Turtle Cookie Cups are a heavenly combination of soft and chewy cookies, homemade caramel, rich chocolate ganache, crunchy pecans, and a hint of salt. They are a delightfully indulgent treat made with the classic flavors of a turtle dessert. Perfect for a party or someone with a serious sweet tooth! I also have Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups with a surprise mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup nestled inside that you will love!

Several Turtle Cookie Cups on a White Counter from Overhead.
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Ingredients & Substitutions

Cookie Dough: The cookie dough base results in a soft and chewy cookie with a subtle sweetness. It’s a modified recipe from my Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies, which you may want to try on your own!

Caramel: The homemade caramel is from my Millionaire’s Bars. Yes, it takes some time with a little arm strength for continuous stirring, but it really makes a difference. We tested these cookie cups with storebought caramel, too, and the homemade was the clear winner when it came to flavor and consistency. But, you could certainly use store-bought caramel to save some time.

Ganache: Chocolate ganache is made with just two ingredients, chocolate chips and heavy cream. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips in this recipe, but you could use any kind of chocolate.

Pecans: Since this is a turtle dessert, I couldn’t forget about the nuts! Top each cookie cup with chopped pecans.

Salt: I sprinkled the tops of the cookie cups with kosher salt. Sea salt or Himalayan Pink Salt would also be delicious! Of course, you could enjoy the treats without salt, too.

Making Cookie Cups to Make Turtle Cookie Cups.

To get a head start on this recipe, you could make the caramel in advance. It does take some time and patience, but so worth it. Once you have the caramel made, it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You could also get the cookie cups made ahead of time and fill them when ready to assemble.

Steps for Building a Turtle Cookie Cup.

For a smaller treat, you could use mini muffin tins for more of a bite-sized treat. If using a mini tin, be sure to watch the cookie cups carefully when baking as the baking time will need to be adjusted.

Store turtle cookie cups in an airtight container. They will last up to a week when stored in the refrigerator.

Stacked Turtle Cookie Cups with the Top Cup Cut in Half Showing Inside.

Absolutely! For longer storage, freeze the cookie cups in a freezer-safe container for up to 1-2 months. When ready to enjoy, let them thaw at room temperature.

Several Turtle Cookie Cups on a White Counter from Overhead.
5 from 1 vote

Turtle Cookie Cups

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes
Turtle Cookie Cups are a heavenly combination of soft and chewy cookies, homemade caramel, rich chocolate ganache, crunchy pecans, and a hint of salt. They are a delightfully indulgent treat made with the classic flavors of a turtle dessert in a cookie cup that is baked in a muffin tin.


Cookie Cups

  • 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 227 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups (312.5 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 227 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup (119 g) heavy cream
  • ½ cup (170.5 g) light corn syrup
  • 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup (168 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup (119 g) heavy cream


  • ½ cup (54.5 g) chopped pecans, divided
  • kosher salt, for sprinkling


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the light brown sugar, granulated sugar, and butter until well incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and eggs, and mix until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and kosher salt.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, mixing until well combined.
  • Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, add dough to each muffin cup. Press the dough into the bottom of each cup and up the sides to about halfway.
  • Bake the cookie cups for 10-12 minutes, or until they turn golden brown.
  • Remove the cookie cups from the oven. While they are still hot, use a spice jar or a shot glass to press down in the middle of each cup, creating a well.
  • Let the cookie cups cool as you make the caramel.


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
  • Add sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla. Stir until combined.
  • Continue cooking until the mixture reaches 236°F on a candy thermometer, stirring constantly (about 15-18 minutes).


  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream. Heat the mixture in 20-second increments in the microwave, stirring after each increment, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.


  • Remove the cooled cookie cups from the muffin tins.
  • Fill each cookie cup with 1 tablespoon caramel, 1 tablespoon ganache, and ½ teaspoon chopped nuts.
  • Drizzle with extra caramel and sprinkle with kosher salt.

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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:


I loved the layers in this cup. It's an individual portion but feels so indulgent! Chocolate, caramel, cookies, and pecans come together so beautifully in this impressive dessert!


What an indulgent treat with a cute way of serving all the flavors of a turtle treat! You really can't go wrong with a dessert like this one. The homemade caramel really stood out (in a delicious way)!


This is a fun dessert that would be super fun on a dessert bar! I love the homemade caramel and nuts and the addition of the salt on top just makes it!


YUM, I love turtle flavor combinations in anything. The homemade caramel and freshly baked cookie cup with pecans and chocolate are sure to be a crowd pleaser!! I love that the cookie holds everything together in a perfect little portable edible cup!


So good! Nothing beats a homemade caramel sauce alongside gooey chocolate, nutty pecans, and of course, the cookie! A delicious dessert in individual serving sizes.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. OMG I have no choice but to make these decadent looking morsels. Thank you for all your awesome recipes.

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