Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Whoopie!!! That’s what I want to say when I bite into one of these.

Rich buttercream filling that’s sandwiched between two very soft and tender pumpkin cookies. It doesn’t get much better.

I loved how melt-in-my-mouth soft and moist these cookies were, which I attribute to three major ingredient choices. First, brown sugar is used exclusively, which renders cookies softer and moister than using granulated sugar.

Secondly, oil rather than butter is used, which keeps muffins and cakes extra moist. And finally, the pumpkin puree tenderizes and moistens the batter. Anything made with any or all of those ingredients usually turns out especially soft, moist, and tender and the cookies are no exception.


The batter for the cookies is like pumpkin cupcake batter. As I was pouring it onto baking sheets, I was thinking, am I really doing this? It was so soupy, and I was worried, but it turns out I had no reason to be.

I hate dealing with piping bags but if you think that would be easier, be my guest. I just don’t like that so much of the precious cargo gets stuck to the sides and is wasted.

I used a one-quarter cup measuring cup and scooped batter from the mixing bowl onto baking trays, not quite filling the cup full. Because there’s a decent amount of oil in the batter, it slid right out of the measuring cup. Like butter. And I placed six mounds of dough on each of the two baking trays.

I only yielded 6 completed whoopie pies. My whoopie pies were borderline extra-large but because the pumpkin cookies are soft and light, extra-large didn’t seem ridiculously huge.

Two huge cookies with nearly one inch-thick buttercream filling didn’t seem ridiculously huge to me. Okay moving on.

My first batch of whoopie pies disappeared far too quickly. I loved them so much, I made a second batch, and I increased the amount of spices. I nearly doubled the amounts of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and tossed in some pumpkin pie spice because I love robust, intense, and bold flavors when it comes to warming spices. Extra cinnamon, yes please. Plus, pumpkin stands up incredibly well to boldly spiced treats. A dash of molasses or maple would also be nice.

I just wanted to pick off these little morsels and squish them between my fingers. The cookies are soft and remind me of my days squishing Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies as a kid.

Some people make the filling with vegetable shortening, but I prefer butter in my buttercream, because the flavor can’t be beat. However, the advantage to using shortening is that is has much more structure than butter and so the filling is firmer, holds up better, and has more density and less squish than a butter-based buttercream.

Buttercream layered on thick and in plentiful abundance. The only way frosting and fillings should be.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Soft and tender pumpkin cookies with a thick layer of sweet buttercream sandwiched between them will make you scream Whoopie for one of these fun pies. They're easy and fast to make, moist, and rich.
Serves: 6 very large whoopie pies
  • For the Cookies
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • For the Buttercream Filling
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted and divided
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  1. For the Cookies - Preheat oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with Silpat liners or parchment paper; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine first 11 ingredients, up to the salt, and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix until just combined; don’t overmix. Batter will be soft and runny.
  2. Using a one-quarter cup measure, scoop the batter onto prepared baking sheets, six round mounds of batter per sheet; this may also be done with a pastry bag if preferred.
  3. Bake for about 12 to 14 minutes, or until tops have set. Cookies will be very soft and may look underdone, but firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for at least 10 minutes before moving them to rack to finish cooling. Allow cookies to cool completely before filling and sandwiching them together. While they cool, make the filling.
  4. For the Buttercream Filling - To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the milk, vanilla extract, and 1 cup of the powdered sugar, then mix on high speed until the mixture is creamy and light. Add butter and remaining cup of sugar, and whip on high speed until very light, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Apply a generous dollop of frosting to 6 of the cookies. Sandwich them together with the remaining unfrosted 6 cookies, creating 6 whoopie pies. Whoopie pies are best fresh, but extras may be stored airtight in the refrigerator (due to the buttercream) for about 3 days. If you prefer to keep them at room temperature, the frosting may be made with ¼ cup vegetable shortening instead of butter.

Related Recipes:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache – Takes five minutes to make the batter by hand and it’s one of the moistest cakes I’ve ever had and will be a favorite for years to come. The ganache can be made in the microwave and is a snap

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – This bread is a mixture of both pumpkin and banana flavors whereas the above cake is more robustly pumpkin-flavored. Depending on the flavor profile you want, they’re both moist, dense, pumpkiny, and you can’t go wrong with either

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies – A soft and tender pumpkin cookie meets a chewy and classic chocolate chip cookie, rolled into one

Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Granola (vegan, GF) – I can’t get enough of the pumpkin + chocolate combo this fall. This granola is a snap to make so you’ll never have to buy overpriced storebought granola again

Pumpkin Spice Latte (vegan, GF) – A homemade and natural version using real pumpkin rather than artificial syrups

All Pumpkin Recipes here

Have you ever made whoopie pies?


  1. Pingback: Pumpkin Recipes

  2. I think I’d end up eating the cookies before I had time to do the filling….they look so good! I finally made the pumpkin bread I had mentioned to you, just yesterday! I’ll be posting about it this week. It’s on the healthier side, but I really like it! :)

  3. Looks like a great book! I too have been following her for a very long time, would be cool to read about the beginnings of her culinary adventure!

  4. I’d say 3-Ingredient Chocolate Chunk Cake Cookies (https://livliveslife.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/3-ingredient-chocolate-chunk-pumpkin-cake-cookies/) or these amazing pumpkin cupcakes (https://livliveslife.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/pumpkin-cupcakes/) are my favorite!

    I love how versatile pumpkin is. Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. My favorite pumpkin dish is classic pumpkin pie!

  6. These are so perfect for October! And that book looks fabulous! Can’t believe I haven’t read it yet!!

  7. I just wanted to say your whoopie pies look so fluffy and cute! And yep, autumn is here, all the pumpkin recipes I keep seeing are confirming the fact. This makes me a little sad, I want summer back..

  8. My favorite cookbook is a Duncan Heines one my mom has had since I was a little kid. A lot of the recipes you can’t make anymore because the mixes don’t exist. I love it because as a kid it was exciting (and drool-inducing) to have a cookbook with full-color pages, plus it had a section on fun kids recipes that I always wanted to make. I think it’s the origin of my food blog obsession.

  9. I also subscribe to your RSS feed.

  10. I just finished this book! SO good! I need to make these.

  11. I’m obsessed with any cookbooks with Lydia Bastianich! Especially now that fall is here!

  12. I follow you on pinterest and repinned

  13. I follow you on twitter and tweeted the contest

  14. I follow you on email updates

  15. I followed eat live run on twitter.

  16. I followed eat live run on facebook.

  17. and like Eat, Live, Run on facebook! :)

  18. It is sooo hard to pick just one favorite pumpkin recipe. I seriously love pumpkin and love that fall gives me every excuse to sneak it in to just about all of the recipes I make. If I had to pick one of my favorites, I’d say that I love these Pumpkin Biscoff Cookies. Super easy, cake-like cookies, with a hint of Biscoff that complements the pumpkin perfectly!


  19. I follow you on twitter and tweeted about the giveaway!

  20. I follow Jenna on twitter now! (cooking2perfec1)

  21. I already shared my favorite pumpkin dessert kink with you. It’s my pumpkin whoopie pies, which are very similar except have about double the pumpkin and a different frosting. I have a tendency to make mine really big too!

    • It’s funny when I was cross-comparing your recipe and hers which was via Martha Stewart I believe, the cookie itself was nearly identical in terms of the major ratios of sugar, flour, eggs, oil….except that version is 3 c flour and 3 c pumpkin I have no idea how the batter can even ‘hold’ double the pumpkin. Mine with 1.5 c pumpkin and 3 c flour was already in the nearly-soup stage. Muffin batter stage. Anymore pumpkin and I’d be in crepe batter stage :) And yes, bigger is better with these…haha!

  22. I think I like the basics best – pumpkin chocolate chip bread is my favorite.

  23. My favorite cookbook is an old church cookbook that I bought at a garage sale about 5 years ago. It has good ole classic, unhealthy, hearty fare like molasses bread and homemade dumblings.

    • Omg I am researching molasses bread right now and it’s so hard b/c modern cookbooks don’s seem to include it. Oil and butter based cakes with lots of good old fashioned flavors, YES. That’s what I want. I want that cookbook! :)

  24. That last picture had me drooling! I need these for my mid morning snack!

  25. I am loving all your pumpkin recipes. I can’t decide which to make first!!! I think the kids and hubby would vote for this one! Yum!

    • It’s really good and would be easy for you to keep GF since they’re a ‘loose’ cookie anyway and the gluten isn’t needed to tightly bind up the dough or anything. I vote this one for you too :)

  26. My favorite use of pumpkin right now is probably either in quick bread or my crockpot yogurt cheesecake. I think I would love Jenna’s book–I love stories like that!

  27. My favorite pumpkin recipe is a Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll recipe that I got from http://www.onceamonthmom.com. And, I absolutely love this time of year because you start posting all of your fun pumpkin and trader-joe’s inspired treats!! marthalynn16 at gmail

  28. I don’t think I could pick a favorite pumpkin recipe! I have been loving pumpkin pancakes most recently though.

  29. Well, to pick only one pumpkin recipe is hard, but I love the new one I just came up with!


  30. I love pumpkin bread with extra cinnamon :)

  31. The very last picture had me licking my lips–these whoopie pies look to-die for, Averie! I love pumpkin + cream cheese together–it’s like fall’s version of pb+choc :) and I absolutely LOVE how thick and fat these puffy little pies are. Heavenly!

    • I almost didn’t include it because when I’m that close to the food, some image quality is sacrificed and it gets grainy and I wasn’t in love with it but it just speaks volumes. I mean, chomp marks have been in full force with these pies in the house. They are just so….chomp-able! :)

  32. My favorite pumpkin recipe is, and will always be, classic pumpkin pie. I just love the creamy texture!

  33. Nutella swirled pumpkin pie!

  34. Boy, it’s a toss up, while I LOVE pumpkin lattes my newest indulgence is pumpkin chia pudding.

  35. I love whoopie pies. Can’t believe I’ve never tried a pumpkin version!

  36. I follow on Instagram

  37. My favorite Pumpkin recipe is for pumpkin scones!

  38. picking your favorite pumpkin recipe is like… choosing your favorite child? ha. i love a good pumpkin cheesecake, however it goes so well in many things!

  39. Goodness gracious–these look heavenly! I made Julie’s pumpkin spiced pull-apart bread and added a cinnamon vanilla glaze a while back, and the loaf was definitely pulled apart fast! http://wallflourgirl.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/pumpkin-cinnamon-pull-apart-bread/ I’d love to know who you’re sneaking all these treats to–if I had as many avid mouths around, I’m sure I would be in my kitchen 24/7.

  40. oh my goodness. I love pumpkin anything. And I really love the classic – pumpkin pie!

  41. Yay for pumpkin whoopie pies and EVERYTHING pumpkin!! Gotta get my hands on Jenna’s FAB book :)

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