Everyone has a favorite Thanksgiving dish they can’t wait to dive into, whether it’s homemade macaroni and cheese or a family gravy recipe that you’ve been eating your whole life. And, well, we all have the ones we take a spoonful of just to be polite, like the can-shaped cranberry blob and ambrosia “salad.” Your Thanksgiving cookie recipe is about to become a hit, and may just dethrone your great aunt’s bland pumpkin pie as the go-to dessert.
For those of you who don’t much like pie, the Thanksgiving dessert options are usually pretty limited. Pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie — what’s with all the pies?! As Bustle reported, pumpkin pie wasn’t even present at the original Thanksgiving in 1621, so it’s not like it’s a must-have historical dish. It became popular in the mid-nineteenth century when a widely-read magazine recommended turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie as the ideal T-Day spread — the article became so popular, the classic menu it’s still used today.
So, consider this your formal invitation to bring a new dessert to dinner this year: Thanksgiving cookies. Instead of choking down another slice of pumpkin goo on dusty crust, grab a couple cookies to enjoy with an after-dinner espresso or hot apple cider. Need some Thanksgiving cookie ideas? Scroll on.
Brown Butter Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookies
Want to take a typical chocolate chip cookie to the next level for your next holiday party? Browned butter adds a nutty flavor while the Biscoff brings in some ginger snap goodness to this Thanksgiving cookie recipe. You can use Trader Joe’s cookie butter in place of the Biscoff if you happen to have it in your pantry already.
Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
There’s pecan pie, bourbon pecan pie, and then the Thanksgiving cookie recipe that trumps them both: bourbon pecan chocolate chip cookies. You’ll need all the pantry staples you’d expect when baking, as well as your favorite bourbon, dark chocolate chunks, finely diced pecans, and flaky salt to finish. They’re an elevated cookie option that’ll stand out on the dessert table.
White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Cranberry and orange is a classic flavor duo during the holidays, and these cookies from A Cookie Named Desire add white chocolate drizzle to the mix for a little boost of sweetness. The oatmeal base makes them a little heartier and chewier, while all the mix-ins ensure they stay soft for days after baking.
Be sure to read through the entire recipe and post before you begin baking. While some blogs start their recipes with long stories unrelated to the actual recipe, this post is full of tips to make sure your cookies come out absolutely perfect (use a room temperature egg, melt down a white chocolate bar rather than chips, and more).
Vegan Rolled Pumpkin Spice Cookies
If you were hoping to make The New York Times’ pumpkin cookies but can’t do butter, these Thanksgiving cookies are vegan. The recipe calls for pumpkin pie spice and real pumpkin puree, along with plenty of vanilla, butter, and brown sugar. You could cut out the dough in festive shapes if you want, or stick to circles. Then, frost them and top with some chopped walnuts (or bake your leftover cookie dough and crumble it over top).
Chai Oatmeal Cookies With Apple Cider Cream Cheese
If you love a super-soft, ooey-gooey cookie moment, look no further than these chai oatmeal cookies filled with an apple cider cream cheese. They’re the perfect Thanksgiving cookie thanks to the fall flavors of chai and apple cider, and while oatmeal cookies may not be your typical go-to, they add a nice structure to balance out the cream cheese filling in this recipe. One note: don’t panic when you see raisins in the ingredient list. If you’re not a big raisin person, just know this recipe calls for them to be food processed into small bits so they add some overall sweetness and chewiness.
Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies
When you imagine the perfect cookie texture, you probably get a mental image just like this photo. These chewy ginger and molasses cookies are the perfect Thanksgiving cookie recipe thanks to the warm fall flavors of ginger and molasses (and that sugary crunch on the outside doesn’t hurt either). However, as Rachel of Baked by Rachel says in her recipe post about these bad boys, “Any day ending in Y is absolutely an occasion special enough for these cookies,” so don’t feel constrained by the holiday season. Once you learn how to make these in time for Turkey Day, you can make them again for Valentine’s Day. And St. Patty’s. And Earth Day...
Slice-And-Bake Cranberry Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cranberries are one of those holiday flavors that pops up around Turkey Day and stays through Christmas. So, why not incorporate it into your Thanksgiving cookies? This recipe makes four dozen cookies loaded down with dried cranberries, orange zest, and chocolate, so you’ll have plenty for your friends or family and maybe even a few left over. And a bonus perk: because they’re a slice-and-bake cookie, they turn out nice and flat. That means they’re super easy to transport in a Tupperware container or covered baking dish, and if they slide around in the passenger seat a little bit, they’ll be no worse for wear (looking at you, fickle, fragile pies).
Maple Pecan Sugar Cookies
Looking for a more bite-sized option for your Thanksgiving cookies this year? Look no further than these adorable maple pecan sugar cookies from Jessica in the Kitchen. They’re the ideal size for a cookie exchange, party, or big dessert spread. They incorporate all the best parts of pecan pie into cookie form by keeping the syrup flavors and being topped with pecans. Who knows? Cute Thanksgiving sugar cookies could catch on.
Pumpkin Molasses Sandwich Cookies
Pies ain’t got nothin’ on these pumpkin and molasses cookie sandwiches. Pumpkin is possibly the most fall of all the possible cookie ingredients, so this recipe calls for real pumpkin puree. Molasses and brown sugar add both a soft, chewy texture and a depth of flavor to the sandwich cookies, which is balanced out a bit by the cream cheese frosting between them. These will be so good served with hot apple cider after dinner (and with a glass of milk at midnight once everyone else goes to bed).
Spiced Pumpkin Kiss Cookies
Speaking of pumpkin, these spiced pumpkin cookies topped with a chocolate kiss will fly off the dessert table. That’s why this recipe from Baked by Rachel makes three dozen at a time. Most people will know exactly the familiar, fluffy texture they’re getting with cookies like these, but they’ll be pleasantly surprised by the pumpkin spice flavors inside. These cookies would also be a great way to get your kiddos involved in the kitchen, letting them unwrap the chocolate kisses and push them into the cookies when it’s time.
Pistachio Cookies With Dark Chocolate-Covered Pomegranate
Pistachio cookies? Say no more. Wait, they have chocolate and dried pomegranate mixed in? These Thanksgiving cookies are borderline NSFW. A boring old pie could never.
This recipe from My Baking Addiction is an adaptation of the viral New York Times chocolate chip cookies, which took the internet by storm and became kind of the kingpin of cookies. This version replaces the chocolate chips with chopped dark chocolate covered pomegranate, for a cranberry-adjacent flavor profile that’s more unexpected. The pistachios add the perfect amount of nuttiness for a fall cookie too. Be sure to read the whole post before baking, as it’s full of tips to make the best possible batch on your first try.
Maple Spritz Cookies
Thanksgiving spritz cookies shaped like leaves are a festive option, so why not try your hand at this maple variety for Thanksgiving? Spritz cookies originated in Scandinavian countries, and their name is a shorted version of the German word “spritzen,” which translates to, “to squirt.” That’s because spritz cookies are made by squeezing the dough through a cookie press. If you want to give these Thanksgiving cookies a try, cookie presses are easy to find (and pretty inexpensive) on Amazon.
Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies With Honey Cardamom Cream Cheese
If you want to show up with a more filling, decadent dessert, these oversized carrot cake cookie sandwiches are a solid option. The carrot cake cookies can be baked in whatever size you like, but the bigger the better honestly. The spices inside lend themselves well to an autumn meal like Thanksgiving.
And then the cream cheese filling: it’s flavored with honey, fresh nutmeg, and ground cardamom, so it’ll be sweet and a little bit new and exciting at the same time. I mean, how many times have you had homemade cardamom cream cheese frosting? These are sure to both delight and impress anyone who takes a bite.
Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
Fair warning: these cookies may look unassuming, but they’re the kind your friends and family will ask you to make again and again once they know you’re capable. Cinnamon-y snickerdoodles are the perfect holiday cookie because they take a crowd pleasing favorite like a sugar cookie and make it festive with just a simple tweak or two. This version uses browned butter to add a nutty, deeper flavor that will keep your family having just one more, and just one more, until they’re all gone. After it’s prepared, this dough needs to chill for at least an hour before baking to get the ideal cookie, so be sure to account for the extra time!
Gluten-Free White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Cookies
Flourless desserts don’t always have the best texture, but these cookies are not like the rest. As Jessica of Jessica in the Kitchen writes, “Consistency wise, these cookies are soft yet chewy at the same time. The chew is so slight yet deliberate that you have to pause after your first bite to contemplate what just happened in your mouth.” So, yeah, that sounds pretty darn promising.
And the flavors inside complement each other perfectly: salty pistachios, tart dried berries, and sweet white chocolate chips. They’d be delicious any time of year, but this combo has a special seasonal feel to it, making them the perfect Thanksgiving cookie to serve after dinner.
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
These vegan Thanksgiving cookies combine the classic chocolate chip cookie with November’s favorite ingredient, pumpkin, into one dessert. Read through the post before baking and buying ingredients if this is your first foray into vegan baking. These bloggers share their favorite vegan ingredients so you can follow their recipe and get reliable results (i.e. the perfectly soft, flavorful, most delicious cookies possible).
White Chocolate-Covered Pumpkin Spice Oreos
Looking for easy Thanksgiving cookies to make? These white chocolate-covered pumpkin Oreos are perfect if you have multiple Turkey Day functions — like your kid’s party at school and a cookie exchange at work — and you need to whip something up that’s easy and delicious. Everybody likes Oreos, and the pumpkin variety are just as good as the originals. Dunk those bad boys in some white chocolate and pipe on festive frosting stripes.
So, which Thanksgiving cookie recipe will you whip up for the fam this year? Be sure to bring along an extra goodie box of treats for your host if you want to say thanks, and of course, save some for yourself.
This article was originally published on