A lot of Thanksgiving tradition revolves around food which includes the huge turkey and all the trimmings.
While dessert is a big part of the gathering, you should lay on a spread of cookies just in case any of your guests feels peckish.
Even these can be baked on the theme of Thanksgiving with their design resembling turkeys or fall foliage yet the flavors are very important.
Try to use familiar ingredients from the season including pecans, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, apples, and maple syrup.
If you are tired of sticking to tradition and serving pumpkin pie every year then go for something different. In this guide, we will detail 25 of the best cookies that you should serve for Thanksgiving.
A turkey is one of the true representations of Thanksgiving so use a pack of sugar cookie dough to honor them properly. Follow the instructions on the pack to bake the cookies and leave the batch to cool.
For each cookie, pipe out some chocolate frosting to form an edge for half of the surface.
That’s the base layer and you can use candy corn frosting for the feathers then orange icing for the face and feet then eyes from baking bits and black gel.
Bring some fall tastes with these moreish shortbread cookies that are topped with pecan halves. You will want to toast the pecan halves first until fragrant and then get going with the cookie dough.
Beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt then add in the pecan halves. Turbinado sugar may be tricky to find but if you have some, it is also used for a delicious outer layer which is well worth trying.
For a cookie that you can also give away to guests, create a batch of Almond Biscotti. These are classic biscuits from Italy that are baked twice for crispiness which also makes them really easy to package and transport.
Whisk together the dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, crushed anise seed, and salt then beat in eggs, sugar, olive oil and almond extract. Stir in the flour, stir in almonds, leave to chill and then bake twice until firm and crispy.
Soft and chewy, with a chocolate kiss in the middle, these Peanut Butter Blossoms Cookies are sure to wow a Thanksgiving crowd though you could also use a batch as cute gifts.
Both sweet and salty, use a bag of chocolate candy kisses with brown sugar, white sugar, peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, and a single egg.
Use a cookie scoop or just your hands to make dough balls and make sure the cookies are still soft when you place a chocolate kiss directly in the center of each one.
When it gets cold, you may want to light a fire for your Thanksgiving gathering.
S’mores should be an option yet you can always make them in a skillet and bake them in the oven with a few appropriately sized marshmallows and semisweet chocolate chips.
This can be a tricky recipe that you may want to eat straight out of the skillets instead of trying to force them out onto a dish or serving plate.
Once the cookie dough has baked, fill the skillets with chocolate chips and top with the cookies and halved marshmallows then bake in the skillets until the marshmallows turn a golden brown color.
Obviously, the size of the s’mores depends on the size of your skillets so use a really small one for kids and one a bit bigger to share though ensure that you wear gloves when handling the skillets.
For a cookie that serves more as a dessert than a snack, try these German Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.
The filling is made from toasted pecans, shredded coconut, egg yolks, and condensed milk which might actually be the star of the show.
Shredded coconut also goes into the cookie while a final layer of toasted coconut is added at the end. These sandwich cookies can be quite messy so be prepared for shredded coconut to drop out.
These Snowflake Cookies are great for Christmas but you can bring them out early for Thanksgiving too. You will need a cookie cutter shaped like a snowflake yet the recipe is simple enough.
Blitz together pecans, confectioner’s sugar, butter, vanilla extract, flour, Kosher salt, and cinnamon.
The trick to a lot of cookies is to ensure that the dough is chilled sufficiently before rolling out. That’s certainly the case here so leave the dough in the refrigerator until firm then roll out, cut, and bake.
As soon as the cookies have cooled, dust over confectioners’ sugar for that snow-kissed look.
These Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies are so filling and ideal for Thanksgiving. With a cake-like texture, crisp edges, and those apple pieces dusted with cinnamon flavors that will have you reaching for another one.
You can even add a cinnamon glaze from powdered sugar, water, and ground cinnamon. These cookies are so moreish you may want to make a big batch to share and serve them with vanilla ice cream.
It can never truly be Thanksgiving without a serving of pecan pie and you can make your own mini versions.
These thin, soft cookies have a caramelized taste and use light brown sugar and pecan halves for a delicious rich taste.
Even if you are experienced in creating pecan pies, these are a great way to recreate the taste in a small form that is still full of that delicious fall flavor.
For a cookie that should provide some warmth, create these Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies.
They may look simple enough yet with ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and black pepper, they sure do have a spicy kick.
The richness comes from dark rum and molasses so allow them to chill so that the flavors fully develop before baking a batch. Once the edges look to be set and hardened, wait for cracks to appear on the surface.
Another oatmeal cookie you should try for Thanksgiving are these Crispy Maple Oatmeal Cookies.
You can use gluten-free flour and rolled oats, vegan butter, and unsweetened shredded coconut if you have dietary preferences. However, you will need brown sugar and maple syrup flakes for a deep taste that has to be savored.
These cookies are best enjoyed on a small plate in front of a roaring fire with a hot drink.
As well as Reese’s peanut butter cups, candy corn, and M&Ms, these turkey cookies look impressively cute.
Create a batch of sugar cookies and then place a peanut butter cup in the middle and allow them to fully cool. You can use candy eyes, M&M’s for a nose, and candy corn pieces for the feathers.
These are great to create with kids as they are so cute and so tasty.
If you have any cranberry sauce left over after Thanksgiving, use it well to create this batch of cookies.
More Thanksgiving flavors come from ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and pumpkin purée.
Simply cream together white and brown sugars with pumpkin purée egg, vanilla extract, and cranberry sauce. Beat in flour, baking soda, salt, oats, flour, and spices then stir in the chips, refrigerate, and bake until golden brown.
To resemble fall foliage, you can create a batch of Colorful Leaf Cookies that look impressive yet are so rewardingly easy to create.
Find a leaf cookie cutter and you will only need some typical pantry ingredients to create the dough. Divide that dough into chunks and color each one individually, one orange, one red, and one yellow.
Break the dough into chunks, roll it all out, divide into cookies, sprinkle on orange decorating sugar, and bake.
Even more cookies that resemble fall foliage are these Easy Thanksgiving Shortbread Cookies.
These have a marbled look that comes from an icing glaze from powdered sugar combined with half and half.
The cookies themselves are easy to create with soft butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, flour, and cornstarch.
Once baked, add some gel food coloring to the icing glaze in brown, yellow, and orange shades then use a toothpick to mix it up a bit.
Dip each cookie into the glaze and give it a little shake to ensure it covers the surface then leave it to dry.
For a festive flavor, go for these Cranberry Pistachio Cookies. Beat together butter, sugar, and olive oil then add vanilla extract and egg. In another bowl, mix together dry ingredients such as salt, baking powder, cornstarch, and flour.
You need a cup each of dried cranberries and shelled pistachios which are stirred in as final ingredients to a simple cookie dough that is baked for up to 15 minutes.
Another recipe that uses dried cranberries is this one for Soft White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies.
The recipe is similar to the one above, of creaming together butter and sugars then adding vanilla extract and egg.
Dry ingredients are whisked together including cornstarch, flour, salt, and baking soda then combined with the wet ingredients.
Finally, white chocolate chips and dried cranberries are added, and the dough is chilled and baked for around 12 minutes.
For a cozy treat during fall, and certainly at Thanksgiving, create a batch of these Maple Snickerdoodle Sandwich Cookies With Bourbon Maple Filling.
You will need some cream of tartar for the cookies themselves as well as some maple flavoring. The sugar coating is easy to make by mixing together pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and sugar.
Finally, that maple bourbon filling comes from combining butter with powdered sugar, and then streaming in maple syrup followed by bourbon which should be firm enough to hold together both cookies.
Mallomars on their own are a delicious treat yet by substituting the shortbread cookie base you can use a gingersnap cookie for Thanksgiving.
You can use store-bought marshmallows yet they need to be the right size to match the gingersnap cookies. Place a marshmallow on top of the cookies and cover in melted chocolate then shake off any excess.
Sprinkle on some sea salt and then allow the mallomars to fully set.
Shape these cookies into miniature pumpkins for that extra Thanksgiving touch yet the taste is more than enough. With nutmeg and cinnamon in the cookie dough, these spiced cookies taste just right for fall.
Bake them until golden brown and then create the browned butter frosting. Let the butter cook and brown until it smells almost toasted then add in confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon before frosting each cookie.
Another recipe that uses browned butter is this one where the ingredient adds depth to a batch of Sea Salt Butterscotch Pretzel Cookies.
Brown the butter and allow to cool then combine with eggs, brown sugar, vanilla extract.
Pour the mixture into sea salt, baking soda, and flour that has been whisked together to create a dough then add chocolate chips, pretzels, and butterscotch chips.
Bake until the cookies are lightly golden brown on the edges before adding a pinch of sea salt flakes to the top of each one.
For a soft cookie that is ideal for Thanksgiving, look no further than these Soft Frosted Maple Cinnamon Sugar Cookies that simply melt in your mouth.
That texture comes from both baking powder and baking salt which is combined with softened unsalted butter, sour cream, and maple extract.
Once the sugar cookies are baked, create the frosting from powdered sugar, butter, cinnamon, half and half, more maple extract, and brown food coloring.
The final frosting should seem whipped, fluffy, and light so you can scoop and spread it onto each cookie.
If you want a cookie that is simply overflowing with spiced apples then these Apple Crisp Cookie Cups are ideal.
You will need a muffin tin to create the cookie cups and a cookie scoop to distribute the dough but after that they’re truly easy to create.
A lot of the flavor comes from ground cinnamon and nutmeg while rolled oats hold those cups together.
Once golden brown, press a shot glass down into the dough to create cups and mix in softened apples flavored with brown sugar, and even more nutmeg with cinnamon then serve.
Though oranges are hardly a fall fruit, they work so well with winter spice flavors and create that classic color. This is another cookie recipe that uses ground cinnamon though here it is combined with ground ginger.
For the orange cream, combine cream cheese with orange zest and butter until fluffy and a light yellow color. You may even want to add some orange juice if the filling proves to be too stiff.
Tart raspberries also work as an ideal filling, as demonstrated in a batch of these Bittersweet-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.
Use cocoa powder (ideally Dutch-processed) for the bittersweet chocolate flavor and ensure that the cookie dough is chilled before rolling out.
Flip the cookies over so that half of them have the bottom side facing up and add around a teaspoon of raspberry preserves for each one.
Sandwich with the top of another one then leave to rest for around an hour so that the preserves set.
Bonus Section: Pumpkin Cookies
If there is a flavor that you should see featured during Thanksgiving, it should be pumpkin. You can use one to make your own pumpkin purée or simply buy a couple of cans from the store.
You should find some pumpkins for Thanksgiving, try to keep one after a Halloween party too as you can create your own pumpkin purée.
Combine the purée with ground ginger, cinnamon, light brown sugar, and dark molasses for these intense cookies. Even the maple-spice frosting packs a punch with dark maple syrup, ground cloves, cinnamon, and cream cheese.
Another recipe to use up that pumpkin purée is this one for Soft Pumpkin Cookies. Of course, spices are a key ingredient so nutmeg and cinnamon are used expertly.
Rolled in powdered sugar, these cookies only require between 11 and 13 minutes baking time. The reduced baking time creates a softer, pillowy cookie that should melt in your mouth.
You can create your own batch of pumpkin slices in cookie form. The cookie dough is straightforward enough with two icings, one thin and the other a little thicker with yellow and orange food coloring.
These look so cute you may even want to use them as seasonal decorations. You may not even need a cookie cutter as these can be cut when rolled out with a dinner knife.
A lot of Thanksgiving tables simply use pumpkin pie as the sole dessert yet it does not need to be this way. If everyone is suitably full after a huge meal, there should be some small sweet creations on offer as snacks.
That’s where a batch of Thanksgiving cookies comes in as they still have traditional flavors but are in a smaller, more attractive form.
You could simply decorate a batch of sugar cookies yet try to use flavors like winter spices, pecans, and even pumpkin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Thanksgiving can be typified by several flavors that are characterized by the season of fall.
This includes some spices such as ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
Brown sugars also help so try to find recipes that include molasses and typically dark or light brown sugar.
Finally, there is also the flavor of pumpkin which you can use as a purée you can either buy in a can or make yourself with a fresh pumpkin.
Cookies are a versatile treat so there are several types of cookies that can be used for a specific occasion, such as Thanksgiving.
For decorative cookies, use a pack of sugar cookies and then design them accordingly with designs such as pumpkin pie slices or as turkeys.
You can also create a batch of Snickerdoodle cookies with cinnamon, S’Mores, or gingerbread cookies. Certain cookie variations, such as oatmeal cookies or chocolate chip cookies can be adapted for Thanksgiving too.