Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

Tested & Perfected Recipes

With warm fall spices like cinnamon, ginger and cloves, these pumpkin cookies are soft inside and slightly crisp on the outside.

pumpkin cookies

These little pumpkin cookies are my latest obsession. Imbued with warm autumn spices, like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, they have a cakey texture, 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.

What you’ll need to make spiced pumpkin cookies

how to make pumpkin cookies

How to make spiced pumpkin cookies

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

how to make pumpkin cookies

Whisk well and set aside.

how to make pumpkin cookies

Next, in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar.

how to make pumpkin cookies

Beat until light and fluffy.

how to make pumpkin cookies

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

how to make pumpkin cookies

Then add the vanilla extract and pumpkin purée.

how to make pumpkin cookies

Beat to combine. The mixture will look a little curdled at this point — that’s okay.

how to make pumpkin cookies

Add the dry ingredients.

how to make pumpkin cookies

Mix on low speed to combine.

how to make pumpkin cookies

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).

how to make pumpkin cookies

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, about 20 minutes.

how to make pumpkin cookies

Let the cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Note that these cookies are best fresh out of the oven, so I suggest refrigerating the dough and baking as needed. It will keep for up to four days in the fridge.

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Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

With warm fall spices like cinnamon, ginger and cloves, these pumpkin cookies are soft inside and slightly crisp on the outside.

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

Ingredients

  • 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 packed 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

Instructions

  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 granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, a few minutes. Scrape down the bowl, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. The mixture will look somewhat curdled at this point -- that's okay. Scrape down the bowl, then mix in the flour mixture on low speed. Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons (it's easiest to use a 1-1/2 tablespoon ice cream scoop) onto the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle cookies evenly with turbinado sugar and bake for 18 to 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 the baking sheets, then transfer with a spatula to a wire rack. These cookies are best enjoyed warm out of the oven, or on the same day.
  4. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The Cookie Dough can be Frozen for up to 3 Months: Roll the dough into balls, let set on a baking sheet in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To Freeze After Baking: Let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Thank you for this great recipe!! So tasty & the addition of the turbinado sugar took it to the next level! I added 3/4 cup chopped pecans! Family loves them😊

    • — Rachel Webb on November 12, 2018
    • Reply
  • The flavor of these cookies is great, but I just couldn’t get past the texture which is more like cake or pumpkin bread. When I think of cookies I always crave that crispy, chewy texture. These are good right out of the oven, but I wish the texture allowed them to keep a little longer. Just not as convenient for my lifestyle and baking habits. These are worth a try if you like the cakey texture though! Recipe works perfectly as described (as do all of Jen’s recipes), and again flavor is really wonderful.

    • — Julie on October 25, 2018
    • Reply
  • Amazing! They’re a lot more like little blobs of cake than cookies (soft, fluffy, cakey goodness!). They were a huge hit when I brought them to a party – they’re perfectly spiced, the raw sugar adds a bit of crunch, and they’re super comforting and delicious. I just used two regular spoons to drop them on the cookie sheets since I didn’t have an ice cream scoop, and that worked perfectly!

    • — Sandy on October 23, 2018
    • Reply
  • Super tasty! I read that they are best baked and eaten on the same day. I can see that the cookies are cake-like and could have a tendency to be dry over time. Under-baked them a bit and they are soft and toothsome a couple of days later.
    As always, thanks, Jen!

    • — wendie morin on October 15, 2018
    • Reply
  • Thanks for a scrumptious recipe! I made them subbing white whole wheat flour for the ap flour, and used coconut sugar instead of the white and brown sugars. I added 1 1/2 C chopped toasted pecans, then instead of using the turbinado sugar, I added a few extra pecan pieces to the top of each cookie before baking. I am freezing some, so we’ll see how they turn out.

    • — Mrs. Plum on October 12, 2018
    • Reply
  • These are wonderful fall cookies! We enjoyed them very much. I do live at 9,000ft and was wondering if you have high altitude tips for this recipe and other baking recipes.
    Thanks!

    • — Sandy on October 10, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandy, so glad you liked these. I don’t have any experience with high altitude baking, but perhaps these tips will help a bit. 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 12, 2018
      • Reply
  • These cookies were a hit at recent gathering! Instead of using the raw sugar on the tops, I drizzled a simple powdered sugar frosting over the cookies after they cooled a bit. Otherwise, I followed the directions completely and was very happy with the results! Thanks!

    • — Stacey Allen on October 6, 2018
    • Reply
  • These cookies are amazing! I iced them with a penuche icing and I had lots of people tell me that they are the best cookie ever! Love it! Thank you!

    • — Karen on September 28, 2018
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  • SO good! I followed the directions but added chocolate chips and kept them in the oven just a few extra minutes for a little extra crisp. It makes a lot, so I ended up freezing half the dough balls and was able to easily have fresh baked cookies another day (the frozen ones baked just as well). I agree that these are best the day of, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t go quickly the next day too 🙂

    • — Emily S on December 4, 2017
    • Reply
  • I harvest pumpkin from long neck pumpkins. It tends to be less dense than any canned pumpkin. Do you think I could use my fresh instead of the canned?

    • — Carolyn Waple on November 1, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Carolyn, it’s hard to say for sure without seeing the puree. But if you do feel like it may be a little too light, you could always reduce it over the stove to thicken it up a bit. (That would actually deepen the pumpkin flavor as well :).

      • — Jenn on November 1, 2017
      • Reply
  • I tried this recipe today, and the cookies are wonderful, and addictive. I had to break mid-way through, so I chilled the remaining dough for a couple of hours. The chilled dough was a bit easier to handle, although there was no difference in the baked cookies. I had slightly better results baking one tray at a time vs. two at a time, but that might just be due to my oven. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe Jenn!

    • — Steve LoCastro on October 21, 2017
    • Reply
  • I made these cookies last week. I frosted them but I ate several straight from the oven and they were delicious! They are definitely best the first day if frosted but even if you do not frost them you could make a wicked dessert with the cookies a few days later.

    • — Dawn on October 12, 2017
    • Reply
  • Totally making these on the weekend. I’m thinking an orange/ginger cream cheese filling would work awesome for sandwich cookies

    • — Margareta on September 22, 2017
    • Reply
    • Yes!

      • — Jenn on September 22, 2017
      • Reply
  • Anybody ever tried to make these gluten free?

    I am hoping you will find a GREAT recipe for pumpkin snickerdoodles to make this fall.

    • Hi Kate, I’ll let other readers weigh in on whether or not they’ve made a gluten-free version. (Personally, I haven’t.) (And I’ll add your request for a pumpkin snickerdoodle recipe to my list of recipes to potentially develop :).

  • These are delicious cookies, which have a delicious blend of spices. I made them with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Thank you for publishing the recipe.

    • How did you use the semi-sweet chocolate chips? Did you add them by taking some of the batter out or just added it?

  • Very nice cookie.
    Great texture with just the right amount of sweetness.

  • Hi Jenn, I was wondering if these cookies can be frozen, either in dough form or after they are baked? Have you ever tried freezing them?

    • Hi Tamara, while I haven’t tried it, I think you’d have better results with freezing the dough versus freezing the cookies after baking (as these are best right out of the oven). Enjoy!

    • Hi! Did you ever try freezing the dough? I was wondering the same thing.

      Thanks 🙂
      –Taryn

      • — Taryn on September 17, 2017
      • Reply
  • The BEST cookies ever!!! These cookies go to every family gathering no matter what time of year. One batch is no longer enough, they disappear too quick! It’s impossible to eat just one. I like to add chocolate chips and now I’m trying a batch with some walnuts. Cannot say how much my family and I LOVE these cookies!!

  • Any tips to keep the cookies slightly crispy like when they first come out of the oven? Once they cool completely I place them in storage containers and they become overly soft and stick together.

    • Hi Lisa, the reality is these cookies are best enjoyed warm out of the oven and there’s not really a way to avoid them getting a little soft when stored. If you really want the right-out-of-the oven crispiness, it’s not a bad idea to make the dough, then refrigerate and bake as needed.

  • 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

    • Hi Susan, Try my pumpkin cornbread muffins — they are wonderful 🙂

  • 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!

    • Hi Amy, I think that would work well!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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 🙂

  • 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.

    • Hi Erin, You can definitely use the Whole Foods brand. Libby’s is pure pumpkin.

  • Has anyone made this with gluten free flour

  • I made these tonight they are great! I think I will make some icing and make them into whoopie pies .

  • hi jenn, do you think this will work if i half the recipe?

    • Yes, should be fine 🙂

  • 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

  • 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 !

    • 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 🙂

  • These look so simple and delicious!

  • 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! 😉

  • 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

    • 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!

      • 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.

  • I always get inspired to bake in the Fall too! These look yummy!

  • These look GREAT – thinking that I could add some raisins as well? 🙂

    • 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 🙂

  • This is one I’m going to try for the holiday’s. Looks fantastic….

  • Ooo these would be good cookies for ice cream sandwiches!

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