Soft American-style Pumpkin Cookies topped with maple cream cheese frosting. Made with real pumpkin and warm spices, these cake-like cookies are perfect for fall.
Best ever Pumpkin Cookies! 🧡
Yes, it’s that time of year again! While it’s technically spring here in Australia, it’s fall-time in America, which means our feeds are full of pumpkin, spice and all things nice.
So I’m channeling my inner American with these deliciously soft Pumpkin Cookies filled with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, and topped with maple cream cheese. Ya welcome!
why you will love this recipe
- They’re quick and easy to make
- You don’t need to chill the dough
- The cookies are buttery and soft (and stay that way for days)
- The frosting only requires three ingredients
I know what you might be thinking, pumpkin in a cookie? Puh-lease. But let me just remind you that we put carrot in our cake and find it perfectly acceptable right? And last year we fell in love with our soft and moist Pumpkin Bread.
So when I had a sudden craving for a really good, melt-in-your-mouth Pumpkin Cookie a few weeks ago, I knew it was time to get out the canned pumpkin.
A few years ago, one of my American colleagues brought in a plate of Pumpkin Cookies made from her family’s secret recipe. I remember by the time I made it to the work kitchen there was only one left. So I went halfsies with a co-worker.
But one bite and I wished I didn’t give half away. I was smitten. The cookie itself was soft and sweet and filled with warm spices. And it had a magical layer of cream cheese frosting. It was, in a word, bliss.
So I dug deep into that memory to recreate these Pumpkin Cookies for you. Instead of going for a regular chewy or crispy cookie, I wanted a cake-like cookie – essentially a whoopie pie. And that’s exactly what we have here.
My first attempt was average at best. The cookies didn’t spread at all but stayed as little domes. It was bland and tasted an awful lot like pumpkin – but not in a good way.
So for round two, I reduced the pumpkin, switched up the sugars, added a little maple syrup and went heavy on the spices. It was a million times better.
The cookies were soft and sweet with just the essence of pumpkin coming through – along with plenty of warm spices. Once I added my maple cream cheese frosting, I was DONE. Fall craving satisfied.
so what do they taste like?
If you’ve never had a Pumpkin Cookie before, you might be worried these taste like, well, a vegetable. But rest assured, these cakey cookies are not overly pumpkin-y.
They’re soft and sweet – think cake in cookie form – with a mild pumpkin flavour that’s mellowed by warm spices. They taste like fall.
These Pumpkin Cookies are:
- Soft and cakey (like a whoopie pie)
- Mildly pumpkin flavoured
- Filled with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
- Made to be sandwiched with maple cream cheese frosting.
tips for making perfect cookies
- Start with softened butter: Using room temperature butter will make it quick and easy to beat together the butter and sugars.
- Weigh your dry ingredients using a baking scale: Adding too much flour could result in a dry cookie that doesn’t spread correctly. Use a baking scale to make sure you don’t accidentally over-measure any ingredients.
- Don’t over-mix your cookie batter: Once you add the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients, mix your batter on low speed and stop once it’s combined. If you over-mix, your cookies could be dry and tough.
- Use a cookie scoop: This cookie batter will be too wet and sticky to roll using your hands. Simply use a cookie scoop to place dough on prepared trays. The cookies will spread naturally in the oven.
what type of pumpkin do I use?
You can use canned pumpkin (make sure it’s 100% pumpkin) for this recipe. However, I know canned pumpkin can be hard to find here in Australia. I’ve had luck getting it from specialty kitchen stores or gourmet grocers, but if you can’t get hold of the canned stuff, you can make and use your own pumpkin purée. See below.
how to make pumpkin purée (from scratch)
- Start with half a pumpkin. Remove seeds. Place pumpkin, face down, on a baking tray that’s lined with baking or parchment paper.
- Place in a preheated oven at 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced and bake for approximately 35-45 minutes or until pumpkin is fully cooked. NOTE: Cooking times will vary depending on how large or thick your pumpkin is. You’ll know it’s ready when a butter knife can slide right through the pumpkin with ease.
- Leave pumpkin to cool. Then scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin, leaving behind any skin or crispy edges.
- Transfer flesh to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Or mash it well using a fork or potato masher.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
maple cream cheese frosting
These cookies were MADE for this frosting. I use the term frosting here loosely because this dreamy icing only requires three ingredients. It’s essentially just cream cheese with a little butter and maple syrup.
It’s thick and creamy and ready in minutes.
HOT TIP: If you are partial to a whoopie pie or a sandwich cookie, you can totally smoosh two Pumpkin Cookies together using this frosting. HEAVEN!
frequently asked questions
You can make your own pumpkin purée from scratch and use that instead. See above for step-by-step instructions.
Use a block of full fat cream cheese. If you don’t have access to the block or brick-style cream cheese, the spreadable kind will work fine too.
You can keep the cookies themselves in an airtight container at room temperature. You can store the cream cheese frosting in the fridge. Bring it back to room temperature before icing the cookies.
more fall favourites
Soft and chewy Pumpkin Cookies topped with maple cream cheese.
- 90 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 90 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 large egg
- 125 grams (1/2 cup) puréed pumpkin*, canned or homemade
- 210 grams (1 and 1/2 cups) plain flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Maple cream cheese
- 250 grams (1 and 1/4 cup) full fat cream cheese, room temperature, roughly chopped
- 30 grams (2 tablespoons) butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Line two large baking trays or cookie sheets with baking or parchment paper.
- Add butter, sugars and maple syrup to a large mixing bowl. Beat using an electric mixer on medium speed until combined and creamy.
- Add egg and pumpkin. Mix briefly on low speed just to break up the egg yolk. Then add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
- Mix on low speed until a thick cookie batter forms. Batter will be wet and sticky – this is ok.
- Use a cookie scoop to portion out the dough (approximately 1.5 tablespoons each) and place them on prepared trays, leaving room for cookies to spread naturally in the oven.
- Bake cookies for 10-11 minutes or until cookies are no longer sticky to touch. Carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Place cream cheese, butter and maple syrup in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Beat using an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and smooth.
- Use a spoon or small spatula to top each cookie with 1-2 tablespoons of maple cream cheese.
Pumpkin: You can use canned pumpkin (make sure it’s 100% pumpkin) for this recipe. If you don’t have easy access to canned pumpkin, you can use homemade pumpkin purée. See above post for instructions.
Cream cheese: Either block or brick-style cream cheese, or spreadable cream cheese will work in this recipe. I do recommend choosing a full fat version, rather than a lighten or fat-free kind.