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. 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

    1. I hope the book club loved the cookies last night. And I know what you mean about brown butter. It’s pure heaven.

      1. They were a HIT!! One member said she never eats more than one cookie (who does that lol) anyway she said she had to have a second one!! 

  2. Oatmeal makes them health food, and breakfast appropriate. A+! 

  3. Per. Fec. Tion. Seriously, I am OBSESSING over these cookies! The brown butter, the pumpkin, that icing…. I MUST try these ASAP!

  4. Can I freeze cookies with icing or should I add icing later when I remove them from freezer? Thanks!

    1. Either way, but I think it’d be better icing after thawing.

  5. Caroline Schmidt says:

    Sally, I made these last night and I must say they are scrumpdillyishous!  I love pumpkin cookies and I too have made them and always more cakey in consistency but these were perfect.  Thank you for sharing your recipe, definitely a new favorite for fall or whenever!

    1. I’m glad you love them 🙂

  6. I can’t find old fasion oats where i’m from Can i use oat flakes instead? Thanks

    1. Oat flakes should be OK instead.

  7. Sadly I don’t have a skillet that is not teflon coat.  Any tips on browning the butter?

    1. How about a saucepan?

  8. Yum! These were delicious, they were gobbled up by the book club! Question, my icing was delicious but was not the same color, mine was a very light brown instead of white…did I use too much brown butter? Can’t figure out what I did, they looked fine but not as lovely as these pics!

  9. Sally—-I have a Dacor combination oven (traditional and convection).  Wondering what your opinion is of using the convection bake setting for cookie recipes?  Thanks!

    1. That’s completely fine Sally. I would lower the temperature by 25 degrees– so bake these at 325. And maybe for 1 minute less.

  10. Must make these. Maybe on the first day of Fall. I LOVE cookies with icing, oatmeal cookies with icing, and with pumpkin added, I think I may swoon if I eat these. Can’t wait!

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

    1. Happy to hear (read!) that!

  12. Jess Wright @ The Cookbook Obsession says:

    I am totally in the pumpkin mood already, these look fabulous! Great post – I can’t wait to try these.

  13. My daughter is gluten free. can i substitute the white flour? If so, what do you recommend?
    Thanks!

    1. Jenny From The Ranch says:

      Rhonda, I’m going to try them using Cup4Cup flour. I’ll let you know how the turn out

    2. Jenny From The Ranch says:

      Hi there Rhonda. I did it and they turned out perfect! Here’s your GF substitutes. I used Cup4Cup GF Multipurpose flour and Red Mill GF Rolled Oats. You should be good to go. 

  14. 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! 🙂

    1. May I ask where you bought the cinnamon chips? I can’t find them anywhere here where I live. I’m in CA. Thanks. 🙂

      1. I can find them a lot around the holidays, actually. Also online. Definitely on Amazon!

  15. Can’t wait to try these, yay for fall, pumpkin everythinggg! Except it’s a billion degrees here in Texas :((
    So I recently made the Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies with Less Sugar and loved them. I’m glad they were less sugar because I pretty much ate the whole batch over 4 days. Oops. That was my first time baking with sucanat & I loved that deep molasses flavor & aroma & thought well this is perfect for fall baking! So I’m wondering if you think it would work just fine to replace the brown sugar in these with sucanat? Thanks so much Sally & Happy Anniversary! 

    1. Hi Corrie! What a great idea– I think the sucanat would be lovely in these cookies!

  16. Michelle Lightsey says:

    Just a thought, would it be possible to cook down the pumpkin puree on the stovetop, over medium for 6 to 8 minutes to reduce the liquid and concentrate the pumpkin flavor instead of blotting the mixture?  Its a technique I have previously used in order to make a Pumpkin Bread on ATK.

    1. That’s a great idea. I’ve never tried it, but feel like it could be perfect.

  17. 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!

  18. 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!

  19. 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.  

    1. Browning butter is so simple. All you do is stir it. I LOVE it in cookies! I’m so happy you loved these.

  20. Sally,

    fabulous recipe (as always!). As I was eating these, it dawned on me that an apple inspired version would be equally amazing for fall. How would you recommend transitioning this to an apple oatmeal cookie recipe? Most apple cookies are too cakey, and I would love to keep thewonderfully dense and chewy nature of these cookies.

    1. Hmm. I feel like that would require some testing! If you try anything, let me know. If I have a second, I can test things out too.

  21. Sally – these are the absolute best cookies I have ever had. I cannot even tell you how incredible these are. The brown butter really makes for a next-level cookie. Thank you so much for sharing all your discoveries and wisdom! I love reading your blog more than any other food thing on the interweb :).

    One thing I cannot get right, though, is maintaining the chewiness of the cookie when cutting down on the sugar. I used less than half the listed sugar amount and these were still plenty sweet to my taste. However, they are definitely a bit more cakey than I think they should be (are cakey cookies wrong?)

    P.S. A big congratulations for your new upcoming book – it is on my wishlist!

  22. Does the dough stay good in the freezer for three months like most of your other cookie recipes? Thanks!! 

    1. Sorry missed it in the notes but I found it now thanks!! So excited to try these!

  23. The best cookies.  I can’t believe they stayed soft and chewy.  Will definitely try your chocolate chip cookies.

  24. What exactly is pumpkin pie spice? Is that just the puréed pumpkin mixed with allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon?

    1. It’s a spice sold in the spice aisle. It’s basically a mix of nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice.

  25. Made these and they are absolutely amazing! One question — what are your thoughts on leaving these out of the fridge after icing? Does the icing have enough sugar that it will likely keep the milk from spoiling for a few days? Thank you for another great recipe!

    1. They’d be fine for a few days outside the fridge, I just recommend the fridge just in case 🙂

  26. Melissa @ Smells Like Brownies says:

    Good gosh, I just made these. They are hands down the best pumpkin cookies I’ve ever had. Thank you for working so hard to perfect the recipe!

    1. I’m thrilled you loved them, thanks for reporting back!

  27. Jenny From The Ranch says:

    Thank you!  Made the adjustments and made them gluten free. They turned out perfect! Thank You

  28. I’m completely obsessed with brown butter at the moment, and I love that you thought to pair it with pumpkin! Totally making these cookies this weekend!

    1. Hope you enjoy them Nichole!!

  29. 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.

    1. I’m so so so happy you loved them! And those are totally 4 of my favorites too.

  30. 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. 🙂

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