These soft and chewy brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies are the perfect choice if you’re looking for a fun, flavorful, and satisfying fall cookie recipe. To simplify the entire process, brown the butter for both the cookies and the icing at the same time– see recipe for more details.
One reader said: “This is honestly one of the best cookies I’ve ever made. Already made it twice this week and I will need to make another batch because I can’t stop sharing them.”
There is no question that fall is the best baking season. We’re talking homemade pies, warm and cozy spices, comforting desserts, and of course, a few pumpkin treats. I always like to kick off the fall baking season with cookies—we’ve done maple brown sugar cookies, pumpkin snickerdoodles, apple spice whoopie pies, and our new favorite… brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies. You’ll love the double dose of brown butter… in the cookies and the icing.
These are by far one of the best cookie recipes to come out of my kitchen. Let’s get started!
Tell Me About These Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
- Texture: We love the soft, yet dense centers and chewy crisp edges. You’ll appreciate that this is a CHEWY pumpkin cookie as opposed to a cake-like pumpkin cookie. If you’re looking for a cakey pumpkin cookie, try these soft pumpkin cookies. (More on this specific texture difference next.)
- Flavor: Brown butter is a massively underused ingredient. Browning butter takes about 5-10 minutes and the result promises extra flavor. And not just regular flavor—a deep toffee-like, toasty, caramel, nutty flavor that pairs wonderfully with pumpkin and fall spices. Who could possibly resist this special medley of flavor in an oatmeal cookie?
- Ease: This simple recipe makes fall baking quick and easy. (With big flavorful results!) Browning the butter takes a little extra time, but there’s no dough chilling or mixer required. Here are more cookie recipes that don’t require chilling; shortbread cookies are another quick favorite.
I include directions for browning the butter below, but feel free to review my How to Brown Butter page, which includes a helpful video. You can also go ahead and prepare a batch of homemade pumpkin pie spice, because you WILL be making these on repeat.
The Secrets to Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Pumpkin is a really moist ingredient which makes it useful in cakes, pumpkin muffins, and quick breads. But it poses a texture problem when we’re trying to make dense and chewy oatmeal cookies. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Blot the pumpkin. More moisture = cakier cookies. To prevent overly cakey cookies, blot some of the moisture out of the pumpkin. We know it sounds odd, but gently soaking liquid out of the pumpkin puree with a paper towel is a trick that works. Take a look at the difference below.
- Left: Blotted the pumpkin—the cookie is denser and chewier.
- Right: Did not blot the pumpkin—the cookie is cakey.
Use only an egg yolk. Pumpkin acts like an egg in cookie dough and this is something I learned when testing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Testing today’s pumpkin oatmeal cookies, however, proved that an egg—or at least part of an egg—is necessary. The cookies were a little dry and crumbly without it because of the oats in the dough. Use just 1 large egg yolk in the dough because that little extra bit of fat makes a difference.
Use a cookie scoop. I like to use a medium cookie scoop for this cookie dough. Why? This dough is a cross between cookie dough and cake batter and a cookie scoop makes things a little more manageable. Once you scoop the dough, slightly flatten the tops of the dough mounds. The cookies don’t expand much but flattening them first encourages spreading, which helps seal in that chewy texture. Just like this:
Overview: How to Make Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through it so you understand each step before getting started.
- Brown the butter. You’ll use browned butter in both the cookie dough AND the icing, so it’s helpful to brown the butter all at once. When you’re finished browning the butter, set aside 2 ounces for the glaze topping. Use the rest in the cookie dough.
- Whisk dry ingredients together. This includes whole oats, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Whisk the brown butter you need for the dough with granulated sugar and brown sugar. Then whisk in the egg yolk + vanilla extract.
- Blot the pumpkin, then whisk it into the wet ingredients. (By the way, here’s a list of recipes to make with leftover pumpkin puree!)
- Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Combine to form a thick and sticky dough.
- Scoop & flatten. As noted above, scoop cookie dough onto baking sheets using a medium cookie scoop. Slightly flatten each cookie dough ball before baking.
- Bake until cookies are lightly browned and set on the edges.
- For the icing, whisk the reserved brown butter and the remaining icing ingredients together until smooth. Dip the top of each cookie into the icing.
Because it’s made with butter, which is solid at room temperature, the icing eventually sets making the cookies a little easier to stack, store, and transport. This brown butter icing is also delicious on peach Bundt cake, apple blondies, pecan sugar cookies, and pistachio cookies.
More Fall Baking Recipes
- Pumpkin Bread
- Brown Butter Apple Blondies
- Pumpkin Scones
- Apple Pie Bars & Apple Cake
- White Chocolate Chai Snickerdoodles
Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Yield: 25 cookies
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
These soft and chewy brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies are the perfect choice if you’re looking for a fun, flavorful, and satisfying fall cookie recipe. To simplify the entire process, brown the butter for both the cookies and the icing at the same time– see step 1.
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (170g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
- 1 and 2/3 (209g) cup all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice*
- 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)*
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
- 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.
- 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 constantly. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring. 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, immediately remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together in a medium bowl.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Make the icing: Give the 1/4 cup of brown butter you reserved for the icing a quick stir. If it’s no longer thin and liquid, warm it on the stove or in the microwave until liquid again. Whisk in the remaining icing ingredients until smooth. Dip the top of each cookie into the icing.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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 and frosted or unfrosted 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. Here are my tips and tricks on how to freeze cookie dough.
- Special Tools: Cookie Scoop, Mixing Bowls, KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Flex Edge Beater, Glass KitchenAid Mixing Bowl, and Silpat Baking Mat
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: You can find pumpkin pie spice in the baking aisle of most grocery stores or make your own homemade pumpkin pie spice. If you don’t have either and want to use individual spices, use 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and an extra 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Do not leave out the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon that is also called for in this recipe.
- Pumpkin: 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! Measure 1 cup AFTER the pumpkin has been squeezed/blotted.
- Chocolate Chips: 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.
- 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.
Keywords: brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies
Photos of Your Cookies!
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Reader Comments & Reviews
This recipe is awesome! First off thank you!
However, I did tweak it a little(I’m sorry please don’t be mad) I love pumpkin and oatmeal, and so I was looking for a recipe to follow but tweak a little for my specific diet. I used all coconut sugar in place of the white and brown sugars.
I also subbed the flour for gf flour, and only used 1cup flour and the other 2/3 cup I instead used ground flax seeds. (All the things to also help promote lactation, as I have a 4mo old I’m currently breastfeeding) lastly, I did not make the frosting, because I don’t love anything too sweet, and these turned out to be such an amazing flavorful cookie as is and that I can feel less guilty about! Again, sorry I had to tweak it, but they baked perfectly the same, crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside! I will be making these again and again I’m sure!
Hi Shannon, we’re so glad you loved these!
I made these cookies for a Friendsgiving and they were a hit!! People were taking extra home for their friends and family- made me so happy. Thank you for this incredible recipe! The browned butter really adds something extra special.
Another home run, Sally! Made exactly as written and even the hubby, who doesn’t love oatmeal cookies loved these. These are on thee sweeter side but not overly sweet. Next batch I’m going to drizzle the icing. I used a 2 tbsp. scoop leveled and ended up with 16 too large cookies. We’ll see what I did wrong on the next batch.
I wanted to love this recipe like I generally do with all things Sally creates. I was disappointed with how sweet the cookies were with or without the icing.
Living at over 5,000 ft I applied my normal High Altitude fixes which include adding 2 TBLSPs flour and reducing by at least 1 TBLSP sugar. I used weight measurements initially so I’m pretty certain I did not overload the sugar. I also reduced the sugar by 20 g in the icing and was somewhat sparing with the icing.
I will take these to the grandkids when I pick them up from school and do the kid test. Something tells me they will love them and it’s maybe just me. I initially packed up some cookies for them to give their teachers but when I tasted how sweet they were, I decided to not share them. Not just yet.
Thank you for any suggestions you may have to reduce the sweetness without affecting the structure of the cookie. .
Hi Eljer, reducing the sugar would take some testing as sugar provided moisture and structure in these cookies. Let us know if you try anything!
Thank you for your quick reply and for teaching me that sugar provides moisture in this recipe. As a high-altitude (HA) baker I’m always looking to add water, milk, egg, etc. to balance the moisture that the HA air depletes in our baked goods.
In this case, it turns out the intense sweetness is just my Nonna tastebuds. The grandkids, parents, and the kid’s teachers went crazy for these cookies. 🙂
Hi! Would it work to use chocolate chips if I’m skipping the frosting? Or would they be too heavy for the batter
Hi KD, chocolate chips should work just fine! Hope you enjoy the cookies.
The absolute best cookie recipe ever. I’ve made this recipe twice and both times people have obsessed over them. It’s child and husband approved. I leave a few without the glaze for those who don’t like sweets and even they still taste fabulous. It makes a lot of cookies, so I always share with family and coworkers. Everyone raves about them!
Would almond milk work?
You can use any nondairy milk in the glaze, yes.
This cookie sounds amazing! But I had a big problem. My batter was almost the consistency of cake batter, and a loose one at that – no possible way to make balls. So may I ask if this cookie dough needs chilling before attempting to scoop out portions? (I couldn’t find a reference to this in the notes or recipe above.) Or do you think I must have done something wrong? Thanks for the help! I’m ready to try again!
Hi John, how did you measure your flour? It sounds like there wasn’t quite enough to help soak up the wet ingredients. Be sure to spoon and level to measure or use a food scale if you have one available. We don’t find it necessary to chill the dough but you certainly can if your dough is a bit loose. Hope these tips help for next time!
These cookies are insane!! Even my daughter who hates oatmeal in any cookie loves these. I really appreciate the tip to squeeze the water from the pumpkin, the cookies are perfectly chewy. The browned butter takes these cookies to the next level, so if you skip that step, you are truly missing out on the best part of these babies!
I only used 3/4 cup powdered sugar for the glaze, and we felt that was plenty sweet. The glaze is delicious but my whole family actually prefers the cookies without it, of course, that’s just personal preference. Thanks for another keeper! 🙂
I thought the cookies needed something, a bit more salt or more spice, I’m not sure. They are better with the browned butter frosting. Absolutely. I wonder if they sit for a day if the flavor will develop more.
I’m not sure I will make them again.
Love browned butter frosting. It’s yummy.
I believe the texture of these cookies adds to their appeal with all my friends. Also, I have never previously blotted the pumpkin in recipes and it seems to intensify the flavor.
Everyone I’ve shared them with say they are a new favorite.
I had a great time making this recipe, even as an amateur baker! Since you are working with heated butter, I would recommend mixing the dry ingredients first, lining your baking sheets beforehand, etc. Have all of your ingredients pre measured and you’ll be golden. Make sure you know what browned butter looks like so you don’t burn it, undercook, etc. Great recipe!
Hi! I’d like to make this recipe soon and wondering if using meringue powder would help the brown butter glaze set faster/better? If so, how much would you recommend? Thanks so much, in advance!
Hi Kelly, we haven’t tested adding meringue powder to this glaze, but it sets beautifully on its own!
Thanks for the quick response!