These soft pumpkin cookies bake up light and fluffy, and are topped with a decadent cream cheese frosting and colorful sprinkles. The perfect easy dessert for Thanksgiving or any other fall gathering.
When pumpkin season comes around every year, I spend plenty of time in my kitchen baking up treats such as pumpkin chocolate chip bread, pumpkin cheesecake and these amazingly delicious pumpkin cookies. You can’t eat just one!
I can never resist a good pumpkin cookie, especially when it has a pile of frosting on top. These cookies are quick to make, and always get rave reviews from family and friends.
How do you make pumpkin cookies?
This recipe starts with your typical cookie ingredients of flour, sugar and eggs. The dough also includes pumpkin puree, oil for moisture, and plenty of pumpkin spice. Everything gets stirred together, then the dough is chilled until it’s firm enough to scoop. Place your balls of dough on a sheet pan, then bake until golden brown. Once the cookies are cooled, it’s time to add the frosting. Add a handful of sprinkles, then serve and enjoy!
Tips for the perfect pumpkin cookies
- It is best to use canned or homemade pumpkin puree; do not use canned pumpkin pie filling.
- If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice at home, you can easily make your own for this recipe. Combine 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon each of ground cloves and ground nutmeg. Stir all of these spices into your dough and you’ll be ready to go.
- Use a cookie scoop or measuring spoon to get evenly sized cookies.
- Make sure to place the sprinkles on the cookies before the frosting has time to harden.
- The baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If you’re planning to freeze your cookies, I recommend freezing them without the frosting, then adding the frosting after the cookies have thawed.
- You can freeze leftover pumpkin puree for later use.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PUMPKIN PUREE AND PUMPKIN PIE FILLING?
Pumpkin puree is just pure pumpkin turned into a puree with no added ingredients. This means it’s all natural and there’s no flavoring added–it’s just plain pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling contains sugar, spices and other ingredients, and cannot be readily substituted for pumpkin puree in recipes.
Pumpkin cookie variations
I love this recipe as-is, but you can add other ingredients into the mix to customize the cookies to your tastes.
- Chocolate: Add 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips to the batter. Decorate the tops of the cookies with miniature chocolate chips instead of fall sprinkles.
- Oatmeal: Add 1/3 cup of old fashioned oats to the batter for added flavor and texture.
- Raisins: Add 2/3 cup raisins to the dough, then proceed as directed with the rest of the recipe.
- Low Fat: Substitute half of the oil with applesauce. The texture on low fat cookies will not be quite the same as if you use just oil.
- Coconut: Use melted coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and add 1/3 cup finely shredded coconut to the batter.
Once you taste these cookies, you’ll find yourself making them all season long!
More delicious pumpkin treats
- No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Pumpkin Dump Cake
- Easy Pumpkin Dip
- Pumpkin Bars
Pumpkin Cookies Video
For the cookies
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
For the frosting
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup fall sprinkles
For the cookies
- Place the pumpkin puree, oil, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Mix until well combined.
- Add the baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, salt and all purpose flour to the bowl. Stir until just combined.
- Cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least one hour, or up to 8 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
- Place 2 tablespoons of batter onto the baking sheet at a time, keeping the cookies 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops are set and edges are light golden brown.
- Let sit 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Let the cookies cool completely.
For the frosting
- Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and mix until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time and mix on low speed until combined. Add the vanilla extract and mix for 30 seconds.
- If the frosting is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Spread the frosting over the cookies, then add the sprinkles on top.
- Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.