Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting

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The ultimate BEST EVER soft-baked BAKERY-STYLE Pumpkin Spice Cookies with a soft cream cheese frosting! via chelseasmessyapron.com

Soft Pumpkin Cookies with cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice to finish them off!

These soft, thick, and sweet Pumpkin Cookies are a hit wherever I serve them! Looking for pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips? Try these soft pumpkin cookies or these crisp (not cake-like) pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!

Two Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting, on a cake stand.

Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting

These cookies are soft and cake-like — picture a mix between a pumpkin cookie, pumpkin muffin tops, and pumpkin pie. Mmmmm, PSL vibes are rolling over me!  They’re also quite thick and chewy, all while being packed with good flavor and spice.

The boys and I have been testing and perfecting pumpkin treats over the past couple of weeks, and I’m so excited to share one of our favorite creations. Delicious Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting are the best!

We invested a ton of time to perfect these soft-baked, bakery-style pumpkin cookies–piled high with cream cheese frosting of course!

Process shots for making Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting: cream butter and sugars; add pumpkin, egg and vanilla; mix until smooth; add dry ingredients to the wet; mix until smooth.

I’ve always believed that it’s all the little details that make baked goods to turn out their best. With that in mind, let me share a few tips that will get these Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting tasting their best!

Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting tips

  • Watch the baking time. I like to *slightly* under bake these cookies to keep them soft and dense. If they are over baked, they lose their awesome texture and a lot of the flavor. Since every oven is different, try baking 1-2 at first to make sure you find the perfect bake time for your cookies.
  • The pumpkin matters. For this recipe, you’ll want to use pure canned pumpkin–not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling has a lot of different ingredients and is watered down, so it won’t work in these cookies. I personally love and recommend Libby’s® solid-pack pumpkin because it is thick, not watery, and very consistent from can to can. If you have exceptionally wet pumpkin, you may need to first dab it off a bit with some paper towels.
  • Measure the flour accurately. If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour, you will pack in way too much flour. To accurately measure your flour, spoon it into the measuring cup until its overfilled. Then use the back of a table knife to level the measuring cup at the top. You’ll have a perfect flour measurement.
  • Bake on a Silpat® liner or parchment paper. To help the cookies bake evenly and keep the bottoms from over-browning, I recommend a good baking mat. Parchment paper also works, but I would not recommend lining the pan with foil.
  • Let cookies fully cool. Before frosting the cookies, make sure they are completely cool. Otherwise, the frosting will begin to melt and change consistency.

Image of the cookie dough balls before and after baking.

Next, let’s chat about frosting!

Cream Cheese Frosting

As I’ve made Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting over the years, I’ve experimented with different frostings. While I was testing this recipe, I tried a browned butter frosting, a maple frosting, a glaze, and finally a cream cheese frosting. After lots of tastings from family and friends, the cream cheese frosting was the hands-down winner!

Here are a few cream cheese frosting tips:

  • Set out the butter and cream cheese about an hour before baking to get them to room temperature. If these ingredients aren’t at room temperature, they won’t combine smoothly, and there will be unpleasant cream cheese chunks in the frosting. Here are some tips for how to bring the cream cheese and butter to room temperature quickly.
  • Don’t forget the flavor enhancers. The salt and vanilla add so much to the frosting. The salt helps to intensify flavors and balance the sweetness and the vanilla gives an overall nice flavor to the frosting.
  • Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Add more or less powdered sugar, according to personal taste preferences. More sugar will make the frosting sweeter and firmer, and less sugar will leave the frosting tangier and softer.
  • Add a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Instead of mixing pumpkin pie spice into the frosting, I like to add a light sprinkle to the top of the frosted cookies. This not only makes the cookies pretty, but it also adds a nice pumpkin flavor to the cookie.

QUICK TIP

Pumpkin pie spice is a delicious combination of warming spices (like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice). It can be found among other spices in the grocery store, or you can make your own!

Process shots of making the cream cheese frosting: cream together the butter and cream cheese; add salt, vanilla and powdered sugar; mix until smooth and creamy.

 

Storaging Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting 

Storing BAKED Cookies

Unlike most cookie recipes, these Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting do not store well beyond a day at room temperature. Because of the canned pumpkin and how moist these cookies are, they tend to get sticky when kept at room temperature for very long. To combat this, I’ve found it best to freeze any leftover unfrosted cookies after the first day.

Put the completely baked, cooled, and unfrosted cookies in a freezer-safe container or bag. Freeze for 2-3 months and bring back to room temperature by microwaving one cookie for 5-10 seconds.

 I haven’t had success with freezing and thawing cream cheese frosting or frosted cookies. Because of the dairy in cream cheese, it separates and develops an unpleasant texture.

While freezing baked cookies works great, I prefer to freeze the dough! Drop the cookie dough balls on a large sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer the frozen cookie dough balls into an airtight container/bag separated by parchment paper (so they don’t all stick together in one clump), and freeze for up to 3 months.

To bake: You can bake the cookie dough straight from the freezer; just add 1-3 minutes onto the cooking time (or thaw the dough in the fridge and bake according to directions). 

View of the finished Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting, with a bite taken from one.

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Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting

4.75 from 31 votes
Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting are dusted with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice to finish them off!
Print Recipe

Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting

4.75 from 31 votes
Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting are dusted with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice to finish them off!
Course Dessert, Snack, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • Parchment paper or Silpat liner

Cookies

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (328g) all-purpose white flour (See Note 1)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup (152g) granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup (144g) light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons; 113g) unsalted butter softened, do NOT melt
  • 1 CUP (not an entire can!) (222g) canned pumpkin, (do not use pumpkin pie filling; do not use an entire can)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces (115g) full-fat cream cheese (the block cream cheese, not spreadable), softened NOT melted
  • 4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter, softened, NOT melted
  • 2 cups (242g) powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  • PREP: Prepare a large sheet pan by lining with parchment paper or a Silpat liner. This step is very important to avoid burned bottoms on these cookies. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS: Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt to a large bowl; whisk to combine and set aside.
  • WET INGREDIENTS: In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Add 1 cup pumpkin, the egg, and vanilla. Beat until the mixture is creamy. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Avoid over mixing, as it will create denser cookies. 
  • OPTIONAL -- CHILL DOUGH: Cover tightly and chill the dough for 30 minutes up to 10 hours. Chilling is not necessary but it makes the dough easier to work with and intensifies flavors.
  • ROLL COOKIE BALLS: Use a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out balls of dough. Each cookie should be about 1 tablespoon in size. Once dough is in the measuring spoon, use a small spoon to scoop it out and onto the lined sheet pan. Try to smooth or round the balls, but it's okay if they're a bit bumpy; the dough is difficult to work with. Leave 2 inches of room for each cookie (I only bake 8-10 cookies at a time) and flatten the balls of dough slightly. (This batter is wetter than normal cookie dough, so don't be alarmed that you can't roll the balls of dough; chill in the fridge for additional time if needed for easier rolling).
  • BAKE: Bake for 8-12 minutes (9 minutes is perfect for my oven!) watching carefully to avoid over baking. We like these slightly under-baked and soft, but the tops shouldn't be shiny/wet looking at all. Remove and allow cookies to stand for another 3-5 minutes on the sheet pan before removing to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • FROSTING: Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the softened (not melted; it should be at room temperature) cream cheese and butter until creamy (about 2 minutes) at medium-high speed. Add the powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat until soft and creamy. Avoid over-beating the mixture or you'll get whipped frosting.
  • FROST COOKIES: Generously frost the cooled cookies and if desired, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a little pumpkin pie spice.
  • STORAGE: Do not store the cookies in a sealed plastic container. Instead, store on plates loosely covered with foil in the fridge. They're best eaten the same day or within 2-3 days. After that, they soften too much. Freeze un-baked cookie dough balls for up to 3 months; bake straight from freezer for an additional 1-3 minutes.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour you will pack in too much flour; use a spoon to scoop it into a measuring cup and then level the top with the back of a table knife. 

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95 Comments

  1. Sounds great!…will be making these! I make cream cheese frosted cupcakes and found that once they’re cooled and frosted, I can freeze them on a sheet in the freezer, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and put them back into freezer…it works!

  2. I make a ginger cookie that sounds like it should have the same texture as this cookie. I often bake cookies on a stone but those ginger cookies never seem to turn out unless I bake them on a traditional cookie sheet. Am I crazy?

  3. 5 stars
    My husband and I made these yesterday and they turned out perfectly! The idea to cook one cookie first to get the perfect time was brilliant! Thank you for the delicious recipe; your website is our go to for new, delicious recipes!

  4. Hey!! these look so soft and amazing!!! I’m so happy I stumbled across your page! I went ahead and got the ebook! its been a huge help, since I had no idea about blogging!! thanks so much!! I’ve learned a lot these past few days!!

  5. 5 stars
    Just made these cookies and mannnnn they came out perfect! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I never thought I could bake something and get it right the first time lol

      1. Hello I have a questuon. Have you ever made these cookies with coconut flour for those that are gluten free ? If so are they still soft and good ?

  6. Super fofo,lembra um hambúrguer, deve ser muito bom vou adorar preparar, que bom que encontrei essa receita, este blog está de parabéns.adoro!

    1. I’m late to the comment game here but I’m trying out chilling the dough for an hour to see if I can get the texture to be a little more lofty. The same idea applies to chocolate chip cookies to why the heck not, right?

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you so much Ms. Chelsea I’ll be making these. I was looking for a chewy pumkin cookie recipe such as this. I’m gonna try a glaze with with milk instead of the cream cheese for a lower cal count.????

  8. Thanks for this recipe! Been looking for a good soft cookie recipe for my sister’s birthday. She lives anything pumpkin! I will be making it tomorrow, but can you confirm the # of eggs? You wrote 1 but in the picture above, I see 2 eggs. Thanks!

  9. 5 stars
    I made these yesterday. I posted a picture of them on Facebook and my family came running over. Luckily i had doubled the batch. I took some to work today and got highly compliments. Not everyone got a cookie so tonight I made another batch. Very delicious. I however cooked a pie pumpkin down instead of can. I will not make any other pumpkin cookies besides these ? Thank you so much for recipe. I love love love these cookies

  10. 5 stars
    Yesterday I made these cookies and doubled the batch which i am glad i did. I posted a picture of them on facebook and my family came running over lol. I took some to work today and they were a major hit and not everyone got a cookie. They all loved them. Tonight I made another batch to take to work and my daughter wants to take some to school to. Very delicious ? I will not make any other pumpkin cookie. I cooked a pie pumpkin down instead of can pumpkin. Thank you so so much for the recipe. The best one ever ? Thank you again

  11. 5 stars
    These are my new fall go-to cookies! They’ve been a huge hit at parties and family get togethers (if they make it past the kiddos and hubby…and me!)Thank you!

  12. 5 stars
    very good pumpkin cookies. I added raisins for pumpkin-raisin cookies 🙂 Super tasty and soft. I will make these again!

    1. I would recommend making the cookies and freezing them. I don’t think this batter would sit well for an extended period of time unfortunately.

      1. I plan on making these tomorrow.. it looks like we cannot save the raw dough or freeze it for later ?? only freeze cookies that have been baked but not frosted correct

          1. 5 stars
            Made these to take to work one day and ended up having to make another batch when I got home for my husband and I. These are the perfect cookie for fall or any time of year, really! Such a great recipe!

      1. Did you change any of the ingredients or process? Did you by chance accidentally use an entire can of pumpkin instead of the 1 cup called for? (A common mistake in pumpkin recipes!)

  13. 5 stars
    Oh my!! There are not even words to describe how delicious these cookies are!! Our family loves pumpkin and these cookies are perfect! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!!

  14. Hi, I just came across your recipe and can’t wait to make these cookies. About the pumpkin filling: do you drain or blot the filling to get out some of the liquid? I’ve seen other recipes where that’s done and wondered if you experimented with that at all. Thanks, and can’t wait to whip these up!
    – Brian

    1. Hey Brian! I don’t blot out for these cookies, but I do recommend a good quality, solid packed pumpkin like Libby’s! Enjoy!

  15. 5 stars
    These are literally the BEST!!! I’m kind of obsessed now! ? The first time I tried making them, I forgot to flatten them out, but they turned out amazing anyways! This time, I’ll TRY not to eat the entire two dozen or so. ????

  16. I made these and doubled the amount of pumpkin and think even more pumpkin would have brought out more of the pumpkin flavor. The basic recipe makes soft cookies.

  17. 5 stars
    These are amazing! I used all purpose gluten free flour and they turned out so good. Perfectly soft and fluffy with the perfect amount of spice. Didn’t make any frosting because I didn’t have the ingredients on hand but I dont think they need it, they stand on their own. I also added chocolate chips to half the batch, just because. All were gobbled up quickly by hubs and kids. Thanks for the recipe, I won’t be making any other pumpkin cookie recipe, this is it!

  18. 5 stars
    Fantastic cookies! I made two sheets at the same time for 12 minutes. They were wonderful and chewy even without the frosting. The frosting really puts them over the top. They are quick and easy to make and perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and potlucks.

  19. 5 stars
    These are like a cookie steak – so rich, filling and delicious. I gave them at Thanksgiving to family and colleagues and they were a hit with both kids and adults. We’re about to make more right now.

  20. I looked everywhere for a recipe for pumpkin cookies. The grocery store I go to makes them from scratch. These are very close to them. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Hello these cookies sound wonderful. I have one question do you think I could make these into cookie bars instead of drop cookies? I’ve done this succesfully with other kinds of cookies just wondering, I need to bring these with me to a party and because of time restraints I thought it would be faster… thanks.

    1. I wish I could be of more help but I’m really not sure with this recipe. My initial instinct is that it wouldn’t work super well, but I’m not sure without personally testing. Sorry to not have a great answer for you

  22. Does the icing dry? Can you stack the cookies in a container to transport or do they have to stay in a single layer? If so, how long does it usually take?

    1. The frosting stays soft and the cookies are fairly soft so I wouldn’t recommend stacking these cookies; I think they’d end up sticking together

  23. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! I am guilty of swapping sugars and using alternative flours in the vain of making bake goods a little more nutritious. However this time, I opted to throw that out the window and celebrate Fall with this recipe sans substitutions! These came out delicious. We didn’t get around to icing them before most were gobbled up. But they were plenty sweet for our three sweets-loving boys without the icing. I like pumpkin spice flavors so I was little heavy-handed with the pumpkin pie spice and it came out great. We added chopped pecans to the tops of the last half of the batch and found it helped to flatten out the cookie by preventing it from sticking to your fingers when you were shaping

  24. 5 stars
    Everything was perfect. I only had to cook them a little longer because I like my cookies a little bigger so I have more decoration space. I also found that if you put in 6oz of cream cheese it gives it less of a powdered sugar taste, and more of a homemade cream cheese frosting taste. 10/10 will make again!

  25. 5 stars
    Omg omg they are the best cookies ever, my fiancé is the picky person in the entire world, and he love love love these cookies, thank you so much for this great recipe ❤️❤️😍😍

  26. 5 stars
    These cookies are super delicious made them for my family last week and just couldn’t resist making them again today. Thank you Chelsea.

  27. 5 stars
    These were an absolute hit at my bachelorette girls night. People kept raving about them! I would describe these as similar to the pumpkin muffies at Panera but miniature. Next time I make them, I might consider sandwiching them to make “moon pies”. Only change I made to the recipe was I switched up the icing ratios to have a less rich, less sweet, and fluffy icing. I did about 6 oz butter to 3 oz cream cheese

  28. 5 stars
    I used a jumbo egg instead of a large, but the rest I measured out the same. Ended up with cookie sized pumpkin mini breads.
    They were still super delicious, and I’m actually pretty fond of this texture. I’ll have to make these again for the upcoming holidays.

  29. Has anyone tried to half this recipe? I only have 1/2 cup pumpkin. Should I omit the egg or maybe just add a yolk? I really need these cookies this morning!!!!!

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