I’ve perfected the BEST recipe for pumpkin cookies! Mine is perfectly chewy (and not cakey thanks to my tips!), full of festive Fall flavor, and drizzled with a thin layer of sweet vanilla glaze. You’re going to love this one (no mixer needed!)! As always, recipe includes a how-to video!
A Truly Chewy Pumpkin Cookie
Another recipe that you can thank Zach for 😂! If you guys recall from my pumpkin bread, all of the pumpkin recipes around here are carefully designed to suit his tastes because I’m not much of a pumpkin fan! Despite that I did eat approximately one dozen of these pumpkin cookies on my own, so I think there’s something to be said for that.
These are truly delicious, even I have to admit it. They’re soft and chewy and the pumpkin flavor shines through, beautifully enhanced by pumpkin spice and complemented by that beautiful vanilla glaze. They’re easy to make, no mixer needed, and while they do require a bit of chilling they’re so worth the wait.
Let’s get to that recipe!
What You Need
Our ingredient list is pretty simple, standard cookie ingredients with a Fall flavor (spy that pumpkin and pumpkin spice?).
You might notice the corn syrup up there, it doesn’t go in the cookies! It’s an ingredient I love to use in my glaze, though you can leave it out if needed (more on that a bit later on).
Tip: Make sure you buy canned pumpkin and not “pumpkin pie mix”. The ingredient list should be 100% pumpkin. Pie mixes have other additives that will make your pumpkin cookies turn out not-so-great.
How to Keep Pumpkin Cookies From Being Cakey
Cakey-ness has no place in my cookie recipes. A good pumpkin cookie should be soft and chewy, but (frustratingly) this can be difficult to achieve.
This is because pumpkin is mostly water. And all that extra water fluffs up the dough, making for a thick and cakey crumb. This is great if we’re making pumpkin cupcakes, but not so much for cookies.
So what’s a chewy cookie lover to do? Simple, we eliminate some extra moisture. I tackle this two different ways with this recipe:
- I reduce the moisture from the batter in other ways by reducing the liquid from the eggs. We’ll use a single egg yolk (which will help to bind the cookies together and make them tender) but will not be using any of the egg white (which is largely water and contributes to a cakier cookie).
- I blot the pumpkin. This is a simple technique I’ve used before in my pumpkin scones. To do this, simply measure your pumpkin into a small dish and then use a whole bunch of folded up paper towels and one at a time blot out as much moisture as you can from the pumpkin.
Tip: To keep the pumpkin cookies soft and chewy, you want them to be slightly under-baked and to finish baking all the way on the cookie sheet. Cook them for too long and they’ll be harder and crispier.
A Simple Vanilla Glaze
These pumpkin cookies are great with or without the glaze, but I love the addition. You can drizzle it over the cookies (super easy) but I like to dip their slightly crackly surfaces into the icing. It complements the flavor beautifully (and they end up looking much like my iced oatmeal cookies!). It uses corn syrup to make the frosting glossy and beautiful, but see my FAQ section if you want to leave it out.
It’s also essentially foolproof (which I love). The consistency should be thin enough that it drizzles in a ribbon off the whisk, but thick enough that it holds its shape for a second or two before dissolving back into the bowl.
Too thin? Just add more sugar (a spoonful at a time). Too thick? A splash more milk will do the trick (a teaspoon at a time).
Tip: Make sure the pumpkin cookies cool completely before dipping in the glaze. They’re very soft and a bit fragile when still warm. If they’re not cooled completely they will bend and break from the weight of the frosting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. It will take an hour or two for the icing to dry completely through, but it will dry hard (not break-your-teeth hard, but firm enough to stack the cookies). It’s very similar to the frosting that I use for my favorite sugar cookies.
Store leftover pumpkin cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Yes! You can freeze after baking in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
You can also make the dough, scoop it into balls, wrap the balls individually in plastic wrap and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When baking from frozen, cookies may need an extra minute or 2 (or 3!) in the oven.
So many people see corn syrup and immediately balk at it, so first I’d like to remind you that corn syrup is not the same as high fructose corn syrup!
With that being said… Yes, you can leave it out. The glaze won’t be quite as shiny and pretty or dry as firmly, but you can leave it out. Most likely you will need a splash or two more milk to compensate for the missing liquid.
More Recipes You Might Like
Enjoy! I can’t wait to hear how you like my recipe for chewy pumpkin cookies! Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think when you try them!
Let’s bake together! Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter melted and cooled for at least 15 minutes
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cup (300 g) light brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup (165 g) pumpkin puree blotted (130g after blotting) ¹see notes in recipe for instructions on blotting)
- 3 cups (375 g) all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice click the link for instructions to make homemade pumpkin pie spice
- 1 ½ cups (190 g) powdered sugar
- 1 ½ -2 Tablespoons milk
- 1 Tablespoons light corn syrup²
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine melted, cooled butter and sugars in a large bowl and stir well.1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar, 1 ½ cup (300 g) light brown sugar
- Add pumpkin, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and stir to combine.1 large egg yolk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, ⅔ cup (165 g) pumpkin puree
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin spice until well-mixed.3 cups (375 g) all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¾ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Gradually add dry ingredients to wet (I do this in 3-4 parts) stirring until ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes.
- Once dough has nearly finished chilling, preheat oven to 350F (175C) and prepare cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper. Once oven is preheated, remove dough from the fridge and scoop by 1 ½ Tablespoon-sized scoops. If desired, roll into a smooth round ball.
- Bake on 350F (175C) for 13-15 minutes and allow to cool completely on baking sheet before adding glaze (if using).
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla extract until smooth and the drizzle that falls from the whisk holds its shape for a second before dissolving into the bowl. If icing is too stiff, add a teaspoon more milk at a time, if it is too thin add a Tablespoon more powdered sugar at a time.1 ½ cups (190 g) powdered sugar, 1 ½ -2 Tablespoons milk, 1 Tablespoons light corn syrup², ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Hold completely cooled cookie firmly by the base and dip the surface directly into the glaze (alternatively you can just use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cookies). Return to cookie sheet or cooling rack to allow the glaze to harden (about 30-60 minutes) before enjoying.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
This recipe was originally published October 14th 2015. I’ve updated the recipe, photos, and text to improve upon the recipe!