Soft and Puffy Pumpkin Spice Cookies

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Pumpkin Spice Cookies — These pumpkin spice cookies are made without pumpkin puree but are full of flavor thanks to the pumpkin pie spice! These are so soft and fluffy!

stack of Pumpkin Spice Cookies 

Cozy Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

These pumpkin spice cookies are supremely moist, soft, with hints of chewiness at the edges, and their flavor is pure fall.

I used pumpkin pie spice in them, rather than pumpkin puree. I have a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies which uses pumpkin puree and it was a hard recipe to nail. 

In general, baking cookies with pumpkin puree can turn cookies into little pumpkin cakes, unless you’re using a small amount (under 1/4 cup or so).

But at that point, you don’t taste it anyway, and all the flavor comes from the spices. Because on its own, I think pumpkin puree is bland and gross.

Pumpkin Spice honey Cookies 

So I skipped the puree and went with pumpkin pie spice for all the flavor, and none of the potential for cakey cookies. 

The intensity of the pumpkin pie spice, with notes of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves shining brightly, give the cookies such great depth of flavor. The brown sugar helps keeps them soft and adds a richness of caramel-like flavor.

If you’re a fan of spice cake, pumpkin, brown sugar cookies, soft gingersnaps or soft molasses cookies, add these little pumpkiny puffballs to your list.

stack of four Pumpkin Spice Cookies 

Ingredients in Pumpkin Spice Cookies

To make these pumpkin spiced cookies, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • Light brown sugar
  • Egg
  • Honey
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornstarch 
  • Baking soda
  • Salt

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Adjusting the Spice Level

I used 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice in these cookies, which is a pretty hefty amount, but it flavors the entire batch of cookies very nicely. They’re robustly spiced, without being overdone. If you are more sensitive to spices, you may wish to dial down the amount.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies recipe

How to Make Pumpkin Spice Cookies

  1. Cream together the butter, sugar, and egg until light and fluffy.
  2. Then, add in the vanilla, honey, and pumpkin pie spice and continue mixing until combined.
  3. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (be careful not to over work the dough!). 
  4. Scoop the cookie dough into balls and chill for at least 3 hours, and up to 5 days.
  5. Once the dough has had time to chill, bake the cookies until the edges are set.

Baking Tip

If you prefer softer cookies, don’t bake for more than 9 minutes! For firmer cookies, bake these for roughly 10 minutes. 

Pumpkin Spice Cookies on wood countertop

Recipe FAQs

What does cornstarch do in cookies?

I added cornstarch to the dough, my workhorse for creating super soft and supple cookies. I’ve used it in at least 15 cookie recipes and it never disappoints. They’re like puffy little pillows. Lightweight, supremely soft, delicate, and just melt in your mouth.

Can I Omit the Cornstarch? 

Technically yes, but your pumpkin spice cookies won’t turn out as soft and fluffy as mine did. 

Can I Add Mix-Ins to These Cookies? 

I’ve only ever made these cookies as written, but I bet you could add mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts to these pumpkin spice cookies if desired. This is a really soft dough, so you’ll want to be gentle when folding in the mix-ins. 

What’s in pumpkin pie spice? Can I Substitute it in this recipe?

If you can’t find pumpkin pie spice, it’s usually a blend of about 1 part cinnamon, to one-half part allspice, to one-quarter part each of ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. 

For example, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon each of  ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Give or take. It’s all personal preference.

Play around with what works for you, and if you already keep those spices on hand, it’s cheaper to DIY than buy pre-made and you can tweak it to your liking.A stack of freshly-baked cookies with a focus on the texture and warm tones, highlighting a homey and appetizing aesthetic.

Can I Double This Recipe? 

Yes, this pumpkin spice cookie recipe is easily doubled. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to bake the cookies on multiple baking sheets since you don’t want to overcrowd them! 

Can I Make This recipe Gluten-Free? 

I’ve only made these pumpkin spice cookies as written, but if you have a gluten-free flour blend that you’ve used before and trust, you can certainly try it in this recipe! If it works out, please leave me a comment down below. 

Why does cookie dough have to be chilled?

The spicd pumpkin cookie dough must be chilled before baking, no exceptions. It’s a scientific impossibility to take warm dough and have it bake up into thick, puffy cookies. Warm dough is limp and spreads much more while baking. Chill your dough if you want puffy cookies, period.

can the cookie dough be frozen?

Yes! You can freeze the cookie dough AFTER you’ve scooped and shaped it, and bake off these cookies one by one if desired. You’ll likely need to add a minute or two to the total bake time if using frozen cookie dough, but otherwise you won’t have to alter the recipe at all. 

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4.45 from 38 votes

Soft and Puffy Pumpkin Spice Cookies

By Averie Sunshine
These pumpkin spice cookies are made without pumpkin puree but are full of flavor thanks to the pumpkin pie spice! These are so soft and fluffy!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Chill Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 18 minutes
Servings: 17 cookies
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Ingredients  

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup honey, I used clover from TJs
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice, yes tablespoons, not teaspoons
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste

Instructions 

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, egg, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use a hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes). Do not shortcut the creaming process; make sure dough is very light in color and fluffy, stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the honey, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until combined and smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
  • Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping two tablespoon mounds (I made 17). Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds very slightly with your palm, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.
  • Preheat oven to 350F, line baking sheets with Silpats, or spray with cooking spray.
  • Place mounds on baking sheets, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet). Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 9 minutes for soft cookies because they firm up as they cool; bake for 9-10 minutes if you like firmer cookies (The cookies shown in the photos were baked with dough that had been chilled overnight, allowed to come to room temp for 10 minutes while oven preheated, and were baked for 8 minutes).
  • Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

Notes

Store cookies airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 112kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 92mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 12g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

The pumpkin spices cookies are made with NO pumpkin puree, but the cookie recipes shared below DO use pumpkin puree.

Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies — These pumpkin oatmeal cookies are bursting with chocolate chips in every bite! They’re thick, hearty, perfectly chewy, and not at all cakey.

Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies — Soft, chewy, loads of white chocolate, and so much pumpkin flavor!! A pinch of salt balances the sweet white chocolate for a salty-and-sweet treat!!

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies — Soft, chewy, loads of white chocolate, and so much pumpkin flavor!! A pinch of salt balances the sweet white chocolate for a salty-and-sweet treat!!

Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies — No cakey cookies here! Soft, chewy, thick, loaded with chocolate and bold pumpkin flavor! Your new favorite pumpkin cookies!

Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies - No cakey cookies here!! Soft, chewy, thick, loaded with chocolate and bold pumpkin flavor! Your new favorite pumpkin cookies!!

Iced Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies — Soft and pillowy pumpkin cookies that are chock full of pumpkin spice and everything nice! The icing takes these cookies over the top.

Iced Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies - Soft and pillowy pumpkin cookies that are chock full of pumpkin spice and everything nice! The icing takes these cookies over the top. An EASY pumpkin oatmeal cookie recipe that does NOT require any dough chilling, making these a FAST treat to whip up!

Buttery Pecan Pumpkin Spice Cookies – Buttery soft dough with big chunky pecans in every bite! Salty-and-sweet and so hard to resist!

Buttery Pecan Pumpkin Spice Cookies - Buttery soft dough with big chunky pecans in every bite! Salty-and-sweet and so hard to resist!!

Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Snickerdoodles — Soft and pillowy in the middle, chewy around the edges, and ever so slightly crisp on the bottom! Classic snickerdoodles get a makeover with the addition of pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Hi Averie, These cookies look so good. I do have a question. Could you make the cookie dough and freeze it? Trying to get all my cookie doughs done and frozen, so I can just pull out thaw and bake for Christmas. Thanks for any help you can give me. Have a wonderful and blessed weekend. :)

    1. Mine are item #5 on the roundup. There is also an item #4 which are cookies with pudding in them but mine (#5) do not have pudding mix.

  2. Your picture of this recipe on Facebook shows a box of Jello Pumpkin Spice Pudding but it’s not in the recipe.???

    1. People steal photos, recipes, etc. and republish/repost on FB so if you have a link to the FB post, that would be helpful. It does not sound like my recipe but they probably stole my photos.

  3. I wanted to know if anyone, including you, have ever tried making these with gluten free flour and if they came out close to the same. So many recipes I want to try but I need to be gluten free. Pillsbury makes a great GF flour. Thank you!

    1. No I have not personally tried so really cannot speak from experience. If you have a good GF flour you like for other baking, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work here if it normally works well in conventional recipes as a swap.

  4. I made one batch with and one without and both were a huge success! I had to add a minute to the walnut ones but otherwise didn’t change anything.

  5. I finally discovered why these cookies came out too flat! The dough is very soft straight out of the mixer so they easily get somewhat thin when lightly pressed by hand. To fix this I scooped them onto a pan, placed it in the freezer for 20ish minutes and then rolled them into balls. At this point, they’re much firmer and can be lightly pressed while staying thick. Simply chilling the dough before scooping would probably work just as well. Perfect puffy cookies!

    1. Yes this is a very soft dough and getting it to your perfect consistency for you in order to work with it via the freezer for 20 mins sounds like a plan if it works great for you!

  6. I was so excited about this recipe!! I don’t know what happened…I followed everything exactly as the recipe says, but they came out super flat and gooey.  Basically tasted like a gingersnap, only super soft in texture and no glorious puff :(  The only thing I did to deviate from your recipe was sift the flour  – but I don’t see how that could have been the problem, since sifting aerates flour and would only help…right?

  7. These look so yummy! You take the best pictures…so tempting! I am wondering if I can replace the cornstarch with the same amount of dry jello vanilla instant pudding mix?? 

    1. I think that would be okay because I have made plenty of pudding cookies and know how pudding mix generally behaves, but again, haven’t personally tried it. Make sure not to use sugarfree pudding mix. That doesn’t behave well upon baking it. Use the regular instant (with sugar).

    2. Thank you! I decided to just buy some corn starch and make the original recipe, just to be safe! I made the dough last night, and am letting them chill in the fridge. I tried a sample of the cookie dough and it was very good–the honey flavor really stands out. I will bake them tonight! Something to look forward to!

    3. Yum! Very good! They are moist and chewy and soft, and remind me of gingerbread or oatmeal cookies for some reason. 

      1. Glad you’re enjoying them! I love both gingerbread and oatmeal cookies and perhaps the honey + the pumpkin pie spice creates a certain flavor you associate with gingerbread or oatmeal cookies.

  8. These cookies are absolutely delicious! I ate 3 before I even realized it! I did cut down on the pumpkin spice a little (I used about 1.5 tbsp), which allowed the honey flavor to come through a little more. The taste is so rich and warm, but light all at the same time, and the TEXTURE of these cookies is divine!! I always know I can count on your recipes to be great, and I always love to see your photography! I made the cinnamon sugar pumpkin mini muffins for work potluck and they were a complete hit!! Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! I love the texture on these cookies too!

      And glad the cinn-sugar pumpkin mini muffins were a potluck hit! Keep me posted if you try other recipes!

  9. So I really did want to make something with pumpkin puree in it so I added some anyway. Maybe half a cup? I added a 3/4 cup more flour to balance it out and a handful of cranberries. I also used dark brown sugar instead of light. The bake time was longer about 11 minutes, and I couldn’t leave them glossy in the centre. Long story short they came out fantastic anyway. A little cakey, a little chewy; like a muffin and a cookie had a baby.

    1. like a muffin and a cookie had a baby <--- that's a cute way to put it :) I always love what people do and how they change things up. Glad that you compensated with the extra flour and I bet the cranberries were a nice touch! I have two new pumpkin cookie recipes that use pumpkin puree if you still want to make more cookies https://www.averiecooks.com/2015/09/soft-and-chewy-pumpkin-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies.html
      https://www.averiecooks.com/soft-and-chewy-pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies/

  10. These did not spread at all. I feel like the cornstarch is why and unnecessary. The best thing about these cookies is they are not very sweet. I would not make again :/

    1. The cornstarch makes them soft but if you feel you don’t want it, then you could omit it. When you say the cookies did not spread at all, in my experience that generally means the dough was over-floured. When measuring flour make sure you use a very light hand. I have a feeling that you may have used a bit too much flour and the dough was stiff, therefore they didn’t spread. Thanks for trying the recipe.