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. 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!

    1. Thank you so much for ordering my book! I hope you enjoy the recipes, especially the new ones. Thanks for reporting back about these cookies 🙂

  2. 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!

    1. WHAT a compliment!!

  3. I, too, have found that draining pumpkin puree before using makes a difference to the finished product.  Every fall I make my own roasted pumpkin puree and freeze it in measured 2 cup portions. I use a different technique for draining.  A few hours before baking I thaw the puree in a sieve, which gets rid of most of the liquid. Then I scoop the drained puree into a colander lined with 2 coffee filters and let it sit for awhile. The filters absorb any residual moisture.  I’ve found them to be more effective than paper towels, and not as messy! 

    1. Thanks for the tip! Another reader suggested something like this. Now I’ll definitely give it a try!

  4. 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.

    1. This is the way to celebrate FALL! I honestly don’t know which cookies I like better. Do you have a favorite?

  5. These are so good! I’ve gotten rave reviews from everyone who’s tried them !

  6. 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. 

  7. 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. 🙂

  8. Hello there 🙂 Since we do not have pumpkin puree in my country, can I use regular shredded pumpkin, sauteed a bit over the fire into a thick consistency? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Margita! You can use fresh pumpkin puree. Here is a helpful tutorial for making it at home: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/make-your-own-pumpkin-puree/

      1. Sounds great, thanks for the help! 🙂

  9. 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

  10. 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. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to report back about them!

  11. 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!

    1. Tammie, I’m so glad you tried browning the butter and loved it!! It’s kind of life changing once you realize you can do it 😉

  12. 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 😀 

    1. Your version sounds absolutely wonderful. Thank you for reporting back!

  13. 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!! 

  14. I am going to try these in just about an hour. Giving them to the kids bus driver and teachers. I am excited to try browning butter!

  15. 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!!!

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

  18. 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!

  19. Some variations: I decided to squeeze the moisture out of the pumpkin and THEN measure it to one cup (228g), rather than measuring one cup and then squeezing moisture out. My cookies turned out nice and crunchy, and the pumpkin wasn’t overwhelming.

    I think that you should add a step in the actual instructions to “squeeze moisture out of pumpkin” instead of relying only on the footnotes/blog post for that important step. If/When I make these again I will probably reduce the sugar because they are SOO sweet.

  20. 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!

  21. Vanessa Mueller says:

    I see that many of your fall recipes contain pumpkin puree and I am having a heck of a time finding pumpkin puree. Any suggestions? I understand that you don’t recommend using canned pumpkin? Thank you!

    1. Canned pumpkin is pumpkin purée 🙂 That’s what I use for all my pumpkin recipes.

  22. Bet @ Bet On Dinner says:

    Oh, yum. These were fantastic. Mine spread out quite a bit and were soft and bendy, but I just slopped the glaze on top and spread it out! 😉 I made them for a group of college students and they got devoured. I’ll definitely make these again!

  23. 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!

  24. A tip for poorly homogenizing glazes: mix together the sugar and browned butter first…THEN add tbsp of milk one at a time, whisking after each addition, then add vanilla. Use a WHISK or mini whisk to mix…so that it has the best chance of most even incorporation. It’s delicious enough to be worth knowing how to make it. Really.

    My issue is with the dough turning into flat puddles of cookies instead if rising at all. Would the incorporation of baking powder help? I live in Colorado so basically everything is against me here for anything rising properly but I have made many of your recipes otherwise without the altitude affecting them.

    PS Congratulations on your new cookbook and your new bundle of joy! Much love to you & your family.

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

  26. What a fabulous cookie recipe!  I used the pumpkin that I had leftover from your pumpkin roll that I baked.  I plan on serving them on Thanksgiving so I only tasted one and froze the rest before icing them.  Oh my gosh…these are the best!  To drain the extra liquid from the pumpkin, I put a coffee filter in a small sieve and just placed it over a bowl.  Then I used a few paper towels to squeeze off the rest that was on top of the pumpkin.  Worked perfectly and wasn’t messy.  Can’t wait to make the brown butter icing to top them off!

  27. Sally, do you think these would work pressed into a pan in bar cookie/blonde form? I’m making a dessert for a group this weekend and bars feel easier but ever since I made these I’ve been craving them! (I know you’re snuggling that sweet baby so no pressure to respond – I may just wing it!!)

    1. Hi Bet! Cookie bars could definitely work, though I’m not sure which size pan would be appropriate. Perhaps a 9×9 square pan or an 11×7 pan. I’m unsure of the bake time.

  28. Heather Reyes says:

    Hi Sally! Should this batter be chilled before baking? I know it’s recommended for all cookies, but I wasn’t sure if the rule was different for browned/melted butter versus creamed butter. I’ve made these twice now and I had quite an issue with spreading….more like pancakes than cookies! But regardless they are amazing and my coworkers loved them all the same. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you for all you bake 🙂

    1. Hi Heather! This cookie dough does NOT need to be chilled, though you can certainly stick it in the fridge for at least an hour if you are noticing spreading issues. I’m so glad that you and your coworkers love them!

  29. If I freeze the unbaked cookie dough balls, should I thaw them before baking, or bake them frozen like you do with your chocolate chip cookies?

    1. Hi Kim, No need to thaw! You can bake them frozen just like you do with the chocolate chip cookies 🙂

  30. These are unbelievably delicious & the recipe worked out perfectly for me. I really patted down the pumpkin a lot and I loved the resulting texture.

    I think the scoop I own is slightly smaller so I got about 2.5 dozen cookies and took a minute off the bake time.

    They really don’t *need* the glaze but boy is it good. I swapped vanilla extract for maple this time to make it extra Fall-ish. I will definitely be making these a LOT.

    1. These sound SO good with maple glaze!!

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