How to Make Edible Turkey Decorations
Edible Turkey Decorations Easy Enough for Children to Make
Every Thanksgiving my children and I make edible turkeys to decorate our Thanksgiving table in order to keep the little hands busy while the adults work on the last minute details of the meal. I always try to choose recipes that children of all ages can attempt, so that cousins and friends can join in as well. Below are some of our favorites!
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The one guests still talk about:
Honeydew Melon Turkey
This is the turkey that our family still talks about. Beware that it takes up lots of room, but you'll get plenty of oh's and ah's! As a bonus, your guests will actually want to eat this turkey (at least the tail) as opposed to many of the cookie options. Younger children help skewer the tail while older children (or an adult) fashions the body.
- Bosc pear (head)
- Melon (body)
- Cheese (beak and tail feathers)
- Red bell pepper (waddle and feet and side feathers)
- Raisins (eyes)
- Grapes (tail feathers)
- Bamboo skewers
- Stabilize the melon body by cutting a shallow slice off the rind to form a flat base. Using a section of bamboo skewer, attach a Bosc pear head to the melon, as shown.
- Cut a cheese triangle beak and red pepper waddle. Attach both, along with raisin eyes, to the head with sections of toothpick.
- Cut red pepper feet and set them in place. For tail feathers, skewer cheese cubes and red grapes, then insert the skewers as shown. Pin pepper side feathers in place with toothpicks.
- (This recipe came from Family Fun Magazine.)
The one even adults will eat
because everyone seems to love Rice Krispie Treats:
Rice Krispie Treat Turkeys
These were fun to make, and the Rice Krispie part did get eaten -- even by the adults.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 4 cups miniature marshmallows
- 6 cups crisp rice cereal
- 28 Oreo cookies
- 1 -1/2 cups chocolate frosting
- 1 package (11 ounces) candy corn
- Place butter and marshmallows in a large bowl and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir until all marshmallows have melted. Stir in cereal. (If children are helping, let them each measure out a scoop of cereal and dump it in. It's okay if the amount of cereal isn't exact.) Let cool a couple minutes or until it's able to be handled. With buttered hands, form cereal mixture into 1-1/2-in. balls. (If you have children helpers, the adult gets to scoop out a spoonful of the cereal into each child's hand. They roll it into a ball and drop it onto waxed paper. Give them another scoop. Let them do this until you've made all the cereal into balls.)
- Twist apart the Oreo cookies. (If you only have young children helping, do this ahead of time and use a knife to make the cookies split more evenly.) Let the children spread the frosting on the inside of the cookies.
- Place 28 cookie halves under cereal balls to form the base for each turkey. Place three pieces of candy corn in a fan pattern on remaining cookie halves; press each half onto a cereal ball to form the tail. Attach remaining candy corn with frosting to form turkey's head.
- (This recipe came from Taste of Home Magazine.)
The turkey for healthy eaters:
Cheese Ball and Fresh Veggies Turkey
This was a favorite because of the fresh veggies which could be eaten by everyone without guilt. We had no leftovers after making it. If children are helping, have them lay out the cut vegetables to look like feathers. Then add the cheese ball turkey body.
- 1 cheese ball (homemade or store bought)
- various fresh vegetables cut into bite-size pieces (for feathers)
- 1/2 radish
- 1/8 red bell pepper
- or crook of yellow squash (for head)
- 2 peppercorns or whole cloves (for eyes)
- sliver of yellow bell pepper
- red bell pepper
- or carrot (for waddle)
- slivers of red bell pepper (for feet) (optional)
- On a large platter arrange vegetables in layers so that they look like the plumes of feathers behind the turkey. If desired, you can lay red lettuce leaves on the outer edge so that you have red tips to the feathers. Then place the veggies like they are the feathers of the turkey. Layer whatever vegetables you would like to serve (carrot sticks, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, celery sticks, red onions, radishes, yellow bell peppers, etc.). Place the cheese ball at the end of the plumes for the body. Use toothpicks to attach a piece of radish or red bell pepper for the head. Attach 2 peppercorns or whole cloves for the eyes and a sliver of yellow bell pepper or carrot for the waddle. If desired, add 2 small pieces of red bell pepper for the feet. Have crackers on hand as well for serving with the cheese ball.
- (This recipe came from www.food.com.)
Fun to make and very popular with children
because kids love cupcakes:
- chocolate frosting
- chocolate sprinkles
- candy corn
- white and brown decorating icing OR candy eyes (optional)
- miniature yellow M&M's (optional)
- Generously frost each cupcake with chocolate frosting. Pipe a 1-inch mound of frosting on one side of the cupcake to look like head of turkey. If you have young children helping you, frost the cupcakes ahead of time and then let them decorate them as desired. Either make the eyes with white decorating icing and brown decorating gel or make the eyes by placing 2 miniature yellow M&M's on top. Add candy corn for the beak. On the opposite side of the cupcake, place the candy corn upright on the frosting to look like feathers. Sprinkle chocolate candy sprinkles near the head and at the base of feathers. If desired, add candy corn at base of cupcake for feet.
- (This recipe came from www.bettycrocker.com.)
The Easiest Edible Turkey Ever:
We LOVE having holiday cookie cutters like this turkey! We don't only use them for cookies. We cut out sandwiches, pizzas, cheese slices, cake, and more. If you have multiple children or grandchildren, buy one for each of them so that they can all work at the same time cutting out turkeys from your desired food item.
Popular to take apart and eat
because of all the yummy components:
Oreo Cookie Turkeys
- Oreo cookies
- Candy corn
- Miniature Reeses Peanut Butter Cup
- Candy eyes or miniature M&M's
- Separate the Oreo cookie into two pieces. (If you have younger children, do this ahead of time and use a knife to make sure the cookies stay in tact). Add icing to the Oreo's cookie icing and arrange five pieces of candy corn around the top of the Oreo that contains the most icing creating "feathers" and two across the bottom to create "feet" with white tip facing down. (Note: Be sure to strategically place the feet to prop and hold up the Oreo turkey. It may take you a few times to get the exact placing.) Re-close Oreo cookie using icing more icing to attach it if necessary.
- Using icing, attach the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup with the widest part flat against the bottom of the face of the Oreo.
- Using icing, attach eyes and a piece of candy corn for a waddle. Instead of pre-made edible eyes, we used brown miniature M&M's atop white icing.
- (This recipe came from www.examiner.com)
Best option for very young children:
EASY Cookie Turkeys
If you have really young children helping (i.e. 1-2 years old), this is a great option!
- Cookies (we used store bought chocolate chip cookies)
- white frosting
- 1 package candy corn
- Miniature chocolate chips (or full size if young children are making these)
- Red string licorice (optional)
- Ahead of time spread vanilla frosting over cookies. Place 4-5 candy corns around the edge for plumes. Place 2 miniature chocolate chips for the eyes. (Use regular-sized chocolate chips if you have very young children doing this.) Place 1 candy corn under the eyes for the beak. It can either lay flay or stick up. If desired, place a sliver of red licorice string next to the beak for the waddle.
that parents will be happy for their children to eat:
These are great because they're healthy and easy to make.
- Clementine or navel orange
- Dried apricot
- Peanut butter or cream cheese
- Miniature chocolate chips
- Nut (we used a cashew)
- Arrange apple and clementine or navel orange slices on a plate, and lay a cored pear half on top. Use scissors to halve a dried apricot, then snip small triangles from each half and tuck them under the pear to form the feet. Use peanut butter or softened cream cheese to attach miniature chocolate chip eyes, a nut beak, and a craisin waddle.
- (This recipe came from Family Fun Magazine.)
offering healthy and unhealthy options for both types of families:
- whole apples (washed and dried)
- stick pretzels (optional)
- marshmallows (optional)
- raisins and/or craisins (optional)
- popcorn (optional)
- clementine orange segments (optional)
- Hershey Kisses (optional)
- Ahead of time slice a small side off of each apple so that they will lay flat. (Spritz them with lemon juice if you will be serving these to people who won't eat apples that have browned a bit.) Lay out all the options for tail feathers that you would like to offer. Let children create tail feathers on toothpicks by sliding on various ingredients and have them poke them into the back part of the apple. If desired, attach a chocolate Hershey's kiss for a face to where the stem of the apple would be. Use a craisin on a 1/4 piece of a toothpick to make a waddle. You could use a grape instead of a Hershey's kiss for the face if desired.
- (This recipe came from www.creatingreallyawesomefreethings.com.)
If you have a leftover pumpkin
I had a pumpkin left over from Halloween one year, so we used it to make a turkey. (We carved a Thanksgiving "Jack-o-Lantern" after the Thanksgiving feast.) The kids made the tail feathers while I made the face.
- 1 pumpkin
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/3 of a yellow bell pepper
- 2 black olives (optional)
- red grape or cherry tomatoes
- small cubes of cheese
- skewers (10 or 12 inch)
- Place a pumpkin on its side on a platter. Place two quarters of a red bell pepper under the turkey for each turkey foot. The feet should be under the stem of the pumpkin. Cut 1/3 of a yellow bell pepper and place it over the stem of the pumpkin to look like a beak. Use a toothpick to attach a small sliver of red bell pepper to make the waddle. Either use a marker or use black olives attached by toothpicks for the eyes.
- Meanwhile, if children are helping, have them the tail feathers by pushing 1 red grape or cherry tomato to the end of a skewer (12-inch or 10-inch). Add 3 grapes, a piece of cheese, and 3 more grapes. Poke each skewer tail into the back end (the bottom) of the pumpkin.
The favorite turkey to eat
by everyone of all ages:
This is another turkey that will get eaten by your guests. It may be tricky to find a watermelon at this time of year (though even in our small town we were able to find a few in a grocery store), so make sure you can find a watermelon before you commit to making this one. Children can skewer the fruit tail feathers while an adult carves the watermelon turkey body.
- 1 watermelon
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 medium cantaloupe cut into 1-inch balls (divided)
- 1 red chili pepper or 1/3 of a red sweet bell pepper
- 2 pounds green grapes
- Wooden skewers (12 inches)
- With a sharp knife, cut a thin slice from bottom of watermelon so it lies flat. Using a small sharp knife, lightly score a horizontal cutting line around middle of the melon, leaving 4 in. on each side of stem end unscored for the head. Next, score a vertical line over top of melon, connecting both ends of the horizontal line. Using a long knife, cut through melon along the vertical cutting line. (Stop cutting at the horizontal cutting line.) Then, cut through the melon along the horizontal cutting line. Gently pull off cut section.
- For the turkey's head, cut a 2 in. half-circle at top. Make a scalloped edge, using the rounded edge of a 1-in. circle cutter. With a sharp knife, cut along the scalloped lines; discard scrapes.
- For eyes, insert a clove into the center of each of two cantaloupe balls. Using toothpicks, attach eyes. Add a chili pepper or cut red bell pepper wattle.
- Thread grapes, orange peel and remaining cantaloupe balls onto skewers; add to turkey for feathers.
- (This recipe came from Taste of Home Magazine.)
My Favorite Magazine for Getting New Ideas for Edible Turkeys - and many other things as well:
I've been subscribing to this magazine for years and have gotten so many wonderfully creative and fun activity ideas over the years. This is the magazine from which we have gotten most of our favorite family traditions. Many of our holiday recipes (including 2 of the above edible turkey recipes) came from this magazine.
Looking for my other holiday ideas and/or all of my webpages?
- Pilgrims Lesson - This is a lesson written for a class or family that teaches about the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving in a fun, educational manner. Children will create pilgrim costumes, make stewed pompion (pumpkin), plant corn, and more!
- Thanksgiving Feast, Children's Play, & Authentic Recipes – This includes directions for performing a Children’s Thanksgiving play and eat a feast complete with authentic dishes. Recipes are included!
- How to Make Edible Turkey Decorations - Every Thanksgiving my children and I make edible turkeys to decorate our Thanksgiving table in order to keep the little hands busy while the adults work on the last minute details of the meal. I have included recipes and photos of many of the turkeys we have made over the years and have included helpful tips!
- Christmas Symbols Lesson - This is a hands-on Christmas lesson perfect for a class, family, or homeschool group. Act out a nativity play, make edible Christmas trees for family members, sing a Christmas carol, and more!
- A Jesse Tree for Christmas - This is a hands-on Christmas lesson I created for a two week unit on Christmas. In this lesson the children will make salt dough Jess Tree ornaments as they listen to the significance of each one.
- Gingerbread Man Lesson for Kindergarten - Ready for a fun kindergarten literature lesson on The Gingerbread Man? Compare and contrast two versions of the story, decorate gingerbread cookies, create character finger puppets to re-tell the story, and more in this fun literature lesson on the Gingerbread Man!
St. Patrick’s Day Ideas:
- Ireland: Giant's Causeway, Irish Stew, & the Blarney Stone - Want to know more about Ireland? Included is a St. Patrick’s Day menu, craft ideas, YouTube video clips on Ireland, children's book suggestions, and more!
Celebrating Summer Ideas:
- Hosting a Homemade Ice Cream Contest - What says summer more than a big bowl of delicious homemade ice cream? What better way to enjoy it than with your friends and family? Find my suggestions on how to host a fun homemade ice cream contest! Also included are game ideas, recipes, and more!
- Back to School Clothing Swap - As summer comes to a close, visions of spending hours at the mall and hundreds of dollars on back-to-school fashions come dancing through your head. Instead of dreading all those back-to-school sales (and the enormous credit card bills that follow), use these ideas to host an fun Back to School Clothing Swap with your friends or school!
All of my lessons and unit studies:
- Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies - Looking for all of my lessons and unit studies? Over the years I have posted over 30 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 140 lessons. The unit studies include the Human Body, Simple Machines, Earth Science, Medieval Period, American Revolution, Pioneer Life, Countries of the World, and many more! For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at the above link.
© 2011 Shannon