• October 8, 2019

    Soft-Baked Pumpkin Cookies

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    Easy, deliciously soft pumpkin cookies are fragrant with pumpkin pie spices plus the 4 essential keys to perfect, soft cookies every time.

    Soft Pumpkin CookiesA 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.

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 Pumpkin Cookies

    Soft-Baked Pumpkin Cookies

    Easy, deliciously soft pumpkin cookies are fragrant with pumpkin pie spices plus the 4 essential keys to perfect, soft cookies every time.
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: Canadian
    Keyword: Pumpkin Cookies
    Servings: 12
    Author: Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD


    • 9 oz (2 cups) all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
    • 1 tbsp cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
    • 1 cup pumpkin puree
    • 1 cup brown sugar packed
    • 3/4 cup canola (or other neutral-tasting) oil
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup pecans or walnuts
    • 3/4 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.
    Tried this recipe?tag @foodess
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    Hi, I'm Jennifer Pallian, BSc, RD. I studied cooking, baking and food chemistry in a university lab, have years of experience as a professional test kitchen recipe developer and providing technical baking support to bakeries and home bakers. Want to know why your bread didn't rise? I've got your back.I now work full-time as a blogger, putting the years of science and baking to work right here. On Foodess, I share the best recipes in my arsenal - tested-till-PERFECT recipes for cozy baking, easy recipes for weeknight meals and delicious globally-inspired comfort food, plus lots of science-based cooking and baking tips. Welcome!

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    5 stars
    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.


    5 stars
    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.

    Crystal M

    5 stars
    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!


    5 stars
    l have just baked them and they are amazing, soft and spicy, thanks for sharing and for great detailed steps


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