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, ambrosia “salad,” or the heinous mush known as corn pudding.
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 based in history. It became popular in the mid-nineteenth century when a popular magazine recommended turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie as the ideal T-Day spread, which became so popular 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 and dusty crust, grab a couple cookies to enjoy with an after-dinner espresso or hot apple cider. Just like pies, cookies can incorporate all your favorite autumnal fruits and flavors. Unlike pies, they’ll be an unexpected addition to the dessert spread that will have everyone asking you for your recipe.
1 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).
2 Vegan Rolled Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Whether you make this recipe because you’re vegan yourself, or because you want to be inclusive of any guests with vegan diets or food allergies,
these Thanksgiving cookies are going to be a hit with everyone in attendance. And if you’re going to sub out the pumpkin pie, replacing it with some pumpkin cookies is only natural.
This recipe includes 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).
3 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. 4 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... 5 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). 6 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. And just like with the pie, you can engage in the age-old debate of whether the nuts should be whole or finely chopped. Bonus: this recipe is vegan, so you don’t have to worry about making more than one dessert for everyone at the gathering to enjoy. 7 Pumpkin Molasses Sandwich Cookies
Pies of any kind, even whoopie 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 and some homemade pumpkin pie spice, although store bought is probably just fine (insert that Ina Garten meme here). 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). 8 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. And, yes, it’s encouraged to snack on a few along the way. 9 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. 10 Maple Spritz Cookies
Spritz cookies are one of those holiday baking recipes that just scream, well, it’s the holidays! While you usually see them around Christmas time, if you have the cookie press equipment at home, why not try your hand at
this maple variety for Thanksgiving? Redbook Mag says that 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. 11 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.
12 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!
13 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.
14 Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate chip cookies: a classic. Pumpkin cookies: an autumn staple. Combine their powers and you have a new holiday staple your family will ask you for year after year. These
pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from Make it Dairy-Free are exactly that, since the recipe calls for vegan alternatives to the standard baking ingredients, like butter. Read through the post before baking, and even purchasing 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). 15 White Chocolate-Covered Pumpkin Spice Oreos
Is this the most impressive Thanksgiving cookie recipe to bring to the table? No. However, 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. They’ll come in especially handy if your little turkey is the type who pops up the night before a school event and says, “Hey Mom, I’m supposed to bring cookies to the party tomorrow.” Everybody likes Oreos, and the pumpkin variety are just as good as the originals. Dunk those bad boys in some white chocolate, pipe on some festive colors, or add more intricate designs if you’d like.