This post is sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market. As always, all opinions, thoughts and recipes are my own.
Tis the season for pumpkin spice everything! These soft baked Pumpkin Sugar Cookies are made with pumpkin puree and warming spices. Top them with traditional cookie frosting or a decadent brown butter frosting to make them into the ultimate fall treat! Makes 36 cookies.
I used to think I hated pumpkin. Yes, I was that person.
And then one day, I realized my dislike for pumpkin-flavored everything was actually because I dislike nutmeg. So this recipe (and every pumpkin recipe of mine) calls for no nutmeg.
However, if you’re a nutmeg fan, feel free to throw some into the dough with the other spices. I’m sure half a teaspoon would work just fine here.
Why I love this recipe:
These Spiced Pumpkin Sugar Cookies, like all sugar cookies, are a great recipe for kids and adults, and they’re especially fun to decorate together!
When I was developing this recipe, I wanted to see if I could incorporate pumpkin puree into it to truly make it a Pumpkin Spice Cookie.
I didn’t want this sugar cookie recipe to be like so many pumpkin spiced products on the market… and after a few failed test doughs, I figured out a way to make it happen!
The end result is a soft, tender cookie with a lovely crumb. We will then slather the cookies in homemade frosting—either a classic cookie frosting or a brown butter frosting—and decorate for fun!
These would be a lot of fun to make and decorate with kids.
Other fall-flavored desserts: Spiced Apple Upside Down Cake with Bourbon Caramel Glaze / Whole Wheat Apple Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake / Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars / Quebec Maple Pecan Drops / Praline Pumpkin Upside Down Cake
Love recipes for this season? Check out my Fall Recipe Index!
What you need to make this recipe:
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Let’s talk ingredients!
In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.
Here’s what you need for this Pumpkin Spice Cookie recipe:
- Unsalted butter—this is imperative for both the cookie dough and the frosting. I do not recommend any substitutes, especially for the frosting, because margarita and vegan butter cannot brown.
- Granulated sugar—this is going to sweeten our pumpkin cookie dough. It’s sometimes referred to as white sugar.
- Egg—this will provide structure to the cookie dough. I have not tried this recipe with an egg substitute.
- Vanilla extract—pure vanilla adds such a lovely aroma and flavor. If you’ve got it, please use it. We need it for both the cookies and the frosting.
- Pumpkin puree—not to be confused with the pre-sweetened and spiced pumpkin pie filling.
- All-purpose flour—we keep unbleached AP flour in our house, but the regular kind works here, too. I have not tried to make this recipe with a gluten free blend.
- Baking soda—this is going to help our cookies puff up and rise slightly when they bake. Make sure yours is fresh.
- Spices—we’re going to use a combination of ground cinnamon, ground ginger and allspice to make a homemade pumpkin pie spice! If you like nutmeg, add a pinch!
- Kosher salt—I like to use a finer grain kosher salt for baked goods. A fine grain sea salt would also work here.
- Powdered sugar—also known as confectioners sugar, this will sweeten our frosting.
- Milk—this thins out the frosting. You can use whatever kind you’ve got at home.
- Food coloring—if you want to turn your traditional sugar cookie frosting orange, use a little bit of food coloring! I prefer to use gel.
- Sprinkles—spooky and funny candy eyeballs make me so happy and give some character to these spiced sugar cookies.
How to make Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
Make the cookie dough
Remove the butter and egg from the fridge 30-60 minutes before you plan to bake. We want them to be at room temperature because they’ll combine better.
Cream the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and light yellow. This process adds air into the mixture.
Measure in the egg, vanilla and pumpkin. Beat slowly and occasionally scrape down the sides until the ingredients are incorporated.
In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients–flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice and salt. Whisk to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and turn on the mixer. Run it on a low speed until the ingredients start incorporating, then turn up the speed to beat the ingredients together until well-combined.
This might take a few minutes, and that’s OK. We want everything to be evenly distributed.
Stretch a sheet of plastic wrap over the countertop or another flat surface. We will wrap the sugar cookies in this, so make sure it’s long enough. I like to use two strips of plastic wrap in the shape of a plus to make this the most efficient.
Place the dough in the center of the wrap, and press it into a round.
Wrap, then transfer to the refrigerator, and chill for at least two hours. (You could do this the night before you bake your cookies, and let them chill overnight.)
Bake the Cookies
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set ‘am aside.
Remove the chilled dough from the fridge.
Sprinkle a layer of flour over a flat surface, and flour your rolling pin, too.
Place the dough in the center of the floured surface. Sprinkle a little flour on top of it.
Use the rolling pin to gently roll the chilled dough until it’s about 1/3″ thick. (You can do more or less, of course, but I find this thickness is ideal! Also, a thinner dough cooks less and a thicker one will require more cooking time.)
Cut with a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer the cookie to a prepared baking sheet.
Repeat this process, balling the dough, then re-rolling the dough when necessary, until all of the cookies have been cut.
Bake in the preheated oven until slightly browned on top.
Let the cookies cool completely, and then ice and decorate!
Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips
I can’t imagine an event more fun than a Cookie Decorating Party highlighting these Pumpkin Sugar Cookies!
In fact, I wrote a How to Host a Cookie Decorating Party post last year that fits well with this.
Just swap out the colors and recipes, of course, to make it a Halloween/fall situation.
- Bake the cookies a day ahead of time. Rushing when you’re hosting a party is stressful, and since these cookies have to chill before you roll them out and bake them, you have got to give yourself time.
- Offer all kinds of different decoration toppings. In addition to two different types of frosting, you should have nuts/seeds, sprinkles, chocolate chips, colored sugar and more to decorate! I like to put these in ramekins or small bowls.
- Set out the cookies on a platter, and let guests go to town! I personally love the ones that have multiple eyes, haha.
- Don’t forget knives and napkins! While I’m all about being eco-friendly in my daily life, plastic (or compostable) knives are easier for kids to handle. And you absolutely need napkins or paper plates for everyone to decorate their cookies on.
Frequently Asked Questions
My friends at Sprouts asked if I could come up to Denton, a DFW suburb, to share a pumpkin-flavored treat with guests. I brought these cookies, along with two different types of icing, to let people decorate and enjoy!
Being invited to a store’s grand opening was an honor and an adventure… though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed because HOLY COW, who bakes 140 cookies in their 1950’s oven in one evening? But once I arrived and set up my table, it was smooth sailing.
I met so many lovely people, and I got the chance to share my love of baked goods and cooking with them as they decorated their cookies.
Sadly, I do not know of a way to make this happen. The browned bits in browned butter are actually the milk fat that has toasted as it cooks, and since margarine and vegan butter don’t have milk fat, it doesn’t brown the same way.
Yes! Calculate how much you need and make it happen!
Quick Tips and Tricks to make the best Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
- Store these cookies uniced at room temperature in a food safe storage container. Once the cookies are iced, keep them in the refrigerator.
- Give the dough enough time to chill! If it’s too warm, you’re going to run into issues rolling it out, as well as issues with the cookies spreading too much in the oven.
- Use pumpkin cookie cutters* (affiliate link) to really add to the festiveness of these cookies! Add food coloring to the frosting so guests can decorate theirs to look like real pumpkins.
More pumpkin dessert recipes to try:
- Pumpkin Drop Cookies with Browned Butter Icing
- Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- Pumpkin Blondies with a Caramel Cream Cheese Swirl
- Mini No Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecakes
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars
Now who’s ready to bake some cookies?
'Tis the season for pumpkin spiced everything! These flavorful Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies make the perfect seasonal sweet! This cookie dough, which features pumpkin puree, is soft baked and perfectly spiced. Seasoned with cinnamon, ground ginger and allspice, the delicious pumpkin flavor of these cookies sings. Treat guests to two options of frostings - brown butter and traditional - and these cookies are sure to fly off the table this fall.
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Brown Butter Frosting
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk (plus an additional splash if frosting too thick)
Traditional Sugar Cookie Frosting
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk, (plus an additional splash if frosting too thick)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Orange food coloring, optional
Make the Sugar Cookies
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the cookie beater attachment, cream the softened butter and sugar until smooth and light yellow.
- Measure in the egg, the vanilla and the pumpkin. Beat slowly, occasionally scraping the sides, until the wet ingredients are incorporated.
- Sift the the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice and salt – into another bowl. Whisk together, and set aside.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl containing the wet ingredients, and turn on the stand mixer. Let it run on a low speed until the ingredients start incorporating, then turn it up, beating until the batter is combined. Turn off the stand mixer, and set the bowl aside.
- Stretch a sheet of plastic wrap over the countertop. This will be what the sugar cookies chill in, so make sure it’s long enough. (I like to use two strips of plastic wrap in the shape of a + to make this the most efficient.)
- Transfer the dough to the plastic wrap, and press it down until it’s in a round. Wrap, then transfer to the refrigerator, letting cool for at least two hours.
Make the Brown Butter Frosting
- Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat.
- Place the butter in the bottom of the pan. Let it melt.
- Moving the pan over the heat constantly, allow the butter to begin browning. When the flecks of brown become more prominent in the melted butter, remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, measure out the powdered sugar.
- Pour the browned butter on top of the powdered sugar. Add the milk.
- Using a hand mixer, beat the frosting until its smooth. Add more milk if the frosting is too thick.
- When the frosting reaches the desired consistency, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside. If making in advance, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. (If you do this, please know that you’ll have to let the frosting come back to room temperature before it can be spread on the cookies. You also might have to add more milk.)
Make the Traditional Sugar Cookie Frosting
- In a microwave-safe large bowl, melt the butter.
- Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk and salt to the butter bowl.
- Using a hand mixer, beat the frosting until its smooth. Add more milk if the frosting is too thick.
- If coloring the frosting, add the food coloring now. (I added several dabs of orange to mine to get this brilliant orange color.)
- When the frosting reaches the desired consistency and color, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside. If making in advance, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. (If you do this, please know that you’ll have to let the frosting come back to room temperature before it can be spread on the cookies. You also might have to add more milk.)
Bake the cookies
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a baking mat. Set aside.
- When the dough has chilled, remove from the refrigerator.
- Sprinkle a layer of flour over a flat surface. Flour the rolling pin, too.
- Place the dough round in the center of the floured surface. Sprinkle a little flour on top of it.
- Roll the chilled dough until it’s about 1/3” thick.
- Using a cookie cutter, shape the cookies, and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
- Repeat this process, balling the dough, then re-rolling the dough when necessary, until all of the cookies have been cut.
- Transfer the baking sheets into the preheated oven.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the cookies have browned slightly on top.
- Remove from the oven, and place on a cooling rack.
Frost the cookies
- When the cookies have cooled completely, frost them with the brown butter and/or traditional frosting.
- Decorate with various sprinkles, nuts, etc.
The number of cookies will vary, based on how thick the dough is rolled and how large the cookie cutters used are.
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Serving Size:1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 69mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 1g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.