Turtle Cookies

24 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Refrigerate 1 hour
Total Time 30 minutes

Turtle Cookies are chocolate cookies rolled in pecans, topped with caramel, and drizzled with melted chocolate. The PERFECT combo of sweet and chewy!

We always have fresh baked Cookies in our kitchen, and right now we’re making Chocolate Chip Cookies, Lemon Cookies, and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

Turtle Cookies on baking sheet with parchment

Turtle Cookies are one of our most popular cookie recipes, made with cookie dough rolled in egg whites and crunchy pecans, then baked and topped with caramel and chocolate drizzle. These cookies are named for their turtle-like appearance, similar to these Pretzel Turtles. They’re insanely easy to make, and are an easy way to use up caramel you’ve made for other recipes, too.

How to Decorate Turtle Cookies

Turtle cookies are rolled in pecans, but you can use any nuts like peanuts, walnuts, or almonds. You can also sprinkle the nuts on top after adding the caramel and chocolate, instead of rolling the turtles.

You can use dark chocolate chips to make the chocolate drizzle, or you can use milk chocolate or white chocolate chips. Also, try filling the thumbprint with chocolate, and drizzling with homemade caramel sauce. I usually like to use caramel candies for this recipe, because they will harden better, holding the caramel to the top of the cookie

You can also add a sprinkle of sea salt to the top of these cookies, right after adding the chocolate, for a sweet and salty flavor.

Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cookies up close

More Cookie Recipes

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make thumbprint cookies?

This recipe calls for leaving a thumbprint in the cookie, which is meant to be filled with caramel later. I like to use a teaspoon for this, because the cookies are going to be hot the second time you have to make the indent.

How do I keep cookies from sticking to the baking sheet?

I recommend lining your baking sheet with parchment paper, to stop your turtles from sticking to the pan.

Can I skip refrigerating cookie dough before baking?

It is important to refrigerate your dough because these are drop cookies, meaning they flatten in the oven. If the butter in the dough is too cold, they will flatten too much and dry out. The colder you can get the dough, the better.

What flavors can I add to Turtle Cookies?

This recipe uses vanilla extract, but you can also try almond extract.

How do I make Turtle Cookies with cake mix?

You can make these cookies using white or chocolate cake mix with 2 eggs and ½ cup of vegetable oil, then follow the recipe as directed for adding the pecans and caramel.

Can I freeze cookie dough before baking it?

Yes, you can freeze the dough to bake with later. If you’re going to do this, roll the tablespoon-sized balls and place on a baking sheet, then freeze for 1 hour. After the dough is frozen, move the balls to an airtight container and freeze. When you’re ready to bake, you can roll the cookies in the egg whites and pecans and go straight to the oven without defrosting. They may need an extra few minutes of cooking time before you can add the caramel.

How to Store Turtle Cookies

  • Serve: Turtle cookies can be served at room temperature.
  • Store: Turtle cookies will last on the counter in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
  • Freeze: Turtle cookies can be frozen for 2-3 months if you want to make them ahead. Either way you keep them, I recommend using layers of parchment or wax paper between the cookies to keep them from sticking together. If you freeze these cookies, wrap them in foil as well, to make sure they are sealed tightly. Ultimate Turtle Cookies on baking sheet with parchment

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Turtle Cookies

Turtle Cookies rolled in pecans, topped with caramel, and drizzled with melted chocolate are the PERFECT combo of sweet and chewy!
Yield 24 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg , divided
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans , chopped
  • 3/4 cup caramels
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  • To your stand mixer add the butter and sugar on high speed and cream until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes, then add in the egg yolk, milk and vanilla to the stand mixer until fully combined.
  • In a small bowl sift together the flour, and cocoa powder then add it to the stand mixer with the salt and mix it in on low speed until just combined.
  • Wrap the dough in saran wrap and cool in the fridge for a minimum of two hours (preferably longer) then when you’re ready to bake pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat the egg white until frothy, about 2 minutes.
  • Roll the cookie dough in tablespoon sized balls and dip into the egg whites before rolling in the chopped pecans and placing on the cookie sheets.
  • Using the back of a ½ teaspoon measure make a ½ sphere indentation into the dough.
  • Bake for 9-10 minutes, remove from the oven and press the measuring spoon back into the same spot immediately to form the circle perfectly again before it hardens and cools.
  • Add the caramels to a microwave safe bowl with a tablespoon of water and microwave for 30 seconds until fully mixed and add ½ teaspoon to each cookie and let them fully cool.
  • Add the chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 second increments then when fully melted add to a small ziplock bag or piping bag and snip the end off to pipe a zigzag pattern over the cookies and let it cool completely before eating.


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.


Calories: 139kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Turtle Cookies Collage

Photo used in a previous version of this post.

Easy Turtle Cookies

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. Nothing beats homemade cookies anytime of the year, especially during the cold season! These cookies look amazing!

  2. These turtle cookies are amazing!! Definitely a show stopper and the best part they are easy to make!! Thanks