chocolate turtle cookies with caramel, pecans and chocolate chips on blue plate with glass of milk in background

This insanely delicious turtle cookie recipe starts with a chocolate batter and is loaded with caramel pieces, pecans, and chocolate chips.  Chocolate caramel cookies are soft & chewy plus look at those puddles of caramel! Ready to eat in 30 minutes, you don’t have to chill the cookie dough!

If you like cookies that are slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, these will hit the spot.

Plus the combination of chocolate, pecans and caramel is on point. And the best part is that you can modify the amount of add-ins you want. Want more pecans? Add them! More chocolate? Oh yes! Bigger puddles of caramel? Do it. 

I’m thinking these turtle cookies will look pretty good on a Christmas cookie platter! 

chocolate turtle cookies with caramel, pecans and chocolate chips on white parchment paper on metal baking sheet

Easy Turtle Cookie Ingredients

  • all purpose flour: flour is necessary to build structure in cookies
  • cocoa powder: adds deep chocolate flavor
  • baking soda: helps to leaven and lift the dough
  • unsalted butter: adds flavor and and tender texture
  • brown sugar: adds sweetness & flavor, keeps the cookies moist and adds chewiness
  • granulated sugar: adds sweetness, flavor and encourages browning
  • egg: binds the cookies together by providing structure
  • vanilla extract: adds flavor
  • caramel squares: cut into small pieces, I recommend Kraft caramel squares 
  • chopped pecans: or walnuts, your choice!
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips: I used a mix of regular and mini size
chocolate turtle cookie dough balls with caramel, pecans and chocolate chips on white parchment paper on metal baking sheet

How to Make Chocolate Turtle Cookies

  1. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking together together. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. 
  3. Add in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture and the mix-ins. Mix just until combined. The dough will be very thick!
  4. Use a cookie scoop to form dough balls, pressing addition add-ins to the outside of each cookie. Bake on a silicone lined baking sheet for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. Cool for 10 minute before transferring to a cooling rack. 

Baking Time Suggestions

For the cookies in the photos, the dough balls were about 3 tbsp, so that’s a large cookie! I baked those for 12-14 minutes – just until the edge of the cookie would begin to look puffy. The result is a soft & chewy chocolate caramel pecan cookie!

If you make smaller dough balls, you should reduce the baking time otherwise the cookies will be over done.

chocolate turtle cookies with caramel, pecans and chocolate chips on white round serving tray

How Long Does it Take to Make Turtle Cookies?

  • 15 minutes to prep the dough
  • 10-14 minutes to bake the cookies
  • 10 minutes to cool 

How to Freeze Turtle Cookie Dough

  • Portion the dough into cookie dough balls. Press extra caramel pieces, pecans and chocolate chips into the outside of the dough.
  • Place them on baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. You can place the dough balls close together since you won’t be baking them.
  • Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the cookies are frozen solid, about 1 hour.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and transfer the frozen cookie dough balls to a ziplock freezer bag. Label the bag with baking directions.
  • Freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months.
  • To bake: remove the dough from the freezer. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Bake for 14-17 minutes. Frozen cookies may need to bake for 1-2 minutes longer.

How to Make Gluten Free Turtle Cookies

I have made these cookies multiple times with King Arthur’s Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour with great success.

hand holding chocolate turtle cookie with caramel, pecans and chocolate chips

Tips for Making Turtle Cookies

  • Properly measure the all purpose flour using the spoon and sweep method.
  • Use room temperature butter for easier creaming of the butter and sugar.
  • I learned that I prefer using caramel squares for this recipe over caramel bits. Chop the caramel squares into smaller pieces. The caramel squares melt more naturally in the oven creating beautiful puddles of caramel throughout the cookie. 
  • Use a cookie scoop to form uniform balls. 
  • Press extra caramel pieces, pecans, and chocolate chips on the outside of the dough balls before baking for a loaded cookie presentation like the photos!
  • Want to make this cookie dough a day in advance? Follow the directions to make the dough, then wrap it well in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
chocolate turtle cookies with caramel, pecans and chocolate chips collage with text overlay

More Turtle Inspired Desserts

Turtle Pie
Turtle Oreo Balls
Turtle Cheesecake
Turtle S’mores Bites

Subscribe to The First Year newsletter to get our recipes sent to your inbox! Follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube. If you make this recipe, tag @beth_thefirstyear on instagram!
Turtle Cookies

Turtle Cookies

Yield: 16-20 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

These insanely delicious turtle cookies start with a chocolate batter and are loaded with caramel pieces, pecans, and chocolate chips.  Chocolate caramel cookies are soft & chewy plus look at those puddles of caramel! Ready to eat in 30 minutes, you don’t have to chill the cookie dough! 

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (regular or mini size)
  • 1/2 cup chopped caramel squares, use a knife to cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Cut the caramel squares into small pieces with a knife.
  2. Combine the chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and caramel pieces in a bowl, mix. Reserve 1/2 cup for the outside of the cookie dough balls.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.
  5. In a mixing bowl cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy, 1 minute. Add in the egg and vanilla, beat again. Add the flour mixture and the add ins (minus the 1/2 cup you're reserving) to the wet mixture, mix with a spatula (or on low with a mixer) just until everything is combined
  6. Use a cookie scoop to form dough balls. Press the 1/2 cup of add-ins on the outside of the dough balls. This is optional but I like the way the cookies look when you can see the chocolate chips, caramel puddles and pecans on top.
  7. Place the cookies 3 inches apart on a silicone lined baking sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Notes

For the cookies in the photos, the dough balls were about 3 tbsp, so that’s a large cookie! I baked those for 12-14 minutes – just until the edge of the cookie would begin to look puffy. The result is a soft & chewy chocolate caramel pecan cookie!

If you make smaller dough balls, you should reduce the baking time otherwise the cookies will be over done.