Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

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.”

stack of 2 brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies with brown butter glaze

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. We 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.

We include directions for browning the butter below, but feel free to review our How to Brown Butter article, which includes a helpful video.

brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies with brown butter glaze

blotted pumpkin with a paper towel in a glass bowl

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 we’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.

collage of 2 images showing the difference in pumpkin cookies when blotting the pumpkin

Use only an egg yolk. Pumpkin also acts like an egg in cookie dough. We learned this when testing 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. 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. We 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:

hands using a cookie scoop to scoop brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookie dough out of a glass bowl

brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookie dough mounds on a silpat baking mat

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. 

  1. 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.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together. This includes whole oats, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Whisk the brown butter you need for the dough with granulated sugar and brown sugar. Then whisk in the egg yolk + vanilla extract. 
  4. Blot the pumpkin, then whisk it into the wet ingredients. (By the way, here’s what you can make with leftover pumpkin puree!)
  5. Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Combine to form a thick and sticky dough.
  6. Scoop & flatten. As noted above, scoop cookie dough onto baking sheets using a medium cookie scoop. Slightly flatten each cookie dough ball before baking.
  7. Bake until cookies are lightly browned and set on the edges.
  8. 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. This makes the cookies a little easier to stack, store, and transport.

brown butter icing in a glass bowl with a whisk

stack of brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies

More Fall Baking Recipes

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stack of brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies

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

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.


Ingredients

  • 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
  • 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: 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.

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

Reader Photos of Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Thank you for making this recipe and sharing the photos with us!

collage of photos showing brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies made by readers

200 Comments

  1. 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 🙂

  2. 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.

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

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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… 

  6. These are currently baking as I type. I may have discovered a best friend I never knew I needed in my life, brown butter!!! OMG I want to use brown butter in everything! I had to taste the dough, so delish.  I can’t wait to taste the finished product. Bringing them to book club tomorrow night. My glaze was very thick so I had to add a little extra liquid! Thanks again Sally xo

  7. I just made these and they are AMAZING. I will definitely be making these again, possibly to bring for Thanksgiving dinner.

  8. Made these yesterday and they are SO SO GOOD. I added a cup of cinnamon chips and it was perfect. I may add even more spices to mine to make it spicier – personal preference – but they’re just about perfect as is! My husband took them to work today and they got RAVE reviews. Thanks so much for the great recipe! Looking forward to your new cookbook! 🙂

  9. I made these cookies with the intentions off giving them away.  I sent one plate of iced cookies to my in laws for my father in law because my mother in law does not like pumpkin-until now.  Thanks for the dangerously,delicious recipe-everyone cannot stop eating them!

  10. These are the best pumpkin cookies ever! I made them with chocolate chips instead of frosting and I added a little flour because I only had quick oats. Just perfect, thank you!

  11. My daughter made these cookies earlier this week and kept telling me to make them.  I made them today and was truly amazed at the depth of flavor in this fab cookie!  First time I’ve ever browned butter; I was always scared I would burn it, but how easy it was!  The icing was something I could have eaten by itself.  Thank you, Sally for the clever and inventive recipes you come up with.  Keep them coming.  My daughter and I love to have baking days together when she’s in town.  

  12. When I saw this recipe, I knew I’d end up liking it. Brown butter and pumpkin are 2 of my favorite ingredients in desserts (along with apples and sprinkles, but I’m not sure I’d like to combine all of those). These cookies didn’t disappoint! As I expected, pumpkin and brown butter work together perfectly.

  13. After I squeezed all the moisture out of the pumpkin it seemed like the amount had reduced significantly. Do I measure 1 cup after blotting? Or did I squeeze too hard? Lol 

    1. Haha! The amount does reduce down. Measure then squeeze and use that amount. 🙂

  14. Sally these are just phenomenal! I just made them and they are quite possibly my new favorite cookie. Which is huge because I didn’t think I’d ever make anything that compares with your amazing chocolate chip cookies. I finally ordered your cookbook, the new expanded one yay! I am beyond excited for it to be ready. Thanks for all the joy you bring!

  15. Oh my goodness, these were AMAZING! I loved how they made my kitchen smell, and I think they were the fastest disappearing cookie I’ve ever made and brought into my office! One of my cohort mates said that these were the best thing he has ever eaten!!!! Thank you for such a delicious and fun recipe!

  16. So I might have gone on a bit of a Sally’s-pumpkin-cookies baking spree…started with these splendid things and didn’t want to waste the rest of the can of pumpkin, so I threw together your pumpkin snickerdoodles (minus white chocolate since I didn’t have it, plus hazelnuts because yum!) and chilled them while the oatmeal ones were in the oven.
    Now my whole house smells like fall and I’ve got too many cookies to justify keeping them ALL to myself 🙂 thank you so much for sharing your amazing repertoire! Fall is my favorite and this just made me so, so happy.

  17. I have made many of your recipes and they all turn out wonderful! However, after making this one, my batter was very very dry and I didn’t leave any ingredients out and I measured them all exact. Do you know what could have gone wrong? They don’t taste terrible and are still decently moist in the middle once baked but it kind of looks like the oats took over. 

  18. These cookies taste amazing, but the glaze did not work for me – the ingredients never came together correctly and it was an oily, soupy, chunky mess. I had to make a regular non-butter glaze- which still tastes fine. 🙂

  19. I had the same issue as grace. The flavor is good but they were a little dry and the oats were prominent. I thought maybe I squeezed the pumpkin too dry? Not sure. My son insisted I add chocolate chips – nice addition! I still liked the cookies but If I make them again I won’t wring the pumpkin dry and scale back on the oats a bit. 

    1. Update: I’ve eaten six (yup, 6) chilled cookies today and can say for certain I like them best frosted, without chocolate chips. So. Guess they turned out pretty good after all

  20. Hi Sally, I just made these spectacular cookies yesterday. My apartment smelled wonderful just from the brown butter alone. The flavors overall were spot on and my cookies came out soft and chewy. I brought some in for my co-workers and they were a hit!! Definitely a cookie I will make again in the future. Thank you so much for such a great recipe. 🙂

  21. Tammie Kovacs says:

    Oh girl, these are soooo good. I’ve never browned butter before and I was so nervous to do so but kept at it. Seemed to take a little longer than I thought and thanks for the tip to have a light bottom pan so you can watch for the brown. I detect a caramel flavor from the brown butter that is so rich and yummy. This brown butter thing may become my signature baking m.o. going forward.

    I did not frost because I’m traveling with these cookies and instead added both dark chocolate and cinnamon chips. I added 2 tsp extra of both the cinnamon and pumpkin spice cause I like it spicy.
    I also drained the canned pumpkin a bit using the paper towel method. These are YUMMY.
    PERFECTION. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Great recipe, my kids totally love it. I made my own puree coz it’s earsier rather than finding canned puree in my country. After blended in food processor, I put them on the pan to reduced the liquid excess without blotting them with paper towel, it worked coz turns out the cookies are soooo soooo good 🙂 A lil bit crispy on the edges, chewy on the center… add some chocolate chips also and reducing the sugar a lil bit more from recipe. Thx for sharing all your delicious recipe so I can taste them too, not only drooling  at the pictures 😀 

  23. I made these cookies today they are Amazzzzzing!! So delicious and addictive!! The browned butter gave them such a rich nutty flavor and I had tons of pumpkin purée in my freezer which I put to good use with these cookies. Thank you for this yummy recipe!! 

  24. These cookies are the stuff dreams are made of. Literally. And I’m a HUGE chocaholic, so that’s saying something! I was wondering if you could give me some guidance on the glaze. The butter didn’t incorporate very well with the other ingredients. The first batch I iced had oily specks, and the second had buttery chunks (glaze had cooled down). Any tips to make a more homogenous glaze? The flavor was absolutely amazing, though!!!

  25. I have a friend that is allergic to eggs, do you think the recipe will work if I don’t squeeze the moisture out of the pumpkin and forgo the egg yolk?

    1. That could work, Katie! Or you can try this recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

  26. I was feeling impatient for the start of fall, so I made these with a can of pumpkin left over from last holiday season. They were delicious! I squeezed out the moisture from the pumpkin, but these were still very moist and flexible, so I may have underbaked them somewhat. (Personally I love soft cookies though, so…) Thanks for another great recipe!

    I didn’t have the oily glaze issue–I whisked all the liquid for the frosting together first to homogenize it, then added the powdered sugar and made sure to only ice completely cooled cookies (the slightly warm ones ended up getting Oily Frosting Syndrome). Maybe that helps?

  27. You are the best. I have been baking since I was 12 but I feel that I continually learn a lot from you. You present your information and tips so well- I’m grateful for your recipes and that you share your expertise with the world 🙂
    Can’t wait to make these this fall!

  28. Sally! These cookies are scrumptious! I made your Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies a few days ago and used some of the leftover pumpkin today to make the Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies. So good!

    I noticed a couple people had trouble with the glaze. I was delayed in glazing my cookies, and my browned butter had begun to set up. I warmed it in the microwave for about 10 seconds to re-melt it and also warmed the milk. I was afraid cold milk would make the butter chunky. The glaze was smooth and beautiful.

    Your recipes are so well written and easy to follow. I am 
    a fan!

  29. I made this recipe today. The dough was a bit too wet, I guess, because the cookies spread out in the oven and turned into gigantic cookies. Result: these flat cookies are still delicious, but rather crispy. In the middle they are quite chewy. I’d prefer smaller and thicker cookies though, as in the pictures of your blog. What do you think went wrong? I weighed everything perfectly. Maybe I did not blot enough the pumpkin?
    I wondered: is it normal the pumpkin purée weighs less after blotting? There was some residue of the pumpkin on the paper towel.
    How do you know if the purée is dry enough?

    1. I’d say it’s the pumpkin. It will weigh less after blotting since you’re eliminating moisture. Try to blot a little more moisture out or you can chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for an hour or so to help reduce over-spreading. I’m glad you enjoyed the cookies anyhow!

  30. Seriously good. Followed all the hints. Thanks so much!

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