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Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

5 stars based on 10 votes

pumpkin cookies

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 purΓ©e.

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 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

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 purΓ©e (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.
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Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    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 πŸ™‚

    - 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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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.

    - Kate Sells on August 18, 2017 Reply
    • 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 :).

      - Jenn on August 22, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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.

    - Marj on December 23, 2016 Reply
    • How did you use the semi-sweet chocolate chips? Did you add them by taking some of the batter out or just added it?

      - Michael Hinkel on November 21, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

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

    - Sharon on October 12, 2016 Reply
  • 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?

    - Tamara on October 3, 2016 Reply
    • 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!

      - Jenn on October 4, 2016 Reply
    • Hi! Did you ever try freezing the dough? I was wondering the same thing.

      Thanks πŸ™‚

      - Taryn on September 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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!!

    - Alleah on September 22, 2016 Reply
  • 4 stars

    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.

    - Lisa Pirello on December 17, 2015 Reply
    • 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.

      - Jenn on December 18, 2015 Reply
  • 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 πŸ™‚

      - 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 πŸ™‚

    - 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 πŸ™‚

      - 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 πŸ™‚

      - 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! πŸ˜‰

    - 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? πŸ™‚

    - 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 πŸ™‚

      - 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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