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 blotted pumpkin (see note about blotting). 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

150 Comments

Comments

  1. Linda on September 19, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    These are currently baking as I type. I may have discovered a best friend I never knew I needed in my life, brown butter!!! OMG I want to use brown butter in everything! I had to taste the dough, so delish.  I can’t wait to taste the finished product. Bringing them to book club tomorrow night. My glaze was very thick so I had to add a little extra liquid! Thanks again Sally xo

    • Sally on September 21, 2016 at 10:34 am

      I hope the book club loved the cookies last night. And I know what you mean about brown butter. It’s pure heaven.

      • Linda on September 21, 2016 at 11:03 am

        They were a HIT!! One member said she never eats more than one cookie (who does that lol) anyway she said she had to have a second one!! 



  2. cakespy on September 20, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Oatmeal makes them health food, and breakfast appropriate. A+! 

  3. Karly on September 20, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Per. Fec. Tion. Seriously, I am OBSESSING over these cookies! The brown butter, the pumpkin, that icing…. I MUST try these ASAP!

  4. Elle on September 20, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Can I freeze cookies with icing or should I add icing later when I remove them from freezer? Thanks!

    • Sally on September 21, 2016 at 10:28 am

      Either way, but I think it’d be better icing after thawing.

  5. Caroline Schmidt on September 20, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Sally, I made these last night and I must say they are scrumpdillyishous!  I love pumpkin cookies and I too have made them and always more cakey in consistency but these were perfect.  Thank you for sharing your recipe, definitely a new favorite for fall or whenever!

    • Sally on September 21, 2016 at 10:28 am

      I’m glad you love them 🙂

  6. Salwa on September 20, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    I can’t find old fasion oats where i’m from Can i use oat flakes instead? Thanks

    • Sally on September 21, 2016 at 10:26 am

      Oat flakes should be OK instead.

  7. Theresa on September 20, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Sadly I don’t have a skillet that is not teflon coat.  Any tips on browning the butter?

    • Sally on September 21, 2016 at 10:25 am

      How about a saucepan?

  8. Sarah on September 21, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Yum! These were delicious, they were gobbled up by the book club! Question, my icing was delicious but was not the same color, mine was a very light brown instead of white…did I use too much brown butter? Can’t figure out what I did, they looked fine but not as lovely as these pics!

  9. Sally on September 21, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Sally—-I have a Dacor combination oven (traditional and convection).  Wondering what your opinion is of using the convection bake setting for cookie recipes?  Thanks!

    • Sally on September 21, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      That’s completely fine Sally. I would lower the temperature by 25 degrees– so bake these at 325. And maybe for 1 minute less.

  10. Jan M on September 21, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Must make these. Maybe on the first day of Fall. I LOVE cookies with icing, oatmeal cookies with icing, and with pumpkin added, I think I may swoon if I eat these. Can’t wait!

  11. Katie on September 21, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    I just made these and they are AMAZING. I will definitely be making these again, possibly to bring for Thanksgiving dinner.

    • Sally on September 21, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      Happy to hear (read!) that!

  12. Jess Wright @ The Cookbook Obsession on September 21, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I am totally in the pumpkin mood already, these look fabulous! Great post – I can’t wait to try these.

  13. Rhonda on September 21, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    My daughter is gluten free. can i substitute the white flour? If so, what do you recommend?
    Thanks!

    • Jenny From The Ranch on September 29, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Rhonda, I’m going to try them using Cup4Cup flour. I’ll let you know how the turn out

    • Jenny From The Ranch on September 29, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Hi there Rhonda. I did it and they turned out perfect! Here’s your GF substitutes. I used Cup4Cup GF Multipurpose flour and Red Mill GF Rolled Oats. You should be good to go. 

  14. Jaime on September 21, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Made these yesterday and they are SO SO GOOD. I added a cup of cinnamon chips and it was perfect. I may add even more spices to mine to make it spicier – personal preference – but they’re just about perfect as is! My husband took them to work today and they got RAVE reviews. Thanks so much for the great recipe! Looking forward to your new cookbook! 🙂

    • Kimberly on October 3, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      May I ask where you bought the cinnamon chips? I can’t find them anywhere here where I live. I’m in CA. Thanks. 🙂

      • Sally on October 3, 2016 at 7:56 pm

        I can find them a lot around the holidays, actually. Also online. Definitely on Amazon!



  15. Corrie on September 21, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Can’t wait to try these, yay for fall, pumpkin everythinggg! Except it’s a billion degrees here in Texas :((
    So I recently made the Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies with Less Sugar and loved them. I’m glad they were less sugar because I pretty much ate the whole batch over 4 days. Oops. That was my first time baking with sucanat & I loved that deep molasses flavor & aroma & thought well this is perfect for fall baking! So I’m wondering if you think it would work just fine to replace the brown sugar in these with sucanat? Thanks so much Sally & Happy Anniversary! 

    • Sally on September 25, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Hi Corrie! What a great idea– I think the sucanat would be lovely in these cookies!

  16. Michelle Lightsey on September 21, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Just a thought, would it be possible to cook down the pumpkin puree on the stovetop, over medium for 6 to 8 minutes to reduce the liquid and concentrate the pumpkin flavor instead of blotting the mixture?  Its a technique I have previously used in order to make a Pumpkin Bread on ATK.

    • Sally on September 25, 2016 at 10:05 am

      That’s a great idea. I’ve never tried it, but feel like it could be perfect.

  17. Destiny on September 22, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    I made these cookies with the intentions off giving them away.  I sent one plate of iced cookies to my in laws for my father in law because my mother in law does not like pumpkin-until now.  Thanks for the dangerously,delicious recipe-everyone cannot stop eating them!

  18. Susanne on September 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    These are the best pumpkin cookies ever! I made them with chocolate chips instead of frosting and I added a little flour because I only had quick oats. Just perfect, thank you!

  19. Christine on September 22, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    My daughter made these cookies earlier this week and kept telling me to make them.  I made them today and was truly amazed at the depth of flavor in this fab cookie!  First time I’ve ever browned butter; I was always scared I would burn it, but how easy it was!  The icing was something I could have eaten by itself.  Thank you, Sally for the clever and inventive recipes you come up with.  Keep them coming.  My daughter and I love to have baking days together when she’s in town.  

    • Sally on September 25, 2016 at 9:54 am

      Browning butter is so simple. All you do is stir it. I LOVE it in cookies! I’m so happy you loved these.

  20. Lauren on September 22, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Sally,

    fabulous recipe (as always!). As I was eating these, it dawned on me that an apple inspired version would be equally amazing for fall. How would you recommend transitioning this to an apple oatmeal cookie recipe? Most apple cookies are too cakey, and I would love to keep thewonderfully dense and chewy nature of these cookies.

    • Sally on September 25, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Hmm. I feel like that would require some testing! If you try anything, let me know. If I have a second, I can test things out too.

  21. Emilia on September 25, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Sally – these are the absolute best cookies I have ever had. I cannot even tell you how incredible these are. The brown butter really makes for a next-level cookie. Thank you so much for sharing all your discoveries and wisdom! I love reading your blog more than any other food thing on the interweb :).

    One thing I cannot get right, though, is maintaining the chewiness of the cookie when cutting down on the sugar. I used less than half the listed sugar amount and these were still plenty sweet to my taste. However, they are definitely a bit more cakey than I think they should be (are cakey cookies wrong?)

    P.S. A big congratulations for your new upcoming book – it is on my wishlist!

  22. Abbie on September 25, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Does the dough stay good in the freezer for three months like most of your other cookie recipes? Thanks!! 

    • Abbie on September 25, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      Sorry missed it in the notes but I found it now thanks!! So excited to try these!

  23. Theresa on September 27, 2016 at 8:13 am

    The best cookies.  I can’t believe they stayed soft and chewy.  Will definitely try your chocolate chip cookies.

  24. Gran on September 28, 2016 at 11:17 am

    What exactly is pumpkin pie spice? Is that just the puréed pumpkin mixed with allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon?

    • Sally on September 28, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      It’s a spice sold in the spice aisle. It’s basically a mix of nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice.

  25. Sarah on September 28, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Made these and they are absolutely amazing! One question — what are your thoughts on leaving these out of the fridge after icing? Does the icing have enough sugar that it will likely keep the milk from spoiling for a few days? Thank you for another great recipe!

    • Sally on September 29, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      They’d be fine for a few days outside the fridge, I just recommend the fridge just in case 🙂

  26. Melissa @ Smells Like Brownies on September 28, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Good gosh, I just made these. They are hands down the best pumpkin cookies I’ve ever had. Thank you for working so hard to perfect the recipe!

    • Sally on September 29, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      I’m thrilled you loved them, thanks for reporting back!

  27. Jenny From The Ranch on September 29, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Sally, Would you recommend any adjustments for high altitude baking for this recipe?

    • Sally on September 29, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      I’m not the best to advise on high altitude baking, I’m so sorry! Here is a chart a few readers have told me is helpful: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

      • Jenny From The Ranch on September 29, 2016 at 4:22 pm

        Thank you!  Made the adjustments and made them gluten free. They turned out perfect! Thank You



  28. Nichole on September 30, 2016 at 12:37 am

    I’m completely obsessed with brown butter at the moment, and I love that you thought to pair it with pumpkin! Totally making these cookies this weekend!

    • Sally on October 1, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      Hope you enjoy them Nichole!!

  29. Kaleen on September 30, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    When I saw this recipe, I knew I’d end up liking it. Brown butter and pumpkin are 2 of my favorite ingredients in desserts (along with apples and sprinkles, but I’m not sure I’d like to combine all of those). These cookies didn’t disappoint! As I expected, pumpkin and brown butter work together perfectly.

    • Sally on October 1, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      I’m so so so happy you loved them! And those are totally 4 of my favorites too.

  30. Kate on September 30, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    After I squeezed all the moisture out of the pumpkin it seemed like the amount had reduced significantly. Do I measure 1 cup after blotting? Or did I squeeze too hard? Lol 

    • Sally on October 1, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Haha! The amount does reduce down. Measure then squeeze and use that amount. 🙂

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