Homemade brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies are perfectly spiced and topped with a brown butter glaze. To simplify the process, brown the butter for both the cookies and the glaze at the same time– see my recipe for more details. They’re ultra soft and chewy, massively flavorful, and taste like fall!
As we welcome the start of fall, we simultaneously welcome the best baking season. Fall baking season! We’re talking homemade pies, warm and cozy spices, decadent desserts, and of course, a few pumpkin treats. I always like to kick off the fall baking season with cookies– we’ve done regular pumpkin cookies, pumpkin snickerdoodles, pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and today… 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!
These Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies Are
- Ultra chewy, not cakey
- Super soft
- Perfectly pumpkin spiced
- Quick and easy– no dough chilling or mixer required
- Topped with brown butter icing
- Fall in a cookie!
Pumpkin is a Strange Ingredient in Cookies
Pumpkin is a really moist ingredient– great when making cakes, muffins, breads, and super soft pumpkin cookies. Not so great when we’re trying to make cookies that are dense and chewy. I love playing around with different pumpkin cookie recipes and here’s what I discovered helps promise a chewier, denser cookie:
- Blot out some of the moisture.
- Just use an egg yolk.
- Use brown butter.
Blot Moisture Out of the Pumpkin
More moisture = cakier cookies. To prevent overly cakey cookies, blot some of the moisture out of the pumpkin. I know this sounds weird! But gently squeezing moisture out of the pumpkin puree with a paper towel is a trick that works. Let’s take a look at the difference:
Left: Blotted the pumpkin– the cookie is denser and chewier.
Right: Did not blot the pumpkin– the cookie is cakey.
Use Only 1 Egg Yolk
Not only can pumpkin create cakey cookies, it also acts like an egg in cookie dough. I learned this when testing my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (an egg free cookie recipe). Testing today’s pumpkin oatmeal cookies, 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.
Use Brown Butter
Brown butter is a massively underused ingredient. It takes about 5-10 minutes and the result packs extraordinary flavor into anything it touches. Not just regular flavor– a deep, toffee-like, toasty, caramel, nutty flavor that pairs wonderfully with pumpkin and cozy spices. I knew brown butter was the path to take when creating these cookies! Brown butter should always be the answer. Here’s how to brown butter.
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).
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 each, slightly flatten the tops. The cookies don’t spread *too much* but they will spread a little if you flatten it out first. Just like this:
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies Icing
Brown butter in the cookie dough and the icing? YES! While delicious without, these cookies are simply divine when topped with brown butter icing. Here’s what I do– brown enough butter to use in the cookie dough and the icing at the same time. It saves a step later! Whisk it with a little confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla. This icing “sets” on top of each cookie after a couple hours, making these cookies easy to transport and serve.
Massively flavorful and simple brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies with icing on top.
- 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
- 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: 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 & 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. 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: 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.
- 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, brown butter pumpkin cookies