Turtle Cookies have a rich chocolate cookie base, rolled in pecan pieces, then topped with gooey caramel filling on top and delicious chocolate drizzle! These fudgy turtle cookies are a huge hit during the holiday season! 

It’s time the holiday cookies to make their debut, and coming in strong are these turtle cookies! But you cant bake just one cookie, some of our favorites include Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Soft Gingerbread Cookies, and Gingersnap Cookies! They are all perfect for the holidays! 

Chocolate Turtle thumbprint cookies with caramel and chocolate drizzled overtop.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Best cookie for Christmas cookie exchanges. These cookies are small — but they pack a delicious punch! They are super easy to make and look super fancy. They are perfect for making in bulk and giving as gifts or sharing at a cookie exchange. 
  • Fudgy chocolate turtle cookies. The cookie base for this turtle cookies recipe is a delicious chocolate cookie! These are basically turtle brownie cookies that’s how yummy the cookie center is!
  • Pecan turtle delight! I love the crunch from the pecans on these pecan turtle cookies. It’s the perfect nutty element that completes these cookies. 

Ingredient Notes

Turtle Cookies ingredients portioned into glass bowls on a silver baking sheet.
  • Flour: Getting the right amount of flour to fat will give us the best cookie that doesn’t over spread. These cookies were made at sea level, so if you need to add a bit more flour, please do. You don’t want the dough to be very sticky. 
  • Cocoa Powder: This is unsweetened cocoa powder, or natural cocoa powder. For more information about the different cocoa powders, see my Best Cocoa Powder for Baking post. 
  • Unsalted Butter: If you use salted butter, reduce the added salt. 
  • Sugars: Using a mixture of granulated sugar and brown sugar will give us that chewy turtle cookie texture! 
  • Milk: This adds flavor and a bit of creaminess to the chocolate turtle cookies! 
  • Egg White: The egg white acts as a bonding agent to help the pecans stick to the cookie and stay there. 
  • Pecans: You want the pecans finely chopped because you roll the dough balls in the pecans and big pieces will just fall off.
  • Kraft Caramels: These caramel candies make things easy! Feel free to use a different caramel or a homemade caramel if you’d like! 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Make the turtle cookies chocolate dough. Add 1/2 cup butter, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/3 cup brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg, 2 T milk, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix to combine. Add 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix until just combined. Chill the chocolate cookie dough in the fridge for 1 hour.
Brown chocolate turtle cookie dough in a glass mixing bowl on a white background.
  1. Prepare egg whites and pecans. Finely chop 1 1/2 cups pecans. Then take 1 egg and separate the whites. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy. 
  2. Shape the turtle cookies. Roll the dough into 20 small cookie balls. Dip a ball in the frothy egg whites then roll in chopped pecans, slightly pressing the pecans in so they will stick. Repeat with all the dough balls. 
  3. Indent the turtle cookies. Using the back of a small measuring spoon, make and indent in each turtle cookie ball. 
  4. Bake. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.Bake the chocolate turtle cookies in an oven preheated to 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until just set. Remove and gently repress the indentation. Let cool on a wire rack.
  1. Melt the caramel. Place 3/4 cup caramel pieces and 1 tsp heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 20-second increments, stirring well after each until fully melted. 
  2. Add caramel center and decoration. Once the cookies are cool, drizzle melted caramel into each cookie indentation. Drizzle these delicious turtle cookies with melted semisweet chocolate chips for decoration. Enjoy!
Melted caramel in the center of chocolate pecan covered cookies.

Recipe Tips

Chilling the dough yields a chewier cookie and one that doesn’t spread as much.

You’ll need to press slightly so that the pecans will stick.

I used 1/2 teaspoon to make the first indentation in the cookie dough, then after baking I used a 1 tsp to re-indent the cookies. Feel free to just use your thumb to make these classic thumbprint cookies!

You should definitely drizzle these cookies with chocolate because #1- more chocolate = better & #2 – the chocolate makes these cookies look so pretty!

I used Kraft caramel bits. They’re so much easier to work with, and they melt a lot quicker too.

Add some flaky sea salt on top for a salted caramel turtle cookies specialty! 

For another fun Christmas treat to make, try my Caramel White Chocolate Cinnamon Dipped Pretzels!

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

To make ahead of time, make the chocolate turtle cookie dough and store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. The next day, remove from the fridge and continue the recipe from there. 

Store these turtle cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 

For freezing turtle cookies, let the cookies cool completely, then store in an airtight container or freezer safe ziplock bag in the freezer for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw before enjoying. 

You can also freeze turtle cookie dough. Store it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw then roll into balls and continue with the recipe. 

You can also roll the dough into balls, indent them and flash freeze them until firm. Then transfer to an airtight container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw, then bake and reindent. Continue following the recipe card instructions from there. 

Recipe FAQs

What are turtle cookies?

This turtle cookie recipe yields cookies that are made with a delicious chewy chocolate cookie center, rolled in pecan pieces, then indented and baked, with a caramel center added to the indent and chocolate drizzled on top. It’s the cookie form of turtle chocolate candy! 

Can I freeze turtle cookies?

Yes you can! See my Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing section above for freezing instructions. 

How to decorate turtle cookies?

You can drizzle milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate on top of these pecan turtle cookies! You can also add some white chocolate drizzle as well if you’d like. 

A bite taken out of a Turtle Cookie that's drizzled with chocolate.

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a star rating and review or scroll below the recipe card and do so there. 

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Turtle Cookies drizzled with melted chocolate.
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5 from 2 votes

Turtle Cookies

A delicious chocolate cookie base is rolled in pecans, baked, and then covered in warm caramel. To take this holiday cookie over the top it's drizzled with chocolate!
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 20 cookies


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter - at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar - packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans - finely chopped



  • In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in 1 egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and mix until combined. Chill the dough in the fridge for 1 hour. 
  • Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy. Place the chopped pecans in another small bowl. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and roll into 20 small balls. Once you’ve rolled them all into balls, working 1 at a time, dip each dough ball into the frothy egg whites and then roll the dough in the chopped pecans. You’ll need to press slightly so that the pecans will stick. 
  • Place the pecan covered balls on a parchment lined baking sheet. 
  • Use the back of a small measuring spoon to make an indentation in the center of each dough ball
  • Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until just set. 
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and if need be gently re-press the indentations with the back of the measuring spoon. 
  • Let cookies cool on a wire rack. When cool, drizzle melted caramel into each indentation. Drizzle with melted chocolate if desired. 


  • In a microwave safe bowl add the caramel bits (or other caramel you are using) and heavy cream. Microwave for 1-2 minutes in 15-20 second increments, stirring well after segment. Continue until fully melted. 


Store these turtle cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 


Calories: 152kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 14g (5%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 11g (17%)Saturated Fat: 4g (20%)Cholesterol: 23mg (8%)Sodium: 38mg (2%)Potassium: 72mg (2%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 7g (8%)Vitamin A: 165IU (3%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 16mg (2%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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