DIY: Thanksgiving Turkey cupcakes

gobble gobble

The last couple of years, I’ve done some tutorials for various other blogs on Thanksgiving treats. Today I am going to share one of those with you here on my blog.


Thanksgiving Turkey cupcake tutorial

I did this tutorial for a feature on You can see it on her site but the instructions are also below.

Turkey Cupcakes 

-makes 24 –

Note: For these cupcakes, the base and frosting can be pretty much whatever you want. I used a yellow cake and tinted it with orange food coloring. And I used a chocolate buttercream because, it’s brown like turkeys, and I really like yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Peanut butter frosting would be good too. Yum!


  • 1 package of Nutter Butters
  • 1 package of Fruit Roll Ups, fruit leather or Airheads
  • Jumbo heart sprinkles
  • Bag of mini chocolate chips or mini M&Ms (you could use leftover Halloween candy, but who are we kidding? There is no such thing by now, right?)
  • Maple leaf cookie cutter (mini)
  • Candy corn
  • Cornstarch (for dusting)
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cocoa
  • Meringue Powder
  • 24 cupcakes, baked but unfrosted
  • Frosting – enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes
  • Piping bag or gallon plastic zipper bag
  • Piping Tip (I used a 1M Wilton tip)

  • Optional: 100 Calorie packs of Nutter Butters (you may be wondering what the 100 calorie packs are for, you’ll see later on in the post!)

Let’s get started:

Bake your cupcakes first so they can be cooling while you make the feathers and bodies of the turkeys.

1. Make the feathers. Grab a cutting board and lightly dust with cornstarch. Unroll the fruit roll ups, separate the colors and lay them on the board. Dust a little more cornstarch on top. I also dust some on a concentrated area that I can use to dip in my cookie cutter. Note: I tried Fruit by the Foot and only realized after I’d opened it that they print images on the fruit strips so I couldn’t use that. Also if you are going to use Airheads, you might need to microwave them, out of their packages, for a couple seconds to get them more pliable. Then you’ll need a rolling pin or glass with some cornstarch on it to thin them out. Your hands can work too.

2. Next, make some royal icing. I halve this recipe but I add a little bit more water, like an extra teaspoon. Add cocoa too to give it a brownish hue.
3. Put the icing in a piping bag or zipper bag and cut a tiny bit off the tip so you have about a 1/8 of an inch size hole. I also slightly snip the seams on my pastry bags so that I get a circle when I squeeze instead of a line.


4. Grab a nutter butter. Pipe on two dots for the eyes and a dot with the line heading down the length of the cookie.

5. Stick the jumbo red heart with the pointy part up on the line of royal icing. Then place one mini chocolate chip on each dot you placed for the eyes.

6. Snap off the end of a piece of candy corn, leaving the white tip and little bit of the orange. Eat the remaining piece. (Shhh, I won’t tell). You might need to add some royal icing to the candy corn piece and then glue the bits together…but now you’re finished with the turkey body.

7. Now make 23 more. <Patiently waiting>

8. Ok! On to frosting. Fit a piping bag or zipper bag with a tip. Or you can cut the tip of the bag in a + shape to get a similar shape in your frosting. Fill bag with frosting of your choice. Swirl on the icing and then add a little edge of frosting. This is where the feathers will rest.

9. Pick up a turkey and stick him towards the front of the cupcake, into the cupcake. You can press a little hard here. Make sure he is in the cupcake and not just in the frosting.

10. Then start placing your feathers–I did 3 but you can do more if you like. Overlapping would look cool.

And a turkey is born! Isn’t he cute! You almost don’t wanna eat him… almost.

Optional: So you may still be wondering about those 100 calorie snack bags in my early photo. I made baby turkeys! This is a great option if you want to make mini cupcakes instead or as well.

1. Using the same method for the large nutterbutters, place two dots of royal icing on the cookie and add mini chocolate chips. Add another dot and either add another jumbo heart or for this one I used some leftover heart-shaped cinnamon red hots also purchased at my local craft store.

2. Frost a swirl of buttercream on top of the mini cupcake. Insert one of the baby turkeys, then add your feathers. I used a tear drop cutter for the baby turkey feathers. So cute!!

Now, your turkeys are ready to party!

…wait, come back, Turkey!


Hope you enjoy this! These were really fun to make. I hope you make some with your family this year. If you do and blog about it, please link back and I’ll add links to your blogs here!


  1. You are so clever. Great easy DIY. We will be making these over Thanksgiving break. My little people thank you.

  2. Oh my heavens! These turkeys are so stinkin’ cute. I am going to have the make these for the kids… and maybe myself too!

    • please take pics and share them with us if you do!

  3. OMG NO WAY. These are freaking adorable! They would be so fun for the Thanksgiving dessert table. If I didn’t think my toddler would eat them all in a heartbeat, I’d make them 🙂 I’ll have to do them for a playgroup party or something…

    • they are really fun to make. and they dont take too long. you could always make the turkeys and feathers in advance and let the kids ice the cupcakes and assemble.

  4. i love this!!!!! so cute and yet so much easier than most “fussy-looking” thanksgiving cupcakes. i’m in awe. had to pin it to my board. 🙂


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