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These pumpkin cookies are thick and cakey, with tons of pumpkin spice flavor, and a layer of cream cheese frosting. They’re an easy cookie dough, made in one bowl, that you don’t have to chill. My best is advice is to make a double-batch.

soft pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting on a white plate
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When my sisters and I were little, it was almost an everyday occurrence that we walked to the local bakery for root beers, individual french banquettes and melt in your mouth pumpkin cookies. This is a recreation of the best bakery pumpkin cookies I’ve ever had from West Side Bakery.

Without a doubt, they’re the best you will ever make! Cover them with cream cheese frosting and watch them melt in your mouth. You can freeze them or easily make them gluten free and dairy free.

The fresh pumpkin puree and butter give them a cake-like texture you will drool over every fall season.

Why You’ll Love These Pumpkin Cookies

  • Melt-in-your-mouth texture: I’m a chewy cookie kind of girl, unless it’s pumpkin cookies. The cakey texture with the frosting is a dream.
  • Easy: one bowl and no chill time!
  • Endless pumpkin flavor: thanks to the real pumpkin and warm spices. Your house will smell like you spent all day baking a classic pumpkin pie.
  • Nostalgic: They’re an old fashioned soft pumpkin cookie—just like grandma used to make. Or one you grew up on at the bakery down the street (like me).
  • Frosting: you don’t always come across frosted cookies, and when you do, you must make them. Pumpkin and cream cheese frosting are a match made in heaven.

Ingredients You Need

Here are the simple ingredients for these delicious pumpkin cookies. Jump to the recipe card for exact measurements.

pumpkin cookie ingredients on a countertop
  • Unsalted butter: this one is key for the best cookies. I tested them with a vegan butter and they turned out amazing.
  • Granulated sugar: you have to make them sweet!
  • Leavens:  baking soda and baking powder to make them nice and tall
  • Spices: salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice
  • Egg: this is a binder and helps bring the dough together.
  • Vanilla: whatever vanilla extract you have on hand is great!
  • Pumpkin: make sure you get canned pumpkin pumpkin purée and not pumpkin pie mix!
  • All-purpose flour: I tested this with gluten free 1:1 baking flour and they were great.
  • Cream cheese: this is for the frosting and gives a great tang to balance out the sweetness.
  • Powdered sugar: you can’t have cream cheese frosting without confectioners’ sugar!

Do you love frosted cookies? Out of all of my cookie recipes, I absolutely love these eggnog cookies and Taylor Swift chai cookies.

How to Make Pumpkin Cookies

This is a step-by-step guide to make these easy pumpkin cookies. Use the printable recipe card for full instructions.

how to make pumpkin cookies
  1. Cream the butter and sugar: Beat butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, then add the sugar and beat again for 1-2 more minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the spices: Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and beat until well combined.
  3. Wet ingredients: Add one egg and the vanilla then beat well, until no yellow streaks remain. Mix in the pumpkin until it’s combined.
  4. Dry ingredients: Beat in the flour on medium speed until completely incorporated. The dough will be wet, this is what you want!
  5. Scoop and and bake: Use a heaping tablespoon or medium cookie scoop to drop dough balls a few inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tops are set and no longer look wet.
  6. Frost: Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Frost cooled cookies. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and enjoy!
two pumpkin cookies stacked on a piece of parchment paper

Recipe Variations

Add chocolate chips: Skip the cream cheese and fold semi-sweet chocolate chips into the dough.

Blot the pumpkin: to remove some of themoisture from the cookie dough, blot the pumpkin with paper towels. Line a bowl with paper towels and place the pumpkin puree inside. Press the tops with more paper towels to absorb some of the moisture. This removes moisture from the dough itself and makes the cookies less delicate, which is great if you’re transporting them. They’ll still be soft!

How to Store and Freeze

Leftover frosted pumpkin cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Freeze unfrosted cookies in a single layer then transfer to a freezer bag and store for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, frost, and serve!

picking up a soft pumpkin cookie with cream cheese frosting
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4.24 from 426 votes
Prep: 14 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 24 minutes
These pumpkin cookies are thick and cakey, with tons of pumpkin spice flavor, and a layer of cream cheese frosting. They're an easy cookie dough, made in one bowl, that you don't have to chill. My best is advice is to make a double-batch.

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Servings: 24 cookies

Ingredients

Pumpkin Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 227g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 egg room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (225g) canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 57g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 8 ounces (225g) cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

Pumpkin Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium to high speed for 1 minute. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and beat until well combined.
  • Add one egg and the vanilla then beat well, until yellow streaks are gone. Add the pumpkin pure and beat again until it's incorporated. Finally, add the flour and beat on medium speed until completely incorporated. Watch the video to see instructions on how to properly measure flour. The dough will be wet, this is what you want!
  • Use a heaping tablespoon or medium sized cookie scoop to drop the cookie dough balls a few inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until tops are set and no longer look wet. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Beat together the softened butter and cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth and all of the lumps are gone.
  • Sift in the powdered sugar then add the vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Once cookies are cool, frost with cream cheese frosting.
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Notes

Store: Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Layer them between a paper towel to avoid them sticking together.
Freeze: allow the cookies to cool completely then freeze on a baking sheet for 1-2 hours. When they’re frozen solid, transfer to a reusable bag to save space. When you’re ready to serve, arrange them on a baking sheet in an even layer and allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge. Frost and serve.
Gluten-free and dairy-free: we tested these with vegan butter and 1:1 gluten-free baking flour (Bob’s Red Mill) and they turned out great! We also tried these with Myokos vegan butter and Kite Hil dairy-free cream cheese and they were delicious.

Video

Equipment

  • Electric mixer or stand mixer
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking Sheet
  • Cooling rack

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 30.5g | Protein: 2.2g | Fat: 15.1g | Cholesterol: 47.8mg | Sodium: 136.6mg | Fiber: 0.7g | Sugar: 21.3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




98 Comments

  1. Kimberly says:

    5 stars
    Everyone that tries these, loves them!

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Thanks!

  2. Jeanette says:

    5 stars
    We loved these cookies. I did substitute the sugar with honey which I think made them more moist. I cooked a little longer.

  3. Joanne says:

    5 stars
    These cookies are so delicious and easy to make.

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Glad you think so!

  4. Michelle says:

    5 stars
    BEST Pumpkin flavored anything I’ve ever had! They are light and fluffy as a cloud, and melt like butter in your mouth. I made these for my mother-in-law today and we both ended up falling in LOVE. When MIL tells you to “be sure to save that recipe!” that’s when you KNOW it’s good! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Love this, MIchelle!! What a compliment. I’m so glad you saved it and I hope you make it for years and years. Fluffy as a cloud is a great way to describe them:)

  5. Kim says:

    5 stars
    They are amazing!! I also made free cookies too. They tasted just as good. But it takes 14-15 minutes for them to bake.

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      That’s a great tip, Kim! Bake times can vary based on ovens too. So glad you liked them!

  6. Donna says:

    5 stars
    These were the best pumpkin cookies I have ever made. I had some pumpkin left over and didn’t want it to go to waste. This was the easiest recipe. The cookies were soft and the cream cheese frosting was the “icing on the cake” . I will make them again. I didn’t read the whole recipe regarding freeing them without the frosting. I frosted them all so I guess I will have to eat them all:0) Thank you again for this great recipe.
    Donna

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Love this! Oh darn—guess you have to eat them all!! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to share.

  7. Betty says:

    5 stars
    They really are delicious!

  8. Brenda Clark says:

    5 stars
    OMG these are the best pumpkin cookies I have ever had! Instead of the cream cheese frosting I made a butter vanilla glaze then sprinkled pumpkin pie spice on top! Absolutely amazing!! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      I love this variation, Brenda! That glaze sounds AMAZING!

  9. Lydia says:

    5 stars
    Best cookies for fall

  10. Whitney says:

    Can you use almond flour in this recipe?

  11. Bee says:

    Theses are to die for!! I’m obsessed! They where moist and soft! Highly recommend!!!

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Thanks, Bee! We loveeee these too!

  12. Ashley says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe but I am curious if anyone has tried making the cookie dough with margarine instead of butter. My nephew can’t have dairy or nuts which eliminates the ability to use the suggested vegan butter options.

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Hey Ashley!! Oh that’s tricky I know a lot of vegan butter’s use nuts. You could try butter flavored shortening!

  13. Jessica says:

    4 stars
    Made these sugar free using xylitol for my sugar sub
    they came out great! But they were a bit more poufy-cake like than I prefer, would you suggest doubling baking soda and omitting baking powder to reduce the rise? New to baking so definitely have no clue how to get the texture I want 🙃

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Hey Jessica! Yes these are more of a cake-like, melt-in-your-mouth texture than a chewy texture. I’ve got a pumpkin pudding cookie recipe that’s less cakey!

  14. Teryl says:

    3 stars
    Hmm, I’m guessing I did something wrong because these cookies are pretty flimsy. I made them with almond flour so maybe that’s the issue?! They taste delicious but are hard to frost because they kinda fall apart a little.

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Hey Teryl! This is definitely because of the almond flour. You can’t swap almond flour for regular flour in any recipe because of the protein structure and the way they absorb moisture. It’s just not a 1:1 swap! I have a healthy pumpkin cookie recipe that uses almond flour you could try. You could also use 1:1 gluten-free flour. The ratings on these recipes is super important to me so if you wouldn’t mind changing your star review as you changed the recipe, I would appreciate it so much! I hope you give the healthy cookies a try.

  15. Gloria Houser says:

    5 stars
    These cookies are so good! I am so glad I found this recipe. They are so soft, and moist! ❤️ thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      You’re welcome, Gloria!

  16. Cindy A says:

    5 stars
    Made these today. Reminded me of a light and fluffy whoopie pie cookie. Recipe was easy and delicious. I will definitely make these again. Maybe add walnuts or pecans on top. Great without it though.

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Thanks, Cindy!!! Great idea!

  17. Diane Long says:

    The best I ever made and at 79, I’ve made a lot ! Very moist!

  18. Vivian says:

    5 stars
    The cookies are delicious am making them again today but making a double batch. Everyone loved them and receipt so easy to follow. Thank you for this wonderful treat😋

  19. Julie says:

    5 stars
    These are delicious! I used persimmon instead of pumpkin and they are perfect
    Thank you!

  20. Linda R says:

    5 stars
    This is a great recipe! Very easy. I did sift the flour, other then that followed the directions.
    Made them for home and work and they loved, loved, loved them. Thanks! My new go to.

  21. Erin says:

    5 stars
    Wonderful recipe! Instead of frosting the tops, I made them into sandwich cookies, and they are sinfully good. They don’t last 24 hours in my house! Make with caution, you may develop an addiction! So so good! Thank you for sharing your awesome recipe!

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      That sounds amazing!!

  22. Amy says:

    5 stars
    What in the world! The best cookies I’ve ever had: Warm from the oven with freshly made pumpkin puree and an extra cup of powdered sugar. Some others perferred a glaze closer to the recipe on top amd others no frosting…but everykme loves these.

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Lol love it, Amy!! We love these too.

  23. Diana says:

    Flavor is spot on! Mine “flattened” after sitting for a while, any ideas why? They came out super fluffy looking then sunk in.

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Hey Diana! This can happen if you over beat cookie dough. Adding too much air into the batter can cause them to rise and sink. Hope this helps!!

  24. Natasha says:

    5 stars
    Too good

  25. Margo says:

    5 stars
    Just made these. I grew up with a certain style of pumpkin cookies, but I have to say these are SO SO good! Fluffy, light, not too overwhelming. I’m going to have a hard time saving any for their intended purpose of going to work tomorrow!

  26. Jodi says:

    5 stars
    Wow! These cookies are incredibly delicious! Soft and so darn flavorful! A complete hit with everyone!

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Love that, Jodi! Thanks for taking the time to share.

  27. Carolyn Wallace says:

    Hello, I am so excited you have a pumpkin cookie recipe. In the ingredient list it has you use canned pumpkin. But in your ingredient notes you recommend using pumpkin purée. I have a suggestion, to maybe put pumpkin purée in the ingredient list, not canned pumpkin. I have not made these but will when I go get the purée.

    I love your recipes, especially the sheet pan meals, always so delicious.
    Thank you for all of your inspiring recipes.

  28. Jennifer says:

    What size is the canned pumpkin supposed to be?

  29. Fran McPhaull says:

    5 stars
    Did a trail run for a church member for October 28th and she gave them four thumbs up.

  30. Cindy Harper says:

    5 stars
    The best pumpkin cookie ever. I added pecans to the mix.

  31. Andrea Rodriguez says:

    Can you make the dough then save it to make another day??

  32. Karissa says:

    5 stars
    (Forgot to put 5 stars)

  33. Karissa says:

    THESE ARE INSANE!

    They are melt-in-your-mouth, forget-the-portioning-I’m-eating-all-of-these-right-now amazing!

    I’m saving this recipe to my family favourites. Thank you!!

  34. Latonya says:

    5 stars
    I get multiple orders for these! Simple but AMAZING!!

    1. Latonya says:

      I add a touch of sea salt to frosting!

  35. Gail says:

    5 stars
    I tried these and they came out wonderful!! I usually have a hard time making cookies, but they were so easy!!

  36. Annamarie says:

    Hello!
    Would it be too difficult to mix by hand?? I lost my beater attachments when we moved 😭. I have the whisk attachment, but not sure that would hold up! Thanks!!

  37. Catt says:

    5 stars
    These came out great! Thank you for sharing!

  38. Lee Anne L. says:

    5 stars
    Great cookies!!! I split the dough half rolled in cinnamon and sugar, I added butterscotch chips to the other half. So delicious. Will make again

  39. Lee Anne L. says:

    Great cookies!!! I sit the dough half rolled in cinnamon and sugar, I added butterscotch chips to the other half. So delicious. Will make again

  40. Diane Bushko says:

    5 stars
    Excellent cookie. Easy to make and the very best pumpkin cookie I ever made. Thank you for sharing.

  41. Joni says:

    5 stars
    I’ve made these twice for my three grandsons and they gobble them up so fast! The light, melt-in-your mouth texture is amazing! Thank you!!

  42. Carrie says:

    4 stars
    Cookies are perfect. The butter in icing should be cut in half. 8 ounces of cream cheese and only 4 T of butter. I couldn’t tell from your picture what you sprinkled on top. Tried cinnamon, cinnamon sugar, cardamom and the pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin pie spice was my favorite.

  43. Chelsea says:

    5 stars
    my daughter and her classmates loved these cookies

  44. Hina says:

    Are the measurements for butter in the cookie 2 cups or 2 sticks? Because 2 cups would be 32 tbsp which would be 4 sticks

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      It’s 1 cup of butter! 2 sticks of butter is the same as one cup. Thanks!

  45. azabeth says:

    5 stars
    10/10, would recomend.

  46. Leesa says:

    5 stars
    My daughter said “Mom, you have to make these, you will love them.” She was so right. So light and airy, amazing pumpkin taste and the frosting is delicious. On my second batch and already getting requests from my son for more. Must make recipe.

  47. Angella L. says:

    I cut the recipe in half but kept the 1 egg. These turned out very moist and delicious. They were very easy to put together!

  48. Cheryl b says:

    4 stars
    They are easy to make, and tasty. But, chocolate is the best cookie! Truly soft, good for the fall season.

  49. Angie F says:

    Hi Molly! I just made this recipe and they came out awesome! I was wondering if you can freeze the icing? I made a double batch and and want to save the icing for a couple weeks. Thanks for a great recipe my family loves!,

  50. Patti Smith says:

    5 stars !!! Absolutely delicious!

  51. Jennifer says:

    5 stars
    These were a huge hit!

  52. Penny says:

    Just made these and they are amazing!!!!!! Will definitely make again. I did have extra icing left over.

  53. Jessa says:

    5 stars
    Hi and happy thanksgiving. I made these cookies a few years ago and they were so good! I actually had a request for these this year at thanksgiving…but some of my family has a dairy allergy. Have you made these dairy free? I specifically am wondering about the icing. Thanks!

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Hello, Jessa! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I haven’t tried to make these dairy free, but I think you could use a few brand swaps that will make them work. Try Myokos butter and Kyte Hill vegan cream cheese for the frosting. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

  54. Lin says:

    Just made these and I’m wondering if I need to put the cookies in the fridge overnight because of the icing?

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Yes I would store them in the fridge!

  55. Hayley Tschetter says:

    5 stars
    Made these GF and they turned out WONDERFUL! I’m a huge fan of fall treats – winner for sure.

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Thanks, Hayley!! We made them gluten free and loved them.

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  57. Amy says:

    Molly these cookies are AMAZING!! So easy to make and the flavor is so good. I compared them to a pumpkin roll but so much easier to make.

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Yes!! So similar to a pumpkin roll. Such a great comparison:) Thanks for sharing!

  58. Michele Montez says:

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe !! Smelled.good baking and easy to make. My grandsonson loved them, I added 2 teaspooms of pumpkin pie spice to the cookie dough and a pinch of siagon cinnamon in the frosting. I will make again, my oldest grandson said maybe even add pecans or orange zest to frosting…. So many possiblies. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      You’re welcome, Michele! Pecans and orange zest would be great!

  59. Chris says:

    Never mind! I should read the recipes twice before coffee in the morning. Please disregard. Chris

  60. Chris says:

    Hello Molly. What size can of pumpkin? Or how much pumpkin? Making these with my grandson today and excited to try these. Making memories with baking. Thank you.

  61. Amy says:

    5 stars
    Recipe was simple. They taste great. Will definitely make these again

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Thank you, Amy!

  62. Pleasantly Surprised says:

    5 stars
    I followed both the cookie and frosting recipe and found both to be amazing! Thank you for the recipe 🙂

    1. Pleasantly Suprised says:

      *I left an incorrect email*

    2. Molly Thompson says:

      Welcome!!

  63. Hope says:

    Looks amazing. I was wondering if you ever made this in to a cookie bar. I know there are recipies for other cookies made into a bar. Like a 9×13 or jellyroll pan. Just curious, as my husband want to do a pumpkin cookie in a dutch oven at the campsite next week!

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Hey Hope! I haven’t tried it as a cookie bar but I think you could definitely give it a try and see what happens. I’ve turned a lot of cookie recipes into bars and they work pretty well. Have fun camping!

      1. Hope says:

        Okay, thanks for your reply. We will try it, and I will let you know how it turns out!! Thanks!!

  64. Sara says:

    5 stars
    Perfect cookie for a fall treat! Delicious and easy! Have made many times and will continue too!

    1. Hope says:

      Looks amazing. I was wondering if you ever made this in to a cookie bar. I know there are recipies for other cookies made into a bar. Like a 9×13 or jellyroll pan. Just curious, as my husband want to do a pumpkin cookie in a dutch oven at the campsite next week!

    2. Molly Thompson says:

      Love to hear that, Sara! Thanks! Happy fall:)

  65. Kate says:

    5 stars
    Just made these and they are AMAZING! I used Gluten Free flour 1:1 Bob’s Redmill biscuit and baking mix.
    Added a 1/4 cup chopped pecans and a dash of cinnamon to the icing, a new favourite 🙂

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      That sounds so good!! Makes my heart happy that it’s a new fave!

  66. Karen says:

    These cookies are foolproof and absolutely wonderful! I did do my own buttercream icing rather than the cream cheese frosting that was recommended. A recipe I’ve already made a couple of times, with plans to make more very soon! Definitely a hit in my house and with several neighbors!