My favorite thing at family gatherings and holiday parties is a whole table full of fun, festive, fall-spiced Thanksgiving cookies.
When the holidays roll around, it’s all hands on deck to make the biggest and most delicious feast around.
Of course, if you have family over, you’ll want to make sure they have plenty of sweet treats to keep them satisfied.
Making cookies can be so cathartic, and it’s a great activity to get the kids involved, too!
Naturally, you’ll want to stock up on pumpkin puree for some of these recipes. It’s a Thanksgiving staple, right?
If you aren’t obsessed with all things pumpkin spice, you’ll also find some dreamy peanut butter cookies and a few classic shortbread options, and even some funky turkeys to make the kids smile.
This list of 25 Thanksgiving cookies is sure to keep you going all the way until Christmas – and that’s a whole other list!
Ready to get started? Let’s gobble!
When I see cute little cookies like this, I can’t help but think about the time it must take to make them.
It’s Thanksgiving, after all, and time is a hot commodity!
But these are super simple, and if you start with store-bought cookies (I won’t tell if you won’t), you can have a platter ready to go in about a half-hour.
I used Starburst for my beaks, snipping a little bit of orange off and rolling it into a small peak. It was way less messy than trying to pipe!
I like having lots of choices when people come over, and nothing is better than a table full of cookies.
They’re great for snacking, finger-food friendly, and a hit with kids and grown-ups alike.
I love these because they’re super soft and delicious and so hands-off when it comes to decorating.
Just pop a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle, and voila!
You can even use different flavored Kisses! Milk and dark chocolate are great options, but my favorite has to be the caramel-filled ones!
Whoopie pies are such a joy to make and eat, and I love how versatile they are.
Just like French macarons, you can make these in so many different colors and flavors!
But since we’re talking about Thanksgiving today, it only seems right to go for pumpkin!
To make yours perfect, go ahead and grab a whoopie pie tin.
It can be used for all kinds of other recipes, too, but I’ll bet you’ll make whoopie pies a lot after you try these out!
Here’s another recipe that will give you delicious and tender cookies, with little to no time spent on decorating!
It’s perfect for the big day when you have a whole turkey to worry about.
This dough is quite sticky, so it’s best to use an ice cream scoop to portion it out.
Keep a glass full of hot water on hand and dip the scoop after every couple of portions to keep it from sticking.
To get that fantastic crackled effect on the top, just roll the chilled cookie balls in powdered sugar before baking.
Alternatively, try rolling them in cinnamon sugar for a lightly crisp and spiced finish.
I know oatmeal cookies can be a hard sell sometimes, but I think they’re the perfect fall cookie.
It’s not just the spices (which are a must during the holidays); it’s the fantastic texture!
The chewy middle is only enhanced by the crispy edges, and the pops of real apple throughout are so fun.
Be sure to dice the apples relatively small so they distribute evenly and soften in the oven.
If you’re worried they won’t be sweet enough, try drizzle with a touch of cinnamon glaze (cinnamon, water, powdered sugar), or, better yet, throw some toffee bits into the dough!
I think we can all agree pecan pie is one of the all-time best fall pies around, right?
Between the buttery pastry and devilishly sweet filling, it’s impossible to stop at just one slice.
But how do you incorporate all that goodness into a cookie?
One thing you’ll notice in the ingredient list is the high fat to flour ratio.
This makes these very soft, and even after chilling in the fridge, they will spread out nice and thin, giving you a lovely crisp edge.
Plus, you’ll use all brown sugar, making them extra chewy, gooey, and perfectly sweet.
If there’s one thing you won’t ever regret buying, it’s these hilarious candy eyes. Trust me; your little turkeys will love them!
Between those and the ready-to-go decorations, you don’t even have to turn the oven on to make these babies!
If you have someone with allergies or just don’t like Nutter Butters, these Milano cookies would make the perfect alternative.
Most of these turkey cookies use candy corn to make the feathers, and they look adorable.
Unfortunately, I’m not the biggest fan of candy corn. So, I made something a little different!
Using yellow and orange Laffy Taffy and Starburst, I rolled out the different flavors and layered them into stripes.
Then, using a pizza cutter, I cut out lots of little triangles and used those instead!
It took a little longer, but it was worth it in the end!
This is probably the most kid-friendly recipe on the list because all they’ll have to do is stick the candy corn in the filling around the edges.
I put out a whole bunch of different flavors, including different colors of candy corn, and we got some pretty unique birds on the table!
These are extra fun if you buy bigger candy eyes or the ones with eyelashes!
Do you and the family go apple picking when the orchards open?
Are you always left with a whole bushel of apples that you hate to see go to waste?
This recipe is perfect to use up those sweet and tart, freshly picked apples and can be made well before Thanksgiving.
Once you have your dough mixed and scooped, go ahead and freeze the whole tray (no need to leave space between the cookies).
Once they’re frozen, you can break them apart and store them in a freezer bag until you need them.
If it’s just for me (and the family), I always add dark chocolate chips to my pumpkin bread.
I think the flavors compliment each other well, and the bitterness of the chocolate adds another level of enjoyment to the mix.
So, naturally, these pumpkin and chocolate cookies are a huge hit in my house!
These are very much chewy cookies, not like the more cakey pumpkin cookies from above.
Though I love those cookies, too, this denser crumb is more my style!
We’ve had a lot of pumpkin spice on here, so I think it’s time for something different!
Cranberry and pistachio go hand in hand in both color contrast and flavor.
I adore the vibrant chewiness of the cranberries with the nutty crunch you get from the pistachios.
And what’s more Thanksgiving-related than cranberries?!
Want to push these over the edge? Try adding some orange zest to the dough!
Sweet potato is such a fantastic ingredient. You can use it in pies, as a side to beef, in tacos, and even in chocolate and oat cookies.
Plus, it’s got lovely coloring, is readily available, and it’s so much easier to prep than a big old pumpkin.
You might notice that this recipe doesn’t have as much sugar or fat in it as some other cookie recipes.
That’s because the sweet potato naturally provides both sweetness and moisture to your cookies.
Not a fan of dark chocolate? Try adding peanut butter chips instead.
You’ll need Nutter Butter bites for this because they’re slightly smaller and have that great texture that makes these look like acorns.
But if you’re not Nutter Butter nutty, you can always use Nilla Wafers instead or make your own little sugar cookies.
Shortbread is buttery, crumbly, and impossible to resist.
It’s one of the best and easiest recipes around, and you don’t really need any glaze or frosting on top.
That said, a little frosting never hurt anyone!
This marble effect might look complicated, but it’s just a matter of making a controlled mess!
You’ll make a vanilla glaze, which needs to be pretty thick, so it doesn’t run.
Then, just streak some coloring through and dip your cookies. It’s so easy!
Speaking of controlled messes, these cookies are another excellent kid-friendly activity.
You’ll start with one basic cookie recipe that gets split and colored.
Be sure to chill this so you can work with it easier before cutting and baking.
To make the mosaic effect, you’ll break off pieces of each color and lay them on the counter at random.
Squish it down and roll it out until it’s even and cut out your leaves.
Opening the fridge to leftovers can be exhausting after a couple of days.
So, if you want a recipe to use up that cranberry sauce, this one’s for you!
These chewy cookies are oaty, and spiced, and the cranberry sauce gives such a nice tartness to the mix.
If you have leftover pecans, they will make these even better.
If you’re having a large get-together, what better way to set the table than with fun and personalized turkey handprint cookies?
The feathers can be piped on, or I’ve also used mini M&Ms in the past, and they came out great.
Since you’ll use Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for this, the cookies need to be thicker so the cups can press inside.
If you want them big, use a regular muffin tin. But if you prefer the mini-peanut butter cups, you’ll need a mini-muffin pan.
Once you have the cookies baked, let them cool slightly before pressing the peanut butter cups into the middle.
You’ll want it somewhat warm still, so they will go in and stick.
Because these are pretty thick cookies, you’ll use powdered sugar instead of granulated.
This is because the crystals inside may not dissolve properly during the bake, leaving a grainy texture.
To ensure these keep their shape, they need to be chilled for a minimum of three hours.
This will keep them from spreading in the oven and should ensure the indentations don’t puff out.
These are so clever, and you can modify them with whatever candies you want.
When buying the Bugles, be sure to grab the caramel kind, not the ranch!
They wouldn’t be too tasty on top of Golden Oreos and icing.
I think the fall colored M&Ms work super well for this, but like I said, you can go nuts with whatever candy you like. It’s a cornucopia, after all!
Not only are these oaty and crunchy, but they’re also gluten-free and vegan-approved.
Be sure to get gluten-free oats if that’s a concern for you, and you can usually find vegan butter in most grocery stores these days.
Of course, if dietary needs aren’t a concern, you can use regular oats and butter.
If you’ve never used maple syrup chunks/flakes, you’re in for a real treat.
They pack quite a punch and boost that wonderful flavor without making your cookies overly sticky.
When it comes to melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin cookies, these take the cake!
The dough is so light and fluffy that if you don’t press them a little, they will jump up like cream puffs.
So after you’ve scooped them onto the try, just wet your fingers slightly and press them down to flatten.
The worst part here is waiting for them to cool so you can add the velvety cream cheese frosting.
I like a nice sugar cookie as much as the next baker, but sometimes they just need a little kick.
What’s better than a spiced sugar coating of cinnamon?
To make sure every bite has that beautiful warmth, always roll your cookies twice in the cinnamon sugar mix. I even press them slightly right in the bowl, so there’s as much coating as possible.
Between the sweet molasses, spicy ginger, and warm cinnamon, these cookies are quite intense.
They’re dark and cracked on top, which looks terrific, but they’re so chewy in the middle!
It’s really baking magic when you break open one of these.
If you want to make these extra spicy, try using freshly grated ginger instead.
The tiny flecks in the cookie will burst on your tongue and the tastiest way!
To substitute fresh ginger, use 1 tablespoon for every 1/4 teaspoon of ground.
So, for this recipe, you’ll need about 2-3 ounces of freshly grated ginger.
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