Turkey-Shaped Sugar Cookies Recipe


For the cookies:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the royal icing:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 5-6 tablespoons warm water
  • Food coloring (orange, red, yellow, brown, black)


  • Turkey-shaped cookie cutter
  • Rolling pin
  • Baking sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Electric mixer
  • Piping bags (or small plastic bags)
  • Small round piping tips

Instructions for cookies:

  • Mix the dry ingredients: Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar: In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and vanilla: Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until well combined.
  • Combine ingredients: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined (don’t overmix).
  • Chill the dough: Divide the dough into two discs, wrap them in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to overnight.
  • Preheat oven: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll out the dough: On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough to about 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Cut out turkeys: Use the turkey-shaped cookie cutter to cut out shapes and place them onto prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake: Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cookies cool completely on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack.

Instructions for icing:

Make royal icing:

  • In a large bowl, combine powdered sugar and meringue powder.
  • Slowly add warm water one tablespoon at a time and whisk until icing is smooth and reaches the desired consistency.

Divide and color: Divide the icing into several small bowls. Tint the icing in the desired colors using food coloring:

  • Brown for the turkey body
  • Orange, yellow and red for feathers
  • Black for eyes and beak details

Outline and flood the cookies:

  • Transfer some of the brown icing into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
  • Outline the turkey shape on each cookie and let this set briefly. Then, use slightly thinned brown icing to “flood” the center of the cookie.

Add feathers and details:

  • Use colored icing for the feathers, piping them as tear-drop shapes onto the cookies.
  • Add eyes with black icing and a beak using orange or yellow.


  • Let the cookies cool completely before decorating for the best results.
  • For thinner/thicker icing, adjust the amount of water.
  • If you don’t have piping bags, use small plastic bags with a corner snipped off.
  • Get creative! This is a basic guideline for decorating; feel free to add more details and customize your turkeys.

Enjoy your festive turkey sugar cookies!


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