These Turtle Thumbprint Cookies are a delicious melt-in-your-mouth cookie combining the flavors of almond, pecan, caramel, and chocolate. Be sure to try my Turtle Cheesecake for another sweet dessert. Looking for more great cookie recipes? Check these out!

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies
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Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

There are quite a few variations of turtle cookies on the market.  This interpretation is my absolute favorite!  The base is a chewy shortbread cookie, filled to the brim with ooey gooey caramel and then topped with chopped pecans and drizzled with milk chocolate. If you love the flavor combination of turtle desserts, I also have Turtle Cookie Cups you will love!

Easy Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

Can I Use Different Ingredients?

Yes, feel free to swap out dark chocolate for the milk chocolate or walnuts or almonds in place of pecans.

Thumbprint Cookies

How to Store Thumbprint Cookies

You can freeze and store Turtle Thumbprint cookies. You might not want a whole batch laying around the house for fear of devouring them all.  After baking, allow the cookies to cool completely, and then place them in a freezer-safe container.  I would suggest setting them flat and then adding a layer of parchment paper on top.  Some cookie recipes can just be thrown in a bag, but that will not work with this turtle thumbprint recipe.  Since the caramel needs to freeze to harden, if you just throw them in a bag it will spill out everywhere and make a huge mess (It will still taste amazing though).

How to Make Thumbprint Cookies

PRO TIP:  If you are planning to use these in a cookie exchange, freezing them will be your best bet!  Transporting these cookies might prove to be a bit of a challenge due to the caramel center.  Another alternative would be instead of using the caramel topping, you could melt down a few caramel candies instead.  These will harden as they cool, unlike the caramel topping.

4.92 from 12 votes

Turtle Thumbprint

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
These Turtle Thumbprint Cookies are a delicious melt in your mouth cookie combining the flavors of almond, pecan, caramel and chocolate.


Thumbprint Cookie

  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 227 g) salted butter, softened
  • cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups (256 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature


  • ¼ cup milk chocolate chips, melted
  • ½ cup caramel topping
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped


Thumbprint Cookie

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, cream together butter and granulated sugar until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Mix in almond extract, flour, and egg yolk until dough comes together. 
  • Roll dough into 1 ½ inch balls and place on the lined cookie sheet. Using a spoon, (I used a teaspoon) make a small impression in the center of each ball.
  • Bake for 14-18 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned.  
  • Cool completely before filling.


  • Once the cookies have cooled, fill each impression with caramel sauce, and top with pecans.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips.  Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of each cookie. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a plastic bag in the microwave. Just be sure to massage it between heating cycles to make sure it heats evenly.


The video doesn’t show the egg yolk being added, my apologies! Please follow the written recipe. 

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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. I’m so sorry! This is the exact recipe that we have been making for 20 years. However, I heard from my grandma that when she feels like the dough is dry she will add an egg. I tried to get more info out of her… like when exactly do I add the egg?… but she said she just knows by how the dough feels. I will keep testing the recipe and see if I can determine a more concrete answer!

  1. I made 2 batches and with both the cookies went flat. Any suggestions??? They are just delicious so I’m not ready to give up yet

  2. These cookies flattened out so I experimented with them. I added a little more flour, rolled them intro balls, let them chill. Then I baked them without a thumbprint. As soon as they came out of the oven, I put the thumbprint in with the backside of a teaspoon measure. They looked great then.
    Your recipes are great by the way.

    1. Thank you, Pam! So you would recommend more flour? (I haven’t had a problem with them flattening here, but I want to make sure that folks can replicate my results at home!). How much flour did you add and how long did you chill for? Do you mind also telling me what state you live in? (Just wondering if elevation is an issue at all.) Thanks again!

  3. What are you using to drizzle on the chocolate? More to the point, what tool should I buy to perform this drizzling?

  4. These came out great, was curious about no baking powder? Made a different recipe this AM w/baking powder and they were flat and tasteless. Tossed that recipe. Also used a little zip lock, cut corner off to lace with chicolate instead of wating a pastry bag. Will use this recipe for my jam filled thumbprints. Always use your recipes and get great results. Thank you!

  5. My guess with those whose cookies went flat: your butter was too soft. Super soft butter will always make cookies spread. I put my butter sugar mixture in the fridge to firm it up before starting the rest. I had half melted and half softened butter because I use the microwave as I usually don’t leave butter out on the counter. I bake a ton of cookies every year. The only time they ‘fail’ is when my butternis too soft. Just a thought..

  6. I took your grandma’s advice and added an egg yolk when the dough was too dry and not coming together. Then I put the dough n the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so. The cookies did not spread and turned out great! Thx for the recipe!

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