Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

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!

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

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 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!

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

Pumpkin is a Strange Ingredient in Cookies

Pumpkin is a really moist ingredient– great when making cakes, muffins, and breads. Not so great when we’re trying to make chewy, non-cakey cookies. There are 3 ways that I prevent the cakey texture and keep them chewy.

  1. Blot out some of the moisture.
  2. Just use an egg yolk.
  3. Use brown butter.

brown-butter-pumpkin-cookies-3

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.

brown-butter-pumpkin-cookies-5

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.

How to brown butter on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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).

Brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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:

Brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Brown butter icing for pumpkin oatmeal cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Print

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. 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. Here are my tips and tricks on how to freeze cookie dough.
  2. Special Tools: Cookie Scoop, Mixing Bowls, KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Flex Edge Beater, Glass KitchenAid Mixing Bowl, and 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. 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.
  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

197 Comments

  1. Charlotte @ What Charlotte Baked says:

    I’m so obsessed with autumn right now, so these cookies at perfect! I’ve never really baked with pumpkin, but I’m willing to give it a go 🙂

  2. Hi Sally,

    This recipe looks great — thank you very much for posting it. I’m wondering — could I add chocolate chips? Would the cookies still be good?

    1. YES! I did on Saturday when I tested these again. I added 1 heaping cup. My family and I loved them. I’ll add that to the recipe notes now in case others are curious too.

  3. Sally, your photographs are so good that even the one of paper towel and smushed pumpkin is wallpaper worthy 😉 Such interesting tips in this recipe! It’s so cool how you experiment. When I do a recipe, I just want it to work…I don’t think I’m brave enough to try stuff and risk a failed batch!

    1. The experimentation work is always worth it. 🙂

  4. Wow, these sound like a thing to bake this week! And the glaze….! – But I will have to make my own pumpkin puree since canned pumpkin puree isn’t very common here in Germany. Any suggestions how I should do that, Sally? I found a source where the cut-in-half pumpkin is baked in the oven until soft and afterwards pureed in a foodprocessor. I suppose I could as well steam the pumkin? I should however avoid adding water in the process I guess… Thank you for any advice!

    1. Hi Sina! What a great question. I’ve tried Alton Brown’s method before with wonderful results. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/pumpkin-puree-recipe.html

      Though I have never tried these particular cookies with the homemade puree. Make sure you squeeze some moisture out like I recommend. Enjoy!

      1. Hi Sally, thank you for this helpful advice! So, this weekend I tried the pumpkin puree method of Alton Brown and it worked wonderfully. The pumpkin somehow lost a lot of moisture during baking in the oven and in the end I had a very thick and concentrated puree, almost a cream. There was no moisture left I could have squeezed out so I went ahead and made the cookies and – they are wonderful, spicy (also: no convenient pumpkin-pie-spice here in the stores, so I made my own according to your suggestions), tender in the middle, crispy oats at the bottom, also crispy brown edges – grand!
        But I was wondering, since we found the cookies to be very sweet: would it be possible to reduce the amount of sugar – and how far could I go without loosing the really great texture? Maybe I will have to try this out with a few batches in the next weeks… Thank you for this wonderful fall recipe!

      2. That’s WONDERFUL to hear Sina! So glad. Ok now for the sugar, I’d say you could go down to 2/3 cup of each. Though the texture of the cookie will change a bit, though still undoubtedly delicious. I’d just test things out to see what you like.

  5. Oh my goodness. I must start blotting immediately. I’ve blotted zucchini, but never pumpkin. So excited about getting better cookie results. You are my food nerd queen!

    1. It really works!

  6. Tori//Gringalicious says:

    I can hardly contain my excitement over these! Omg, they look incred!

  7. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says:

    Such a great cookie! I would’ve never thought about blotting the pumpkin either, such a great tip! I LOVEEE dense and chewy cookies.

    1. It makes a huge difference. As you can see!

  8. I’ve never had a pumpkin oatmeal cookie, but it sounds delicious! I will definitely being trying this one!

  9. Patricia @Sweet and Strong says:

    Yum!  I have yet to make my first pumpkin dessert this year, but you got me with that icing!  Definitely necessary for a great pumpkin cookie.  =)

  10. Dawn - Girl Heart Food says:

    Can’t believe the first official day of Summer is this week!!! These gorgeous cookies are just a perfect start to Fall 🙂 Love pumpkin!

  11. I’ve never made pumpkin cookies before and I recently decided this was going to be the year. I was going to make your chocolate chip pumpkin cookies, but I can’t say no to something with a brown butter (!!) glaze. I’ve been so excited to Fall to start, I’ve already baked 3 pumpkin recipes, and have 3 Fall candles set up to burn around my house (not all pumpkin tho). In fact, the weather in my city today calls for a thunderstorm and I could not be more excited. Bring on the cold weather and cinnamon scented kitchens! 

    1. It’s storming here too. I LOVE it. Stay dry, enjoy the candles, bake the cookies!

  12. Stella @ Stellicious Life says:

    One of the reasons why I love fall is all the pumpkin, pumpkin spice and apple treats!! This one looks so chewy, would be perfect with a hot cup of tea or latte.

  13. Approximately how many cookies will this recipe make? They look great! Thanks!

    1. About 25 cookies 🙂

  14. When adding the brown butter, do you strain it first to get rid of brown bits on bottom of pan, or do those bits get incorporated into the dough?

    1. Those bits have so much flavor, add them right in 🙂

      1. Thanks! I make ghee, and need to strain that, but glad I asked before hand for the cookies! Looking forward to making them.

  15. Catherine Smith says:

    Oh my gosh I cannot wait to eat all of these!! Is there a way toturn these into sandwich cookies? (I’m trying to envision how to eat 2 or 3 of these at one time!). These look A-MAZING!

    1. Yes! How about cream cheese frosting between? Use the cream cheese frosting from here 🙂 https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/12/23/moist-gingerbread-spice-snack-cake/

  16. Natalie Makofka says:

    These cookies look amazing!! Do you think adding cinnamon chips would make them too sweet?

    1. No not at all! Would be delicious. I would add 1 heaping cup to the dough.

      1. Thanks so much for responding! I’m really excited to try these!

  17. Hi Sally- I’ve never heard of the blotting method, but it makes so much sense. Should that be done to all recipes calling for pumpkin, or is it just because of the texture your trying to get with this specific cookie?

    1. I now do it with ALL pumpkin cookies. Not pumpkin anything– like not pumpkin bread, pancakes, cake, cupcakes, muffins etc– just cookies. It really helps get you a chewier texture.

  18. You had me at Brown Butter! Love it! I opened my first can of pumpkin today, too, to make a whole grain pumpkin muffin made with spelt flour. The recipe is from www.100daysofrealfood.com if you want to check it out. Thanks for another great recipe that I need to make as soon as possible. Welcome Fall!

  19. Hi Sally,
    Thank you for this scrumptious recipe! I cannot wait to try it! Do you think I could make a batch of regular oatmeal cookies with the brown butter icing? Do you by chance have a plain oatmeal cookie recipe? 

    1. Sure do! Make these soft and chewy oatmeal raisin cookies but leave out the raisins and nuts.

  20. Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says:

    You are a true genius, Sally! I NEVER would have thought of squeezing some liquid out of my pumpkin! And the pictures show it all! Great recipe!

  21. Would it be possible to use cookie cutters with these?

    1. The dough is much too sticky– drop cookies are the way to go.

  22. Caroline Schmidt says:

    Sally, these look deelish!  

  23. These cookies look amazing, I need them in my life.

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  24. Yess Sally aka baking Goddess , these sound perfect and yummy ! I have already bought 4 pie pumpkins to puree them 🙂

  25. These sound fantastic!

    2 quick questions – 

    Do these NEED to be refrigerated?

    You give 228g as a weight for the pumpkin – is that before or after using paper towels to soak up the excess liquid.

    1. Great questions. They don’t NEED to be refrigerated, but I keep them in there just because of the glaze. They’re fine at room temperature (glazed or not) too. The weight of the pumpkin is BEFORE blotting.

      1. Perfect! Thanks for following up on my questions! I’ll let you know how they come out!

  26. I so need to try this!! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

  27. Demeter | Beaming Baker says:

    Sally, I read about your 3rd cookbook this weekend, and I’ve just been beside myself with excitement! Cookie are the PERFECT topic! 🙂 And I can’t wait til 2017!!! Meanwhile, these cookies are such a wonderful way to ring in the fall. 🙂 Also, leave the egg out: Oh dude (or dudette in your case), I totally came to that realization today!! I accidentally left flax eggs out of a pumpkin ccc recipe that I’m testing and they turned out SO much better. So. Much. Better. Imagine if I’d just read your tip from ages ago… could’ve saved me the work of a few bajillion test batches. Lol. So funny that today’s cookie actually brought the egg (yolk) back in! Oh baking. Haha. Thanks for making Monday brighter, Sally. xo

    1. Baking– never a dull moment right?

  28. Just made these.. so good! I have to admit I rolled my eyes a bit at the blotting pumpkin suggestion, but I had to try these as written before I went off-book with the recipe. Yup, chewy goodness. And oh my word the brown butter! I must find more recipes to use brown butter in! Actually I might just make some for pancakes, why not? Thanks for the recipe, so good even without chocolate chips!

    1. I’m really glad you decided to squeeze the pumpkin. Such a weird concept, but it works. Thanks so much Chelsea!

  29. YES! Fall 2016 is about to get littttt. Adding this to my ginormous fall to-make pile! Hurrah!

  30. Just made these! Texture is on point – absolutely perfect. The brown butter flavor in the cookies and icing is also delicious (I also added a dash on cinnamon to the icing). But… thought the pumpkin flavor could have been stronger… 

    1. Great thinking on adding a little cinnamon to the glaze. Even though they aren’t as pumpkin-y as you’d like, I’m glad you enjoyed them!

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