Turtle Sugar Cookies


These turtle sugar cookies are so easy, delicious, and adorable that they'll be your new favorite cookie recipe! These soft, chewy sugar cookies are colored green and easily shaped into sea turtles.

Closeup shot of hand holding sea turlt cookie.

The only thing I love more than cookies are cookies made into fun shapes. Of course, when they're both easy to make AND shape, it's even better. That's why these are some of my favorite cookies to make for fun events.

Why You'll Love This Recipe

  • It only takes some basic baking ingredients to make.
  • It's a simple sugar cookie recipe that's equally as easy to shape into turtles.
  • They're adorable and perfect for any occasion.

Top Tip

Be gentle when pressing your small balls of dough for the head and feet into the main cookie. You want to connect them without squishing your center cookie.

Overhead shot of sea turtle cookiesn on table


Aside from the green food coloring gel, you'll probably have every single ingredient for these cookies in your kitchen right now. It only uses simple baking staples! Be sure to check the recipe card at the end of the post for exact quantities.

  • Sugar
  • Butter, softened
  • Vanilla
  • Egg
  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Green gel food coloring
Overhead shot of individual ingredients for sea turtle cookies on table


This is just a simple, basic sugar cookie recipe that's colored with food coloring and then shaped into turtles. There's nothing difficult about it!

The highlights are right here, but you can find the exact instructions in the recipe card at the end of the post.

1: Combine the butter, sugar, and wet ingredients.

Closeup overhead shot of butter, sugar, and vanilla in bowl
Overhead shot of creamed butter and sugar with eggs

2: Add the dry ingredients and mix into dough.

Overhead shot of dry ingredients on top of wet ingredients in mixing bowl

3: Add food coloring gel and mix until combined.

Overhead shot of sugar cookie dough with drop of green food coloring gel

4: Scoop out dough balls for the body and flatten them with a fork. Then, roll out 5 small dough balls for the head and legs and gently press them into the main cookie body.

Closeup shot of hand holding a ball of green sugar cookie dough.
Closeup shot of fork flattening green sugar cookie dough balls on baking sheet
Overhead shot of unbaked sea turtle sugar cookies on baking sheet

5: Bake until the bottoms of the cookies are brown.

Overhead shot of baked sea turtle sugar cookies on baking sheet

6. Add eyes with black edible marker.

Closeup shot of black edible marker being used to draw eyes on a sea turtle sugar cookie
Closeup shot of hand holding sea turtle sugar cookie

Substitutions and Variations

  • You can use almond extract in place of vanilla.
  • Omit the food coloring and just make plain sugar cookies.
  • Try pressing chocolate chips and nuts into the main body of the sugar cookie to make a "shell".


  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Hand mixer
  • Baking sheet
Closeup shot of sea turtle sugar cookies stacked atop one another


Room Temperature: Store for up to 5 days in an air-tight container.

Refrigerator: Store for up to 10 days in an air-tight container.

Freezer: Store for up to 3 months in an air-tight, freezer-safe container.

Make Ahead: These cookies will stay fresh for several days, so feel free to make them ahead of time.

What to Serve with Sugar Cookies

These sea turtle sugar cookies are delicious with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee or tea. They're also excellent when served alongside your other favorite sweet treats as part of a larger dessert spread at parties or paired with ice cream.


  • Be sure to fully soften, not melt, your butter so it creams well.
  • Mix your cookies until just combined and no further for soft, chewy cookies.
  • As soon as your cookies are brown on the bottom, remove them from the oven for the perfect bake time.
Closeup shot of sea turtle sugar cookie wtih another sugar cookie bitten in half on top


Why does butter have to be softened for cookies?

Creaming softened butter and sugar adds air to your cookie dough, allowing them to expand and rise. This creates a soft, fluffy texture.

What happens if you use melted butter in cookies?

If you use melted butter in cookies, they'll spread out more during baking, resulting in an ultra-thin cookie that's soft on the inside and crispier on the edges.

Why do I have to flatten these sugar cookies?

Flattening the cookies allows them to spread just enough to make them into turtle bodies.

Closeup shot of sea turtle sugar cookies on table.

More Yummy Cookie Recipes

Yield: 24 cookies

Turtle Sugar Cookies

Turtle Sugar Cookies

These turtle sugar cookies are classic, soft, and chewy sugar cookies colored with green food coloring and shaped like sea turtles!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes


  • ⅔ cups sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Green gel food coloring


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter, and vanilla until creamy.
  3. Add egg and beat again.
  4. Add dry ingredients until dough is smooth.
  5. Add green gel food coloring to the dough and beat again until the color is uniform throughout.  The amount used will depend on the type of food coloring you are using.
  6. Using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll it into round balls to form the bodies of the turtles. Place them on a greased cookie sheet.
  7. Using a fork, press the dough balls down in two different directions to create the shell design. Cookies should be about ½-inch thick after being pressed down.
  8. For each turtle, roll a head and four small feet.  Gently connect them to the bodies.
  9. Bake cookies for 5-7 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown.
  10. Place cookies onto a cooling rack to cool.
  11. When cookies are cooled, carefully draw eyes on with an edible marker.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 92Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 18mgSodium 118mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 0gSugar 6gProtein 1g

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