Super Soft Pumpkin Cookies

These soft pumpkin cookies are thick and cakey with extra pumpkin spice flavor. The maple cream cheese icing is a delicious addition, but the cookies are just as wonderful plain. They’re quick, easy, and best of all– there’s no cookie dough chilling required! My advice is to blot the pumpkin puree to rid excess liquid and use a cookie scoop. 

pumpkin cookies with maple icing

Pumpkin cookies! The two most beautiful words in the baking language. Well, besides apple pie and chocolate cake.

Diving into the fall baking season feels so good this year and these pumpkin cookies are the best place to start. I’ve been perfecting cookie recipes for years and these, along with my pumpkin snickerdoodles, are some of my best. If you crave chocolate, my chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies use the same delicious cookie dough as the snickerdoodles. And if you prefer oats in your cookies, you will FLIP for my pumpkin oatmeal cookies.

Search my pumpkin recipes for more cookies because I’ve published A LOT.

stack of pumpkin cookies


Video Tutorial


Why You’ll Love These Pumpkin Cookies

  • Texture: Unlike my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies where we play with ingredients to produce a chewy cookie, today’s cookies are soft and cakey. They aren’t dense and chewy like a traditional cookie. I wouldn’t describe them as fluffy as a cake– probably closer to a muffin. (Like little muffin top cookies.)
  • Flavor: What they lack in chew/density, they make up for in flavor. By using extra cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and ground ginger, as well as using more brown sugar than regular white sugar, I guarantee these will be more flavorful than any traditional pumpkin cookie you’ve had before. We’ll also blot excess liquid out of the pumpkin so we’re left with more concentrated flavor.
  • Ease: No cookie dough chilling! They’ll go from mixing bowl to oven in minutes, which is especially helpful if you’re baking with kids or if you’re as impatient as I am.

Best Pumpkin Cookie Baking Tip

Blot the pumpkin puree. I discovered this trick when I worked on my pumpkin oatmeal cookies recipe. Pumpkin is a water-heavy ingredient. Its moisture is wonderful for quick breads and cakes, but not necessarily cookies. By removing some of the moisture, you’re left with dense and flavor-packed pumpkin without all of the excess liquid. (Think about it: you don’t usually put liquid in cookie dough, right?) Using a paper towel, blot out some of the pumpkin’s moisture. No need to squeeze it completely dry.

Blotting the pumpkin is actually one of my tricks to prevent a cakey tasting cookie. (See my chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.) Today’s pumpkin cookies are still going to be cakey because we’re using a lot of pumpkin. Still, ridding some of its moisture will improve the flavor and texture. Does this make sense?

blotting pumpkin with a paper towel

Overview: How to Make Soft Pumpkin Cookies

The full detailed instructions are provided below, but let me guide you through the process first. Start preheating that oven now!

  1. Blot the pumpkin. After ridding some moisture, you’ll have a little less than 1 and 1/2 cups of pumpkin– I usually have about 1 and 1/3 cups (315g). Using anywhere between 1.33 – 1.5 cups of pumpkin is fine.
  2. Get your oven preheated. Prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. I swear by these mats! You can learn more in my 5 Cookie Baking Tips video and here’s how to clean silicone baking mats.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients. You need flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Pumpkin pie spice contains cinnamon and ginger, but I like adding more of both and know you’ll enjoy the extra flavor too.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients. You need an electric mixer for this recipe. Cream the butter and sugars together, then add the egg. Next add a splash of maple syrup to help thin out the dough, a little vanilla extract, and your blotted pumpkin. Mixture will look a little curdled at this point. Don’t fret, that’s normal.
  5. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Dough is thick and sticky, so I strongly recommend using a cookie scoop. The medium size is perfect because each dough ball should be around 1.5 Tablespoons of dough.
  6. Bake until the edges appear set. And here’s my tip for cooling: the longer the cookies cool, the better their flavor. It’s nearly impossible to wait before tasting one but just know that the flavors intensify after a day.
  7. Prepare the icing. Icing is optional, but I definitely don’t regret adding it. See next!

pumpkin cookie dough in glass mixing bowl

pumpkin cookie dough balls on baking sheet

pumpkin cookies on cooling rack

cookies and maple cream cheese icing

Maple Cream Cheese Icing

The cookies are wonderfully flavorful on their own, but I wanted to see how they’d taste with a little accessory on top. I love pumpkin and cream cheese together (hello pumpkin cake), as well as pumpkin and maple together (hello pumpkin scones). I tested a hybrid cream cheese frosting/maple glaze topping and definitely don’t regret it! This maple cream cheese icing is phenomenal. Give the cookies a quick dip and taste for yourself.

Note: the icing doesn’t really set so if you want to stack/transport these pumpkin cookies, skip the icing.

pumpkin cookies with icing on top

These are honestly the only thing I want to eat for the entire fall season.

No Chill Cookies

In a rush? I usually am too. Here are all of my cookie recipes that don’t require any cookie dough chilling. Some favorites include:

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pumpkin cookies with icing on top

Super Soft Pumpkin Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes, plus cooling
  • Yield: 32 cookies
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These soft pumpkin cookies are thick and cakey with extra pumpkin spice flavor. The maple cream cheese icing is a delicious addition, but the cookies are just as wonderful plain. No cookie dough chilling required!


Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (340g) fresh or canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoonpumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup (170g; 1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I use and recommend dark)
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, milk, or orange juice (see note)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Maple Cream Cheese Icing (Optional)

  • 3 ounces (85g) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup
  • pinch ground cinnamon (about 1/8 teaspoon)

Instructions

  1. In this recipe, it’s best to use pumpkin that has had some moisture removed. Blot the pumpkin with paper towels to rid excess moisture. No need to squeeze it completely dry. I usually place it in a paper towel lined bowl and let the paper towel soak up some moisture. A clean kitchen towel works too, but the pumpkin can stain. After ridding some moisture, you’ll have a little less than 1 and 1/2 cups of pumpkin– I usually have about 1 and 1/3 cups (315g). Using anywhere between 1.33 – 1.5 cups of pumpkin is fine. Set aside until step 4. Or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. It can be cold when you add it to the dough.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and ginger together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and blotted pumpkin and mix on high until combined. Mixture will look a little curdled– that’s ok.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then mix on low speed until combined. Dough is thick and sticky. Scoop or roll cookie dough, around 1.5 Tablespoons of dough per cookie, and place 3 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until edges appear set. The centers will look soft. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The longer the cookies cool, the better their flavor– I like them best on day 2!
  7. Optional Icing: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Beat in the butter until combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, and a pinch of cinnamon (about 1/8 teaspoon), then beat on low speed until smooth and creamy. Taste. Add more cinnamon if desired. Dip the tops of the cooled cookies into icing or spread it onto each cookie with a knife.
  8. Cover leftover iced cookies tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Cookies without icing can be covered tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: To make ahead, you can cover and chill the cookie dough for up to 48 hours. Bring to room temperature before shaping into balls and baking. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before shaping into balls and baking. You can also freeze the cookie dough balls for up to 3 months. It’s best to thaw the dough balls and bring to room temperature before baking. Iced cookies or cookies without icing freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
  2. Pumpkin: Do not use pumpkin pie filling; use pure pumpkin puree. While using fresh pumpkin puree is fine, I always have better results with canned. You’ll need a little less than 1 standard 15 ounce can. No matter if you use fresh or canned, blot the pumpkin as directed in step 1.
  3. Spices: Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground allspice, and ground ginger. This is in addition to the cinnamon and ginger already called for in the recipe. I prefer these with extra ginger, but you can skip the additional 1/4 teaspoon if desired.
  4. Maple Syrup: The 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, milk, or orange juice are really just to help thin out the cookie dough. 2 teaspoons isn’t much, but it does help. I love using maple syrup, but milk or orange juice work too. Orange is excellent with pumpkin– see my pumpkin bread!
  5. Optional Add-Ins: Feel free to fold 1 and 1/2 cups of chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or dried cranberries into the dough after you mix the wet and dry ingredients together.

Keywords: pumpkin cookies, pumpkin spice, cookies

105 Comments

  1. Angella Babineau says:

    Can you substitute gluten free flour and have the same result?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Angella, we haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flours, but you could try using a 1:1 flour substitutes (like Cup4Cup). If you try it, let us know how it goes!

      1. For our family, these cookies turned out fantastic using both King Arthur’s 1:1 substitute for wheat flour and Bob’s Mills GF 1:1 Baking flour (we ran out of one so had to open another bag)! However, the consistency was more cake-like then a traditional cookie. I didn’t add the 1/4 ginger based on the notes but next time, I definitely will and maybe a tad more pumpkin spice. We love all your recipes on this site. Thank you for taking the time to post!

  2. I added about 1/2 cup of butterscotch morsels and they were absolutely delicious! I was craving an easy, quick pumpkin dessert and these were exactly what I “needed”

  3. Omg these cookies are amazing! So soft and full of flavor. My daughter wanted to make pumpkin cookies today and that is what we did. I love how you say you like these best on day 2 – you have more self control then me! I couldn’t wait that long to eat them. I could barely wait for them to get out of the oven haha!

    We used fresh pumpkin in ours. Next time I think I am going to try them with cheese pumpkin – it doesn’t taste like cheese lol. I bought one from a farm stand because the farmer told me they are great in pies and that is the only one she uses. I bet they would be great in these cookies too!

  4. Cheryl cassidy says:

    Can you substitute pancake syrup for maple syrup thank you

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cheryl, that can work in a pinch since we’re using it to help thin out the batter a bit, but note that it is not as flavorful as pure maple syrup. Milk or orange juice would also work.

  5. My boyfriend found these to be WAY too sweet. So sweet that you can’t even taste the pumpkin. We did sub oil for butter but almost always do this with great results. I would cut sugar 25% if I were to make these again. Almost as much sugar as flour seems like too much..

  6. Hello Sally,
    I just made this cookie dough recipe and I placed it in the fridge to chill overnight as I plan on baking it tomorrow morning.
    I wanted to know if I will need to allow the cookie dough to sit out of the fridge for any length of time prior to rolling and baking it?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessica, Yes you should bring this dough to room temperature before shaping into balls and baking. Enjoy!

  7. Hello Stephanie,
    How long should I have my chilled cookie dough batter sit on the counter to be brought to room temperature prior to rolling and baking it?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      It really depends on the air temperature where you are but usually an hour or two is fine! You don’t want the dough to be too hard to scoop.

  8. How many cookies does this recipe yield?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      About 32 cookies – enjoy!

  9. Taryn Hristova says:

    Yum, just took these out of the oven and couldn’t help having on. They are so good already and I need to restrain myself and wait for them to cool!

  10. Do u cook the fresh pumpkin for this first?

  11. Debbie Wright says:

    Would adding an extra egg help soften the dough instead of adding the syrup or milk?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Debbie, we don’t recommend it — adding the extra egg would impact the overall texture of the cookie. For best results, we recommend sticking to the recipe as written.

  12. I made these cookies yesterday, and this recipe is a winner! I substituted pumpkin pie spice blend for the cinnamon and nutmeg. Thanks for the recipe. I will be making these again, for sure.

  13. Valerie Hicks says:

    Why do we need to blot the pumpkin if we’re just going to add moisture back in later with the maple syrup? Wouldn’t the moisture in the pumpkin thin it out sufficiently?

  14. This turned to be a lot more work and output than I was ready for, but results are good,

    I made some changes:
    2 cups oar flour, 1 cup coconut flour
    I cup Brown stevia crystals (with molasses), 3/4 cup Stevia baking crystals
    Used cardamom because had no ground cloves
    To make the batter more moist, added 4 Oz unsweetened apple sauce

    Trying this out for qhusbqnd with mouth problems who needs a soft tasty something to take with meds.

    Cookies also got 1/2 bag of Lily choc chips (no sugar), and walnut and pecan pieces pressed into cookie before baking

  15. Literally the best cookies I have ever made and I am an idiot. Thank you so much!

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