With a super simple, lightly sweetened dough, these Thanksgiving Cookies are such a fun dessert to make and share with the kids. You can do any shape you prefer, though we’re partial to tiny turkeys!

Spiced thanksgiving cookies on baking sheet.

Thanksgiving Cookies

I’ve long been making a lightly spiced Gingerbread Cookie for the holidays and new that it would make a really fun addition to the Thanksgiving table. With just enough sweetness from molasses and maple syrup for younger eaters, plus a really simple egg-free dough, these cookies are a holiday favorite.

You can make the cookie dough ahead of time and stash it in the fridge if you want to. You can use any cookie cutter that you like, though little turkeys are seriously fun. (My kids think these are hilarious.)

And you can leave them plain or decorate with icing sugar or royal icing as you like. This is one of our favorite easy Thanksgiving desserts.

Similar in texture to an Animal Cracker, but with more warm spices, these are a perfect holiday cookie for toddlers.

Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at the ingredients you need to make these Thanksgiving Cookies so you know what to have on hand.

Ingredients for spiced thanksgiving cookies on counter top.
  • All-purpose flour: This keeps the cookies tender and light. You can also use whole wheat flour if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice: These spices work together to add cozy spice. You can just use cinnamon if you prefer. You can add a dash of ground ginger for more flavor, too.
  • Baking powder and salt: These help the cookies rise and have nice flavor.
  • Unsalted butter: You’ll want to soften this at room temperature so it is easy to blend into the dough.
  • Maple syrup and molasses: A little maple syrup and molasses add both sweetness and flavor to the cookie.
  • Milk: I use whole milk in my baking, but you can use a plain, unsweetened nondairy milk if you prefer.
  • Icing, sprinkles, decorating sugar, raisins, chocolate chips: Optional for decorating as you like.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at how to make these cookies for kids. Scroll down to the end of the recipe for the full amounts and timing.

how to make spiced thanksgiving cookies in grid of 4 images.
  1. Place all ingredients into a bowl and use your hand to mix together to form a dough. Refrigerate the dough while you preheat the oven.
  2. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it to ¼ inch thick. I find that it’s easiest to cut if you lightly flour parchment paper, then add a second piece of parchment on top and roll the dough between it.
  3. Cut out the dough with a cookie cutter and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven, let cool on the baking sheet for a minute, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Spiced thanksgiving cookies on baking sheet before baking.

Easy Cooking Decorating Ideas

You can bake these treats plain or brush with a little milk and sprinkle with coarse decorating sugar. Or, bake them, let cool, and top with Royal Icing like the classics cookie. (See below in the Notes at the end of the recipe.) When the icing is still wet, add any sprinkles or decorations you or the kids like.

How to Store

Store this baked and cooled cookie recipe in an airtight container for up to a week. You can also make the dough and store it in plastic wrap or in a bag for up to a month in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature to use.

Spiced thanksgiving cookie dough in freezer bag.

Best Tips for Success

  • Make Ahead: You can make the dough the night before or a few hours in advance and store in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap. It will need to sit at room temperature for about an hour to soften up, or you can remove it from the plastic, put it onto a plate, and microwave for 5-10 seconds. (Find more Make-Ahead Thanksgiving ideas.)
  • Royal icing: You can top cooled cookies with icing if you’d like. Stir together ½ cup powdered sugar with a few drops of milk, adding more of either as needed to make a thick icing. Spread on cookies or put into a zip-top bag, seal, and snip one edge off to make a little piping bag for the kids.
  • Roll out the dough between two lightly floured pieces of parchment paper to prevent sticking. 
  • Gluten-free: Use this gluten-free flour from King Arthur.
  • Dairy-free: Use melted and slightly cooled coconut oil instead of butter and plain, unsweetened nondairy milk.
  • Use whole-wheat flour in place of all-purpose. Add a few additional drops of milk if needed to make the dough come together. (You may not need it.)
  • I used 1-inch cookie cutters here. If making larger cookies, they may take longer to bake.

Related Recipes


I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please rate and comment below!

Spiced thanksgiving cookies on baking sheet.

Spiced Thanksgiving Cookies

With a super simple, lightly sweetened dough, these Thanksgiving Cookies are such a fun dessert to make and share with the kids. You can do any shape you prefer, though we're partial to tiny turkeys!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 39 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Calories 132kcal
Servings 8 (Makes about 2 dozen small cookies)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • Icing, sprinkles, raisins, chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients into a bowl and use your hand to mix together to form a dough. You'll want to be gentle but thorough to incorporate the butter into the dough.
  • Pop the dough into the fridge while you preheat the oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and place it between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper. Roll the dough ¼ inch thick using a rolling pin. (The flour and the parchment paper helps it be easy to cut out the cookies. If the dough sticks at all, pop it back into the fridge for a few minutes to firm up.)
  • Cut out the dough with a cookie cutter and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
  • Optional: Brush with milk to give them a slight sheen and top with coarse decorating sugar.
  • Bake for 7-9 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. (Smaller cut-outs will cook faster than larger ones.)
  • Remove from the oven, let cool on the baking sheet for a minute, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  • Store baked and cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.
  • Make ahead: You can make the dough the night before or a few hours in advance and store it in the fridge in plastic wrap. It will need to sit at room temperature for about an hour to soften up, or you can remove it from the plastic, put it onto a plate, and microwave for 5-10 seconds. 
  • Royal icing: You can top cooled cookies with icing if you’d like. Stir together ½ cup powdered sugar with a few drops of milk, adding more of either as needed to make a thick icing. Spread on cookies or put into a zip-top bag, seal, and snip one edge off to make a little piping bag for the kids.
  • Roll out the dough between two lightly floured pieces of parchment paper to prevent sticking. 
  • Gluten-free: Use this gluten-free flour from King Arthur.
  • Dairy-free: Use melted and slightly cooled coconut oil instead of butter and plain, unsweetened nondairy milk.

Nutrition

Serving: 3cookies, Calories: 132kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 67mg, Potassium: 73mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 184IU, Vitamin C: 0.03mg, Calcium: 36mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My kids and I just made these! I love that they require so few ingredients and were so quick from start to finish. I might have to make a quadruple batch next time, I can see these going way too fast! They are a delicious, healthier, cheaper alternative to store-bought boxed cookies.