Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting

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These are the BEST soft pumpkin cookies, frosted with tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting. Soft pumpkin spiced cookies are the perfect fall dessert recipe! These are so easy to make you don’t even need an electric mixer. Grab a spoon and get cookin’, good lookin’!

pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting on a baking sheet

Pumpkin spice cookies are a new favorite in our house. I made two different kinds this year. This version is a soft pumpkin cookie frosted with a nice big old smear of sweet cream cheese frosting.

The second version is a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie made with extra-dark chocolate chips. My family loved both of these two cookie recipes. It was honestly hard to decide which one was the clear favorite.

A baking sheet of pumpkin cookies frosted with cream cheese frosting.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

  • Easy. First of all, this recipe is so easy! Everything for this pumpkin cookie recipe gets mixed up in one bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon. No mixer is needed.
  • Delicious and soft. This pumpkin cookie is soft with an ever-so-slight amount of crunch on the outside. I tested several recipes before settling on this one.
  • Freezer friendly. This pumpkin cookie dough is freezer-friendly, so it’s the perfect dough to make a huge batch and then freeze. I freeze them in preportioned cookie balls. Then, we can bake a few fresh cookies any time we like.

Making Pumpkin Cookies

Whenever you have leftover pumpkin, these cookies are perfect for baking. This recipe makes the perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert.

These easy pumpkin cookies are always appreciated by family and friends.

Ingredients For Pumpkin Cookies

  • Unsalted Butter: For this recipe, you’ll melt the butter first and then let it cool to room temperature.
  • Sugar: You will use both granulated white sugar and brown sugar. You can use light or dark brown sugar.
  • Flour: I used all-purpose flour. You can also use a gluten-free flour blend in these cookies. I have had success with King Arthur brand.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice: I use my homemade pumpkin pie spice blend.
  • Baking soda and salt: These are used for leavening, making the cookies fluffy.
  • Corn starch: Corn starch helps to create that dreamy, smooshy, pillowy cookie texture.
  • Vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste: Either one will work in this recipe.
ingredients for pumpkin cookies

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Unsalted Butter: Softened to room temp.
  • Cream Cheese: Softened to room temp.
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla: Vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
  • Pumpkin pie spice: A sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice on top (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Strain the pumpkin by lining a small mesh strainer with a paper towel. Add the pumpkin and let it drain until you are ready to use it.

Step 2: Melt the butter and set it aside to cool.

Step 3: Mix together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk together to mix and set aside.

Step 4: Mix the granulated and brown sugar in a medium bowl.

Step 5: Add the melted butter to the sugars. Whisk to combine.

Step 6: Add the pumpkin and the vanilla to the sugar. Whisk to combine.

Step 7: Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is just combined.

Step 8: Use a cookie scoop to make 36 cookie dough balls, and space them evenly on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour before baking.

Step 9: To bake. Preheat the oven to 325℉. Bake for 14 minutes. The cookies will be puffy and slightly brown on the edges. Put them on a wire rack to cool.

Step 10: Mix up your delicious cream cheese frosting while the cookies are baking. Wait until the cookies have cooled slightly before you frost them. Otherwise, the cream cheese frosting will want to melt and drip off the sides. And we can’t have THAT.

soft pumpkin cookies frosted with cream cheese frosting

FAQs and Expert Tips

How to store pumpkin cookies:

The best way to store pumpkin cookies is side by side in an airtight container. Once the icing has been set up, you can stack them with waxed paper in between. However, they may still get a bit smooshed if you layer them. Still delicious!

Can you freeze pumpkin cookies?

Yes, you can freeze these pumpkin cookies as long as you wait to frost them.
Once frosted, it’s best to store them at room temperature. Chances are, they’ll be eaten in about a day. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

How to make pumpkin cookies for dogs?

It’s really not fair that we humans get all the good snacks. I use pumpkin and peanut butter to make pumpkin dog cookies. You can grab the recipe HERE!

Is canned pumpkin the same as pumpkin puree?

Canned pumpkin is essentially canned pumpkin puree. Be careful not to use pumpkin pie filling, which is already sweetened and includes spices.

How long are pumpkin cookies good for?

In our house, the cookies never last that long. But these cookies will keep at room temperature for at least a week.

Does baking soda make cookies fluffy?

Adding baking soda to cookies adds to the fluffy texture. Baking soda releases CO2 during the baking process, which makes the dough form little internal air bubbles. The C02 disappears, leaving you with super light, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

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pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting on a metal baking sheet

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

by: Laura Reigel
These are the BEST soft pumpkin cookies frosted with tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting. Soft pumpkin spiced cookies are the perfect fall dessert recipe! These are so easy to make – no mixer needed.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes
Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 36 cookies
Calories 161 kcal


Pumpkin Cookie Batter

  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin, strained in a mesh colander and paper towel [note 1]
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon¼ baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling [note 2]
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • cup sugar
  • cup brown sugar , packed
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, one half of a block, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, more or less
  • teaspoon fine sea salt


Pumpkin Cookie Dough

  • Strain the pumpkin. Line a small fine-mesh sieve with a paper towel. Add the ¾ cup of pumpkin and let it drain while you are mixing together the rest of the ingredients.
    ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan or the microwave. Then let it cool.
    1 cup unsalted butter
  • Combine the dry ingredients, including the all-purpose flour, spices, salt, and baking soda. whisk together and then set aside.
    2 ¾ cup all purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons corn starch, 1 teaspoon¼ baking soda, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Combine the sugars and the cooled butter in a medium bowl. Whisk together.
    ⅔ cup sugar, ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • Add in the strained pumpkin and the vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
    ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Add in the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Use a #20 cookie scoop to form balls of cookie dough.
  • Chill for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Bake for 10-14 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Combine the butter, cream cheese, and salt. Use a hand mixer to mix until smooth.
    ¼ cup unsalted butter, 4 ounces cream cheese, ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
    2 cups powdered sugar
  • The more sugar you add, the more stiff the icing will be. You want a spreadable consistency but not too soft.
  • Top the cookies with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Laura’s Tips + Notes

  1. Drain the pumpkin. Remove as much water from the pumpkin as you can. Do this by lining a small mesh strainer with a paper towel. Then add the 3/4 cup of pumpkin and let it strain until you are ready to use it. This step helps to keep the cookies chewier and less cakey. 
  2. Pumpkin Pie Spice: If you don’t have any pumpkin pie spice you can grab the download of my DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice HERE. 
Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute:
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Keyword cookies, pumpkin

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