Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Soft Pumpkin Cookies have been a seasonal favorite for as long as I can remember. They were a harbinger of the holidays long before the pumpkin spice craze came along. And they are still the very best – tender and fluffy, with warm spices enhancing the flavor of the pumpkin, coated with a simple creamy and delicious buttery icing. 

soft pumpkin cookies with small pumpkins

Our Mom first pulled the original recipe for these pumpkin cookies in 1978 from a little Pillsbury magazine. You know, the small booklets you sometimes find in the grocery store checkout line. Similar recipes are floating around out there, but that exact recipe is missing from the internet as far as I can tell. Our version is inspired by that original recipe, but updated to suit our tastes and the way we bake today.

The secret to these soft and fluffy cookies is in the ratio of fat, flour, and liquid. Here, the pumpkin adds to the amazing texture while also providing the flavor we all love. A simple blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla round out the flavor without overpowering the pumpkin. It’s the perfect balance!

soft pumpkin cookies

Like all our cookies, we use a cookie scoop to make baking easier and to have a more consistent size for our cookies. This 3-tablespoon-sized scoop works great and is definitely worth the small investment. You will use it constantly for cookies, biscuits, and all sorts of things. An offset spatula like this one makes icing these cookies a breeze, though a regular spatula or butter knife will work, too.

You are really going to love these cookies. Without the icing, they freeze well, so make a double batch and save some for later! They are perfect for holiday gatherings – everyone always loves these and requests the recipe. They keep well at room temperature, so they are perfect for office parties (or any old weekday) and are guaranteed to be a hit.

What are you waiting for? Whip these up today!

soft pumpkin cookie close-up with bite taken

These would be the perfect way to end your meal. Serve up our Italian Stuffed Peppers or Beef Vegetable Soup, then bring these Soft Pumpkin Cookies out for dessert.
Prepare a platter of cookies for your next holiday gathering or cookie exchange! Include Soft Pumpkin Cookies, Soft Cinnamon Almond Cookies, Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies, and Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies. These are all guaranteed to set your tray apart from all the others!


soft pumpkin cookies

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

These Soft Pumpkin Cookies are the very best – tender and fluffy, with warm spices enhancing the flavor of the pumpkin, coated with a simple creamy and delicious buttery icing.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Bake Time 15 minutes
Course Cookies, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 2 dozen cookies


For the Cookies:

  • 7 ounces (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) pure pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 9 ounces (2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For the Frosting:

  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter softened
  • 8 ounces 2 cups confectioner’s sugar sifted to remove lumps
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg, pumpkin, and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  • In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to the batter and mix just until combined, with no streaks of white flour visible.
  • Using a tablespoon-sized scoop, drop balls of dough 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until the tops look dry and spring back when touched lightly. The edges of the cookies should be a light golden brown.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  • While the cookies are cooling, beat together all of the frosting ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth, then spread over the cooled cookies. Allow to sit uncovered for at least 10 minutes before storing in an airtight container at room temperature. Use waxed paper if stacking cookies on top of each other to keep them from sticking.


(adapted from Pillsbury magazine, 1978)
Keyword cookies, pumpkin

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