Thermoacoustic instability and lean blowout are the major challenges faced when a gas turbine combustor is operated under fuel lean conditions. The dynamics of thermoacoustic system is the result of complex nonlinear interactions between the subsystems-turbulent reactive flow and the acoustic field of the combustor. In order to study the transitions between the dynamical regimes in such a complex system, the time series corresponding to one of the dynamic variables is transformed to an ɛ-recurrence network. The topology of the recurrence network resembles the structure of the attractor representing the dynamics of the system. The transitions in the thermoacoustic system are then captured as the variation in the topological characteristics of the network. We show the presence of power law degree distribution in the recurrence networks constructed from time series acquired during the occurrence of combustion noise and during the low amplitude aperiodic oscillations prior to lean blowout. We also show the absence of power law degree distribution in the recurrence networks constructed from time series acquired during the occurrence of thermoacoustic instability and during the occurrence of intermittency. We demonstrate that the measures derived from recurrence network can be used as tools to capture the transitions in the turbulent combustor and also as early warning measures for predicting impending thermoacoustic instability and blowout. © 2017 Author(s).