Pumpkin sugar cookies are tender, cakey, and filled with your favorite fall spices. These eggless cookies make the perfect last minute treat because they're ready in 30 minutes and require no chilling time!
If you love pumpkin spice season, you're going to love these pumpkin sugar cookies. They're filled with your favorite fall spices like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Plus they turn out so soft and cakey, like a fall version of my reader favorite soft sugar cookies.
The best part about this recipe is that there is no chilling time needed - they go straight in the oven after mixing! Pumpkin puree adds moisture, structure, and added fiber, which also replaces the egg normally needed in a cookie recipe.
Serve these pumpkin sugar cookies at your next fall gathering, like Halloween or Thanksgiving. They'd go great with a batch of slow cooker mulled apple cider!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Butter - Unsalted butter and the listed salt can be substituted with salted butter if needed.
- Sugar - Granulated sugar adds sweetness and moisture to your cookies.
- Pumpkin puree - Make sure you're using pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin puree is simply cooked pumpkin, while pumpkin pie filling also has added sweeteners and spices. If you're not sure, check the ingredients list on the back of the can.
- Vanilla - Adds depth of flavor to your cookies.
- Flour - Adds structure to your cookies and balances with the wet ingredients. I have only tested this recipe with all-purpose flour. If you have a different flour on hand, I suggest searching for a recipe using your preferred type of flour. Many times it's not an easy 1:1 substitution, and a recipe written for that particular flour will turn out better.
- Leavening - You'll need baking powder for this recipe. It cannot be substituted with baking soda. Check the expiration date before beginning - expired baking powder results in a flat, dense cookie.
- Spices - Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt add flavor to your cookies. The spices can be substituted with pumpkin pie spice blend if you have it on hand.
Dough consistency - This cookie dough is a little more wet than a standard dough, so it can't be rolled into balls by hand. I recommend scooping the dough straight onto the cookie sheet using a cookie scoop (or two spoons).
Properly measuring flour - This is the #1 most common issue I see in baking. Adding too much flour to any baking recipe will make your dough dry. Cookie dough needs the proper ratio of dry and wet ingredients to work together. To properly measure flour, I highly recommend weighing your flour using a kitchen scale. If you don't have a kitchen scale, use a spoon to gently add flour into your measuring cup, then level off with a knife. Do not scoop flour directly from a bin. This compacts the flour into the cup and adds up to an extra 25% flour to your recipe.
Substituting ingredients - This recipe requires few ingredients, which means each ingredient is very important to the recipe's success. The pumpkin, butter, and granulated sugar all add moisture to the cookies. Substituting or reducing these ingredients will change the texture.
Watch your cookies, not the time - Yes, I do include a time frame in the recipe card. However, every oven runs slightly hotter or colder than the next oven. The time that worked for me may not work for you. I highly suggest keeping an eye on your cookies. If they begin to brown around the edges or look puffy and set on top, it's time to remove them from the oven. Overbaking will make your cookies dry.
How to keep cookies soft
Store your cookies in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. To help extend their shelf life, add a slice of bread to the container. The bread adds moisture to the container, drying out the bread instead of the cookies. I don't know exactly how it works, but it does! I recommend replacing the bread slice each day.
Serve your homemade cookies the same day of baking, if possible. Cookies are their softest on the day of baking, and will slowly lose moisture as time goes on. I highly suggest serving your cookies within 24 hours of baking. If not, using the bread trick above will help keep your cookies soft for a few days.
Cookies drying out? Here's a trick. Wrap a few cookies in a damp (but not too wet!) paper towel and microwave for 5 to 10 seconds. Warm cookies are soft cookies, and wrapping in a damp paper towel helps add moisture.
Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (297 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (170 g) pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ¾ cups (330 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add butter and sugar. With a hand mixer, cream together until fluffy, about a minute. Add vanilla extract and pumpkin puree and mix to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk (or sift) together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
- Gradually stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture until just combined.
- Scoop dough using a 1.5 tablespoon scoop or drop by spoonful onto prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with reserved sugar.
- Bake for about 12-14 minutes, or until cookies begin to lightly brown around edges and tops begin to crack. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cookies will keep for 5-7 days in a sealed container. To help keep cookies fresh, place a slice of bread in the container with the cookies. Replace the bread slice as needed.
- Raw cookie dough will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. Cookie dough balls (and baked cookies) freeze well, up to 3 months in a sealed plastic container or freezer bag. Allow frozen balls to thaw for up to 10 minutes on the baking sheet before baking, or add 1-2 minutes to the baking time.
- Optionally, add a teaspoon of cinnamon to your topping sugar for an added kick of spice in your sugar coating.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking cookies, based on reader comments and questions!