Pumpkin cookies are one of my favorite ways to enjoy baking in the fall, and these are the best of the bunch. I experimented with this recipe for more than a month, and I really love the result. I hope you will too!
These cookies are soft, chewy and full of pumpkin spice goodness. To take them over the top, we're adding some cream cheese icing that is just so so delicious.
Pumpkin cookies are one of the best fall comfort foods. Sweet, spicy and full of pumpkin flavor, they're the best on rainy Saturday morning.
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Why You're going to Love this Recipe
- It's quick and easy. No mix master required (although you can definitely use it if you have one). The dough comes together in 10 minutes, and there's another 10 minutes of bake time, and you're done!
- It uses canned pumpkin - seriously, no reason to make your own. At all. Ever.
- There's no chilling required! I HATE waiting for cookie dough to chill.
- It's the perfect combination of sweet, spicy, and tangy thanks to the cream cheese frosting.
- They're so cozy! Have one with a cup of coffee, a warm blanket, and a good book.
- The texture is soft and chewy. This was one of the trickiest things to get right with these cookies. They kept coming out super cakey, which wasn't what I was going for. In the end, I reduced the flour, baking soda, and pumpkin to get the right combination!
- You don't have to dry out the pumpkin with paper towel. Instead of doing that, we've reduced the amount of pumpkin in the dough, and upped the amount of flour. This ensure that the dough isn't too wet, which is normally how you end up with cakey cookies.
For the Cookies
Butter: We're going to melt it, but make sure it comes back up to room temperature before we add it to the mix.
Dark brown sugar: I find it has better flavor for this recipe, but you can also use light brown if it's what you have on hand. We're using almost entirely brown sugar here to keep that chewy texture in the cookies.
Granulated sugar: for more flavor.
Vanilla: if you want, you can swap this for maple extract - it's totally delicious in this recipe.
Pumpkin: use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling! This is important, the pie filling has all kinds of other ingredients not accounted for in this recipe.
Flour: key for the structure.
Pumpkin pie spice: for the coziest flavors!
Baking soda: for just a little bit of rise in these cookies.
Salt: salt helps bring out the flavor of everything else! Don't skip it, it's important!
For the Icing
Cream cheese: the main flavor for the icing. Make sure it's room temperature!
Butter: for a bit of shine and texture.
Powdered sugar: for the flavor and the structure of the icing.
Milk: for the right consistency.
Cinnamon: for more cozy flavors.
How to Make Pumpkin Cookies
Let's go through this step by step!
First up, melt your butter. The state/temperature your butter is in makes a big difference in the end result of the texture of the cookie, so don't skip this step. I just do this in the microwave. Let it cool off to room temperature before you add it to the mix (you can pop this in the fridge to make it happen faster, just make sure it doesn't solidify!).
Add your butter to a large bowl or a stand mixer. Add both the sugars, and then mix until they're well combined.
Add the pumpkin and the vanilla. Mix those until well combined.
Next up, add the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Stir together gently until the dough is just combined. This is the part where you do NOT want to overmix, otherwise you're going to have tough cookies. The dough should be fairly stiff, so you can roll it in your hands.
Mix up your additional sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. This is what we're going to roll the cookies in.
Using a 1" cookie scoop, scoop out the dough one cookie at a time. Roll in your hands until a smooth ball has formed. Roll in the sugar mix, and place on a prepared baking sheet.
Bake the cookies at 350 F for 8-10 minutes (9 minutes was perfect for me).
Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, before moving them to a cooling rack.
Make the Icing
This part is pretty easy. Combine the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, cream together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar just a bit at a time, so it doesn't explode all over your kitchen.
Next, add the milk a tablespoonful at a time. Add the vanilla here too.
You may need to adjust the amount of milk you use, add it a little at a time if needed until you reach the desired consistency. Add the cinnamon and mix until smooth.
Once the cookies have cooled completely, place the icing in a sandwich bag, and cut of the tip. Drizzle over all the cookies.
Storage & Freezing
You can keep these guys in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
You can definitely freeze them before or after baking - I would just wait until you were ready to serve them before you add the cream cheese icing. To freeze before baking, roll into balls, and freeze on a baking sheet. Once they're frozen, pop them into a freezer bag or air-tight container, and you're good to go.
If they're already baked, then just freeze in an air-tight container or freezer bag.
If you're baking them straight from frozen, add 1-2 minutes on to their bake time.
More Awesome Fall Recipes
Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Cookies
- ¾ C butter melted and cooled
- ½ C granulated sugar
- 1¼ C dark brown sugar light brown is also fine
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ C pumpkin puree
- 2 C flour
- 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon granulated sugar for rolling
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice for rolling
For the Frosting
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ C butter room temperature
- 1 C powdered sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoon milk
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
For the Cookies
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Combine the melted butter and sugars together in a large bowl or stand mixer. Mix until well combined.
- Add the pumpkin and vanilla, mix until combined.
- Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt, stir until just mixed.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining granulated sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Using a 1" cookie scoop, scoop dough, roll into a smooth circle, and then roll in sugar mixture. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat as needed.
- Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes.
- Cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, before removing to a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely before adding the frosting.
For the Frosting
- Add cream cheese and butter to a large bowl. Beat together with a hand mixer. Next, gradually add the powdered sugar and mix. Add the vanilla. Add the milk, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Add the cinnamon and beat until smooth.
- Using a piping bag or just a frezzer bag with a hole cut in the tip, drizzle the icing over the cookies.