These chocolate cupcakes are decorated to look like adorable Thanksgiving turkeys! Make turkey cupcakes to send to school, or serve them with your Thanksgiving Pies.
Have you ever sat down and tried to think of Thanksgiving cupcake ideas? I’ll tell you, there really aren’t that many cute ideas out there for Thanksgiving-themed desserts. This might be because Thanksgiving tends to be dominated by all of those delicious pie recipes.
While Christmas and Halloween have lots of fun-themed desserts, when it comes to Thanksgiving, the options are a bit more limited.
In any case, I decided to make these super cute turkey-decorated cupcakes for thanksgiving, and I’m so excited about them. I know your kids will get a kick out of these, or maybe bring a batch to the office potluck this year.
You might also enjoy making a turkey dessert cheese ball. He’s pretty cute too!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Scratch Cupcake Recipe. This chocolate cupcake recipe is totally fool-proof, I make it all the time. It’s really easy to make a cupcake from scratch, and it’s not overly sweet.
- Turkey Cupcakes! Seriously, how cute are these little guys? Reeses cups and candy corn turn regular cupcakes into a perfectly themed fall dessert.
- Easy Decorating. These candy turkeys don’t require any special artistic talent or candy making experience. Just store bought candies properly arranged will make these turkey cupcakes perfect.
Ingredients in Turkey Cupcakes
For the chocolate cupcakes:
- Flour, Baking Soda, Salt, and Cocoa Powder: The dry ingredients give the cake volume, flavor, and leavening.
- Eggs: Two large eggs, at room temperature, will mix in and give the cake batter the perfect finished texture.
- Granulated Sugar: Don’t be shy, these cupcakes are certainly not sugar-free! But they’re not overly sweet either.
- Vegetable Oil and Milk: This adds the perfect moistness to these chocolate cupcakes.
- Vanilla Extract: A good quality pure vanilla extract brings out the richness of the cocoa, plus it will make your kitchen smell amazing while these bake.
To decorate the turkeys you’ll need:
- Chocolate Frosting: Homemade Chocolate Buttercream works best, but canned frosting works fine.
- Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: To make 12 turkeys you’ll need twelve of these, unwrapped.
- Candy Eyes: I used small candy eyes that I found at the craft store. Bigger ones might be cute too.
- Reese’s Pieces: We only need the orange ones. You can snack on the rest! Cut six of them in half, carefully, to create beak shapes.
- Red Gummy Worms: These will turn into the wattle of the turkey.
- Candy Corn: To make this turkey tail design, you’ll need ten pieces per turkey.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make TurkeyThanksgiving Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt).
- Mix Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl, combine the eggs with sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla.
- Mix Batter: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until incorporated but not overmixed.
- Bake: Fill the cupcake liners ¾ of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Allow the cupcakes to cool down in the pan. Be sure they are completely cooled before frosting and decorating.
- Frost: Cover each cupcake with a thin layer of chocolate frosting.
- Decorate: Using the image as a guide, create a turkey design on each cupcake. Start by using a mini Reese’s cup as the turkey’s head, adhering the eyes, beak, and wattle with a bit of frosting. Then use the candy corn to create the turkey’s tail.
Use a toothpick to grab a small amount of frosting to use as glue for the turkey’s face! Clean tweezers can be helpful for dealing with the small pieces too.
Tips for Making Turkey Cupcakes
Don’t Overmix. The cupcake batter will not rise up nice and fluffy if it’s mixed too much. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until no dry spots remain.
Try a Variation. Vanilla cupcakes or your favorite cupcake recipe will work here too. Get creative with different types of candy that you think will work and swap them out if you like.
Cool them down. Putting frosting on warm cupcakes is a recipe for a melty disaster. Be patient and wait for the cupcakes to cool down completely before starting to decorate. Along the same theme, you may want to keep the candy in the fridge until you’re ready to use it so it doesn’t melt in your hands.
What to Serve with Turkey Cupcakes
Thanksgiving! If you’re here reading this recipe, I bet you’re also somewhere in the middle of planning or cooking a Thanksgiving meal. I have a ton of tested Thanksgiving recipes, including a post with the ultimate Thanksgiving Turkey Guide that includes free printable Thanksgiving planners.
The Rest of the Thanksgiving Desserts. Set these cupcakes out with your holiday pies. You should definitely try my Pecan Pie Recipe and this one for Pumpkin Cheesecake that is to-die-for.
Holiday Sides. After desserts, the side dishes might be my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. Go here to see all of my side dish recipes, but definitely try this one for Crockpot Green Bean Casserole.
Sure! Use the different colors of Reese’s Pieces to create the tail of the turkey. M&Ms will work too.
I hear you. I get that candy corn is a love it or hate it thing. See above, and just don’t use them. Find a different colorful candy to decorate the turkey’s tail with. Pretzels are a good option, or just use more Reese’s Pieces.
Get creative with your candy and frosting! Try making pilgrim hats, fall colored flowers, or pumpkin cupcakes for your Thanksgiving dinner.
Have fun making these adorable turkey cupcakes! Make sure to Pin this so everyone can see how simple they are.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
For the cupcake base:
- ¾ cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup (65 grams) cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (78 ml) vegetable oil
- ½ cup (120 ml) milk whole or 2%, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate frosting
- 12 Mini Reese’s peanut butter cups
- 24 small candy eyes
- 6 Reeses’s pieces for the beaks, cut in half with a small knife before adhering with a little bit of chocolate frosting
- 12 gummy worms for the wattle
- 20 pieces candy corn 10 pieces of candy corn for the tail, 4 on the back row, and 6 in front of that.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt).
- In a separate bowl, combine the eggs with sugar, oil, milk and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, whisk until they’re incorporated but do not over mix.
- Fill the cupcake liners ¾ of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of a cupcake. Allow cupcakes to cool down in the pan. Be sure they are completely cooled before frosting and decorating.
- Cover each cupcake with a thin layer of chocolate frosting.
- Using the image as a guide, create a turkey design on each cupcake. Start by using a mini Reese’s cup as the turkey’s head, adhering the eyes, beak, and wattle with a bit of frosting. Then use the candy corn to create the turkey’s tail.
- Use a toothpick to grab a small amount of frosting to use as glue for the turkey’s face! Clean tweezers can be helpful for dealing with small pieces too.
- The cupcake batter will not rise up well if it’s mixed too much. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until no dry spots remain.
- Putting frosting on warm cupcakes is a recipe for a melty disaster. Be patient and wait for the cupcakes to cool down completely before starting to decorate. Along the same theme, you may want to keep the candy in the fridge until you’re ready to use it so it doesn’t melt in your hands.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen
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