Cute and Easy Thanksgiving Dessert: Turkey Cupcakes!

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Are you here looking for a fool-proof,  yummy, unique dessert for Thanksgiving? Look no further: these turkey cupcakes are adorable and – while they don’t look easy – they are actually very simple to put together!

Since most of the components in these cupcakes are ready-made or part of a mix, the finished product comes together quickly, while looking like something you’d get at a bakery. One of my favorite things about this recipe, though? It’s totally kid-friendly. Kids of almost any age can help you put these turkey cupcakes together in the kitchen, making a fun family activity that they will remember years from now!

three turkey cupcakes

These cupcakes feature a winning flavor combination of peanut butter and chocolate, with a chocolate cupcake base and Reese’s toppings! If you have a favorite chocolate cupcake recipe (or peanut butter cupcake recipe, for that matter) you can certainly feel free to create your own, from-scratch version; I’m sure it will be delicious!

However, to make this recipe extra simple and kid-friendly, you can also just use your favorite box mix and pre-made icing, as we’ve done here! If you (like me ) eat gluten-free, you can easily make this recipe gluten-free by simply using your favorite gluten-free chocolate cake mix for the cupcakes.

Tips on Making the Turkey Cupcakes

To make the turkey cupcakes, follow the directions on your mix carefully. Be sure to pre-heat the oven to the listed temperature and combine all of the ingredients in the instructions! Baking with a boxed mix, while simpler than from-scratch baking, is good practice for little ones who are working on fine motor skills and learning to follow instructions! Once your batter is ready, carefully place the liners in the cupcake tins and fill them halfway with batter (more than halfway and you’ll have messy cupcakes!)

If you are looking for just the right cupcake liners, you could go with solid autumnal colors like the ones I used here. If you feel like getting really fancy, Amazon also has some Thanksgiving cupcake wrappers that you can place your finished turkey cupcakes in when you serve them (please note that these are not the same as baking liners, though.)

Once your baking liners are filled, go ahead and bake your cupcakes according to the package directions. Check them after the correct amount of time (they are done when a toothpick can be cleanly removed). Then let the cupcakes cool all the way before frosting each one with your favorite chocolate frosting. You don’t have to do any fancy frosting work here as the toppings would cover it up, anyway. Honestly, just use a table knife – and be generous – as you slather chocolate frosting over each cupcake.

turkey cupcakes - with chocolate frosting

Decorating the Turkey Cupcakes

Next, it’s time for my favorite part–decorating your turkey cupcakes! First, you’re going to organize your Reese’s Pieces into groups of yellow, brown, and orange (which is a great job to delegate to any kids you have on hand!)

On each cupcake, you’ll create a curved row of 7 yellow Reese’s Pieces on the outside of the cupcake, followed by a second row of 4 brown Reese’s pieces. Lastly, you’ll do a short row of 3 orange Reese’s Pieces. You want to gently press them into the frosting, standing upright, so that they look like the turkey’s feathers!

turkey cupcakes - with Reese's pieces on them

Next, unwrap a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and place it on the cupcake to make the turkey’s head. You can eat one, too. Just don’t eat them all. (I don’t know about you, but I find an unwrapped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup difficult to resist.)

turkey cupcakes - with Reese's pieces and Reese's cup

Next, give the turkey 2 small candy eyes by gently pressing them into the frosting. You will have a very alarmed-looking cupcake at this point! If you are making this with kids, I’m betting you’ll hear some giggles at this stage.

turkey cupcakes - with Reese's pieces and eyes on Reese's cup

Use the small paring knife to carefully cut 12 orange Reese’s Pieces in half. Then use a small bit of chocolate frosting on the flat side to adhere each piece onto the Reese’s cup to make the turkey’s beak.

turkey cupcakes - finished cupcake

Lastly, roll a small amount of red fondant between your fingers and adhere with chocolate frosting next to the turkey’s beak.

Once you’ve done all of the decorating steps with each cupcake, you are done! I recommend making these turkey cupcakes the day before, or the morning of, Thanksgiving! That way, they’ll still be fresh and you can save room in your refrigerator by storing them at room temperature in your favorite cupcake storage container. 

I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving! Drop a comment to let us know if you plan to try out these fun and festive turkey cupcakes!

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Cute and Easy Thanksgiving Dessert: Turkey Cupcakes!

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  • Author: Wendy Hilton
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes 1x


Looking for a special, yet easy, dessert this Thanksgiving? These adorable cupcakes look like little turkeys but taste like your favorite peanut butter and chocolate candy! They are also fun for all ages to help make!


  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix, any brand + boxed cake mix ingredients
  • 1 tub of chocolate frosting
  • large package of Reese’s Pieces candies
  • 24 mini Reese’s Pieces peanut butter cups
  • 48 small candy eyes
  • Red fondant
  • Small paring knife
  • 24 cupcake liners
  • toothpicks


  1. Preheat the oven according to the cake mix directions.
  2. Combine cake mix ingredients.
  3. Line (2) 12-count muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  4. Fill each muffin well 1/2 way with cupcake batter.
  5. Bake according to package directions.
  6. Remove from the oven and let the cupcakes cool completely prior to decorating.
  7. Once the cupcakes have cooled, generously frost each one with chocolate frosting.
  8. After frosting the cupcakes stand 7 yellow Reese’s Pieces on the back edge of the cupcake, then 4 brown Reese’s Pieces, and finally 3 orange Reese’s Pieces. Gently press them into the frosting so they stand up looking like the turkey’s feathers.
  9. Next, unwrap a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and place it on the cupcake for the turkey’s head.
  10. Give the turkey 2 small candy eyes, using a bit of chocolate frosting on the end of a toothpick.
  11. Use the small paring knife to carefully cut 12 orange Reese’s Pieces in 1/2.
  12. Use a small bit of chocolate frosting on the flat side to adhere to the turkey’s beak.
  13. Lastly, roll a small amount of red fondant between your fingers and adhere with chocolate frosting next to the turkey’s beak.
  14. Repeat with all cupcakes.

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