Soft Pumpkin Cookies are full of warm spices and are topped with smooth cream cheese buttercream. Perfect for fall celebrations and holidays!
I made a batch of these pumpkin cookies to share with some friends recently and everyone raved about them! No one could stop at just one cookie. It’s the combination of the soft, spicy cookies with just a hint of crunchy sugar and the creamy frosting on top that is irresistible!
Pumpkin Cookies Ingredients
This pumpkin cookies recipe is a happy medium between pumpkin muffins and sugar cookies. They’ve got all of the basic cookie ingredients plus pumpkin puree, spices, and coarse sugar for the top. Scroll down for the complete recipe with ingredient measurements.
- Butter and Shortening: I like using a combination of butter and shortening in my cookie recipes. Shortening helps the cookies rise more and gives them a light texture while preventing the cookies from spreading too much. On the other hand, butter brings flavor and helps make the cookies crispy.
- Granulated Sugar and Brown Sugar: Using some brown sugar in addition to the granulated sugar when making these pumpkin cookies adds a little extra flavor and color. If you prefer, you can choose to use only granulated sugar.
- Egg: The egg add fat and moisture to these cookies as well as providing structure and leavening.
- Vanilla Extract: You only need to add a little vanilla extract to make a big difference in your baked goods. Make sure to use pure vanilla extract for the best results.
- Pumpkin Puree: Look for cans of 100% pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. The extra pumpkin puree can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to use for another recipe. Try making a pumpkin smoothie or pumpkin spice latte!
- Flour: I used all purpose flour to make these soft pumpkin cookies. Flour provides the structure in the cookies and gives them shape and texture.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: These are the main leaveners in this cookie recipe and help with the texture.
- Spices: These pumpkin cookies have the perfect blend of ground cinnamon, salt, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves in them!
- Coarse Sugar: The coarse sugar is used to flatted the cookies a bit. It aslo gives the tops a little extra sweetness and crunch. You can use any coarse sugar such as turbinado sugar or sanding sugar.
How To Make Pumpkin Cookies From Scratch
Making pumpkin cookies is similar to making traditional sugar cookies. Make the cookie dough, scoop the cookie dough balls, and flatten them with a sugar-coated glass. Scroll down for the printable recipe card and complete instructions.
- Cream the Fats and Sugars: Creaming the butter and shortening with the granulated sugar and brown sugar means that you are beating them together at a medium-high speed to form a well-combined creamy mixture that is light in color and fluffy in texture.
- Beat in the Egg and Vanilla: Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating until combined.
- Add the Pumpkin Puree: For the rest of the ingredients, you’ll want to use a low speed to stir the ingredients in rather than beat them into the mixture. Add the pumpkin puree and stir until it is combined.
- Stir in the Dry Ingredients: Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a separate bowl before stirring them into the batter for the pumpkin cookies. This will help ensure that the leavening agents and spices are evenly dispersed throughout the batter.
- Scoop the Dough Onto Baking Sheets: I prefer using a cookie dough scoop to form the cookie dough balls because it gives you even amounts of dough each time. This will help the cookies finish baking at the same time.
- Flatten with a Glass: Coat the bottom of a glass with coarse sugar and use it to flatten the cookies slightly. Add more sugar to the glass for each cookie. You can skip this step if you don’t want a little crunch on top of the pumpkin cookies but keep in mind that your cookies will be taller or “puffier”.
What else can I add to these cookies?
After baking the cookies allow them to cool and set on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes. Then, transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. The sparkling sugar on top of the cookies looks so pretty and they can be left as they are if you want to keep it simple. If you want to add to the cookies, here are a few suggestions:
- Baking Chips: Stir one to two cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or white chocolate chips into the cookie dough.
- Nuts: Chopped walnuts or pecans would be delicious in these cookies as well.
- Cranberries: Add a cup of dried cranberries to the cookie dough for a pop of color and flavor.
- Frosting: See the section below for suggestions on how to frost pumpkin cookies.
How To Decorate Pumpkin Cookies
There are several ways you can decorate pumpkin cookies. They are good just as they are but they are even more delicious with frosting on top!
- Cream Cheese Buttercream: I used cream cheese buttercream on the cookies in these photos. It is thick, creamy, and holds it’s shape making it pipeable. You can find my cream cheese buttercream recipe here.
- Cream Cheese Frosting: You can also use my cream cheese frosting recipe. It has more cream cheese in it and is a little more loose than the buttercream and does not hold it’s shape as well.
- Traditional Buttercream: Another option is to use traditional buttercream frosting and tint it orange with food coloring. Tint a little of the frosting green and add a stem on top to make them look like little pumpkins.
- Powdered Sugar Glaze: For a fast decorating option, whip up some three-ingredient powdered sugar glaze and drizzle it over the cookies!
Pumpkin Cookies Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can freeze pumpkin cookies. Store them in an airtight container in the freezer with parchment paper between the layers to prevent them from sticking together. Since these pumpkin cookies have a light texture, they thaw quickly!
Pumpkin cookies are like a combination of pumpkin muffins and sugar cookies. They are light in texture like a muffin but have the shape of a sugar cookie with a little crunch on top.
Although pumpkin cookies do contain pumpkin puree, they are considered a dessert and can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
Want more pumpkin recipes? Try these next:
These moist Pumpkin Muffins are full of delicious spices and chocolate chips. Better make a double batch because they won’t last long!
This Pumpkin Bars recipe is the ultimate autumn dessert for sharing. It is easy to make and tastes even BETTER than pumpkin pie!
This Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse recipe is a delicious, creamy dessert that is so fun to serve from mini pumpkins! It’s perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.
Get cozy this fall with homemade Pumpkin Scones topped with white chocolate and steaming mugs of coffee or tea to drink.