Rolled in sweet cinnamon sugar to give the outside a slight but satisfying crunch, these soft and pillowy Pumpkin Cookies make the perfect fall dessert. The warm autumn spices mixed into the batter will keep you feeling toasty warm on even the chilliest fall evenings.
These thick cookies have a tender, cake-like softness that’s so nice to sink your teeth into. The crumb is moist and flavorful, with a perfect blend of fall spices. A light crust of cinnamon sugar along the outside makes them truly irresistible.
The beauty of these cookies is in their simplicity. There’s no frosting or other elements to distract from the warm, complex flavors of the pumpkin spice. With vitamins and minerals from real pumpkin puree in the batter, you can probably even get away with sneaking some for breakfast.
These cookies are soft and fluffy, almost cake like. If you are looking for a chewier cookie, check out my Pumpkin Snickerdoodles.
What You’ll Need
These cookies are packed with real pumpkin and warm fall spices. Scroll down to the recipe card to find the exact amounts for everything.
- Butter: Bring it to room temperature before using it.
- Brown Sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Egg: You’ll be using both a whole egg and egg yolks.
- Pumpkin Puree: Don’t swap this out with pumpkin pie filling, which has a different consistency.
- Maple Syrup: A darker grade of pure maple syrup works best.
- Vanilla Extract
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder: Yes, you’ll need both!
- Ground Cloves
Can I Use Homemade Pumpkin Puree?
The main concern with homemade pumpkin puree is the amount of liquid in it. If you want to use fresh pumpkin, it totally works, but you have to dry it out really well. You can do this by lining a mesh strainer with paper towels and literally pressing the liquid out of your puree. You’ll know it’s dry enough when you can press a paper towel to the pumpkin and no more liquid absorbs into it.
From preheating to plating, these cookies are ready to go in 30 minutes or less. It’ll be hard to resist eating them right off the cooling rack!
Prep Your Materials: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray it with baking spray. Set the tray aside.
Start the Dough: Combine the room temperature butter, the brown sugar, 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the mixture at medium-high speed until it smooths out.
Add the Wet Ingredients: Crack the eggs into the bowl of the mixer and mix until everything is just combined. Next, mix in the pumpkin, maple syrup and vanilla until they’re fully incorporated.
Add the Dry Ingredients: Combine the flour, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves and baking powder in a separate large mixing bowl. Add this mixture to the stand mixer and mix everything until it’s just combined.
Roll On the Topping: Combine 1 cup of sugar with 3 and 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a separate small mixing bowl. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll it into a ball, then coat it in the cinnamon sugar. Repeat this step with the remaining dough.
Bake: Place 6 of the cookie dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Pop the tray into the preheated oven on the center rack and bake the cookies for 12 minutes, or until the edges just start to set.
Let Cool: Remove the baked cookies from the oven and let them sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes so they can firm up, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack and let them cool completely.
Repeat and Serve: Repeat the baking process with the remaining cookie dough. Once the cookies have cooled, serve or store them.
Tips for Success
Pumpkin cookies are a quick and simple treat. Here are a few things to keep in mind so that they come out fluffy and flavorful every time.
- Don’t Over-Mix: Be careful not to over-mix the dough once you’ve added in the flour mixture. Over-mixed cookies can come out dry and crumbly.
- Spread Them Out: Part of the reason these cookies are so soft is because they expand quite a bit as they bake. Make sure not to crowd your cookies on the baking sheet, or they might run into each other.
- Use Baking Mats Instead: Silicone baking mats make a great alternative to parchment paper. These are usually non-stick, so if you decide to go with them, they can actually eliminate the need to use baking spray!
One of the great things about simple cookies like these is that they’re so easy to jazz up. Try one of these ways to add a little of your own personal flair.
- Mix in Some Chocolate Chips: Pumpkin and chocolate go incredibly well together. Throw some semisweet chocolate chips into the batter for a whole new layer of rich, melty goodness.
- Top With Toasted Nuts: Nuts also complement the flavor of pumpkin really well. Lightly press some chopped walnuts, pecans or sliced almonds into the top of your cookies for a light, toasty flavor. You can also do this with pumpkin seeds to double the pumpkin fun.
- Add a Frosting: Instead of the cinnamon sugar topping, try whipping up a quick cinnamon icing to go on these pumpkin cookies. You can go with rich buttercream, tangy cream cheese frosting, or light royal icing.
These pumpkin cookies are best when you keep them at room temperature. Seal them up tightly in an airtight container or a ziplock bag for up to 5 days. You may want to keep a piece of bread in there with them so they don’t dry out. If you want to, you can also give them a quick zap for 5 seconds or so in the microwave to warm them up.
Can I Freeze These?
Absolutely! You can freeze these pumpkin treats in both dough and cookie form. Just seal them tightly in a ziplock bag. The cookie dough or dough balls will freeze for up to 3 months, while baked cookies will taste best if you thaw and eat them within a few weeks. If you freeze balls of dough, you can bake them right from the freezer. Just put them in the oven for 14 or 15 minutes instead of 12.
For the Cookies
- ⅔ cup butter, room temperature
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 large egg + 2 yolks
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree, not pie filling
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with baking spray. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, brown sugar, sugar and shortening. Beat on a medium-high speed until smooth.
- Add eggs and mix until just combined. Add pumpkin, maple syrup and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer and mix until just combined.
- In a separate small mixing bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball, then roll it in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Place 6 cookie dough balls into the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1” apart. Place into the preheated oven on the center rack and bake for 12 minutes, until the edges just start to set.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and let them sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to allow them to firm up, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to let cool completely. Repeat the baking process with the remaining cookie dough.
- To Store: Seal tightly in an airtight container or a ziplock bag at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze: Freeze dough or cookies in a ziplock bag. The dough or dough balls freeze up to 3 months. Baked cookies are best within 2-3 weeks. Dough balls can be baked from frozen. Bake for 14 or 15 minutes instead of 12.
More Crave-Worthy Cookie Recipes
- Iced Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
- Sweet Potato Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling
- Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies
- Best Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
- White Chocolate Dipped Gingersnap Cookies
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