Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Massively flavorful and simple brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies with icing on top! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Yes! Yes! YAAAAS! Welcome to the official start of fall on Sally’s Baking Addiction. With the actual actual first day of Fall this week, I figured now’s an appropriate time to open that first can of pumpkin. I can hear the can openers clicking this very second. Music to all our ears!

Though, admittedly, I’ve been working with pumpkin for awhile. Today’s pumpkin cookie recipe has been the bane of my existence this whole month! It’s no easy feat creating a NEW, chewy, exciting, flavorful, chewy, spiced, soft, did I mention chewy? and will my readers actually want to make these? pumpkin cookie. And while “brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies” may not sound revolutionary, they are by far one of the best cookie recipes to come out of my oven.

Totally the Fall 2016 cookie right here. 

Massively flavorful and simple brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies with icing on top! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let’s jump right in it. I have some tips before you make this recipe.

Pumpkin is a strange ingredient when it comes to cookies. It’s fantastic in things like cakes, muffins, and breads because it’s so moist. Moist ingredients = moist baked goods. That’s a good thing! My repeating of the word “moist” may not be. But when it comes to cookies, too much moisture leaves you with a piece of cake in the shape of a cookie. Or worse! Orange cookies spread all over your baking sheet.

But there’s a way we can cheat the system, which brings me to my first tip: squeeze the pumpkin dry. Yup, this one is definitely in the weird zone. But measuring your pumpkin puree and then squeezing moisture out with a paper towel is a trick that WORKS. I understand how weird this is, but make sure you do it:

brown-butter-pumpkin-cookies-3

Look at the difference in this picture though.

Left: blotted the pumpkin. Denser and chewier.

Right: did not blot the pumpkin. Cakey.

brown-butter-pumpkin-cookies-5

So now that we’ve blotted the pumpkin like a bunch of crazies– what’s next?

My second tip: Another way to achieve a soft and chewy not-so-cakey pumpkin cookie is to leave out the egg. This was a total game changer for me back in 2013. Pumpkin acts like an egg in cookies– it’s awesome. Testing today’s pumpkin oatmeal cookie recipe, however, proved that an egg– or at least part of an egg– is necessary though. The cookies were a little dry and crumbly without it, which is likely because of all the oats. So we’ll use just an egg yolk. That little extra fat is perfection.

My next tip: BROWN THAT BUTTER! Brown butter is a massively underused ingredient. It’s a 5 minute process and the result will pack extraordinary flavor into anything it touches. Not just regular flavor. Deep toffee-like, toasty, next level, caramel, nutty flavor that pairs oh-so-perfectly with pumpkin and its spices. I knew brown butter was the path to take when creating a pumpkin cookie for this Fall! Brown butter should always be the answer.

How to brown butter on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Here’s another tip: Make sure that you let the brown butter cool for about 5 minutes after browning it and before using it in the cookie dough. You don’t want the hot butter to cook the egg yolk! During that time you can blot the pumpkin (LOL).

Brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

And another tip: use a cookie scoop. The pumpkin cookie dough is more like a cross between cookie dough and cake batter. Datter? Bough? Whatever. A cookie scoop makes things a little more manageable. Once you scoop each, slightly flatten things out. The cookies don’t spread *too much* but they will spread a little if you flatten it out first. Just like this:

Brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

One last tip: ice the cookies!! This brown butter icing might just be the best part of the entire brown butter pumpkin cookie package. All you do is make sure you brown a little extra butter and reserve 1/4 cup for the icing. Whisk it with a little confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla. Boom! The brown butter icing will “set” on top of the cookie after a couple hours, making these cookies easy to transport wherever you go this Fall.

Brown butter icing for pumpkin oatmeal cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Massively flavorful and simple brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies with icing on top! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

No dough chilling, no mixer required. That finished product? Brown sugared, brown buttered, perfectly pumpkin spiced, chewy edges, soft centers, brown buttery icing, and happy bellies. Excited to finally bring this recipe to you!

More pumpkin cookies:

Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (170g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 1 and 2/3 (208g) cup all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice1
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (228g) pumpkin puree (see note - not pumpkin pie filling and not the whole can)2

Brown Butter Glaze

  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) confectioners' sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Important before you begin! If topping the cookies with the brown butter icing, you can brown the butter for both the cookies AND the icing together. Once it is all browned, set 2 liquid ounces (1/4 volume cup) aside for the glaze. You can use it in step 8. The rest (about 8 liquid ounces) is for the cookies, used in step 5.
  2. Brown the butter: Slice the butter up into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring occasionally. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning-- you'll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma. See photo above for a visual. Once browned, remove from heat immediately and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together in a medium bowl.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  5. Pour the slightly cooled brown butter into a large bowl. Whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined. Whisk in the egg yolk and vanilla extract until combined, then whisk in the pumpkin. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be thick and sticky.
  6. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough into balls (about 2 heaping Tbsp of dough each) and place 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Slightly flatten the balls out-- see picture above-- as the cookies won't spread much unless you help out first!
  7. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until lightly browned and set on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before icing.
  8. Make the icing: Whisk together the 1/4 cup of brown butter you reserved for the icing, along with the remaining icing ingredients until smooth. Dip the top of each cookie into the icing.

Make ahead tip: Iced cookies stay fresh covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 6. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.

Recipe Notes:

Adapted from my favorite pumpkin oatmeal cookies. Aside from the brown butter and the icing, today's cookies are chewier with a little more pumpkin flavor.

Instead of icing (or in addition to!), you can add 1 heaping cup of chocolate chips to the cookie dough. Or 1 cup of chopped nuts, dried cranberries, raisins, white chocolate chips, butterscotch morsels, etc.

  1. Instead of pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice + 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.
  2. Squeeze as much of the moisture out of the pumpkin puree as you can before adding it to the cookie dough. I simply squeeze the puree with paper towels. See photo in the post for a visual. This will help produce a less cakey cookie. Less moisture is a good thing in these cookies!

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Cookie Scoop | Mixing BowlsKitchenaid Stand Mixer | Flex Edge Beater | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Bowl | Silpat Baking Mat

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Massively flavorful and simple brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies with icing on top! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

134 comments

  1. Sally these are just phenomenal! I just made them and they are quite possibly my new favorite cookie. Which is huge because I didn’t think I’d ever make anything that compares with your amazing chocolate chip cookies. I finally ordered your cookbook, the new expanded one yay! I am beyond excited for it to be ready. Thanks for all the joy you bring!

    • Thank you so much for ordering my book! I hope you enjoy the recipes, especially the new ones. Thanks for reporting back about these cookies 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness, these were AMAZING! I loved how they made my kitchen smell, and I think they were the fastest disappearing cookie I’ve ever made and brought into my office! One of my cohort mates said that these were the best thing he has ever eaten!!!! Thank you for such a delicious and fun recipe!

  3. I, too, have found that draining pumpkin puree before using makes a difference to the finished product.  Every fall I make my own roasted pumpkin puree and freeze it in measured 2 cup portions. I use a different technique for draining.  A few hours before baking I thaw the puree in a sieve, which gets rid of most of the liquid. Then I scoop the drained puree into a colander lined with 2 coffee filters and let it sit for awhile. The filters absorb any residual moisture.  I’ve found them to be more effective than paper towels, and not as messy! 

  4. So I might have gone on a bit of a Sally’s-pumpkin-cookies baking spree…started with these splendid things and didn’t want to waste the rest of the can of pumpkin, so I threw together your pumpkin snickerdoodles (minus white chocolate since I didn’t have it, plus hazelnuts because yum!) and chilled them while the oatmeal ones were in the oven.
    Now my whole house smells like fall and I’ve got too many cookies to justify keeping them ALL to myself 🙂 thank you so much for sharing your amazing repertoire! Fall is my favorite and this just made me so, so happy.

  5. These are so good! I’ve gotten rave reviews from everyone who’s tried them !

  6. I have made many of your recipes and they all turn out wonderful! However, after making this one, my batter was very very dry and I didn’t leave any ingredients out and I measured them all exact. Do you know what could have gone wrong? They don’t taste terrible and are still decently moist in the middle once baked but it kind of looks like the oats took over. 

  7. These cookies taste amazing, but the glaze did not work for me – the ingredients never came together correctly and it was an oily, soupy, chunky mess. I had to make a regular non-butter glaze- which still tastes fine. 🙂

  8. Hello there 🙂 Since we do not have pumpkin puree in my country, can I use regular shredded pumpkin, sauteed a bit over the fire into a thick consistency? Thanks in advance.

  9. I had the same issue as grace. The flavor is good but they were a little dry and the oats were prominent. I thought maybe I squeezed the pumpkin too dry? Not sure. My son insisted I add chocolate chips – nice addition! I still liked the cookies but If I make them again I won’t wring the pumpkin dry and scale back on the oats a bit. 

    • Update: I’ve eaten six (yup, 6) chilled cookies today and can say for certain I like them best frosted, without chocolate chips. So. Guess they turned out pretty good after all

  10. Hi Sally, I just made these spectacular cookies yesterday. My apartment smelled wonderful just from the brown butter alone. The flavors overall were spot on and my cookies came out soft and chewy. I brought some in for my co-workers and they were a hit!! Definitely a cookie I will make again in the future. Thank you so much for such a great recipe. 🙂

  11. Oh girl, these are soooo good. I’ve never browned butter before and I was so nervous to do so but kept at it. Seemed to take a little longer than I thought and thanks for the tip to have a light bottom pan so you can watch for the brown. I detect a caramel flavor from the brown butter that is so rich and yummy. This brown butter thing may become my signature baking m.o. going forward.

    I did not frost because I’m traveling with these cookies and instead added both dark chocolate and cinnamon chips. I added 2 tsp extra of both the cinnamon and pumpkin spice cause I like it spicy.
    I also drained the canned pumpkin a bit using the paper towel method. These are YUMMY.
    PERFECTION. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tammie, I’m so glad you tried browning the butter and loved it!! It’s kind of life changing once you realize you can do it 😉

  12. Great recipe, my kids totally love it. I made my own puree coz it’s earsier rather than finding canned puree in my country. After blended in food processor, I put them on the pan to reduced the liquid excess without blotting them with paper towel, it worked coz turns out the cookies are soooo soooo good 🙂 A lil bit crispy on the edges, chewy on the center… add some chocolate chips also and reducing the sugar a lil bit more from recipe. Thx for sharing all your delicious recipe so I can taste them too, not only drooling  at the pictures 😀 

  13. I made these cookies today they are Amazzzzzing!! So delicious and addictive!! The browned butter gave them such a rich nutty flavor and I had tons of pumpkin purée in my freezer which I put to good use with these cookies. Thank you for this yummy recipe!! 

  14. I am going to try these in just about an hour. Giving them to the kids bus driver and teachers. I am excited to try browning butter!

  15. These cookies are the stuff dreams are made of. Literally. And I’m a HUGE chocaholic, so that’s saying something! I was wondering if you could give me some guidance on the glaze. The butter didn’t incorporate very well with the other ingredients. The first batch I iced had oily specks, and the second had buttery chunks (glaze had cooled down). Any tips to make a more homogenous glaze? The flavor was absolutely amazing, though!!!

  16. I have a friend that is allergic to eggs, do you think the recipe will work if I don’t squeeze the moisture out of the pumpkin and forgo the egg yolk?

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