Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

5 stars based on 3 votes


These little pumpkin cookies are my latest obsession. Imbued with warm autumn spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, they’re cakey on the interior and slightly crisp on the exterior, with a bit of crunch from the raw sugar sprinkled on top. My family flocks to the kitchen as soon as I pull them out of the oven, and the first batch disappears before the second trays are even done.

To begin, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a bowl, and set aside.

Next, in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Then mix in the vanilla extract and pumpkin purée.

Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

Then scoop heaping tablespoons of cookie dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. It’s easiest to use a 1-1/2 tablespoon ice cream scoop (and it will make your cookies will be prettier).

Sprinkle the cookie dough with turbinado sugar. This is just a large crystal, natural brown sugar — most grocery stores carry it but you can always use the “Sugar in the Raw” brown packets found at coffee shops.

Then bake until puffed and slightly browned around the edges.

Cool on racks and enjoy warm out of the oven.

For more pumpkin recipes, check out my Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Muffins.

Note: These cookies are best enjoyed warm out of the oven, so it’s not a bad idea to make the dough, then refrigerate and bake as needed. 

Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

Servings: Makes 58 cookies
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups canned pumpkin purée (from one 15-ounce can, though you'll have some left over)
  • 2-3 tablespoons turbinado (or demerara) sugar


  1. Arrange oven racks in upper and middle thirds and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter with the white and brown sugars until light and fluffy, a few minutes. Scrape down the bowl, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin puree (don't worry if the mixture looks somewhat broken). Scrape down the bowl, then mix in the flour mixture on low speed. Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons (preferably using a 1-1/2 tablespoon ice cream scooper) onto the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle cookies evenly with turbinado sugar and bake for about 20 minutes, rotating pans midway through, until puffed and slightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes on baking sheets, then transfer with a spatula to a wire rack to cool. These cookies are best enjoyed warm out of the oven, or on the same day.

Reviews & Comments

  • Hello, We can now can Libby’s pumpkin in New Zealand but at $4.99/can it is expensive. You say there will be some pumpkin left over and I am wondering what I can do with it. At that cost it is pretty necessary to use all of it. Thanks. I still think your pumpkin bread is your best ever… Susan

    - Susan on October 29, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Susan, Try my pumpkin cornbread muffins — they are wonderful :)

      - Jenn on October 30, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My kids love these! But as you indicated, the texture is best when fresh out of the oven. I’m wondering if you could flash freeze the unbaked dough scoops, right on the cookie sheet, and then store the dough balls in a freezer bag in the freezer – the thought would be to take out as many as you need for one round of snacking, thaw them to room temp, and then pop them in the oven just before the kids get home from school – do you think they would still bake up the same? Curious to know your expert thoughts on that before I test it out!

    - Amy on October 21, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Amy, I think that would work well!

      - Jenn on October 21, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these yesterday. They are fabulous! Living in high altitude, I increased the pumpkin to 1 1 /3 cup and really watched the time closely (17 min). Thanks for another terrific dessert!

    - Amy on September 12, 2015 Reply
  • Hi there, how do I make pumpkin puree? I can’t find canned pumpkin puree in France.
    These cookie’s look yum and perfect to share on a wintery evening.
    Love your recipes! They’ve always worked perfectly.

    - PREMA MENEZES on December 11, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I grew up in Towson, MD, but I married a Kiwi in ’72 and have been in NZ since ’73. I remember the beautiful Autumn in MD. We can’t get pureed pumpkin in NZ but we have plenty of pumpkins. I can’t remember if that canned puree is raw or cooked. I’ll have to make my own to use in your inspiring recipe. Thanks very much

    - Ecie on November 16, 2014 Reply
  • I made these cookies with my granddaughter last fall and plan on doing it again. She loved helping and the cookies are soft and delicious.

    - Mary Redmiles on November 16, 2013 Reply
  • I’ve made these several times and I adore them! Great recipe! With the abundance of zucchini this time of year, have you ever substituted zucchini for the pumpkin? I’m not sure whether or not that’s a crazy idea, but please advise! Thanks!

    - Grace on August 11, 2013 Reply
  • I made these cookies and pretty much stuck to your recipe. I bought a cookie scooper which helps make uniform cookies. (Well worth the price.) The cookies are very moist and cakey. Great flavor for the fall.

    - Mary on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • I have now made these cookies 5 times since you posted this recipe! My husband is obsessed with the fluffy, cakey texture of the cookies. He is now requesting I try to change the recipe to make sugar cookies or snickerdoodles. Will the cookies come out similarly even without the pumpkin added?

    - Kathryn on November 11, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Kathryn, So glad you and your husband are enjoying the cookies! Unfortunately, I don’t think the recipe would work without the pumpkin — the cookies would come out very dry.

      - Jenn on November 12, 2012 Reply
  • I made these for the kids last weekend and they were delicious! They tasted like pumpkin bread cookies! If you like pumpkin you’ll love these. They’ve requested them again this weekend :)

    - Theresa on October 26, 2012 Reply
  • Is it okay to use pureed pumpkin from Whole Foods and not Libby’s? I see Libby’s in the picture and I’m wondering if there are some pumpkin pie spices in the Libby’s, which will add flavor to the cookies. I don’t think Whole Foods has the extra flavors, it’s just pureed pumpkin.

    - Erin McNamara on October 14, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Erin, You can definitely use the Whole Foods brand. Libby’s is pure pumpkin.

      - Jenn on October 14, 2012 Reply
  • Has anyone made this with gluten free flour

    - Diana on October 11, 2012 Reply
  • I made these tonight they are great! I think I will make some icing and make them into whoopie pies .

    - Sarahjones on October 11, 2012 Reply
  • hi jenn, do you think this will work if i half the recipe?

    - taryn on October 11, 2012 Reply
    • Yes, should be fine :)

      - Jenn on October 11, 2012 Reply
  • My daughter sent me this pumpkin cookie recipe and it looks great. I can’t wait to make it.
    Please subscribe me to your wonderful service. I am a fellow Marylander and would love to get some more of your recipes.
    Thank you,

    - Ruth Oshinsky on October 11, 2012 Reply
  • Jen,

    Let me start off by saying that I began following you about a year ago, and every recipe, from you chocolate banana bread and chocolate chip blondies to your moroccan chicken (a family favorite) and fettucini bolognese (my husband thinks your recipe is better than the bon appetite one and I have to agree) has been a huge hit in my household! Thank you for such wonderful, and easy recipes. They make life for a working foodie like me so much easier.

    On that note, if I wanted to add chocolate chips to these cookies, would i need to change anything (ie amounts of ingredients)?

    Thank you , thank you, thank you !

    - Jessica Stewart on October 10, 2012 Reply
    • Thanks so much, Jessica…that is so nice to hear! No need to change anything if you want to add choc chips. Hope you like the cookies :)

      - Jenn on October 11, 2012 Reply
  • These look so simple and delicious!

    - Loretta E on October 10, 2012 Reply
  • I can’t wait to try these! I’ve made pumpkin cookies that had halved raw cranberries, orange zest and nuts — all which tasted great in a pumpkin cookie! Might be worth a try, but I’m going to try it without this year for the sake of the kiddos! I have a little girl that does not like chunkies in her baked goods! Thanks again for a great recipe! ;-)

    - becky on October 10, 2012 Reply
  • Jenn – would omitting the turbinado make a huge difference in taste or is it just for texture? My 19 month old may have a problem with chewing the sugar. Thanks

    - Diane on October 10, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Diane, It’s no problem at all to leave it out. The cookies are on the cakey side, so it’s there just for some additional texture. Hope you enjoy them!

      - Jenn on October 10, 2012 Reply
      • These cookies are yummy and were so easy to make! Thanks much for posting such tasty recipes every week — we love many of your recipes and I look forward to your weekly posts.

        BTW, for those of you looking for organic pumpkin, Trader Joe’s in Southern CA just started selling it.

        - Diane on October 15, 2012 Reply
  • I always get inspired to bake in the Fall too! These look yummy!

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on October 10, 2012 Reply
  • These look GREAT – thinking that I could add some raisins as well? :)

    - Megan on October 10, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Megan, I was very tempted to add raisins (and nuts) but opted to keep them plain for the kids. I think it’d be delicious with though :)

      - Jenn on October 10, 2012 Reply
  • This is one I’m going to try for the holiday’s. Looks fantastic….

    - Linda Chaviano on October 10, 2012 Reply
  • Ooo these would be good cookies for ice cream sandwiches!

    - Meg @ Peaches and Cake on October 10, 2012 Reply

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