the turkey in addition to marinating it. No matter which time you allow the turkey to rest, always clean any drippings and pat it dry thoroughly to avoid any cold liquid hitting the hot oil. This can result in burns, dangerous spillage, and catastrophic kitchen accidents.