How to Decorate Turkey Sugar Cookies

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It’s almost Thanksgiving, and these decorated turkey cookies would look so cute on your dessert table. I like to decorate sugar cookies and put them on small little plates in different rooms of the house. They add a festive decor AND provide something for my guests to snack on.

The turkeys look harder than they are. Trust me, once you do one or two of them, you’ll get the hang of it. I find it easier if I do one color on all of the cookies. Then, go back and do the next color. And so on and so forth.

How to make turkey cookies:

You don’t need a turkey cookie cutter for these cookies. Just a flower cutter with 6 petals. Five of the petals will serve as the turkey feathers, while the last one will be the turkey body.

turkey cookies

These are really super fun to make. You can even set up a little production line and have each kid responsible for something. The older kids can pipe the feathers, while the smaller kids can add the sprinkles for eyes.

To start, take the completely cooled sugar cookies (I like to freeze or refrigerate mine before decorating) and line them up several inches apart, with one of the petals directly on the bottom, at 6 o’clock. Get all of your buttercreams ready. You will need red, orange, yellow, brown and a tiny bit of white. AmeriColor gel food coloring works best to get the super vibrant colors without needing to add a lot of food coloring.

Place the red, orange, yellow and brown buttercreams into piping bags with a large round piping tip. I use Ateco 809 tips. Place a small amount of yellow buttercream into a piping bag with a small leaf tip. I like the Ateco 349 but any small leaf tip will work. Place a small amount of red buttercream in a piping bag with a small round tip like the Wilton #3. Finally, put a small amount of white buttercream into a piping bag with either a small round tip like the Wilton #3 or a small star tip like the Wilton #13.

Starting with the red, you’re going to pipe the red “feathers” onto the 5 petals (all but the very bottom one). Hold the piping bag at a 90° angle, just about 1/8″ above the cookie. Squeeze the piping bag, and as soon as the buttercream hits the cookie, continue squeezing while dragging the bag toward the center of the cookie. As soon as you get close to the center of the cookie, release the pressure on the bag and continue dragging the bag so that it cuts off the buttercream. I also press the bag down slightly so that the piping tip kind of smears and cuts the buttercream at the same time (I hope that makes sense). The key here is to move quickly. If you move the bag too slowly, the feather will be too rounded and then you’ll end up with so much buttercream. There’s already a lot of buttercream on these cookies, so we don’t want any extra!

Repeat that step all around the cookie, leaving just the very bottom plain. On the bottom petal, follow the same motion with the brown buttercream. Set that bag aside, as you’ll use it again after all of the feathers are on.

Now, using the orange buttercream, you’re going to do the same motion, only this time you’re going in between the red feathers. So you’ll only have 4 orange feathers.

Again, repeat this motion with the yellow feathers, going between the orange. So you’ll have 5 yellow feathers. You want to move inward slightly as you do the orange and yellow so that you aren’t covering up the other colors.

Now, grab your brown buttercream bag again and pipe the turkey head right in the middle of the yellow feathers, just above the turkey body.

Now it’s time to grab the bags with the smaller tips and finish the face! First, pipe two white eyes. Then, using the bag with the yellow buttercream and the small leaf tip, hold the bag so that the tip is under the eyes. The sharp points of the tip should be on the top and the bottom. Holding the bag at a 45° angle, gently press the bag, dragging down and releasing so that the beak forms a triangular shape.

Finally, using the piping bag with the red food coloring and the small round tip, start just above the beak toward the center and pipe the wattle going down and to the right. It’s as if you’re making the shape of a candy cane.

You’re all done piping! All that’s left is to put two little black round sprinkles in the center of the white eyeballs and you’re finished!

Happy Decorating!


How to Decorate Turkey Sugar Cookies

Recipe by Amanda Innes-ShareefCourse: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium


Cooking time




  • Unsalted Butter 226g
    (1 cup)

  • Cream Cheese 3 oz.

  • Sugar 465g
    (2 cups)

  • Egg Yolks 2

  • Almond Extract 1 tsp

  • All Purpose Flour 420g
    (2 3/4 cups)

  • Salt 1/2 tsp


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is creamy.
  • Add the sugar and beat on medium-high speed for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the yolks and the almond extract and beat for another minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
  • Add the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed until the dough has formed. Now turn the mixer on high speed and mix for 10-20 seconds.
  • Roll out and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes (see tips above for chilling).
  • Cut out turkeys using the 6 petal flower cutter and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet in a preheated oven at 350° for 10-14 minutes, depending on the thickness of the dough.
  • Cool completely before decorating.


  • I like to refrigerate or freeze my cookies before decorating. This makes the cookies more solid and I find them easier to decorate when cold.