The BEST Sugar Cookies for the Holidays: Turkey Day Edition

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I know you’re looking for something sweet and adorable with which to adorn your dessert table.

Look no further because these sweet little turkey cookies are perfect and I’ve got a tutorial just for Y-O-U!

First, make your dough and let it chill for four hours or more. This is KEY, so plan ahead! Dough that has been chilling in the refrigerator is less likely to spread and will hold its shape when baked!

Dough recipe


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

2 sticks butter, unsalted, softened to room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 Tbsp almond or vanilla extract


First, mix the egg, butter, sugar and flavoring together. Then, slowly add in the baking powder, salt and flour. Once mixed together completely, wrap in saran wrap and transfer to the fridge.

Once the dough has had time to set up, it’s time to start rolling. I usually cut off about a palm size amount of dough at a time. I prefer to work with smaller amounts of dough because it can be pretty stiff and the smaller amounts make it easier for me to handle. For this adorable turkey cookie, I am using a sea shell cookie cutter!

Rolling the dough between rolling guards helps keep your dough all the same thickness, so that the cookie bakes evenly. (TIP: if you don’t want to invest in a rolling guard, you can hop on over to your local paint store and grab four paint sticks. Taping two paint sticks together acts as an amazing, FREE option!) Another huge secret: Instead of using a crazy amount of flour to roll your cookies out, roll your dough between to pieces of parchment paper. NO MESS!

Once your cookies are rolled, you are going to pop them back into the fridge for about 15 minutes. This helps harden them back up so that they hold their true shape and don’t turn out looking like a blob. 

Now it’s time to bake! Pull cookies from the fridge and bake them at 350F degrees for 9 minutes. The key is to pull them out before they are browning. Once sugar cookies start turning brown, they become less “melt in your mouth” and more “break yo teeth!” My general rule of thumb is the following: if you question whether they are done, pull them out and let them sit on the hot baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to cool.

Once all the cookies have been baked and cooled, it’s time to whip up the icing and get to work! 

You will want to have on hand the following: gallon size Ziploc bags, saran wrap, bowls, spoons, toothpicks, powdered sugar, almond extract, food coloring (brown and orange), meringue powder, couplers and cake decorating tips in size 3, 4 and 5 (these are a couple bucks a piece at Hobby Lobby or JoAnns).

Time to make the icing!


2 lbs {1 bag} confectioner’s sugar

5 Tbsp meringue powder

about 3/4 cup water

2 Tbsp of almond or vanilla flavoring (oil free)


Put the entire bag of powdered sugar in the mixing bowl and add in the meringue powder. Next take your measuring cup and fill with warm water and almond extract. Pour water mixture into sugar mixture and beat.

NOTE: Royal icing and oil are NOT friends. Make sure all of your utensils are oil free, including your bowls, flavoring and coloring. Wash bowls and utensils well in hot water, and give them a rub with lemon juice or vinegar before using them. As we begin coloring the icing and thinning it out to ice the cookies, I highly recommend watching this quick video.

You will need to make brown, orange, tan, and white icing for these little turkeys. 

Step one: outline the turkey body in tan icing.

Step two: pipe on brown icing and then quickly pipe in a white and orange line. Grab your toothpick and gently swipe through lines to create the feather design. Let the icing dry for several minutes before moving onto the next step.

Step three: once icing is dry, pipe on feet, beak, gobbler, white tummy, eyes and any other detail work. (Note: if you do this before the bottom layer of icing is dry, the colors will sink into each other.)

These cute cookies are sure to be the talk of any holiday party! What questions or tips do you have? I’m happy to help you troubleshoot — just drop a comment below! 

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