Turtle Thumbprint Cookies with Pecans + Video

Calling all chocolate and caramel lovers! These Turtle Thumbprint Cookies with pecans are like everyone’s favorite turtle candies in cookie form. Soft, chewy cookies with a center of caramel & a drizzle of chocolate. They’re so decadent and delicious you might not want to share.

Stack of turtle cookies with bite taken out of top one.

Raise your hand if you love turtle candies! You know the ones, chocolate covered gooey caramel candies with pecans. Yummm!  I took all that sweet flavor one step further and put all that chocolaty, caramel deliciousness into cookie form. These Turtle Thumbprint Cookies come out crunchy on the outside, chocolaty and chewy on the inside and finished with a filling of caramel and a drizzle of chocolate. They’re sure to please anyone’s sweet tooth!

Reaching for cookie on cookie sheet.

I love baking Christmas cookies for the holidays, like Cherry Jam Thumbprint Cookies, Butter Pecan Ice Cream Cookies and Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies but these turtle cookies are one of my all-time favorites. They may take a little time to assemble but they are worth every minute. And the process is not hard just a little more time intensive. Check out the steps below that will give you all you need to know about the prep and a few tips to make it easier.

Can I freeze these cookies?

You certainly can! You can either freeze the dough and bake at a later date or freeze them when they are baked and completely cooled. Prior to gorging yourselves with them, allow them to sit on the counter until they reach room temperature. Then all bets are off as to how long they’ll last.

How to make 

Ingredients laid out on white table for turtle cookies.

Gather the ingredients. They are all easy to find and ones you probably have in your pantry now.

Steps to make turtle thumbprint cookies 1-6.

  1. Place flour, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy then add egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  6. Beat mixture on low speed until it forms a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap to chill. This will make it easier to handle. 

Finishing steps from dipping to baking.

  1. Whisk egg whites in a bowl until very frothy, just slightly less than soft peaks.
  2. Make an assembly line with beaten egg whites, chopped nuts and cookie dough.
  3. Roll cookie dough into a round ball using your hands.
  4. Dip into egg whites then into nuts and coat well.
  5. Place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly.
  6. Make a small indentation in the center of each cookie with the back of a spoon or your thumb.

Tip: Once baked you will have to make it again in order to have room for the caramel.

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies filled with caramel and drizzled with chocolate cookies on cookie sheet.

Now, melt caramels and cream in the microwave until melted and smooth. Fill the depressions in the cookies with the melted caramel and let them cool. finally, drizzle lots of melted chocolate over the top. Psst, kids love to help with this step.

Overhead of plateful of cookies on white table with greenery.

Now try to keep them in the house long enough to serve to guests. Enjoy!

More Christmas cookie recipes

Peanut Butter Cup CookiesReese’s peanut butter cups surrounded by a soft and chewy cookie.

Chocolate Peppermint Pudding CookiesChocolate and peppermint just screams Christmas! Soft, buttery, chocolaty goodness with just the right amount of peppermint chips to add a minty crunch.

Pistachio Cherry MeltawaysAn easy to make buttery soft cookie made with a pudding mix and dotted with cherries just melt in your mouth.

Lemon SquaresA gluten-free and regular version of a dessert standard. Rich, refreshingly sweet and slightly tart with a buttery shortbread crust, covered with creamy lemon filling, then sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Find even more Christmas sweet recipes in my Christmas index.

Love quick & easy recipes? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter for all the latest recipe inspiration! Plus join my email list here and receive a free e-book.


Stack of turtle cookies with bite taken out of top one.

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies with Pecans

These cookies are like everyone’s favorite turtle candies in cookie form. Soft, chewy cookies with a center of caramel & a drizzle of chocolate are so decadent and delicious you might not want to share.
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 102kcal
Author: Linda Warren



  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white plus egg white from separated egg above
  • 1-1/4 cup pecans, chopped fine

Caramel Filling

  • 14 soft caramel candies
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1 teaspoon shortening
  • 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate (about 1/3 cup chips)


  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract and mix well. Reduce speed on mixer to low and add dry ingredients. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to firm up for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • To assemble cookies for baking, first whisk the 2 eggs whites until frothy. In another bowl, place the finely chopped pecans. Now, form small balls using the palms of your hands and dip first into egg whites and then into pecans. Place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets and make a small indentation in the center of each with the back of a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon.
  • Bake for 12 minutes.
  • While cookies are baking, melt caramels and cream in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave one more minute or until melted.
  • Remove cookies from oven and place baking sheets on wire racks then immediately repress the indentation in each cookie. Fill indentations with a small amount of melted caramel mixture. Let cool for another 10-15 minutes on cookie sheets then remove to wire racks to finish cooling.
  • Once cooled, prepare chocolate drizzle by melting shortening and chocolate together in microwave in 30 second increments. Stir in-between. Do not overcook. Once melted, place in small resealable bag, snip corner and drizzle back and forth over the top of the cookies.



Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 67mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 104IU | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

This post has been updated with new photos and a video to make it easier than ever to make these insanely delicious cookies. It was first published on December 20, 2013.


Turtle Thumbprint Cookies with Pecans + Video

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