Soft, frosted pumpkin cookies with warm fall spices will be your favorite treat this season! Making cookies with pumpkin is a fall tradition for many, and if it isn’t for you yet, it’s about to be.
Pumpkin cookies are just so delicious – why do we only make them in the fall? I think it’s because fall is the season of jack-o-lanterns, cozy sweaters, and getting together with family and friends. These pumpkin cookies just remind me of all of those things. The fall experience and pumpkin baking are simply fused together in my brain!
While you can absolutely make these cookies any time of the year, I highly recommend that you try them in autumn, with a hot cup of coffee and a friend. It’s fun to have recipes like this one to look forward to when the weather starts to get cold.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Half Can of Pumpkin Recipe. This is an excellent way to use up a leftover bit of pumpkin puree from the Pumpkin Muffins or Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls you made for breakfast this weekend. Until they start making smaller cans of pumpkin, I will embrace needing to make two different treats from one can!
- Kids Love These. Pumpkin cookies are a great way to get your kiddos to eat some vegetables, or just a great way to share your love of fall baking with them. Take pumpkin cookies to halloween parties or play dates this season.
- Easy Pumpkin Cookies. The dough comes together quickly with a hand mixer, and the ingredients are common, easy to find ones.
- Amazing Frosting. I just love a good cream cheese frosting! This one is just sweet enough with the slight tang you’d expect from a cream cheese frosting. You are going to love it, and might put it on everything from now on.
Ingredients Used to Make Soft Pumpkin Cookies
For the pumpkin cookies
- Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Salt: This combination of dry ingredients is common to most soft, cakey cookies. Sift these through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps or clumps.
- Pumpkin Spice: Find this in a jar at your grocery store, or make your own pumpkin spice blend. This combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves is what really makes pumpkin into a dessert superstar.
- Butter: I usually suggest unsalted butter for baking recipes. If you use salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe by half.
- White and Brown Sugar: Each of these types of sugar provides sweetness, but has their own benefits when it comes to the texture of the cookies. Brown sugar also has a deep, rich flavor that is really nice here.
- Egg: One egg binds the rest of the ingredients together.
- Pumpkin Puree: You’ll need ½ of a cup of this magical substance, or ½ of a standard can. See this recipe if you want to make your pumpkin puree from scratch.
For the cream cheese frosting
- This simple, yet amazing frosting needs just four ingredients: Cream cheese, unsalted butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make Frosted Pumpkin Cookies
- Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C, and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat silicone mat.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice.
- Cream: In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until combined and creamy.
- Add Ingredients: Add egg and vanilla and beat again with the mixer until well combined. Then add pumpkin puree and beat again.
- Finish Mixing Dough: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined.
- Drop: Using a large spoon or a cookie scoop, drop two tablespoons of dough per cookie onto a lined baking sheet, leaving room for cookies to spread.
- Bake: Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until cookies have set.
- Cool: Carefully transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting for Pumpkin Cookies
- Make cream cheese frosting: In a bowl, using a hand mixer, whip cream cheese with butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar (to avoid getting a sugar storm) and vanilla. Whip until smooth.
- Frost each cookie with the help of an off-set spatula, a butter knife, or a spoon. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon for a pretty presentation.
Store frosted pumpkin cookies in a single layer to avoid them sticking together. The frosting will crust slightly, but won’t be solid enough for stacking.
Tips for Making These Cookies
- Let Ingredients Come to Room Temperature. For the frosting, the butter and cream cheese must be at room temperature in order to cream together smoothly. The same goes for the butter in the cookie dough. Set out your egg when you set out the other ingredients. A room temperature egg incorporates better than a cold one.
- Mix the Flour In Slowly. To avoid making a floury mess, add half of the flour mixture in at a time, and mix on low.
- Be Patient! The cookies must be cooled completely before adding the cream cheese frosting. If you don’t wait, the frosting will just melt right off.
- Save The Extra Puree. Many recipes use a ½ can of pumpkin puree. See above for some examples. You will certainly be able to use it. If you don’t need it right away, freeze it in a baggie or container until you do.
Variations for Pumpkin Cookies
You can add things to these cookies to make them even better! Try adding ½-¾ cup of any of the following:
- Semi-sweet or white chocolate chips or chunks
- Chopped nuts such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds
- Raisins or dried cranberries.
Frosted cookies can be stored in the refrigerator in a single layer for up to 7 days.
These cookies freeze very well, and will stay fresh in the freezer for up to three months if stored properly.
The easiest way to freeze them is to freeze before frosting. Allow your cookies to cool, then return them to a sheet pan in a single layer. Place the pan in the freezer and let the cookies freeze for an hour, or until solid. Then you can place the frozen cookies in plastic zip top bags and return to the freezer.
To serve, remove the number of cookies that you want from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature. Frost as desired after cookies are completely thawed.
You can also freeze frosted pumpkin cookies in this same way, however, each frozen frosted cookie should be wrapped individually so the cookies don’t stick together.
I include measurements in the recipe for using single spices instead of pumpkin spice blend. In this recipe, you would add 2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¾ teaspoon ground ginger, and ½ teaspoon ground cloves.
In a pinch, this recipe would still be good if you only had cinnamon on hand.
It’s supposed to be! Pumpkin puree adds a lot of moisture to the cookie dough, so don’t worry if it seems wetter than other styles of cookies. It will bake up just perfectly.
I’ve finally found my favorite soft pumpkin cookie recipe, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (110 grams) light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup (225 grams) canned pumpkin puree ½ a can, 8oz
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 4 oz (110g) cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
- In a bowl, combine dry ingredients (first 5 ingredients).
- In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer beat together the butter and sugars until combined and creamy.
- Add egg and vanilla, and beat again.
- Add the pumpkin puree, and beat until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and beat on low speed until just combined.
- Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie onto a lined cookie sheet (I use Silpat silicone mats), or use a small cookie scoop.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the cookies have set.
- Cool on a cooling rack and frost with cream cheese frosting.
To make the cream cheese frosting:
- In a bowl, using a hand mixer, whip cream cheese with butter until smooth and creamy.
- Gradually add the sugar (to avoid getting a sugar storm), and vanilla. Whip until smooth.
- If the dough is too sticky to work with, pop in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
- Since these cookies are frosted, store them in a single layer.
- If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice , you can use 2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¾ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen