These pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting are the epitome of fall desserts!
They’re sweet, spiced, and so soft, they basically melt in your mouth.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate autumn than a big batch of cakey, pillowy cookies.
They’re kissed with cinnamon and smothered with a luscious cream cheese frosting. So yeah, these pumpkin cookies are Glorious with a capital G!
The best part? The dough comes together in no time, and you don’t even need to chill it before baking.
So what are you waiting for? Whip up these pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting today!
Soft Pumpkin Cookies Recipe
This cookie recipe features the spectacular combination of pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon.
Traditional cookies are crisp around the edges and chewy in the middle. But these pumpkin cookies are so tender and fluffy, they’re almost like cake.
That’s why cream cheese frosting goes so well with them!
Trust me, if you’re looking for the embodiment of autumn treats, this is it!
- Butter – the key to rich and buttery cookies. Use room-temperature butter, not cold or melted, for the best results.
- Brown Sugar – the molasses in brown sugar gives the dough a deeper, sweeter, caramel-like flavor.
- Sugar – regular white sugar balances out the sweetness of the brown sugar and helps the edges to firm slightly.
- Egg – for binding the ingredients together.
- Vanilla Extract – flavor enhancer.
- Pumpkin – these are pumpkin cookies, after all! No need to puree raw pumpkin – canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling) will do.
- All-Purpose Flour – measure it correctly with a kitchen scale or with the “spoon and level” method. Don’t pack the measuring cup, or you’ll get more flour than you need.
- Cinnamon – no other spice pairs better with pumpkin than cinnamon.
- Baking Soda and Baking Powder – since pumpkin is rather heavy, you’ll need a combo of two leavening agents to make these cookies rise.
- Salt – something salty to contrast the sweetness of the pumpkin and sugars.
- Walnuts – every soft cookie needs a crunchy element for textural variety. Feel free to use pecans or even macadamia nuts if you have them.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream Cheese – the main ingredient that offers plenty of creamy tang. Be sure to use full fat for the best results.
- Butter – pure cream cheese would be too rich (and expensive!). Butter helps smooth it out and gives it a classic frosting taste.
- Vanilla – a simple flavor enhancer. Use paste if you can find it to get those stunning flecks in the white frosting.
- Powdered Sugar – to mix into the cream cheese and butter and make it smooth, firm, and spreadable. It’s also necessary for its sweetness.
How to Make Pumpkin Cookies
1. Cream the butter and sugars.
This is the first and most important step in cookie making.
It introduces air bubbles into the cookie dough and ensures the butter is thoroughly blended with the sugars.
It’s what makes your cookies super soft and airy!
Beat for about five minutes with an electric mixer or until the blend is light and fluffy.
2. Incorporate the other wet ingredients into the butter.
Add the egg and vanilla, then lightly beat until it’s mostly blended.
Next, add the pumpkin and stir with a spatula until well combined.
3. Combine the dry ingredients.
Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl.
This ensures all the elements are evenly distributed.
4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and gently mix just until combined.
Stop when you no longer see streaks of flour!
Gently stir in the walnuts.
5. Bake the cookies.
Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a greased and lined baking sheet. Leave about 2 inches of space in between each cookie to allow for spreading.
Bake until the edges are golden brown (the middle should still be gooey).
6. Make the frosting.
Beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until the frosting is thick, fluffy, and lump-free.
7. Assemble the cookies.
Spread the frosting over the cooled pumpkin cookies.
Add a light dusting of cinnamon, serve, and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Pumpkin Cookies
- Pat the pumpkin dry. Because it has high water content, pumpkin may cause the cookie dough to be watery. But if you gently blot out some of the moisture with paper towels, you’ll be fine.
- Measure the flour correctly. Adding more flour than called for will result in dry cookies! Use a kitchen scale for the best results.
- Don’t overmix the ingredients, especially once the wet and dry have combined. This is one of the issues a lot of people face with cookies in general. As a rule of thumb, finish them with a spatula and stop mixing as soon as the streaks of flour disappear.
- Don’t overbake the cookies. This is another culprit to dry cookies. You’ll know the cookies are done once the edges have turned brown. The middle will appear raw still, but they’ll finish cooking on the tray.
- Use an ice cream or cookie scoop to scoop the dough to ensure even baking. If you eyeball it, some will be bigger than others and won’t cook at the same rate.
- Be sure the butter and cream cheese are both at room temperature before making the frosting. If you forget to take them out of the fridge, pop them in the microwave! Soften them at 10-second intervals until soft.
How to Store Pumpkin Cookies
To store: Place the cookies in a single layer in an airtight container. Keep them at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the fridge for up to a week.
To freeze: You have a few options for freezing. With all the methods, they’re best used within three months:
- Freeze the raw dough – either wrapped in a block or portioned in dough balls.
- Freeze baked cookies – make sure they’re cold, then freeze them on a tray until solid. Pop them in a freezer-safe bag or container.
- Freeze frosted cookies – they better left unfrosted since dairy doesn’t freeze well. But if you have to, follow the method above and be sure to thaw them in the fridge in a single layer.
(Read my post on freezing cream cheese to learn more.)
More Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love
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