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. What’s the best way to store them after baking? They are still a little sticky.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Barbara, Is it the icing that is sticky? It will set after a couple of hours and then you can stack them to store them. You can store them in an airtight container like a tupperware container and if you wish you can place piece of parchment paper between the layers to be sure they don’t stick to each other.

  2. Joan Heilbronner says:

    Can these be frozen with icing, or should I wait to add it when ready to serve?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Joan, these can be frozen with or without icing, whichever you prefer and is easiest for you. If freezing them with icing, place the cookies on a baking sheet (or plate) in the freezer until the icing sets. Then, layer them in a container with parchment or plastic wrap between each cookie layer, and place that entire container in the freezer.

  3. So so so good, yummy and unique…. Everyone I have given them to just loves them.

  4. Hello! Made these and they were so delicious! I loved the taste. Have gotten family asking to make them again but with no pumpkin. Do you have any suggestions for this or another recipe close to this but without the pumpkin? Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Patrica, We’d recommend the Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies. Just let the browned butter cool and solidify first. You can also omit the chocolate chips if you prefer. Let us know if you give it a try!

  5. Judy Milewski says:

    Have you tried substituting canola oil for half of the butter? Do you think it would work?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Judy! We suggest sticking with the brown butter in this recipe. Oil tends to make cookies much too greasy and lacking flavor.

  6. You are amazing. I was dreaming of browned butter and pumpkin because I miss the fall. Thank you!

  7. These look so good. Bc I love bourbon and brown butter, I was thinking about adding some bourbon to the flavor profile (not that it’s needed I just love baking with bourbon). Any suggestions on where I should add it?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amy, we haven’t tried it ourselves, but you could add it in step five when mixing all the other wet ingredients. Start off small, so that you’re not adding too much additional liquid to the dough, and then adjust for future batches. Let us know how it goes!

  8. Is the glaze considered shelf stable? Do you need to refrigerate or can the cookies stay at room temp after glazing? These look amazing!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amy, we recommend storing the iced cookies in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Hope you’ll give them a try!

  9. Has anyone tried icing these with the maple cream cheese icing from the soft pumpkin cookie recipe?

    1. Yes! One of my favorites. In case anyone wants to try, here is the soft pumpkin cookies recipe where you can find that frosting.

  10. Saw Jennifer Garner and her mom make these cookies and I cannot wait to make them with my granddaughter!

  11. Do you have a recommendation on an eggless version of the browned butter pumpkin cookies?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Iris, we haven’t tried any egg substitutes in this recipe. If you do, let us know how it goes! Or you might enjoy our Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, which do not include an egg.

  12. I would love to make this, however I need a dairy free adaptation. Any recommendations on substitutes for the butter? Usually we do 1:1 sub with Vegan Buttery sticks (margarine), however I’m wondering about the browning step. Thanks in advance for your advice!

    1. Hi Jamie, I’m really unsure about that. My team and I have only tested this recipe using butter. I’ve only worked with vegan butter substitute a handful of times, so I’m not equipped to give the best advice on that swap for this recipe. Perhaps try melted coconut oil instead? Skip the browning step.

  13. Delicious!! Has anyone used these for Whoopie pies??

  14. Just made these today .. along with your vanilla cupcakes (a fav!)
    These cookies scream fall and are so yummy! I’m so glad I tried them. I hesitated because of the browned butter but you made it so easy to follow. I just drizzled the icing over them though. Thinking of trying with white chocolate chips next time.
    Thx for your recipes Sally! You’ve helped me to love baking/cooking.

  15. I only have quick oatmeal, not old fashioned. Will the amount need to be changed or any other changes to accommodate the quick oats?

    1. Hi Kate, those will work in a pinch. No other changes to the recipe necessary.

  16. Delicious! The icing is a must. They taste like Fall – pumpkin and spice!

  17. Made these today. Came out great, despite my accidental use of the egg white instead of the yolk. The icing is delicious, but I’m looking forward to the next time I make them correctly with egg yolk and will try one of the variations, without the icing, as it is very sweet!

  18. Best fall cookie! Absolutely delish 10/10. Made them egg free by leaving them out and skipping the blotting of the pumpkin purée part. Turned out perfect.

  19. Christi Franks says:

    These cookies are outstanding! I’ve made them with AP flour and then just this morning made them using King Arthur measure for measure gluten free flour and they’re still outstanding! The browned butter is a game changer. Thanks for another fantastic cookie recipe to add to my favorites!

  20. Samantha Stewart says:

    For someone with an egg allergy, Can you leave out the egg yolk?
    Thanks!!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Samantha, we haven’t tested this recipe with any egg substitutes, but let us know if you give anything a try. Or you might enjoy our Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies instead, which don’t require any eggs.

    2. Hi Samantha! I found this post from Erin from 9/18/21:
      Best fall cookie! Absolutely delish 10/10. Made them egg free by leaving them out and skipping the blotting of the pumpkin purée part. Turned out perfect.
      ★★★★★
      Hopefully this helps! Good luck & happy baking!!

  21. These are so good as promised! Received rave reviews from everyone who has tried them. Can’t wait to bake another batch soon.

  22. Just a comment/question on the cookies not spreading… mine did ALOT!
    why would this be?
    I ended up with giant cookies bahahaha

  23. Fantastic, a new family favorite! Mine turned out exactly as pictured. Thanks for the weight measurements, so helpful!!

  24. I made these yesterday. They were so good. Past tense because they are already gone! I can’t wait to make them again. The flavor is delicious.

  25. These were delicious! My family and I blew through the entire batch in about 24 hours. I could not stop eating them! Can’t wait to make them again.

  26. Carmen Christie says:

    Fantastic! One of the best cookies I have ever had. Everyone loves them and I have already shared the recipe several times. This certainly looks like the ones Jennifer Garner just made on her “pretend cooking show” which is why I tried them. Baked up just as described. Will incorporate these tips in other recipes. Great work!

  27. One of the best cookies I have made in a long time. I couldn’t stop eating them.

  28. I’m curious: why doesn’t this recipe call for the whole egg, just the yolk? An egg is very important as a baking ingredient and I hesitate making these with only “1/2” of the egg. Just wanted to know why this recipe specifically only uses the yolk?
    thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Diana, pumpkin also acts like an egg in cookie dough. In some pumpkin recipes, this means we don’t need an egg at all (like in our 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. Hope you enjoy the cookies!

  29. This is the second recipe I’ve tried from this website and both were spot on delicious! Measurements were perfect and the flavors yummy. I love to bake and enjoy trying new recipes but hate when they don’t turn out—so disappointing and an expensive mistake—not with Sally’s! These will be going with me to our family reunion.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you so much for your positive feedback, Cate! We’re so happy to hear that you’re enjoying our recipes. Happy baking!

  30. I made these for my coworkers and they all loved them. When I tasted them right after baking, I was a little hesitant to bring them to work. But these cookies are amazing the next day! The flavors really melded together and tasted like fall. Perfect for the first day of fall!

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