53 Best Thanksgiving Cookie Recipes
Skip the traditional pumpkin pie this year in favor of shareable seasonal cookies. Whether you're looking for something festive and fun (you'll love decorating these Pumpkin Cutout Cookies) or simple and subtly autumnal (we recommend these Chai-Spiced Snickerdoodles or these Maple-Walnut Spice Cookies), you're sure to find a new favorite in our collection of Thanksgiving cookie recipes.
Pumpkin Pie Cutout Cookies
Bake the cookies up to five days ahead, and store in an airtight container. To make our wind cookies and leaf cookies, we used round cutters and swirly piping to represent the wind, and various sizes of leaf-shaped cutters for fluttering foliage. For more on decorating cookies, visit southernliving.com/cookietips.
Marbled Sugar Cookies
Beautiful Marbled Sugar Cookies will make a festive addition to your fall table.
Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Coffee Glaze
Full of warming fall flavors, these easy Pumpkin Spice Cookies are just about the perfect after-dinner treat to pair with a cup of coffee. After all, they’re basically everyone’s favorite seasonal latte delivered in cookie form. If you plan to share these pumpkin spice cookies at any sort of fall potluck and nut allergies are a concern, you can certainly leave the ground pecans out of the batter—simply replace them with 1/3 cup more all-purpose flour.
If you’d rather skip the booze in the coffee glaze, try replacing it with 2-3 tablespoons of cold coffee. Or you can opt for a different glaze altogether; the maple glaze used here or this toasty tahini glaze would both work great for these pumpkin cookies.
Hungry for more? Check out our 25 Best Pumpkin Spice Recipes next.
Cranberry-White Chocolate Cookies
Fans of classic cookies will love these updated Cranberry-White Chocolate Cookies, accented with dried cranberries and gooey white chocolate.
Pumpkin Chai Snickerdoodles
Perfectly crispy on the outside, while light and fluffy on the inside, these festive, fall treats are your new favorite cookie. Rolled in a chai-spiced sugar mixture, these cookies are basically all of your favorite latte flavors mixed up into one perfect cookie. Best served after a dunk in coffee, if we do say so ourselves.
Butter-Pecan Shortbread Cookies
These buttery, salty-sweet slice-and-bake cookies will delight the butter-pecan lover in your life. For extra crunch, evenly coat both dough logs with turbinado sugar before slicing them into rounds. The dough can be made up to two days in advance if stored in the refrigerator.
Combine tart fresh cranberries and toasted almonds for a fresh twist. You’ll love the texture and combination of flavors in these cookies.
Ring in the holiday season the right way with these fun Fruitcake Cookies. Chock-full of dried fruit and pecans, these chewy two-bite nibbles won't be relegated to the re-gift pile.
Pecan Linzer Cookies
Use your favorite jams to vary the flavor and color of these beauties.
Look for five-spice powder on the spice aisle or with the Asian foods in your grocery store. We love the sparkle of sanding sugar used to coat the outside of the cookies; you’ll find it in craft stores. Supermarket turbinado works well, too.
Cranberry Cookies With Orange Glaze
Oh, so festive! These cakey cranberry cookies are a perfect holiday snack, dessert, or even breakfast.
Molasses Crinkle Cookies
These soft, chewy, beautifully spiced gingerbread cookies look like they just took a romp in fresh snow—a holiday look that saves you the trouble of having to ice each one. A dual coat of granulated and powdered sugar will help the slightly sticky dough balls hold their shape and get that crinkled texture.
Oak Leaf Cookies
A cookie cutter and some food coloring are all it takes to turn sugar cookie dough into oak leaves. Wear disposable gloves if you like to keep the food coloring from staining your hands.
Kahlúa Cookie Dough Bites
If you're only going to have "a bite" of dessert, this is the bite to have.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with Brown Butter
Brown butter takes these rich, seasonal pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to the next level, adding a nutty, fragrant flavor that is absolutely perfect for fall. Canned pumpkin puree lends moisture to these fluffy, cake-like treats while warm chocolate chips fill every bite. Make these for a Halloween party or a fall dinner party, and be sure to store any leftovers in an airtight container.
Pie-Crust Leaf Cookies
These delicate little cookies crumble easily over fruit as part of our Deconstructed Pie recipe, but they're nice on their own, too. You'll need leaf-shaped cookie cutters (we used a 3-in. size).
Pie-Crust Currant Cookies
Rich and dense, these cookies taste like mincemeat pie, and are very good with fresh fruit (or just on their own). We created them for a recipe called Deconstructed Pie (they stand in for the crust).
Caramel-Stuffed Ginger Cookies
These spice cookies have ooey-gooey caramel centers and are best served warm, straight from the oven or reheated in the microwave.
Pumpkin-Orange Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
If you're a fan of pumpkin desserts, look no further than these festive cookies. Fresh-squeezed orange juice and orange zest give these naturally colored pumpkin cookies a bright and crisp edge to compliment the deep fall flavors found in pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The milled flaxseed in this recipe provides a binder in place of using eggs and also provides some healthy omega-3's. These cookies are gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, and can easily be made vegan by using vegan chocolate chips, and just as well can also be made nut-free by subbing the almond milk for water or regular milk.
Pecan Praline Deep-Dish Skillet Cookie
Add a nutty twist to your classic cookie with pecans and pralines. Garnish with warm caramel salt and flaky sea salt for the perfect sweet-savory combination. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is all this warm skillet needs to be the perfect dessert for a nut-lover's sweet tooth.
Maple-Walnut Spice Cookies
Store these frosted cookies between layers of parchment paper or wax paper to keep them from sticking together. You can bake and freeze the cookies up to a month in advance; bring the cookies to room temperature before frosting them.
A toasty twist on the traditional Millionaire’s Shortbread, these decadent layered cookie bars feature toasted sesame seeds in the shortbread, a luscious tahini caramel, and more sesame seeds sprinkled over top for good measure.
Autumn Maple Cutout Cookies
These adorable cutout cookies are flavored with maple syrup and classic fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Walnuts provide a delicious crunch.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Acorns
Creating these chocolate "nuts" couldn't be easier; it's a great assembly-line project for kids (though we can't promise they won't sneak a little chocolate!).
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
These chocolate crinkle cookies are rich, super chocolatey, and pretty much perfect in every way. Brown sugar and espresso give these cookies a noticeable depth, while granulated and powdered sugar work together to deliver the perfect crinkly crust. From the chewy, brownie-like center to the crisp, creviced exterior, these cookies will satisfy all of your decadent dessert cravings. Besides, who doesn’t love watching as they transform from sugar-coated dough balls into fudgy, crackly, irresistible cookies right before your eyes? These chocolate crinkle cookies might be a holiday favorite, but that doesn't mean we won't be enjoying them year-round.
Cashew Butter Cookies
This deeply satisfying, gluten-free take on the classic peanut butter cookie is amazingly toasty and nutty. Swapping rice flour in for all-purpose helps these cookies achieve a delightful textural balance between chewy and sandy.
Despite their intricate appearance, pizzelle cookies are surprisingly easy to make. You’ll just need a special baker (we like the Cucina Pro Piccolo Pizzelle Baker), or at least a pizzelle iron. They’re super crispy and light, much like thin a sugar cone with a hint of vanilla. Pizzelle cookies make a great dessert, but they’re also perfect for holiday snacking.
These delightfully tipsy, no-bake treats will be a hit at holiday parties. Make the mixture up to two days in advance. Store the fudge balls in the refrigerator for up to five days in an airtight container.
Hershey's Kiss Cookies
Here’s a really tasty peanut butter cookie with a delightful milk (or whatever you want!) chocolate nugget smack dab in the center. It’s slightly chewy, with a little crunch from the sugar-coating, and a creamy, melty center. These can be eaten warm, but if you’re taking them somewhere, wait until the cookies have cooled completely before transporting.
Sesame-Almond Lace Cookies
This cookie has a lot going on in the best possible way. The melt-in-your-mouth, toffee-like cookie is accented by creamy chocolate and pops of salinity from sea salt. If you prefer dark chocolate over semisweet, melt and drizzle that instead. You can also use chopped pistachios, walnuts, or peanuts instead of almonds. These cookies will spread out as you bake, so keep them small—other ways they’ll be too thin.
Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies
You’ve probably heard of olive oil cake, and if you’ve ever tasted one, you know how much rich character olive oil can bring to a dessert. And that’s certainly the case for these anything-but-average chocolate chip cookies. With their crispy edges and perfectly gooey center, they’re downright dreamy.
Chocolate Cookie Cups with Caramel Filling
Holiday cookie baking can be impressive without being stressful. Make this easy cookie dough and store it in the fridge up to two days before you need to bake these fantastic filled cookies. What's great about this recipe is that you'll stand apart at the annual cookie exchange. Not only are your cookies a different shape, but they are filled with ooey-gooey caramel and topped with a crunchy pecan and a little sea salt for the perfect mix of sweet and salty.
Caramel Popcorn Cookies
Experimenting with unusual ingredients can produce an irresistible batch of cookies. In this recipe, caramel and popcorn pieces create the ultimate combination of salty and sweet—in cookie form!
Spiced Rum Balls
These easy spiced balls are the perfect festive treat.
Almond-Currant Linzer Cookies
We like the more updated look of off-center cutouts, but you can go more traditional by keeping the cutouts centered.
Girl Scout cookies are great, but these cookies are better! Tip: for consistent measurements when rounding and shaping your dough, use a mini ice cream scoop for the perfect size every time.
Almond Joy Cookies
Have leftover Halloween candy still lingering by Thanksgiving? Inspired by the favorite almond, coconut, and chocolate candy bar, these loaded Almond Joy Cookies are sure to steal the show on any holiday cookie platter or cookie swap they show up at.
Orange Sugar Cookies With Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting
Orange zest lends a delicate floral, citrus flavor to this delightfully crisp and light shortbread cookies. Finished with a vibrant orange and cream cheese frosting, they’re the perfect treat to deliver a taste of sunshine on a chilly winter day.
Copycat Dulce De Leche Milano Cookies
For a cookie that’s sure to impress, look no further than our homemade take on Milano Cookies with a buttery-sweet dulce de leche filling. We tested using Nestle brand canned dulce de leche, but you can also make you own if you have a can of sweetened condensed milk in the pantry. For other favorite fillings, try our DIY take on classic Milanos as well as our Copycat Mint Chocolate Milano Cookies.
Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies
Believe it or not, these chewy, brownie-like cookies are gluten free. Try not to eat them all in one sitting--our Test Kitchen found them especially hard to resist.
Peanut Butter-and-Jelly Linzer Cookies
We gave the classic linzer cookie a makeover with the flavors of a childhood favorite: PB&J. Use a low-sugar strawberry jam for the brightest red color.
Chocolate Chunk and Almond Cookies
Start with a recipe for a basic cookie dough base, then add chocolate chips and almonds for a batch of hard-to-resist cookies.
Sweet Potato-Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies
Sweet Potato-Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies encompass all the flavors of the holiday season. These creamy, buttery cookies make well-received gifts, too.
Donna's Molasses Cookies
"This recipe is from my mother-in-law's box of typed 3- by 5-in. cards, handed down from her mother," says Beryl Schwartz of Ojai, California. "Nothing reminds us of the holidays like the aroma of molasses wafting through the house!" Schwartz adds cloves and ginger for extra spice and rolls the cookie balls in turbinado sugar for crunch.
Chewy Ginger Cookies
Fresh ginger and black pepper bring a kick to this classic cookie. Prep tip: Swirl a liquid measuring cup with a thin coat of vegetable oil before measuring molasses for the most accurate (and least sticky) result.
Tiny Cardamom Orange Cookies
Hints of cardamom, orange, sesame, and pistachio provide a final Eastern Mediterranean flourish to the picnic. They're so small, you can eat them by the handful.
Chewy Ambrosia Biscotti
Make someone's holiday season extra merry by treating them to a batch of these biscotti with their favorite coffee or tea.
This simplified method for making classic French Macarons is the perfect recipe for a first-timer to practice with. Just be sure to wait for a day that isn’t rainy or humid to embark on this baking adventure, as the delicate cookies need dry air in order to set.
Iced Gingerbread Biscotti
Be sure to let the cookie logs cool after the first bake so they slice cleanly and don't crumble.
Browned Butter-Pecan Chewy Crispy Bars
We love the grown-up flavor of Browned Butter-Pecan Chewy Crispy Bars. They're reminiscent of the treasured childhood treat but have an adult twist.
Spiced Pecan Pie Bars
Two pantry staples—ground cinnamon and ginger—give the traditional pecan pie filling an unexpected and flavorful twist. For an impressive dessert, serve each bar on a plate with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Or just enjoy them right out of the pan!
Ginger Bourbon Balls
We guarantee you’ll earn compliments throughout the holiday season with this dessert, no matter how your bourbon balls roll. We suggest using melting chocolate, such as Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers, which are available at many supermarkets in the baking aisle.
Snickerdoodles are already a classic cookie, but add chai and they become irresistible. Cinnamon, cardamom, and a touch of black pepper intermingle beautifully to create a warm, buttery cookie that tastes like the beloved winter drink. Try dipping them in coffee or tea, or leaving them out with some milk for Santa.