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. These are some of the best cookies I have ever made. I made the recipe exactly as stated and baked them in a convection oven (25 degrees lower) for 14 minutes. They were perfect. No need to visit Crumbl cookies because these are way better!! DO NOT SKIP the brown butter!!

  2. I used cultured unsalted butter, other than that followed exactly! The cultured butter gave the frosting a tang like cream cheese! So good.

  3. These are really good. An asterisk needs to be put by the Pumpkin Puree regarding squeezing & the squeezed amount has to measure 1 cup. People read ingredients & don’t get to the bottom & notes until all is done. So it should state in ingredients 1 cup squeezed dry Pumpkin Puree. Then see Note on how to squeeze. The paper towel in 4 layers works great. Of course you have to do many times in 4 layers for each batch to add up to a cup. Also the icing needs a lot less confectioners sugar it was very sweet. That’s something a baker has to play with.

  4. Really good cookies, the brown butter In the frosting is the BEST, you can really taste the nutty flavor there! Great for Fall/Thanksgiving and with all the oats and pumpkin, I can give to grandkids without feeling too guilty!

  5. Love these cookies …wondering if you could add a cup of fresh chopped apples to the
    batter to add a little fruit goodness …

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Christie! Fresh apples could be a bit too moist for these pumpkin oatmeal cookies. You may love our apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies instead!

  6. These were quite delicious but I have a question about the recipe is the total amount of brown butter in the recipe 2 1/4 sticks?‘s the first time I made them I must’ve read it wrong and only use two sticks. The next time I made them I used the larger amount but the door was very moist and they were more cake like So Iwanted to clarify?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Christy! The total amount of butter needed for the recipe (cookies and glaze) is 1 and 1/4 cups. 1 cup (2 sticks) goes into the cookies themselves and 1/4 cup goes into the glaze. See step 1 for details!

  7. I made them without browning the butter. So delicious & moist!

  8. Maybe I was in a particular mood for these flavors? But, kid you not, I feel these are in the top 3 of THE TASTIEST COOKIES I’ve ever made. The browned butter is magic; the icing irresistible. I prepared as written but used a small cookie scoop, about 1 Tbs, which baked for 9 mins and yielded about 4 dozen perfectly poppable cookies. Sat down right after and made a list of people I can’t wait to share these with. Thank you, Sally!

    1. So nice to read today! Thank you Lulu!

  9. Everyone loved these cookies! In the past week I’ve made 3 batches and have a request for another. I didn’t make any changes to the recipe and I like that I didn’t need to pull out my big mixer to make.

  10. Renee Hammond says:

    Sally I absolutely adore these cookies. My neighbor made them first from watching Jennifer Garner make them. When she made them her cookies were very caramel and crunchy like. Ever since I’ve had her cookies I’ve been trying to make mine more caramel and crunchy. Although, mine are delicious, they are very cake. Do you have any tips on how to make them more crunchy . FYI Everybody I make them for absolutely loves them

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Renee! We’re so glad you enjoy this recipe – we loved that video Jennifer Garner made as well. These aren’t meant to be a crunchy cookie, but you could try baking for longer to get more crisp edges. And blotting the pumpkin is key to avoiding a cakey cookie as well (see recipe notes for details).

  11. These are phenomenal. The chew is to die for. I left off the icing and added pecans and dried cranberries. Yum. They’ll be great no matter how you adorn them. Best baking blog!

  12. Hi,
    How do you think these cookies will hold up in place of the regular oatmeal cookies in the oatmeal pumpkin creme pie recipe?
    Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Claire, these cookies are nice and soft and would be delicious with the oatmeal creme pie filling sandwiched between two!

  13. These cookies are delicious! They have great texture and great taste! They have just the right amount of everything!❤️

  14. Hi! Trying to understand why these cookies spread too thin? Followed recipe and even attempted to seperate batches: 1st batch pressed down to flatten cookies as directed and second batch did not flatten the dough- tried to plop on baking sheet more vertical to get better height. Any idea why these may have spread so thin ?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jenna, We are happy to help! If you try again, 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. For even more troubleshooting tips you can see this post on How to Prevent Cookies from Spreading.

  15. Ronni Estrada says:

    Can almond flour be substituted for the all purpose flour?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ronni, We don’t recommend almond flour as it has very different baking properties and is not always a 1:1 swap. We haven’t tested it, but you might have success experimenting with a gluten-free all-purpose flour like Bob’s Red Mill or Cup4Cup. If you give anything a try, we’d love to know how it goes for you!

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