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. This recipe has a HUGE fanbase, and has been a majorly popular recipe since I first published it in 2016.
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. Pumpkin pie is always top of the list, but I usually like to kick off the fall baking season with cookies—I’ve done maple brown sugar cookies, pumpkin snickerdoodles, apple spice whoopie pies, and the constant 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!
One reader, Brittany, commented: “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! ★★★★★“
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.
- 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.
- 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. Or try it on pumpkin scones!
I love seeing all of your photos of these popular cookies. Thank you for sharing!
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.
- 1 and 1/4 cup (285g) pumpkin puree*
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, cut in slices
- 2 cups (170g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
- 1 and 2/3 (209g) cup all-purpose flour (spooned & 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
- 2/3 cup (135g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Brown Butter Icing
- 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter
- 1 and 1/2 cup (180g) confectioners’ sugar
- 3 Tablespoons (45ml) milk
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- optional for garnish: sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice
- Blot the pumpkin: Line a medium bowl with 2 paper towels. Place the pumpkin puree in the bowl. Using another paper towel, press down to blot excess moisture out of the pumpkin. After blotting, you will have about 1 cup (225g) of pumpkin. Set aside.
- Brown the butter: NOTE: 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, divide and set aside 1/4 cup for the glaze. You can use it in step 8. The rest (about 1 cup) is for the cookies, used in step 5. In a light-colored skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring or whisking 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. Once browned, immediately remove from heat and pour into a heatproof glass bowl or liquid measuring cup, including all of the browned solids at the bottom of the pan. If you browned enough butter for the icing as well, divide and set aside 1/4 cup (2 ounces/60ml) brown butter for step 8. Allow brown butter to slightly cool while you continue.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together.
- 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. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be soft and sticky.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough into balls (about 2 heaping Tablespoons (45g) 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. Sprinkle each lightly with pumpkin pie spice, if desired.
- 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!
- 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