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 unsalted butter melted and cooled for at least 15 minutes (226g)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
- 1 ½ cup light brown sugar firmly packed (300g)
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree blotted (weigh 165g before blotting, 130g after blotting) ¹see notes in recipe for instructions on blotting)
- 3 cups all purpose flour (375g)
- 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 powdered sugar (190g)
- 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 unsalted butter, ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 ½ cup light brown sugar
- Add pumpkin, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and stir to combine.1 large egg yolk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin spice until well-mixed.3 cups 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 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!
How long can I keep the dough in the fridge without baking? Would four days be too long?
I think 4 days will be just fine. Just make sure to keep it wrapped tightly so it doesn’t dry out. 🙂
What can I do if I want my cookies cakey?
Hi Rachael! Not blotting the pumpkin and using a bit more flour will make the cookies more cakey, I can’t advise on precisely how to change the recipe to get a perfectly cakey texture.
Maybe using the whole egg, and some more flour would help.
Best. Recipe. Ever. I’m serious! Best cookies I have EVER made. I went against your tip in not using pumpkin pie mix, though, but blotted nonetheless, and they still came out with this amazing texture. As well, the mixture already had the pumpkin spice in it, so I didn’t need to add it with the dry ingredients. I left the dough in the fridge for almost a full 24hrs (busy schedule) and when I finally got to pop ’em in the oven, they smelled amazing and baked beautifully. They were soft and chewy straight outta the oven, and tasted even better the next day, with a consistency of a chewy Chips Ahoy cookie. I didn’t even add the glaze to them because they tasted so sweet and delicious to take away from their flavor. It’s like I didn’t even bake them myself. I’m totally impressed!
I’m so happy to hear this, Vanessa! Thank you so much for trying my recipe and letting me know how they turned out for you! 🙂
Love this recipe! But I did change a couple of things. I only put in about 3/4 cup brown sugar (by accident… cause that’s all I had) and I didn’t blot the pumpkin puree. I also pressed the cookies down half way through the baking time. I also used a smaller scoop and they are perfect for a mouthful!
I am so glad you enjoyed them so much, Kris! 🙂
Do you have to add corn syrup
Do you have to add corn syrup because I really want to make them but I don’t have it.
See my note in the recipe 🙂
I did it and it came out great. Thank you so much.
Hi Sam! I made these cookies but they look nothing like yours. They didn’t expand in the oven at all, they were just like cooked dough balls. I followed your instructions exactly so I was wondering if I did anything wrong.
Hi Jane! I’m so sorry this happened! The most likely culprit is too much flour. If you aren’t using weights make sure to check my post on how to properly measure flour so you don’t accidentally add too much flour. Another possible problem is your leaveners (Baking powder/soda) could be bad. I hope this helps. 🙂
when I do pumpkin, sweat potato or butternut squash puree, i use a colander with cheese cloth, cover with saran wrap, put a cake pan on top with a few cans of soup or beans, to weigh out the water, overnite & the next day I have thick puree :)…
That’s a great tip, Robert! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
I baked a butternut squash pie today, used my sweet potato pie recipe & adjusted spices & yummy, too bad I can’t post a pic for you to see, unless you know how…
Sugar Spun Run
Those all sound wonderful, Robert! You can not post a picture directly on my site, however, you can do so by joining my
Facebook Bakers Club or by sharing a photo on Instagram, tagging me @sugarspun_sam .
Beeta @ Mon Petit Four
Fantastic, Sam! Cookies are such a science, but they’re way more fun than Chem class! 😉 I’m loving that you maintained the classic cookie texture here because you’re totally right; so many pumpkin cookies end up way cake-ier than the crisp cookies we’re used to. These look absolutely delicious!
Thank you so much, Beeta! 🙂
I absolutely love pistachios in cookies. There’s nothing quite like it. And combined with pumpkin and chocolate? These sound great!
Thank you. Amanda!! 🙂
Katalina @ Peas & Peonies
Sam, I am such a fan of your recipes, the combinations are always so fabulous, love this one as well!
You are so sweet, Katalina, thank you! 🙂
Denise | Sweet Peas & Saffron
You are right…baking is totally chemistry! I am studying biochemistry right now, and I can tell you that baking is way way more fun because (usually) you get to eat the product of your experiment 😉 These look delicious!
Haha I would definitely imagine baking is more fun! Thank you, Denise, and good luck with your studies! 🙂
Jessica @ Sweetest Menu
Gorgeous cookies Sam! They look just lovely!
Thank you, Jessica! 🙂
Medha @ Whisk & Shout
These look fabulous and I love how they’re the perfect amount of chewy! Obsessed with the dark/white/pistachio add-ins! Pinning 🙂
Thanks, Medha!! 🙂
Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen
These cookies look heavenly, Sam. Love how thick and chewy they are.
Thank you, Anu!