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. I thought these cookies were good but to be honest, would never know that there was pumpkin in them if I didn’t make them myself. Texture was nice, but honestly don’t see why these are any better or different from regular oatmeal cookies.

    1. Kari Henrikson says:

      I agree. I was up for a nice pumpkin flavor but they didn’t deliver. Otherwise, they were tasty with the spices.

  2. I made these yesterday for a bible study group that came to my place and they were a big hit. However they spread-like ALOT. Not cute and dense like yours. Any idea what I did wrong? I even browned the butter perfectly and used fresh baking soda. Honestly all my cookies are doing that lately chilled dough or not 🙁

    1. Hi Michelle! So you’ve been noticing that your cookies lately have been over-spreading? What type of baking sheet are you using? Do you use a silicone baking mat? I highly prefer them as the nonstick surface grips onto the cookie, helping to prevent excess spreading. Make sure it’s super clean and grease-free. You can also try adding 3-4 additional Tbsp of flour– this will help bulk up and solidify the dough so the cookies can hold their shape a little better in the oven.

      1. Hi Sally! So I do not use silicone baking mats as Im not completely convinced of their safety (offgassing etc) from the research Ive done. I use regular baking sheets with non stick foil although technically Im not so convinced of the safety of foil either but its the best I can do for now. Doing the best for our (my kids & I) health is pretty important to me. As far as the extra tablespoons of flour-I never thought of that. I will definitely give that a try. Hopefully that helps and thank you!

      2. Michelle – Have you tried parchment paper for a liner instead? I just started using it for some items (when I don’t want to clean the silicone baking mat or scrub pans). It works well.

  3. Hey Monica! I measure the pumpkin after it’s been squeezed/blotted.

    1. I just read this comment after reading the blog post and putting the cookies in the oven. In the post above you say “measuring your pumpkin puree and then squeezing moisture out with a paper towel is a trick that WORKS”. So, I measured out the pumpkin, then blotted it as it said. Here in the comment you are saying to blot then measure. Which one is correct? I’ve already made the cookies, so perhaps this batch will be a bust but I would like to do it correctly the next time.

      1. Hi Cle! Blot, then measure. Sorry for the confusion!

  4. Loving pumpkin recipes these days. Adding these to the list of things to bake.

  5. This has been my favorite go-to Fall cookie recipe for several years now! I LOVE them and everyone always asks me for the recipe!

    1. I’m so happy you enjoy these so much, Anna!

  6. Sally, I love your blog and refer to it for recipes often. I have to say this has to be my favorite cookie recipe yet!!! I’ve never browned butter before…WOW, it was amazing!!

    1. What a nice comment to read today! Thank you so much for reporting back, Nicole.

  7. I made these today and thought they tasted great. The texture was very soft though. Are they supposed to be a soft cookie? Thanks

    1. Soft and chewy, yes!

  8. Toni Pescatore says:

    I just made these cookies. The dough wasn’t sticky and they didn’t spread at all. I followed everything perfectly so I’m not sure what went wrong. They taste fine.

  9. Just took a bite out of the first batch to come out of the oven and they are SO AMAZING! Soft, held together perfectly, spread only slightly… delicious! Can’t wait to make these again and again.

  10. Going to make these cookies this morning. My pumpkin had been frozen from last year and I am employing the technique that America’s Test Kitchen recommends for their pumpkin bread. Instead of squeezing the pumpkin, one cooks it on the stove until the excess moisture is released. Works great and the only other factor is letting it cool down afterwords before mixing in. My family also prefers a lemon sugar glaze on pumpkin oatmeal choc chip cookies; contrast of sweet and sour.

  11. I made these cookies last night and they are fabulous. I freeze my own pumpkin puree, which contains more water than the canned version. Draining was necessary and a snap using the stainless steel whey separator for turning yogurt into “cream cheese”. I think the resulting puree still had more moisture than the canned versions.

    I followed the recipe faithfully and created 42 iced cookies. Browning the butter was a real flavor boost. BTW, I used Silpat sheet liners with great results.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience making my pumpkin cookie recipe!

  12. The best. I made these for Thanksgiving with my family and they were a perfect autumnal treat!

  13. I have made this an LOVE IT. Although I need to make it again for a pumpkin fan that is allergic to eggs. Do you have a suggestion.?

  14. I have made these before-amazing! I’m actually baking them for an event (summer, I know!! But highly requested) in 10 days. Can I freeze the cookies WITH the glaze on them since I am making them more than a week in advance?

    1. Hi Erin! For best results I recommend freezing the baked cookies and icing them prior to serving.

  15. These are amazing!!! Full of pumpkin flavor and plotting the pumpkin was Genius!!! The brown butter frosting on top was perfect!! Thank you for sharing this recipe!!! ❤️

  16. We love, love, love these cookies – made them twice this week and came out perfect everytime! Hello Fall – my favorite time of year!

  17. Made these today for the first time. Wondering if it is truly necessary to brown the butter for the cookies themselves. Would save me a lot of time in my bakery if this step could be avoided. Thank you for your reply.

    1. You don’t need to brown the butter – but I love the extra layer of flavor the brown butter gives these cookies and makes them extra special!

  18. I just made these for a family get together in a few weeks. I tasted one and it was delicious especially using the browned butter. I have never done that before but I will in the future. I hope th ey freeze well and that is what I am going to do.

  19. Hi! I made these and loved them so much. My only note is that I basically used a whole can of pumpkin puree (425 g can of Market Pantry brand) since you said to measure AFTER squeezing. I squeezed the crap out of that pumpkin puree and if anyone plans to do the same, make sure you have a whole can on hand (:

  20. I made these today and have to say I loved them. Made them according to the recipe except for baking 3-4 minutes longer and adding pumpkin spice to the frosting. Perfect cookies for fall.

  21. The cookies themselves came out fabulous but I had to skip the icing b/c it broke when I added the milk to the sugar/butter mixture and resulted in a lumpy mess. No matter what I did (playing around with adding more milk and sugar), it was irreparable. Any pointers for next time to avoid this? I made the brown butter in advance like the recipe suggested and let it sit on the counter in a glass measuring cup while I made the cookies.

    1. Hi Andrea! So glad you tried and enjoyed these cookies. For the icing for next time, make sure the brown butter in the icing is still melted. Room temperature milk will combine more easily with the liquid butter and you shouldn’t have an issue with anything separating.

    2. Tessa Hetherington says:

      You put confectioner sugar and not granulated sugar right?

  22. Robyn Moeller says:

    Nicely spiced and soft without being too cakey. Browned butter really come through in the icing and complemented the cookie. The recipe notes were so helpful and much appreciated.

  23. Awesome cookies! I added pecans and instead of vanilla in the icing I used maple extract.

  24. I made a double batch of these today…chilled the dough first and the baking and cooling times were spot on. (Perhaps made them a bit smaller.) Also, I did not frost them but added the new Pumpkin Spice M&M’s (which are a little overwhelming to just eat, but perfect as a cookie addition)! Definitely a keeper recipe!

  25. I made these tonight. Just absolutely delicious. I did add chopped walnuts. I had to remind my husband that these are not diet cookies, so lay off. He is going nuts for these.

  26. Ms. Sally. My, oh my! These look divine. I have all my ingredients set out and measured right now. Currently, I am making these to take across the United States for Thanksgiving and I have a question. I did read your tips on how to freeze, but I’m curious about the icing. Can I ice these and let them set in the freezer laying on a cookie sheet and then layer them in a container to put in the freezer? Or what should I do? Any advice is GREATLY APPRECIATED!

    1. Hi Fin, Yes that is exactly what I would do to freeze them after they are iced! I hope you love them!

  27. These are very delicious cookies with a great chewy and moist texture. The pumpkin flavor is not strong (you might not know there was pumpkin in it) – however, pumpkin itself does not have a strong flavor. They taste more like a traditional oatmeal cookie down to the glaze on top, with a lot of flavor from the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, etc.).

    I made this with homemade pumpkin purée. I wrapped it in cheesecloth, put it in a strainer, and put something heavy on top to squeeze the moisture out. Homemade pumpkin purée is more watery than canned, which is quite dense; a lot more moisture will squeeze out. I actually ended up having to make a ½ recipe because once I weighed the pumpkin after squeezing, it was only about 100 grams. I also added about ⅓ cup dried cranberries, ⅓ cup chopped walnuts, and ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips. This really made it exactly the kind of cookie I was looking for, full of mix-ins and flavor. You can also call this cookie… kinda sorta healthy? I mean, it has oats and pumpkin and fruit and nuts!

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed these cookies, Tessa! Love that you were able to use fresh purée and your add-ins sound delicious 🙂 Thanks for your positive feedback!

  28. Yum! Very good cookie. I added chopped walnuts and raisins and totally left out the white sugar only using the brown sugar. My “big kid” hardly let them cool! Caught him sneaking back to get more. Which is fine, I made them for him. I’ll be making these again. Thanks for the recipe.

  29. one of the best cookie recipes I’ve ever made!

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