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Cajun Turkey Brine Recipe (For Ultra Juicy Cajun Turkey)

Long gone are the days of flavorless Thanksgiving turkey–now we all know how easy it is to make a homemade turkey brine and infuse our bird with extra cajun flavor and juiciness!

We’re such big fans of juicy turkey that this month we released two epic turkey recipes, our sweet apple cider smoked turkey brine, and this sassy cajun turkey brine for those who love that zesty, southern flavor.

a fresh turkey in cajun turkey brine

We recommend you paint either bird with our turkey paint (AKA turkey compound butter) just for good measure before roasting or smoking your bird this year!

How To Cajun Brine A Turkey

This recipe is simple enough, we will create “the brew” which is our cajun seasonings and spices, added to a gallon of water with our salt and sugar in a large pot.

Bring this mixture to a boil and heat until the salt dissolves.

ingredients for turkey brine
Salt is the key component in a brine with seasonings like this cajun spce blend added for interest.

Then we cool this hot brine fully in the refrigerator.

Add the now cooled spicy brine, another gallon of water, and our entire turkey to a 5-gallon bucket. (You can pick one up at your favorite home improvement store in the paint department.)

How To Prepare A Cajun Turkey

To brine your turkey it must be completely defrosted or fresh. Frozen turkey will not brine because the brine solution can not penetrate frozen meat. Make sure to begin defrosting your bird in the refrigerator 3 days before you want to start the brine process.

Place the turkey breast-side down into the brine, You will want to rotate larger birds once during brining.

close up of herbs and ingredients in cajun turkey brine
Our cajun brine is a zesty blend of classic cajun spices, garlic, creole mustard, and lemon for brightness.

How Long Do You Leave Turkey In Brine Solution?

Brine overnight and up to 48 hours.

I have even gone 3 days in brine with this particular recipe with good results. We keep ours in a garage refrigerator, but those in colder climates might be able to place a lid on the brining turkey and keep in an ice cold area in the garage.

As long as the turkey is submerged in the brine and the brine and turkey stay at least 40 degrees or below, you’ll be good.

We usually start breast side down and rotate the next day. At least a 24 hour soak is encouraged for maximum flavor, but you will get good results in as little as 10 hours.

Remove the bird from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine and cook as usual.

homemade cajun turkey brine recipe in a large container
You can brine the turkey for 24-48 hours, but you will get very good results from as little as 10, or overnight.

How To Season The Turkey After Removing From The Cajun Brine

You can oil your bird with olive oil and sprinkle with a cajun rub, or our favorite way to season is to paint the outside of the turkey with our turkey compound butter (AKA turkey paint).

It’s a great way to get incredible flavor on your holiday bird and works especially well with cajun smoked turkey. The breast meat is very tender when using a wet brine and our compound butter makes sure the turkey skin is equally delicious!

However you choose to roast, fry, or smoke your turkey this is a great time to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.

Once cooking begins you will cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

We’ve got some great Thanksgiving dinner sides as well! Check out these tasty recipes…

Have questions? Need help? Have an addition or a suggestion to a recipe? Drop me a comment below!

If you make this recipe, I would LOVE to see it!

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a fresh turkey in cajun turkey brine
Yield: 1 turkey

Cajun Turkey Brine Recipe (For Ultra Juicy Cajun Turkey)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 15 minutes

Juicy Cajun Turkey starts with a delicious, LOADED WITH SPICES cajun brine. We use fresh spices to create a brew that our turkey rests in for a day and results in succulent, zesty meat every time. Get the recipe now!


The Brine:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 c. kosher salt
  • ½ c. sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup creole mustard
  • 4 -6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 1 lemon, juice

Homemade Cajun Spice Blend:

  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1 t. white pepper

Finish With:

  • 1 additional gallon cold water
  • 1 turkey or turkey breast


    1. In a large stockpot, add 1 gallon of water, kosher salt, sugar, creole mustard, garlic and lemon juice. Over medium heat, heat this mixture while you measure the cajun spice blend in to a small bowl.
    2. Add the cajun seasoning to the pot and bring it to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, or until salt and sugar dissolve, then turn off the heat and let the brine cool to room temperature.
    3. When the brine is about room temperature transfer it into the refrigerator until cool.
    4. In a large 5-gallon bucket, add 1 gallon of ice-cold water and pour the chilled turkey brine in. Insert your whole turkey or turkey breast. For a larger bird, the turkey should be turned once during the brining process. You can brine the turkey sufficiently overnight, but most people do at least 24 hours for maximum flavor. We have brined in the solution up to 2 days with excellent results.
    5. To prepare the turkey for the next stage of cooking, remove it from the brine and pat the turkey well with paper towels. Discard the brine.
    6. Your bird is now ready for roasting, smoking or frying. We recommend our turkey paint (creole turkey butter recipe) to paint your turkey with before roasting or smoking. You can view that recipe here.
    7. Place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey breast through the skin of the turkey.
    8. At this point, you may either place the turkey in a large roasting pan or place it in the smoker or fryer.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 37Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 3499mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g

This nutritional information is provided as a courtesy as an estimate only. Consult with a dietician for precise estimates. This website makes no claims that the nutritional values listed are accurate.


Saturday 18th of November 2023

What is the green in the picture? Parsley?

Sarah Penrod

Sunday 19th of November 2023

Just parsley, it makes the pictures look engaging :)

Chris Allen

Friday 22nd of September 2023

Can you use the dry ingredients for the ccajun brine as a dry brine? I’ve wet brined for years, but want to dry brine this time

Sarah Penrod

Saturday 23rd of September 2023

I have not tried these as a dry brine because I don't truly understand how a dry brine can add moisture. I understand how it could add flavor. If you try it, be sure to let me know how it goes as I would be curious!


Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

Can I stuff the bird with stuffing and smoke using a pellet smoker? Also is it unnecessary to use a roasting pan to catch the juices? Thanks

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