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. Hi! I’ve made so many of your recipes, & all have been delicious & a huge hit with my family (especially my grandchildren). I was wondering if putting the pumpkin in the fridge, in a strainer lined with cheesecloth (covered of course) overnight, or longer, would remove too much liquid?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michelle! We haven’t tested that so can’t say for sure, but I do fear that that method may rid the pumpkin of too much moisture. The blotting method detailed above is what has worked best for us. Let us know if you give it a try!

  2. Can cream cheese can be added to the cookie recipe? How would I go about it?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mia, these cookies are already very soft, so it would take some recipe testing to figure out how best to incorporate cream cheese into the cookies with good results. However, you could top them with the maple cream cheese icing from our soft pumpkin cookies instead!

  3. Taste is great however the cookies came out FLAT. Seems I can’t make a cookie that doesn’t flaten on my cookie pans. Why is that? I correctly measured all the ingredients!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Donna, we’re happy to help. There are many different reasons why cookies can come out flat — #2 “Prevent Excess Spreading” in this post should be helpful for troubleshooting. Thank you so much for giving this recipe a try!

  4. Can I add pecans to this?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emily, absolutely — we recommend about a cup of pecans.

    2. Hi Emily. I didn’t have cinnamon chips so I added 1 cup of pecans and they were wonderful.

      1. sorry want to clarify.. I made a very similar Sally recipe from her cookbook… which called for cinnamon chips (this recipe does not) and I put pecans in that and they were delicious. With the two recipes being so similar I bet they would be great in these too!

  5. Amazing! I almost skipped browning the butter for the icing and I’m so glad I didn’t. I’m going to dream of the brown butter icing all day.

    Thanks for always being so spot on with every recipe!

  6. Looking forward to trying this recipe, but I only have quick cook oats. Can I use quick cook oats instead or should I make these cookies once I get old-fashioned whole rolled oats? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kay, quick oats will work in a pinch, but for best texture, we recommend waiting until you have old-fashioned rolled oats!

  7. Is there a high altitude adjustment you recommend?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alison, I wish we could help, but have no experience baking at high altitude. Some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  8. These were drop dead delicious but the brown butter was a tad strong. How could I make these with non-browned butter instead? Melt it down to 8oz for the cookies and 2oz for the glaze?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      That’s exactly right!

    2. You can remove the butter before it gets too dark, maybe just a dark blonde instead of full browned butter, so cooking it on low until it stops bubbling up. I know the first time I made browned butter, I waited too long, and then the pan itself continued to cook the butter after removing it from the heat, and it went too dark and overpowered the other ingredients.

  9. Does it matter if the flour is bleached and pre-shifted?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      That should be fine!

  10. I looked up this recipe after seeing that Jennifer Garner made these on her YouTube channel. So glad I did! These were absolutely incredible. I LOVE the brown butter flavor and they were chewy! I was so very happy with the way they turned out and will be saving this recipe. I swapped out 2 Tbsp of the milk for 2 Tbsp of pure maple syrup in the glaze to give it maple flavor. Amazing!

  11. Made these this weekend and they’re good as gold! We ate them without icing too! Thank you.

  12. I loved this recipe, even with the tweaks I made, or because of the tweaks I made and it was still great! I didn’t have unsalted butter, so just browned some salted butter, and after letting it cool a bit, poured off the salted browned ghee for the cookie recipe, and left the saltier bits in the pan, and withheld the salt in the recipe itself. I used a silicone brush to brush on the icing, and then sprinkled a little pie spice and then some granules of sea salt on top. I think that put them over the top! Nothing says Fall like some nice pumpkin flavored cookies!

  13. I really want to like this recipe, but call me crazy I think there is too much butter (if there is a thing) I am a brown butter fan to the max, but can’t get over the oily taste in my mouth after eating them. Really throws off my pumpkin urge for this cookie.

  14. Elizabeth Post says:

    Made these today, and they were absolutely delicious! Perfection!

  15. Hi, could I use almond flour instead of all purpose flour?

    1. Hi Jan, I don’t recommend that substitution. Here are all of my recipes that use almond flour and here are naturally gluten free recipes if you’re interested in browsing either section.

    2. This recipe looks amazing. Before I try I need to see nutritional info to see if anything needs to be adjusted. I need to eat heart healthy so fat, sat fat, and sodium is extremely important for me. I can’t find any info on nutrition numbers. I would love to make these.

      1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Marly! We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

  16. Where do you get pumpkin purée & what is the difference from can pumpkin.

    1. Hi Sally, you can make homemade pumpkin puree or use canned pumpkin puree. A majority of bakers using this site use pumpkin puree you purchase in a can in the baking aisle, such as Libby’s brand. For a homemade pumpkin puree tutorial, there are plenty online and I’ve used this one: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/pumpkin-puree-recipe-1922629

      Canned is best in this recipe though.

  17. Not sure what I did wrong but my batch turned out bland. The family never turns down a cookie…but these are just sitting on the counter-uneaten. I bake all the time, so I’m not sure what happened.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kim, so sorry to hear that! With spices and brown butter, it’s hard to imagine these coming out bland. Did you make any changes to the recipe? Perhaps your cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice could be a bit old? That can make a big difference for flavor!

  18. could you substitute oat milk or almond milk for the icing? would that work?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Keilani, the icing will be a bit less rich, but that should work OK.

  19. Can you substitute banana for the pumpkin?

  20. I have made this recipe twice, the first time as written, and the second time with only one minor adjustment. We ate the first batch way too quickly, so I made them half the size the second time around, baking for 12 minutes instead of 14. They turned out perfectly and were much easier to store/save. Overall, great recipe!

  21. Made these today and they taste very good but I found that they spread quite a bit. Would chilling them for an hour or so hurt anything?

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Heather, For help troubleshooting cookies that spread, visit the post 10 Guaranteed Tips to Prevent Cookies from Spreading.

  22. Megan Tuttle says:

    One of the best oatmeal pumpkin cookies I have ever made!!! Do not, I repeat do not skip the browned butter , that is a game changer! The only thing I would change is I would double or triple the recipe, 25 is not enough!!!! Go make this now;)

  23. These are one of the best cookies I’ve ever had! My family and I loved them, and I thought they tasted even better the next day (especially with a cup of coffee!). Great recipe!

  24. Can you substitute maple syrup for the sugar

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Terie, we don’t recommend it — it would take some recipe testing in order to ensure good results with that swap since it’s not necessarily a 1:1 swap.

  25. How much butter do you start with for browning if you don’t want to make the icing? I never know since some cooks of while browning!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Julie, start with 1 cup of butter for the cookies only. Enjoy!

  26. Can I use salted butter and leave out the salt? I’m almost out of unsalted butter but really want to make these for my girls tonight. P.s. LOVE YOUR RECIPES. Love this website.

    1. Also which would be a better substitution, steel cut oats or instant oats? Thank you

      1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Cristine, quick oats will work in a pinch, but for best taste and texture we recommend waiting until you can get whole oats.

    2. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cristine, you can reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon and use the salted butter. Hope you enjoy these cookies!

  27. These cookies are magical! I’m sad I didn’t see the suggestion to add pecans until after I made them. Next time! I added just a small amount of cream cheese to the icing which made it thicker more like a frosting. These will be my fall seasonal go to cookies from now on.

  28. Dayna Cevallos says:

    I made these today and took them to work and came home with an empty container!

    Sooooo good! Thank you for sharing!

  29. I have to agree with the other review that said there’s too much brown butter flavor — something I thought impossible! The greasiness from the butter is disappointing and the flavor is delicious but unbalanced. The pumpkin and spices are totally lost to the brown butter, and I didn’t even brown it very dark. This is not a recipe I would try again or recommend, I’d skip and try another one of the pumpkin cookies

  30. Hey Sally,

    Could I replace the pumpkin puree for pumpkin butter? Bought it from a cider mill and have been wanting to use the pumpkin butter for something!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alexa, We recommend sticking to plain pumpkin puree here. Pumpkin butter is made with sugar and other flavors which makes it a delicious spread (like you would use jam or apple butter) but not ideal for using in a recipe.

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