Pumpkin Spice Cookies

An easy and basic recipe for pumpkin spice cookies, and they taste just like fall. These are melt-in-your-mouth good!

pumpkin spice cookies on blue plates

I want to share this fall-inspired pumpkin spice cookie recipe, but there’s a little story to tell first. I used to have a recipe card for pumpkin cookies in my recipe box. It was old and stained, but still readable. I know it was there like I know my own name.

When I went to look for it a few days ago, it was gone. I sat and looked through every single card, slip of paper, and torn magazine page in my box. It was not there. I wasn’t sure what to do. So I went on a hunt through my old cookbooks. I found the next best thing in a cookbook that was my grandmother’s. It’s called Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book. 

Sure enough, there on page 30 of my edition, was this basic, very-close-to-my-own pumpkin spice cookie recipe. I made just a few updates, and left out the raisins.

pumpkin spice cookies ingredients

Why This Recipe Works

  • This is a no-fail cookie dough. If measured correctly, these cookies are wonderful every time.
  • Great texture that literally melts in your mouth. Sort of chewy, sort of cakey…simply delicious.
  • The perfect balance of pumpkin and spices.
  • No refrigeration step.
  • These pumpkin spice cookies are good on their own, but the butter frosting takes them over the top!
wet ingredients for pumpkin spice cookies

Ingredients

Brown sugar: adds sweetness, but not too much.

Shortening: since shortening is 100% fat, it generally makes baked goods softer…as is the case with these pumpkin spice cookies!

Eggs: binds the batter together. Room temperature eggs work best.

Pumpkin: make sure to use pure pumpkin puree, and not pumpkin pie mix.

Flour: the base of any baked good.

Leavening + Spices: the baking powder makes these cookies puffy and soft. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves add just the right amount of flavor.

pumpkin spice cookie batter in bowl

Substitutions

For the shortening: butter can be substituted, but the cookies may have a slightly different texture.

For the brown sugar: half the amount of brown sugar can be swapped out with white sugar.

For the walnuts: any kind of nut can be used. Some ideas are chopped pecans, sliced almonds, or chopped cashews.

For the powdered sugar frosting: cream cheese frosting can be substituted.

For the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves: an equal amount of pumpkin pie spice can be used.

pumpkin spice cookies on cooking rack

How to Make

This cookie recipe practically makes itself! The ingredients go together quickly, and the baking time is minimal.

Baking Instructions

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 2: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a mixing bowl with a hand mixer, add the brown sugar, shortening, eggs, and pumpkin. Beat until fluffy.

Step 3: In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

Step 4: Slowly add dry ingredients. to pumpkin mixture.

Step 5: Beat well. Fold in walnuts by hand.

Step 6: Drop the dough on a cookie sheet with a 2 inch scoop.

Step 7: Bake 12 – 15 min. Cookies are done when tops crack and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool completely.

Step 8: Using a mixer, combine the powdered sugar and butter.

Step 9: Add 2 tablespoons milk. Mix again.

Step 10: Add more milk, one tablespoon at a time, if the frosting is too thick. Add more powdered sugar if it’s too thin. It should be spreadable, but not runny.

Step 11: Spread frosting on cookies.

powdered sugar frosting in bowl

Baking Tips

  • Definitely use a cookie scoop when dropping the dough onto the cookie sheets. It’s so much easier than a spoon.
  • Watch the cookies closely at the end of the baking time. Don’t overbake! You want them very moist.
  • Make Ahead: you can mix up the batter and store it, covered, for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Make sure to bring it to room temperature before baking.
  • Use parchment paper on your baking sheets for an easier clean-up.

FAQs

Raisins, chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, pure vanilla bean paste, or pure vanilla extract.

Store them in an airtight container, with parchment paper in between the layers. They keep for up to 3 days. After that, place them in the refrigerator.

Yes, the baked cookies can be frozen, unfrosted, for up to 3 months. Thaw completely at room temperature. Frost when completely thawed.

Shop + Source

stacked pumpkin spice cookies

More Pumpkin Recipes

There’s nothing like the smell of pumpkin baking in the oven!

Don’t forget to pin this to your Pinterest cookie board!

iced pumpkin cookies on blue plates

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

An easy and basic recipe for pumpkin spice cookies, and they taste just like fall. These are melt-in-your-mouth good!
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Servings: 24 cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Cooling + Frosting 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 52 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, add the brown sugar, shortening, eggs, and pumpkin. Using the paddle attachment, beat until fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
  • Slowly add dry ingredients. to pumpkin mixture.
  • Beat well. Fold in walnuts by hand.
  • Drop the dough on a cookie sheet with a 2 inch scoop.
  • Bake 12 – 15 min.
  • Cookies are done when tops crack and bottoms are lightly browned.
  • Cool completely.
  • Using a mixer, combine the powdered sugar and butter.
  • Add 2 tablespoons milk. Mix again.
  • Add more milk, one tablespoon at a time, if the frosting is too thick. Add more powdered sugar if it's too thin. It should be spreadable, but not runny.
  • Spread frosting on cookies.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 29IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg
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If you make these pumpkin spice cookies, and love them, please consider coming back to leave a comment and a 5-star review. I would appreciate it so much, and it would really help me. Thank you!

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16 Comments

  1. Very disappointed in this recipe. They were very bland with absolutely no pumpkin flavour even though I increased the spices. I’ll try putting some pumpkin spice into the icing. I’m afraid these cookies will end up in the garbage. My grandson was looking forward to a “pumpkin” treat.

  2. Hello:

    These cookies look wonderful, but Iam wondering if the icing gets a little hard. I am looking for a bit of a hard icing so if I transport them, they won’t stick together. Love your site
    Happy Fall
    Cathie

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Cathie…the icing stays pretty moist. I don’t think you could stack them without the icing sticking a bit. You could get a cookie carrier, something like this: https://amzn.to/3DAP971. Good luck!

  3. Thank you, Ann. I have been looking for a pumpkin cookie recipe and was delighted to see this. One question about the recipe—use shortening and not butter?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Carol…yes, I prefer shortening. You can definitely substitute butter, but the cookies may be a bit flatter. Enjoy!

  4. Stephanie says:

    Ann,
    I have that Betty Crocker cooky book. It was my Mom’s and I used it as a young girl. It is falling apart. I had my favorite cookies I made from it but never tried the pumpkin cookie. I will have to give it a try. They look yummy. One of my favorites in that book was the crisscross raisin cookies on page 68. The Gateau Bonbons are good too. I made those for French class in high school and my French teacher later used that recipe for her later students.

  5. Gail L Martin says:

    I will start this post off with … Ask your daughter… I say that to say that my son and his wife came for Christmas a couple of years ago. He was writing down a recipe that I had made. In the shuffle of packing up, he had packed up my recipe cards and took them home to Texas. When I realized they were missing, I called. He said the cards were in their kitchen. I said SEND THM HOME TO ME. He did. But not before he copied everyone. It really got me to thinking. I decided to make both my children a spiral note card of family recipes. I still add to them when I go to Texas. I also add the little family stories about who used to make them and their relationship to my son and what they meant to me.

  6. Julie Hoppe says:

    If you wanted to add raisins, how much and would it change any of the other ingredients?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Raisins would be delicious! Start with 1/2 cup and if you don’t think it’s enough, add more. Adding raisins shouldn’t change the other ingredients. Enjoy!

  7. I can totally relate to losing your favorite cookie recipe!! So frustrating!!! These look delicious. I will definitely make them this fall. Love your blog!!

  8. These cookies look delicious; can’t wait to make them! Thanks for sharing. And by the way, I love everything you post, as I’m sure many others do, too. One of my highlights of my day. God bless you.

  9. Pam Prueter says:

    I made these cookies this week and they were delicious! Everyone wants the recipe:-)

  10. I love pumpkin recipes….especially topped with icing! YUM!!!!!

  11. They look yummy and I love anything pumpkin.

  12. Pamela Gordon says:

    I love pumpkin cookies and with frosting they’d be even better. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I always make my own butter frosting – none of that canned stuff for me. ;)

  13. I made these years ago and kind of forgot about them! Yummy, I could eat one right now with my cup of coffee.