These Soft Pumpkin Cookies taste like fluffy pumpkin cake with cinnamon and vanilla. They are amazing warm right out of the oven or let cool and dust with powdered sugar.
These cookies are for those of us whose plans outweigh any realistic expectations about what can be physically done by one person around the holidays. I’m speaking here from deeply personal experience because this is what I do every single time I entertain.
In our minds we are going to make a beautiful main course, 17 side dishes and all the desserts that anyone could possibly want. We get all the ingredients for this ridiculous menu and when it comes down to the wire and you are staring at that can of pumpkin puree you bought to make the pumpkin pie at 11:30pm the night before the big event. Well, this is the moment of truth. It’s just not going to happen.
But you want to know what you can do with that can of pumpkin? Make the most melt in your mouth, cake-like pumpkin cookies that taste great and are so much easier to make than pie.
Their ease also makes them an excellent last minute bake sale contribution, potluck provision, or any emergency baking situation, like, I don’t know, relief from a crappy day. Warm soft pumpkin cookies will definitely solve that.
Ingredients For These Soft Pumpkin Cookies
These are your basic cookie ingredients, plus warm cinnamon, pumpkin, and walnuts. I think the walnuts are essential but you could leave them out if you aren’t a nut person. Also optional but if you wanted a touch of maple flavor, add 1/4 cup maple syrup to the batter.
- All purpose flour. Unbleached please. King Arthur is my favorite brand.
- Baking powder. For leavening
- Baking soda. For even more leavening, remember we’re making extra fluffy cookies.
- Kosher salt. I always use Morton’s kosher salt unless otherwise specified.
- Ground cinnamon for all the fall feels. You could substitute pumpkin pie spice if you want.
- Large eggs, at room temperature
- Granulated sugar. Pure hit of sweetness.
- Light brown sugar. Or dark brown sugar, its flavor is adds an intense hit of molasses.
- Vegetable oil, avocado oil, or other neutral-flavored oil. Don’t use olive oil, the flavor is too strong.
- Canned Pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
- Vanilla extract to round out all the flavors.
- Powered sugar. For dusting the tops, optional.
How To Make Them
These cookies are basic (in technique, not flavor). A real dump and mix sort of situation—which is another reason to love them.
Get prepped. Preheat oven to 350°F and adjust rack to the middle and lower third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and oil the parchment.
Mix dry ingredients. Measure the flour by scooping the measuring cup into the flour then scrapping off any excess flour with the back of a butter knife back into the flour container. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk to break up any lumps and incorporate ingredients.
Mix dough. Whisk eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a separate large bowl (big enough to hold all the ingredients) with a whisk until lightened in color, about 2 minutes. We want to beat the eggs and sugar long enough that the sugar is mostly dissolved into the eggs. Mix in oil, pumpkin and vanilla until blended. Add flour mixture, and mix with a rubber spatula until incorporated.
Bake! Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds of dough (I like to use this tablespoon-sized cookie scoop) onto each baking sheet, about an inch apart. Smooth the top of the cookie if it has any weird creases or lines in it with a butter knife. Bake until firm on top and just starting to brown on the bottom, about 12-15 minutes. Rotate baking sheets halfway through.
Serve. Remove them from the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Or sneak one while they are still warm because this equals heaven. Once they are completely cool, use a small fine mesh sieve to dust the tops with powdered sugar if you want.
What Makes These The Best Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- First of all, they are dead simple. You don’t even need a mixer to make them although if you wanted to use one you could. Mix the dry ingredients like normal then beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed of a mixer. Add the wet ingredients, then the flour mixture, and finally the walnuts.
- They’re dairy-free! This may be a negative for some of you but using oil instead of butter is what makes them fluffy like cake.
- Add nuts if you want! If you’d like to add nuts, I recommend 1 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. Walnuts add incredible texture. Soft plus the crunch of the walnuts is a wonderful combination.
- Won’t dry out. They stay soft in an airtight container for up to a week!
- Taste and smell like fall! One of these Soft Pumpkin Cookies warm from the oven is like welcoming fall in the most delicious way, plus they make your house smell incredible.
Pumpkin Cookie FAQ’s
Can I use fresh pumpkin instead of canned? Um, I guess so. Roast a sweet pumpkin (not a Jack ‘O Lantern) until the flesh is very soft then puree it in a food processor first. You will need 1 cup of pumpkin puree.
What about pumpkin pie spice? Can I use that? Sure, substitute 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon.
I’d like to use butter instead of oil. How do I do that? Use 1 stick (8 tablespoons) or 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted. Beat the butter and sugars first, then add the eggs.
Have you ever frosted them? Yes! I used this Honey Cream Cheese Frosting, it’s so, so good!
How do I make them gluten-free? Although I haven’t tried it, I’m assuming a one-for-one swap with gluten-free flour would work. If you do make them gluten-free please leave me a comment below and let me know how they turned out.
More Cookie Recipes You’ll Love!
- Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies (like a brownie but in cookie form)
- Chocolate Chip Coffee Cookies (obsession-level good)
- Polvorones (just like the ones from the Mexican bakery)
- Soft Molasses Cookies (fast and easy)
- Orange Sour Cream Drops (Grandma’s famous)
- Pumpkin Spice Mexican Wedding Cookies (crunchy, crumbly, pumpkin spicy)
- Strawberry Hibiscus Cookies (a slice and bake cookies with a twist)
Soft Pumpkin Cookies That Are Easy As Pie
Actually, way easier! Fulfill those pumpkin pie cravings with a simple, delicious cookie. When you try them, let me know how it goes by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @katesbestrecipes so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating)!
Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- Parchment Paper
- Baking Sheet
- 2 Mixing bowls
- Rubber spatula
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil plus extra for oiling parchment paper
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar for dusting
- Prep for baking. Heat oven to 350°F and adjust rack to the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease parchment.
- Mix dry ingredients. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk to break up any lumps and incorporate ingredients.
- Finish the dough. Whisk eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl with a whisk until lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Whisk in oil, pumpkin and vanilla until blended. Add flour mixture, and mix with a rubber spatula until incorporated.
- Bake. Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, about an inch apart. Smooth the tops with a butter knife and bake until firm on top and just starting to brown on the bottom, about 12-15 minutes.
- Cool. Remove cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.
- Dust. Once completely cool, dust the tops with powdered sugar.