Pumpkin Drop Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pillowy and light Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting are light, fluffy and totally decadent. Made in less than an hour, this cookie recipe requires no chill time. These pumpkin drop cookies are perfect for any fall get-together! Makes 27 cookies.

Several Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting sprinkled with cinnamon on a white plate

2023 Update: This recipe was originally shared in December 2011. I have downsized and simplified this recipe. It also now includes measurements by weight. The post has been updated to include new photos, as well as more tips and tricks. I hope you love them!

My mother recommended a Pumpkin Drop Cookie recipe when she came to visit our home before Thanksgiving. She tried some delectable cookies at school the week before and was raving about them.

So did some experimenting one Sunday afternoon and tinkered with the recipe to make it more palatable to us. 

The end result was a smashing hit.

Why I love this recipe:

These cookies are simple to make, but pack quite the punch when served to a group. 

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    Winston and I made these for his family for Thanksgiving, and they were the resounding favorite from that evening.

    The Soft Pumpkin Cookies are light and fluffy. The cream cheese frosting is easy to spread and utterly decadent.

    Pumpkin and cream cheese, after all, are all kinds of perfect, and these cookies are just delicious. 

    After all, it’s the time of year where we’re all about pumpkin recipes in these parts. And honestly, these easy pumpkin cookies are the PERFECT fall cookie.

    Other pumpkin baked goods to try: Easy Pumpkin Spice Bread | Pumpkin Blondies with a Caramel Cream Cheese Swirl | Spiced Pumpkin Sugar Cookies | Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread | Brown Butter Pumpkin Streusel Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze

    Need some food inspiration for this season? Check out my Fall Recipe Index for more ideas.

    Ingredients to make pumpkin cookies on a white stone surface with a blue towel

    What you need to make this recipe:

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    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’ll need:

    • All-purpose flour — we like to use unbleached AP flour in our household, but the regular kind works, too. I have not tried this cookie with a gluten free flour blend.
    • Leaveners — we’re using a combination of baking powder and baking soda to give these pumpkin drop cookies some lift. Make sure they’re fresh.
    • Sea salt — I like to use a fine grain sea salt for baked goods so that the salt evenly disperses in the batter.
    • Spices — while you could use 2 ¼ teaspoons of your favorite pumpkin pie spice blend, I like to divide out my ingredients because I don’t love nutmeg. I use a combination of ground cinnamon, ground ginger and allspice here instead.
    • Unsalted butter — make sure to set it out so it comes to room temperature before mixing the cookie batter!
    • Unsweetened applesauce — this makes our cookies extra soft and cakey!
    • Light brown sugar — this adds a sweet molasses flavor to the cookie dough. Personally, I think brown sugar and pumpkin are a match made in heaven. You could use dark brown sugar, too. 
    • Eggs — these are also a leavener to help the cookie batter rise in the oven. They also help hold the batter together.
    • Pumpkin purée — make sure to read the label. You don’t want to use pumpkin pie filling, which is already spiced and sweetened.
    • Pure vanilla extract — a little goes a long way and adds awesome vanilla flavor. Make sure you’re using the real deal.
    • Cream Cheese Icing — this is the frosting recipe we’re using, and it calls for a combination of softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk.

    How to make Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Preheat the oven. Also, line sheet pans with parchment or nonstick baking mats and set aside for later.

    Combine the dry ingredients. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ginger and allspice into a medium bowl and whisk. Set them aside for later.

    Cream the butter and sugar. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat these until pale and fluffy. This will take a few minutes.

    Wet ingredients for pumpkin cookies blended together in a bowl

    Add the egg and pumpkin. 

    Measure in the vanilla extract, too. Mix up this wet pumpkin mixture until incorporated and fragrant.


    Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Slowly sprinkle the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until everything is combined.

    Dollop the cookie batter onto the prepared baking sheets. You can use a cookie scoop or a tablespoon. 

    A small scoop holds cookie batter above a sheet pan of cookies

    Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven.

    When brown and pillowy, remove from the oven, and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. 

    When completely cooled, ice the pumpkin cookies with the tangy cream cheese frosting, and enjoy!

    Freshly baked pumpkin cookies on parchment

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do you make a soft pumpkin?

    These soft pumpkin cookies involve the usual suspects in most cookie recipes, including flour, brown sugar, butter, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. They also call for more social ingredients like pumpkin puree and evaporated milk.

    Should pumpkin cookies be refrigerated?

    Yes. When these cookies are completely cool, they should be refrigerated because they call for a cream cheese frosting.

    Can you use pumpkin pie mix instead of pumpkin puree for cookies?

    While you could use a pumpkin pie mix instead of pumpkin puree for these cookies, I do not recommend it because the canned pumpkin pie filling is sweetened and spiced. We add our own sweetener and spices to this cookie recipe.

    Baked cookies frosted with cream cheese frosting on a sheet pan

    Quick tips and tricks to the best Soft Pumpkin Cookies

    • Use pumpkin pie spice. Instead of a combination of ground cinnamon and ground ginger, use the same amount of your favorite pumpkin pie spice blend.
    • Switch out the frosting. You could easily use Brown Butter Frosting or Easy Sugar Cookie Icing in place of the cream cheese rendition shown here.
    • How to store: Place the cookies on a plate and wrap with plastic wrap. You may also place them in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for 3-4 days. You may also store them in an airtight food storage container. Consider separating layers of cookies with wax paper.
    A bitten-into Pumpkin Cookie with Cream Cheese Frosting held in hand above a plate of cookies

    More pumpkin cookie recipes:

    Now who wants to bake these cookies? Scroll on down…

    Several Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting sprinkled with cinnamon on a white plate with the text Pumpkin Drop Cookies
    A small plate stacked with Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting with a blue towel in the background

    Pumpkin Drop Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    Pillowy and light Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting are light, fluffy and totally decadent. Made in less than an hour, this cookie recipe requires no chill time. These pumpkin drop cookies are perfect for any fall get-together!
    5 from 44 votes
    Servings 27 (1.5T) cookies
    Calories 107 kcal
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 12 minutes
    Total Time 22 minutes

    Ingredients
      

    Cookies

    • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 180g
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder 3g
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda 4g
    • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt 3g
    • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon 3g
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger 2g
    • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice 1g
    • ½ cup unsalted butter softened (1 stick)
    • 1 ¼ cups light brown sugar packed (255g)
    • 1 large egg
    • ¾ cup pumpkin puree 200g
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 5g

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Instructions
     

    • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat, and set aside.
    • Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice in a medium bowl. Whisk together until combined. Set aside.
    • Cream the butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. They will become pale and fluffy and take about 2-3 minutes to combine.
    • Add the egg to the butter-sugar mixture, beating until combined.
    • Measure in the pumpkin and vanilla, and beat until well-mixed.
    • Sprinkle in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and blend until combined.
    • Use a 1.5-tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheet baking sheet.
    • Bake for 12 minutes, and then let cool.
    • Once cooled, ice the cookies with Cream Cheese Icing, then enjoy!

    Video

    Notes

    This recipe makes 27 1.5 tablespoon cookies. If you use a larger cookie scoop, there will be less cookies. If you use a smaller one, it will make more.
    Adapted from Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Cookie recipe.
    How to store: Place the cookies on a plate and wrap with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for 3-4 days. You may also store them in an airtight food storage container. Consider separating layers of cookies with wax paper.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1gCalories: 107kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 86mgSugar: 9g
    Keyword baking, cookies, desserts, drop cookies, fall baking, fall cookies, pumpkin, pumpkin cookie recipe, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin dessert, pumpkin recipe, Thanksgiving baking
    Course Desserts & Sweet Treats
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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