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.

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 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 when I tested pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. 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 5-10 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. Here’s my brown butter tutorial!

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:

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Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 25 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Massively flavorful and simple brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies with icing on top.


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 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

Instructions

  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 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.
  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.

Notes

  1. 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 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.
  2. Special Tools: Cookie Scoop | Mixing BowlsKitchenAid Stand Mixer | Flex Edge Beater | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Bowl | Silpat Baking Mat
  3. Pumpkin Pie Spice: 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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, brown butter pumpkin cookies

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

193 Comments

  1. I thought these cookies were good but to be honest, would never know that there was pumpkin in them if I didn’t make them myself. Texture was nice, but honestly don’t see why these are any better or different from regular oatmeal cookies.

    1. I agree. I was up for a nice pumpkin flavor but they didn’t deliver. Otherwise, they were tasty with the spices.

  2. I made these yesterday for a bible study group that came to my place and they were a big hit. However they spread-like ALOT. Not cute and dense like yours. Any idea what I did wrong? I even browned the butter perfectly and used fresh baking soda. Honestly all my cookies are doing that lately chilled dough or not 🙁

    1. Hi Michelle! So you’ve been noticing that your cookies lately have been over-spreading? What type of baking sheet are you using? Do you use a silicone baking mat? I highly prefer them as the nonstick surface grips onto the cookie, helping to prevent excess spreading. Make sure it’s super clean and grease-free. You can also try adding 3-4 additional Tbsp of flour– this will help bulk up and solidify the dough so the cookies can hold their shape a little better in the oven.

      1. Hi Sally! So I do not use silicone baking mats as Im not completely convinced of their safety (offgassing etc) from the research Ive done. I use regular baking sheets with non stick foil although technically Im not so convinced of the safety of foil either but its the best I can do for now. Doing the best for our (my kids & I) health is pretty important to me. As far as the extra tablespoons of flour-I never thought of that. I will definitely give that a try. Hopefully that helps and thank you!

      2. Michelle – Have you tried parchment paper for a liner instead? I just started using it for some items (when I don’t want to clean the silicone baking mat or scrub pans). It works well.

    1. I just read this comment after reading the blog post and putting the cookies in the oven. In the post above you say “measuring your pumpkin puree and then squeezing moisture out with a paper towel is a trick that WORKS”. So, I measured out the pumpkin, then blotted it as it said. Here in the comment you are saying to blot then measure. Which one is correct? I’ve already made the cookies, so perhaps this batch will be a bust but I would like to do it correctly the next time.

  3. This has been my favorite go-to Fall cookie recipe for several years now! I LOVE them and everyone always asks me for the recipe!

  4. Sally, I love your blog and refer to it for recipes often. I have to say this has to be my favorite cookie recipe yet!!! I’ve never browned butter before…WOW, it was amazing!!

  5. I made these today and thought they tasted great. The texture was very soft though. Are they supposed to be a soft cookie? Thanks

  6. I just made these cookies. The dough wasn’t sticky and they didn’t spread at all. I followed everything perfectly so I’m not sure what went wrong. They taste fine.

  7. Just took a bite out of the first batch to come out of the oven and they are SO AMAZING! Soft, held together perfectly, spread only slightly… delicious! Can’t wait to make these again and again.

  8. Going to make these cookies this morning. My pumpkin had been frozen from last year and I am employing the technique that America’s Test Kitchen recommends for their pumpkin bread. Instead of squeezing the pumpkin, one cooks it on the stove until the excess moisture is released. Works great and the only other factor is letting it cool down afterwords before mixing in. My family also prefers a lemon sugar glaze on pumpkin oatmeal choc chip cookies; contrast of sweet and sour.

  9. I made these cookies last night and they are fabulous. I freeze my own pumpkin puree, which contains more water than the canned version. Draining was necessary and a snap using the stainless steel whey separator for turning yogurt into “cream cheese”. I think the resulting puree still had more moisture than the canned versions.

    I followed the recipe faithfully and created 42 iced cookies. Browning the butter was a real flavor boost. BTW, I used Silpat sheet liners with great results.

  10. I have made this an LOVE IT. Although I need to make it again for a pumpkin fan that is allergic to eggs. Do you have a suggestion.?

    1. When I left out the egg yolk I found these cookies to be too dry and crumbly. I didn’t test any egg substitutes, but you can try this pumpkin cookie recipe which is eggless: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies/

  11. I have made these before-amazing! I’m actually baking them for an event (summer, I know!! But highly requested) in 10 days. Can I freeze the cookies WITH the glaze on them since I am making them more than a week in advance?

  12. These are amazing!!! Full of pumpkin flavor and plotting the pumpkin was Genius!!! The brown butter frosting on top was perfect!! Thank you for sharing this recipe!!! ❤️

  13. We love, love, love these cookies – made them twice this week and came out perfect everytime! Hello Fall – my favorite time of year!

  14. Made these today for the first time. Wondering if it is truly necessary to brown the butter for the cookies themselves. Would save me a lot of time in my bakery if this step could be avoided. Thank you for your reply.

    1. You don’t need to brown the butter – but I love the extra layer of flavor the brown butter gives these cookies and makes them extra special!

  15. I just made these for a family get together in a few weeks. I tasted one and it was delicious especially using the browned butter. I have never done that before but I will in the future. I hope th ey freeze well and that is what I am going to do.

  16. Hi! I made these and loved them so much. My only note is that I basically used a whole can of pumpkin puree (425 g can of Market Pantry brand) since you said to measure AFTER squeezing. I squeezed the crap out of that pumpkin puree and if anyone plans to do the same, make sure you have a whole can on hand (:

  17. I made these today and have to say I loved them. Made them according to the recipe except for baking 3-4 minutes longer and adding pumpkin spice to the frosting. Perfect cookies for fall.

  18. The cookies themselves came out fabulous but I had to skip the icing b/c it broke when I added the milk to the sugar/butter mixture and resulted in a lumpy mess. No matter what I did (playing around with adding more milk and sugar), it was irreparable. Any pointers for next time to avoid this? I made the brown butter in advance like the recipe suggested and let it sit on the counter in a glass measuring cup while I made the cookies.

    1. Hi Andrea! So glad you tried and enjoyed these cookies. For the icing for next time, make sure the brown butter in the icing is still melted. Room temperature milk will combine more easily with the liquid butter and you shouldn’t have an issue with anything separating.

  19. Nicely spiced and soft without being too cakey. Browned butter really come through in the icing and complemented the cookie. The recipe notes were so helpful and much appreciated.

  20. I made a double batch of these today…chilled the dough first and the baking and cooling times were spot on. (Perhaps made them a bit smaller.) Also, I did not frost them but added the new Pumpkin Spice M&M’s (which are a little overwhelming to just eat, but perfect as a cookie addition)! Definitely a keeper recipe!

  21. I made these tonight. Just absolutely delicious. I did add chopped walnuts. I had to remind my husband that these are not diet cookies, so lay off. He is going nuts for these.

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