Identifying nonlinear structures in a time series, acquired from real-world systems, is essential to characterize the dynamics of the system under study. A single time series alone might be available in most experimental situations. In addition to this, conventional techniques such as power spectral analysis might not be sufficient to characterize a time series if it is acquired from a complex system such as a thermoacoustic system. In this study, we analyze the unsteady pressure signal acquired from a turbulent combustor with bluff-body and swirler as flame holding devices. The fractal features in the unsteady pressure signal are identified using the singularity spectrum. Further, we employ surrogate methods, with translational error and permutation entropy as discriminating statistics, to test for determinism visible in the observed time series. In addition to this, permutation spectrum test could prove to be a robust technique to characterize the dynamical nature of the pressure time series acquired from experiments. Further, measures such as correlation dimension and correlation entropy are adopted to qualitatively detect noise contamination in the pressure measurements acquired during the state of combustion noise. These ensemble of measures is necessary to identify the features of a time series acquired from a system as complex as a turbulent combustor. Using these measures, we show that the pressure fluctuations during combustion noise has the features of a high-dimensional chaotic data contaminated with white and colored noise. © 2015 American Physical Society.