10 Thanksgiving Cupcakes That YOU (Yes, You) Can Actually Make

by Natalie, Celeste and Kim
Originally Published: 
Thanksgiving Cupcakes

You see them all the time. You know what I’m talking about — those perfect treats or cupcakes that look as if the Cupcake Empress herself created them. To be honest, we don’t know if a Cupcake Empress actually exists, but you get the point. You may even have a few (hundred) ideas pinned for the next classroom party at your kid’s school or a future baby shower. But as you scroll through all the once-fabulous ideas, self-doubt starts to creep in. Can I really do those? They look too hard. I mean, seriously hard! The person who posted these must have gone to culinary school and specialized in “Divine and Skilled Cupcakes,” for sure.

We’re going to let you in on a little cupcake-making secret just in time for the holidays. Ready? Come close. *whispers* Your guests or recipients are going to be in awe of your skills. You do not have to be Martha Stewart to create a cupcake masterpiece. Not even close. So, what’s the big secret? What is going to launch you from basic store-bought cupcakes to cupcake maker extraordinaire? All you need is patience. Aside from the cupcakes made of fondant or with perfectly coifed frosted tops, cupcakes with candies on them just take time and, well, the right candies.

The cupcakes we made are a perfect testament to this fact. We obtained the ideas for our “Thanksgiving dinner” theme from different examples of each cupcake we saw on various other venues or recipe books and decided to bring them all together in one meal. The hardest thing about making these cupcakes was finding a time to get together and make them.

So, look more closely before you cut yourself short on your abilities to create some of the ideas you see. Read the directions and make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Hell, even see if there is a video on how to do it. You will likely be able to create something you never thought possible. And you can start with the following easy, peasy recipes.

Easy Ideas for Thanksgiving Cupcakes

Mashed Potato Cupcake


  • white frosting
  • yellow Starburst
  • caramel sauce


  1. Using a wide round decorating tip, frost the cupcake in a circular motion.
  2. Using the back of the spoon, create a well for the butter and gravy.
  3. Take a yellow Starburst and put it in the well.
  4. Pour some caramel sauce in a small container and microwave for approximately 10 seconds. Using a spoon, drizzle the caramel sauce, making sure to fill the well.

Peas and Carrots Cupcake


  • green frosting
  • any green, round candy: chewy Lemonheads, Sixlets, or green tootsie rolls shaped into pea-sized balls
  • orange candy: Regular sized Starburst, cut into 4’s, or mini Starburst


  1. Frost the cupcake with a light layer of green frosting.
  2. Decorate with a mixture of green round candy and the orange Starburst.

Corn on the Cob Cupcake


  • yellow frosting
  • small jelly beans (jelly belly size) in a variety of yellows and white


  1. Frost the cupcake with a light layer of yellow frosting.
  2. Decorate with the jelly beans by creating rows with the jelly beans.
  3. Put three cupcakes together and put corn holders on each end.

Turkey Leg Cupcake


  • brown frosting
  • donut hole
  • graham crackers or bran flakes (not as tasty!) mashed into very fine crumbs
  • almond bark or white Wilton melting chips (for the bone)

Directions to Make the Bone:

  1. Spread out a sheet of parchment paper.
  2. Put 2 squares of almond bark or a handful of melting chips in a sandwich-size ziplock baggie. Leaving the bag open, microwave for 15-30 seconds at a time until melted.
  3. Remove air from bag and seal.
  4. Snip one small corner of the bag and make bones on the parchment paper — top is like a heart, then make a long stem.

Directions to Make the Turkey Leg Cupcake:

  1. While the bones are drying, lightly frost the cupcake and cut the donut hole in half.
  2. Place the donut hole on the cupcake and then using a wide round frosting tip, frost with brown frosting, and then smooth out the frosting with a knife.
  3. Once the frosting is smooth, sprinkle with the mashed-up graham crackers.
  4. Then take a paring knife and create a space where the bone will go – then stick the bone in the cupcake.

More Thanksgiving Cupcake Ideas

1. Talkin’ Turkey

The only skill you’ll need to pull off these cute cupcakes is the ability to pipe icing well. So, if you’ve got steady hands, this recipe’s for you.

2. Candyman, Er, Turkey

A mini-Reese’s cup, some candy corn, and a few icing details will transform into the sweetest turkey ever if you play your cards right.

3. Oh My, A Pumpkin Pie

These cupcakes are all cute, but our favorite inspo of the bunch comes from the pumpkin pie cupcake. You’ll just need orange frosting for the base, a dollop of white frosting for the “whipped cream,” and a beige frosting for the “crust.”

4. Cornu-candy-copia

For this delicious bounty, you could use fondant or caramel rolled into a cornucopia shape. And although they use M&Ms, you could really use any small candy to spill out.

5. Chocolate Covered Turkey

Remember the turkey leg cupcakes from above? You’ll need to break out the same skills with Wilton white melting chocolates to create the leg bones for these turkeys. But the bulk of the bird will be made of a chocolate-dipped strawberry. Genius!

6. Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

When in doubt, break the pumpkin spice out! For these you’ll need a pumpkin-bread base, pumpkin cream cheese buttercream, a pumpkin candy, and a drizzle of salted caramel to top it all off.

All it takes are the right ingredients and a little patience and you too can create amazing and festive cupcakes for your Thanksgiving celebration. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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