Cajun Turkey Seasoning Rub

Cajun turkey seasoning

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
24 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 24
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4720mg 205%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 34mg 3%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 117mg 2%
*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.)

Cajun cuisine is known for its aromatic character and bold flavors. Filled with French, African, and American influences, true Cajun cooking is not just spice and heat, but it's a delicious interpretation of local ingredients and culture into hearty and filling dishes. Behind all of this, there is usually a simple mixture of spices that is widely used by cooks to add flavor and aroma to stews, soups, and multiple one-pot meals that are characteristic of this type of cooking.

Our great basic turkey rub takes after the recipe of the famous Cajun seasoning and has enough heat to make it interesting but not overpowering to the palate. That said, the mixture is versatile enough so you can adapt it to your likes. Add more cayenne if heat is what you are looking for. This rub will infuse your next holiday or celebratory turkey with great flavor, and it will keep in your pantry long enough for you to use on other recipes like marinades or sauces. Double or triple the amounts and save some for later use. Use to season white rice or sprinkle it on potatoes or vegetables before roasting in the oven.

While Cajun seasoning is easily purchased at the store, it can be made using spices you probably already have at hand. Besides, you can be sure that there are no additives or anti-caking agents and control the sodium levels if it's something you need to pay attention to. Our recipe makes enough rub for a 12-pound to 16-pound bird, but all chicken, Cornish hens, and even duck will benefit from this delicious rub.


  • 1/4 cup salt, non-iodized

  • 2 tablespoons onion powder

  • 2 tablespoons paprika, not smoked

  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste 

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Steps to Make It

Make the Rub

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cajun turkey seasoning

    ​The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Mix all of the ingredients together.

    Mix together

    ​The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. If you are making the turkey rub ahead of time, store it in an airtight container. It will keep for up to six months when properly stored in a cool, dark place such as a cupboard.

    Place in jar

    ​The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

How to Use Cajun Turkey Seasoning Rub

  1. Wear rubber gloves when applying the rub so the hot spices won't irritate your skin or eyes. Pat dry the turkey dry and rub the mixture over the entire surface of the poultry, inside and out. Work the rub in under the skin of the breast. Allow the seasoning mixture to sit on the poultry, covered and refrigerated, for 1 to 2 hours.

    Use seasoning

    ​The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Cook the turkey according to the recipe's instructions.

    Serve turkey

    ​The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Enjoy!

For Best Results

  • Always use non-iodized salt in your rubs and marinades, as common iodized salt can ruin the flavor. Kosher salt or coarse salt could be used, but it is better to use finer-grained salt.
  • If you have brined the turkey, eliminate the salt from the rub and simply use the rub. This will prevent an overly salty turkey.

How to Make a Basting Liquid With the Rub

Use this rub in an injection marinade or a basting mixture for the poultry:

  • Mix 3 tablespoons of rub and 1/2 cup of water or white wine. Stir to combine.
  • Halfway through the cooking time of the poultry, begin basting with the mixture every 15 to 20 minutes until the poultry is almost done.
  • Discard whatever you didn't use in the basting because it's likely contaminated with uncooked poultry.

How can I make a marinade using Cajun rub?

To make a marinade that you can use on poultry, fish, pork, or beef, mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of rub with 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar or honey, and 1/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Place 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of the meat of your choice in a resealable bag and add the marinade. Allow the meat to rest in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes. Cook using your preferred method.