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Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Soft, moist, and completely addictive are what these pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting are! Homemade cookies are made with simple ingredients and the essence of fall in every bite.

pumpkin cookies recipe
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Favorite Fall Cookie Recipe

Baking a batch of these soft pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting makes saying goodbye to summer and hello to fall so much easier! The best pumpkin recipes can make us excited for the cooler weather, and these cookies do just that!

If you remember my pumpkin cookies with caramel icing you’ll be happy to know that a cream cheese frosting is just as amazing! That sweet, tangy, and creamy frosting sits on top of a thick, melt-in-your-mouth cookie made with pure pumpkin and infused with pumpkin pie spice. It’s the perfect combination.

The texture is almost cake-like which gives it the perfect balance of cookie and cake which is really what people go crazy for. Soft pumpkin cookies are easy to make and ready in just over 1 hour. Whip up a batch for the holidays, or just to have on hand for a tasty dessert!

Why This Recipe Works

  1. The flavor. We’ve got layers of pumpkin in here. Pure pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice which is then completed by other familiar warm spices. 
  2. From scratch. You can make as many of these pumpkin spice cookies with cream cheese frosting from scratch as you’d like. I have a homemade pumpkin pie spice I like to use, as well as a homemade pumpkin purée. The frosting is also from scratch but what’s neat about these cookies is that there are multiple ways to frost them and I have recipes for a few different flavors. See below!
  3. An easy recipe. I’ve got a list of “how-to’s” for you to help make this simple recipe even easier. Including how to make pumpkin pureehow to measure flourhow to soften butter, and how to soften cream cheese.

Cookie Ingredients

Pumpkin Cookie Ingredients on the marble countertop.

See full printable recipe below.

  • Baking staples: All-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, egg, butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Pumpkin pie spice: Make your own blend or use a store brand version.
  • Ground cinnamon: You may notice that pumpkin pie spice contains cinnamon. It’s just not enough this time! We need more, so cinnamon is listed as a separate ingredient.
  • Light brown sugar, packed: Gives us that beautiful caramel flavor to the cookie. Measuring it packed, means you pack it down into the measuring up to remove as much air as possible until the sugar reaches the rim.
  • Pumpkin purée: Not pumpkin pie filling! You can make your own, which is usually thinner and contains more water than canned filling. The canned pumpkin will usually have more of the water removed and also be darker in color. It’s up to you!

Cream Cheese Frosting

We’re using traditional ingredients for this which include butter, cream cheese which needs to be soft enough to cream, and powdered sugar for added sweetness and to thicken it up. Then a splash of vanilla extract for a warm flavor to round out the sweet and tangy combination. So good!

More Frosting Variations

Soft pumpkin cookies can be topped with a variety of different flavors of frosting which makes them suitable for so many occasions! Make a variety in one go, and have a few of each kind on display for people to choose from!

How to Make Soft Pumpkin Cookies

The process of making pumpkin cookies in a four step photo collage.

Just a few easy steps before popping them in the oven. The smell of freshly baked cookies is just moments away!

  1. Make the cookie dough. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and salt. Separately, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and mix in the pumpkin purée until everything is smooth. Then, add in the flour mixture and stir until dry ingredients and wet ingredients are combined. 
  2. Scoop and bake the dough. Use a medium cookie scoop or large spoon to scoop out the cookie dough. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet or silicone mat 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 1 minute and allow them to cool on a baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  3. Make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and butter with a mixer until smooth. If you’ve cleaned out your stand mixer, by all means, use it. If not, grab your electric hand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until just combined and airy. Do not overmix. Do a little taste test and add a pinch of salt or a bit more vanilla if needed. 
  4. Frosting your cookies. Using a knife or cake spatula, spread and slather those babies to your heart’s content! Add a sprinkle of extra cinnamon on top, if desired. Enjoy!
pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting

Expert Tips

  • Room temperature ingredients. It’s the only way the butter and cream cheese will be soft enough to cream together! 
  • To test if your cookies are done, stick a toothpick into the thickest part of the cookies (the center). If it comes out clean, it’s done!
  • A thicker sweeter frosting. Use 1/2 cup more powdered sugar than the recipe calls for.
  • To store the soft pumpkin cookies, keep them in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days. 
  • Turn these into pumpkin chocolate chip cookies by adding some chocolate chips to the batter.

Recipe FAQs

Do soft pumpkin cookies need to be refrigerated?

No need to keep them in the refrigerator! The powdered sugar in the icing acts as a preserve to keep the frosting safe for days.

How long do soft pumpkin cookies stay fresh?

They can stay fresh for up to 3 days on the counter. The key is to keep them covered so they don’t dry out.

Is pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin spice the same? 

They are! While there is no actual pumpkin in the spice blend, it’s a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and sometimes allspice that gives it its signature flavor.

Truth be told, pumpkin all on its own has a mild savory flavor, just like other types of squash.

frosted pumpkin cookies with cinnamon on top

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frosted pumpkin cookies with cinnamon on top

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 2 votes
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Soft, moist, and completely addictive are what these soft pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting are! Homemade cookies are made with simple ingredients and the essence of fall in every bite.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Cool Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 36

Ingredients 

Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar , packed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree

Frosting

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese , softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar , plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and salt.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix in the pumpkin puree until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
  • Using a medium cookie scoop or a large spoon, scoop the cookie dough 1 1/2 inches apart onto the baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on the baking sheet 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Frosting

  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat just until combined and airy. Do not overmix. Taste and add a pinch of salt or more vanilla, if desired. You can also add 1/2 cup more powdered sugar if you'd like it a little sweeter or thicker. 
  • Using a knife or a cake spatula, frost cookies. Add a dash of cinnamon on top, if desired. Store in covered container up to 3 days.

Notes

Pumpkin: Since you won’t be using a whole can of pumpkin, you can freeze it in a zip top bag or feel free to double the recipe to use the whole can or use it to make my chocolate chip pumpkin cookies
Frosting: These also tastes amazing with my maple cream cheese frosting or cinnamon cream cheese frosting
Storage: Store in an airtight container up to 3 days.
Freezer instructions: Flash freeze the cookies on a baking sheet for 30 minutes. Then stack in a covered container and freeze for up to 3 months. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 104mg | Potassium: 41mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1388IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian

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