Spiced Thanksgiving Cookies

Spiced thanksgiving cookies on baking sheet.

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

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: Keep the cookies tender and light.
  • Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice: These spices work together to add cozy spice. You can just use cinnamon if you prefer.
  • Baking powder and salt
  • 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.
  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 cookies plain or brush with a little milk and sprinkle with coarse decorating sugar. Or, bake them, let cool, and top with Royal Icing. (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 baked and cooled cookies 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. 
  • 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.

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Spiced thanksgiving cookies on baking sheet.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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


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