Turmeric Sugar Cookies Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: Emma Laperruque



24 Ratings

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 22 minutes
  • Makes 24 cookies

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Author Notes

A whole new way to sugar cookie, thanks to one ingredient: ground turmeric. Coupled with butter and sugar, this often-savory spice not only gets to show off its incredible color, but flavor too. Our staff thought they were everything from lemony, to tangy, to raspberry-y. What notes will you pick up? —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need

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Turmeric SugarCookies

  • Cookie dough
  • 1/2 pound(2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups(333 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoonskosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoonsvanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoonsground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoonsbaking powder
  • 2 1/3 cups(299 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Sugar crust
  • 1/2 cup(100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoonground turmeric
  1. Heat the oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Add the butter, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium for a few minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla. Continue beating—again, scraping down the sides as needed—until cohesive and fluffy.
  4. Add the turmeric and baking powder and mix on low just to combine. Add the flour and mix on low again until completely combined. Detach the bowl from the machine and use the rubber spatula to make sure there are no floury dry spots on the sides or bottom of the bowl.
  5. Stick the dough in the fridge to firm up for 10 or so minutes. Meanwhile, you can clean up and make the sugar crust mixture: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and turmeric, and stir.
  6. Scoop the dough by generously rounded tablespoons (about 40 grams each). I fit 6 on each sheet tray, so start by scooping 12 cookies. Roll each dough blob lightly between your hands into a smooth sphere. Now roll each sphere in the sugar. Divide evenly between the lined sheets. No need to flatten—they’ll spread in the oven.
  7. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes until puffy, slightly crackly, and just beginning to brown around the edges. They will fall as they cool. That’s good. You want them crispy around the edges and chewy-tender in the middle.
  8. Cool for a few minutes on the tray, then use a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack.
  9. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
  10. These freeze well.


  • Cookie
  • American
  • Turmeric
  • Bake
  • Dessert

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • SophieL

  • goodgalsasha

  • Dominique Agri

  • Laura Rallios

  • Kt4

Recipe by: Emma Laperruque

Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

Popular on Food52

59 Reviews

Lynn C. December 23, 2022

Long story about why I was looking for a cookie with turmeric but so happy I found this one. Love the color, inside & out, & they're delish. Only change was I made them smaller, about 25g each (& I did weigh them; I don't have cookie scoops). They still needed 11 minutes to bake, & they turned out plenty big, about 2-1/2" each.

Heather H. December 24, 2019

Can cookie cutters be used for this dough recipe?

Emma L. December 27, 2019

Hi Heather! My hunch is that the dough might be too soft—but you could certainly form it into blocks, wrap, refrigerate for a few hours, and see. If it's too soft at that point, no harm done! You can just let it soften up a bit and scoop from there.

SophieL December 7, 2019

I made these cookies exactly as written and they're wonderful! My turmeric was a bit old so next time I'll add more and also make them smaller. I love the reviewer comments and am getting some great ideas for variations (Chinese five-spice? Wow!). This recipe's a keeper. Thanks!

goodgalsasha May 2, 2019

love the flavour but could not get the cookies to spread as thinly as was shown in the video.
what could i have done wrong?

Emma L. May 2, 2019

Hello! Did you use chilled butter or chill the dough at all? My first thought is that the butter and/or dough might have been too cold.

Miss B. April 13, 2019

I picked up mostly on the taste of sugar and butter, but maybe my turmeric has losts its flavour. Still super tastey!

moody B. February 11, 2019

I had a strange experience with these cookies! I followed the recipe exactly as written, but I refrigerated the dough for about 5 hours while I was out of the house. When I baked them up, they turned red inside! I'm not kidding, the cookies are golden yellow ish on the outside but the red inside is obvious, when bitten into they are deep red inside. Taste good if not a little... strange.

Emma L. February 11, 2019

Mine usually have a reddish inside, too!

Kt4 February 11, 2019


From schoolessons.com: Turmeric is an natural colour indicator because it changes its colour in acid medium as well as in base medium.

When turmeric is combined with any base liquid like it turns red in colour while when turmeric comes in contact with any substance like that of vinegar, that is acidic in nature, it turns yellow.

Anagha December 4, 2019

Actually this is very common. Since Baking powder is acid base, when it touches turmeric it turns red. This chemistry fact is used to even scare people in villages in India. The con artist would dip the knfe in turmeric, and when he would cut the lime, it would turn red, he would scare the people that the goddess is mad at them hence this is happening : )

Dominique A. January 29, 2019

I made half this recipe and added lemon zest. The texture is perfectly chewy with crisp edges. They're not too sweet and have a great nutty flavor. Thanks for the recipe.

Emma L. January 29, 2019

Lemon zest sounds awesome! So glad you enjoyed.

Aster G. January 5, 2019

Used King Arthur GF measure for measure flour and they turned out great, y’all! Chilled them for ~30 mins and they kept their shapes fairly well. They’re delicious and subtle and everything I hoped they’d be. Thanks for a great recipe, Emma!

Emma L. January 6, 2019

Yay! Thanks, Amber!

judy December 14, 2018

I love sugar cookies. I have an anise recipe much like this that I love because I Love licorice. I like that I can roll the dough into a log, wrap and put in "icebox" for icebox cookies. I have made versions with orange zest, pecans, brown sugar instead of white, adding chocolate, or candied citrus zest--or both!. I usually use 1/2 AP and 1/2 WW pastry flour. I tell myself it isomer nutritious as I eat another one! This weekends foray for the holidays is orange zest and chopped cranberries. I have several now in logs in the fridge ready to bake when family comes. Happy holidays, folks. I'll have to give turmeric a try. And what about a garam masala or Chinese 5 spice with a hit of chili? Hmmmm so many possibilities for a simple basic dough.

Laura R. December 12, 2018

These cookies are delicious!! I made them for my dad who has rheumatoid arthritis. We try to get as much natural anti-inflammatories into him as we can. These cookies will do the trick. Not only were they simple to make but very tasty, too. These will definitely be a regular. Thanks for the great recipe!
Also, I followed the advice of another reviewer and refrigerated the dough longer than 10 minutes. Actually, I refrigerated them overnight. The dough was perfect to work with.

Emma L. December 13, 2018

Thanks so much, Laura! So glad you and your dad enjoyed them.

Kt4 December 9, 2018

This sounds very interesting! I'm going to have to give them a try. Thinking I might divide the dough and also add all the Golden Milk seasonings (ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, pinch black pepper) to half for comparison.

Emma L. December 9, 2018

Ooh! That sounds like such a delicious comparison—if you try, please let me know how it goes.

Jenny December 5, 2018

I made these exactly as written and they were great! Soft in the middle and just slightly crisp at the edges. The turmeric is indeed very subtle, but I like the mystery of it. I would never guess it was turmeric if I didn’t know. I think they’d be great as an ice cream sandwich!

Emma L. December 6, 2018

So glad you enjoyed, Jenny! I also think they'd be great as an ice cream sandwich :)

Jennifer K. December 2, 2018

Hey Emma! These are definitely our new house favorite! I've made them several times already.

I wanted to make these for my niece, but she needs gluten free ... can I substitute the AP flour with coconut or almond flour ... ooh, maybe oat four?

Emma L. December 3, 2018

Hi Jennifer! So happy to hear that your family's enjoying the cookies. With respect to adapting the recipe for your niece: I think your best bet would be an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. (I worry that using just one type of gluten-free flour, such as coconut or almond, would be too drastic a swap.) If you give it a try, I'd love to hear how it goes.

Jennifer K. December 4, 2018

Thank you! I'll let you know how it goes.

Jennifer K. December 13, 2018

Okay, so I tried the gluten free version. The only substitute I made was all-purpose gluten free flour blend. The dough was even softer than the original, so keeping it chilled was key. Once the dough warmed up, it was too tacky to handle. Smaller balls were required ... my first pan melted into several large squares. ;-) The cookies came out flatter and little more delicate, but the taste was the same and just as good. Hopefully they will survive transport to my niece.

sqqqrly December 30, 2022

You might try einkorn flour. Not totally gluten free but most that are gluten sensitive can tolerate einkorn. Einkorn is an ancient wheat.

sqqqrly December 30, 2022

If interested, listen to the 'How I built this' podcast about Jovial. Very interesting. Einkorn is unchanged from what it was 20,000 years ago.

Ashley November 17, 2018

I made a double batch of these for an early Thanksgiving treat. They are wonderful! I used a gluten free flour blend of sorghum, cornstarch, and tapioca, so I'm not if that influenced the fact that they spread A LOT. They're super thin and huge, but still chewy at the centers, with a crisp crust and edge. I added extra turmeric to the batter, and they're a delightful golden yellow, with an earthy, sweet flavor. So far it has just been myself and my mom who tried them, but we have been picking away at them all evening. These will become a regular in the cookie rotation.

Kat S. November 8, 2018

This recipe inspired a whole slew of suger cookies with unexpected flavors. We made a batch and split it into sections and mixed different spices into each. Paprika was a particularly fun one.

Emma L. November 8, 2018

Whoa! What were some of the others?!

Erin H. October 29, 2018

These cookies definitely did not disappoint! I found the turmeric to be subtle, but it adds such great, unexpected note to the flavor. The texture was a perfect balance with the crunchy edges and soft middle. Mine didn’t crack, so I just pulled them when the edges started browning (10 minutes.)

The only thing I would do differently next time is lessen the sugar, as they are a tad too sweet for my preference. Otherwise, I love everything about this cookie!

Emma L. October 29, 2018

Thanks, Erin!

Lisa October 27, 2018

These are definitely different, but good for the adventurous one. I substituted half the butter for tahini and used all rice flour. The texture was great, chewy edges and soft-ish in the middle (I like it that way.) I can definitely taste the turmeric. I may make them again and decrease the turmeric slightly and add ground ginger.

Emma L. October 28, 2018

Thanks for reporting back on these adaptations, Lisa! Love the idea of adding ground ginger.

Michelle C. October 23, 2018

My last six are in the oven now. The aroma is delightful & the flavor equally so. I haven't experienced much tumeric but LOVE these (grownup) sugar cookies. I had to bake mine for 13 minutes & the results are crispy edges & chewy center. Yum. I also drop each blob directly into the shallow bowl of sugar crust. Then with finger tips, I sprinkle the mixture onto the blob then gently toss between both hands to form a ball. Note, I did end up with yellow finger tips. LOL. Thank you FOOD52 for this recipe that I'll be using for Christmas!

Emma L. October 28, 2018

Thanks, Michelle! Means a lot to me that you'll repeat them for the holiday :)

Michelle C. December 21, 2019

Season's Greetings Emma, I meant to reply last year...where did the time go? These yummy turmeric sugar cookies have become a must bake for the holidays! I add red & green sugar to the sugar crust mixture so my cookies are festively dressed! Thanks so much for this recipe. Enjoy the holidays.

Emma L. January 6, 2020

"Where did the time go?" I wonder this a lot! So glad you're enjoying the recipe.

Jennifer U. October 7, 2018

Great recipe! The Turmeric is not overwhelming and the color is nice. Outsides are crispy and inside is chewy just as the recipe promised. It's a keeper!

Emma L. October 7, 2018

Yay! Thanks so much, Jennifer.

Ayesha October 1, 2018

I just made these, and they're great! I have a few notes that may be helpful to others (like me) who are not professional bakers:
1. The dough was very wet for us, and we had to keep them in the freezer for about 30 minutes or so, otherwise our hands would be covered in very wet dough and no smooth ball would actually be formed. 10 minutes in the freezer wasn't enough. The dough being wet could be due to a variety of reasons: ambient temperature, humidity, our ingredients, etc but I'm only sharing so that if anyone else goes through the same thing all they need to do is chill it for longer (and don't add more flour).
2. Another comment recommended adding more turmeric. I think it depends on what you want. These were more on the subtle side, but I think the impact of turmeric goes beyond its spicy flavor- the turmeric adds warmth, a brightness, and in a way (a good way) sorts of cuts through the sweetness. We're Indian and we cook with turmeric a lot- I thought the amount of turmeric was just fine but my mom did think we should have added more. And I do want to make these again but with more turmeric! I think it's a matter of preference.
3. I was hesitant to make these because I was baking for kids and thought this recipe would be a bit too "grown up" for them, but they all loved it! I would definitely recommend this recipe to people who are hesitant to make something out of their comfort zone.

Emma L. October 1, 2018

Hi Ayesha! So glad you and your family loved the cookies—and thanks so much for sharing this great feedback. Such a useful note about chilling vs. adding more flour...that's what I always say about pie dough, too!

Turmeric Sugar Cookies Recipe on Food52 (2024)


Can you use turmeric in baking? ›

Turmeric can also totally be used in baking and sweet treats. I don't personally have that many turmeric inspired dessert recipes on the blog, but I've seen everything from turmeric granola, golden muffins, healthy cookies and more! Dessert recipes that use turmeric: Golden Milk Energy Balls.

How to spice up sugar cookies? ›

Almond Extract: For a twist on the traditional sugar cookie flavor, try adding a small amount of almond extract. Start with 1/2 teaspoon and adjust according to your preference. Citrus Zest: Incorporate the zest of citrus fruits like lemon, orange, or lime into the dough. The zest adds a bright and refreshing flavor.

How to make Pillsbury cookies even better? ›

  1. Add spice to your dough. ...
  2. Punch up the flavor of your cookies by adding extracts. ...
  3. Before baking, roll the dough in a garnish of your choice. ...
  4. Stir nuts right into the dough for an added crunch. ...
  5. Add in your favorite savory snacks, like chips or pretzels. ...
  6. Top your cookies with flaked sea salt.
Aug 3, 2020

How to make Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix better? ›

Easy Add-In: After creating the dough according to the sugar cookie mix instructions, Add 2 tablespoons of sour cream to create a tangier, cakier and all-around more flavorful cookie. Flavor Twist: For a punchier twist, swap the water in the sugar cookie mix instructions for rum, bourbon or coffee liqueur.

Who should not take turmeric? ›

People who should not take turmeric include those with gallbladder problems, bleeding disorders, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), infertility, iron deficiency, liver disease, hormone-sensitive conditions, and arrhythmia. Pregnant women and those who are going to undergo surgery should not use turmeric.

What does turmeric do in baking? ›

In the culinary and baking industry, Turmeric works as a strong coloring agent with a little going a long way.

Do you sprinkle sugar cookies before or after baking? ›

Using a variety of candy sprinkles and colored sugars, pour one type each into muffin pan cups. Dip cookie dough rounds in sprinkles or sugar before baking.

What happens if you add too much sugar to sugar cookies? ›

Sugar sweetens the cookies and makes them an enticing golden brown. Adding too little sugar can affect the taste and texture of cookies. Adding too much can cause them to be brittle.

How do you keep sugar cookies crisp? ›

Summer, though welcomed for the sun and fun, also brings humidity that makes your cookies limp -- not so fun. Keep those cookies crisp by storing them in an airtight container. Some people toss a piece of bread in with the cookies to help absorb any excess moisture.

Should I use parchment paper for Pillsbury cookies? ›

Using parchment paper for baking cookies will enable them to bake more evenly, and the non-stick quality will also help prevent them from cracking or breaking when lifting them off the sheet.

Which cookies are better Toll House or Pillsbury? ›

The Nestle Toll House cookies stayed chewier for longer while I found that the Pillsbury cookies hardened and got crunchy throughout more quickly. If you prefer a crunchier cookie that's got some texture on the surface and chocolate chips that are still intact, I think the Pillsbury ready-to-bake dough is for you.

Can I roll out Pillsbury sugar cookie dough? ›

Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon flour onto work surface; coat all sides of dough with flour. With rolling pin, roll out dough 1/4 inch thick, adding additional flour as needed to prevent sticking.

What foods taste best with turmeric? ›

Our pure turmeric in ground form is a lively partner for infusing curries, soups, stews, rubs, marinades and vegetable and rice dishes with beautiful color and citrusy aroma.

Can we use turmeric instead of food color? ›

As a food dye, it does not disappoint. You can use turmeric straight, simply stirring the powdered form into things. If you want to make a more traditional dye, dissolve 1 teaspoon turmeric in 1/2 cup water, bring to a boil, and reduce by half. Use a little to make things yellow, and more to turn things orange.

Does heat destroy turmeric powder? ›

Turmeric, with curcuminoids as the main bioactive components, is a popular food additive and condiment. However, curcuminoids readily degrade when heated, and cooking like boiling and roasting will result in the degradation of curcuminoids to a great extent (5–7, 16).

How do you add turmeric to a recipe? ›

To enhance the flavor of ground turmeric, warm it in a skillet on medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes before adding it to a recipe, but be careful as the bittersweet taste will turn bitter if scorched. Add turmeric to egg salad to give extra yellow color and use turmeric in lentil recipes for flavor.


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