This post may contain affiliate links.
Easy, deliciously soft pumpkin cookies are fragrant with pumpkin pie spices plus the 4 essential keys to perfect, soft cookies every time.
A cozy book, warm woolly socks, a steaming cup of coffee nestled in my lap, and the heady smell of fall spices sparkling from my oven as these soft pumpkin cookies bake: that’s how I want to spend October.
I’ve made three batches of these pumpkin cookies in the past week. It’s convenient that the recipe requires one cup of pumpkin puree and a can typically comes in about 3 cups. I wanted to perfect the recipe (as always) before sharing with you. And also, I greedily wanted to eat more pumpkin cookies as soon as the last batch was finished.
How to Nail Perfect Soft Pumpkin Cookies: the 4 Crucial Keys
If you crave super-soft, tender pumpkin cookies that are akin to tops of really good pumpkin muffins, this is the recipe for you. There are a handful of killer tricks to making super-soft cookies.
- Use oil, not butter. Oil stays liquid at room temperature. Butter is solid. You probably don’t think of how this applies to your baking, but these physical states are exactly the same in finished goods as they were in your pantry. A butter-based cookie will have more structure and an oil-based cookie will be more soft and tender.
- Treat them like a muffin. You’ve probably heard (I HOPE) that you should not over-mix your muffin batter or you’ll wind up with tough muffins (if you spend any time around here, I’ve surely beaten you over the head with that). These cookies should be treated the same way. Unlike typical cookies, which involve creaming lots of butter to incorporate air bubbles, this recipe uses about 25% less fat and very minimal handling. Too much vigorous stirring will cause them (like muffins, pancakes, biscuits, etc.) to have a tougher, rubbery texture.
- Pause mixing when floury streaks still remain. Use a light touch and a folding technique to incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry, and pause when the flour is only about 80% incorporated. Floury streaks and pockets will remain. At this point, fold in your nuts and raisins (if using). If you finish stirring completely and then mix in your add-ins, you’ll likely overwork the batter.
- For the love of Pete don’t use your stand mixer. See points 2 and 3 on overmixing.
How to Store Pumpkin Cookies
Keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. In fact, on day two, they are actually softer than they were on day one. The brown sugar in the cookies is hygroscopic, meaning it actually slurps up moisture from the air after it is finished baking.
Any longer than 3 days, store them in the freezer instead for optimal freshness. Freeze in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet until firm before packing into freezer bags or containers. Thaw them on the counter for 20 minutes before serving.
What to Do With Leftover Pumpkin Puree
Freeze it in freezer bags in convenient one-cup portions for use in future cookies, or use it up in one of my favourite pumpkin recipes:
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
Pumpkin-Orange Muffins (it was an old sponsored post, yes, but the recipe is SO GOOD)
Moist Pumpkin Spice Bread with Cream Cheese Icing
Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage
Soft-Baked Pumpkin Cookies
- 9 oz all-purpose flour (2 cups lightly spooned in and levelled off)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp coarse salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- ¾ cup canola (or other neutral-tasting) oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup pecans or walnuts
- ¾ cup raisins optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Line rimless baking sheets with parchment paper. (Optional: toast the nuts in the oven as it preheats, checking every 2 minutes or two, until they turn a shade darker and smell fragrant - about 8-10 minutes.)
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, egg and vanilla extract. Use a rubber spatula to scrape this mixture into the dry ingredients, gently folding until mostly combined. When just a few floury streaks remain, fold in the nuts and raisins (if using).
- Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls (so actually about 2 tablespoons per cookies) onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake 8-10 minutes, until slightly springy to the touch (a light press with your finger won't leave a strong indent). Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Last Updated on December 1, 2022 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD
I’ve made this recipe twice in the last two weeks and I really like it. Once with pecans and raisins, and once with walnuts and Craisins, just to compare. Pecans over walnuts, hands-down. I also used home made pumpkin puree, just roasted and blended, no sugar or sesoning, like a plain can of puree. These cookies are so nice, I love soft cookies and the spices are just right. I ate one just as I was hopping in the shower the other day (busy busy), and I guess the steam amplified the aroma, because I’m taking one to the shower again with me later!
I have another cup of puree left in the fridge and when this batch of cookies is gone I’ll be making another batch too.
l have just baked them and they are amazing, soft and spicy, thanks for sharing and for great detailed steps
These are lovely tasting! A very soft cookie, with fall spices. Very easy to make, and minimal mess. Recipe yields more than 12 as indicated, and yields almost 24 instead (not a bad thing at all!). You’ll want to double this recipe still, because they’ll go quick!
Delicious cookies! Made these last night as the first thing I baked after having a baby. These are like little pillows of pumpkin goodness. So soft and with the right amount of spice.
These are incredible! The added pecans and raisins made them outstanding. They truly are even better the next day. Thank you for this great recipe.