Here’s our favorite Pumpkin Cookie recipe for soft pumpkin cookies with crunchy sugar and sweet cream cheese buttercream frosting to top!
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 soft, spice cookies with just a hint of crunchy sugar and the creamy frosting on top that is irresistible!
In This Post: Everything You Need To Make Our Pumpkin Cookie Recipe
- Pumpkin Cookie Recipe Ingredients
- How To Make Pumpkin Spice Cookies
- Recipe Variations
- How To Decorate Pumpkin Cookies
- Frequently Asked Questions About This Pumpkin Cookies Recipe
Pumpkin Cookie Recipe Ingredients
This pumpkin cookie 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.
- Butter and Shortening: I like using a combination of butter and shortening in this pumpkin cookie recipe. 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.
- Sugars: 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 adds fat and moisture to these cookies as well as provides 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.
- Pumpkin Spice: These pumpkin spice cookies have the perfect blend of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves in them! You can substitute three teaspoons of pumpkin spice for these spices if you prefer.
- Coarse Sugar: The coarse sugar is used to flatten the cookies a bit. It also 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 Spice Cookies
Making our pumpkin cookie recipe is similar to making traditional sugar cookies. Make the cookie dough, scoop the cookie dough balls, and flatten them with a sugar-coated glass.
- 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.
After baking the cookies, allow them to cool and set them 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 this pumpkin cookie recipe, here are a few suggestions:
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies: Spread the cream cheese buttercream frosting between two of the cookies to make pumpkin whoopie pies.
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies: 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 its 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 thinner than the buttercream, and does not hold its 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!
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.
No, you do not need to refrigerate the dough before baking.
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.
Pumpkin Cookie Recipe
- ½ cup butter softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup shortening
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 tablespoon coarse sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Cream the butter, shortening, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.
- Add the egg and vanilla. Beat well.
- Stir in the pumpkin puree until combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, baking powder, salt, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves. Add to the wet ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Scoop dough with a two-tablespoon dough scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
- Moisten the flat bottom of a glass, dip it in the coarse sugar, and use it to flatten the cookies slightly. Re-dip the glass in the sugar before flattening each cookie. (This step is optional but if you choose to skip it your cookies will be taller.)
- Bake at 350˚F for 8-10 minutes.
- Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cool you can frost the cookies with cream cheese buttercream, drizzle with powdered sugar glaze, or dust them with powdered sugar, if desired.
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