Soft pumpkin cookie dough is stuffed with a creamy cheesecake filling and rolled in sweet, spiced sugar to create these decadent pumpkin cheesecake cookies. They taste just like pumpkin cheesecake but in a handheld cookie form!
Anyone would give these cookies a gold star for their crispy edges and soft, creamy interior.
- Fall-flavored: Pumpkin spice makes everything nice, right? This recipe uses it in the dough and in the spiced sugar that we roll the cookie dough in before baking. Let’s not forget the pumpkin puree too!
- Easy: Aside from the cheesecake filling needing to be frozen, these pumpkin cheesecake cookies are super quick and easy to make. You don’t even have to chill the dough!
- Impressive: While they look like regular pumpkin cookies on the outside, everyone will be delightfully surprised to find a hidden cheesecake center!
- Perfect For Gifting: Pack them into cute bags or boxes and give them away for the holidays, these cookies stay soft for days!
- Prep-Friendly: Freeze the cheesecake filling and make the dough a day in advance so all you have to do is shape and bake the next day.
What You’ll Need
The combination of tangy cream cheese and velvety pumpkin is what makes these cookies pure heaven. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.
- Cream Cheese: Use full-fat for the best creamy flavor, or low-fat will work as well.
- Granulated Sugar: You can use light brown sugar for this.
- Vanilla Extract
- All-Purpose Flour
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, I also included an easy recipe for it below in the recipe card.
- Baking Soda
- Unsalted Butter: Feel free to use salted butter, just skip the added salt.
- Light Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar works too, but it will make your cookies slightly darker in color.
- Egg Yolk: Yolks add extra richness and moisture.
- Vanilla Extract
- Pumpkin Puree: You can use homemade pumpkin puree, but I used canned pumpkin.
- Granulated Sugar
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: You can use ground cinnamon instead.
You’ll get a head-start if you make and freeze the cheesecake dollops the night before. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.
- Cream Cheese Filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Scoop 9 dollops of the cheesecake filling, about 2-teaspoons each, onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm.
- Dough: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl and combine the two until a smooth dough comes together.
- Shape: Use a cookie scoop to make 9 cookie dough balls. Flatten each ball of dough and place a frozen cheesecake dollop in the center. Wrap the dough over the filling to enclose it completely.
- Coat: Combine the spiced sugar ingredients in a small bowl. Roll each dough ball in the mixture till well coated. Place the cookies on a baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Bake: Pop them into the oven for 11 to 12 minutes, or until the bottoms and edges turn lightly golden.
- Serve: Remove them from the oven, let them cool completely, and then serve!
Tips for Success
If the filling has ever melted out of your cookies, these tips will help you avoid just that.
- Freeze: You must freeze the cream cheese mixture before stuffing and baking the cookies. If you don’t, it will be almost impossible to wrap the dough around the cheesecake filling. Also, unfrozen filling can melt out of the cookies as they bake.
- Leave Space: Don’t crowd the cookies on a small baking sheet. You will need to leave about 4 inches in between each cookie so they have space to spread out as they bake.
- Let Them Cool: Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 to 20 minutes before removing them. This is very important, otherwise the cheesecake filling will not set properly.
- Room Temperature: Cream cheese needs to be fully softened and at room temperature. If it is still cold, it will make a lumpy cheesecake filling.
- DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, make your own by combining 4 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp allspice.
- Fridge: Refrigerate the cooled cookies in airtight containers or bags for up to 7 days. Don’t leave them at room temperature because the cheesecake filling will spoil.
- Warm: For a freshly-baked feel, microwave the chilled cookies for about 10 seconds. If you prefer them room temperature, leave them out for 5 to 10 minutes before digging in.
- Freeze: Wrap each cooled cookie in plastic wrap. Transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw them on the counter for 30 minutes, or until the filling softens.
- 5 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or cinnamon
- Cheesecake Filling: Prepare a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl beat to combine the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract, until smooth. (You can do this by hand or quicker with a hand mixer.)
- Scoop the cheesecake mixture into 2 teaspoon sized dollops and place on the prepared baking sheet. (about 9 dollops)
- Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until frozen and firm.
- Pumpkin Cookies: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt with a whisk. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat to combine the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree, mixing until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and fold in with a large spoon until completely combined. Use a large (2 oz) cookie scoop to create 9 cookie dough balls.
- Flatten each cookie dough ball, and place the frozen cheesecake filling in the center. Fold the dough over the filling and roll into a smooth ball.
- In a small bowl, combine the spiced sugar ingredients. Roll each cookie dough ball in the cinnamon sugar.
- Transfer to the prepared baking sheets and bake for 11-12 minutes, until edges look set. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
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