Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies

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Thick and chewy, spiced Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies start with a sweet pumpkin cookie that is topped with a creamy pumpkin-spice frosting.

Try some of our other favorite pumpkin treats — these pumpkin whoopie pies, this pumpkin cheesecake ball, or these pumpkin scones.

 

Image of Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies stacked on top of each other.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies

My sister recently had a small, intimate wedding celebration and she wanted me to make some cookies for it. She said my Cinnamon Roll Cookies were her absolute favorite, but she wanted them to have a fall twist to go along with her theme. 

Enter: Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies! These bakery-style cookies are filled with pumpkin and fall-inspired warming spices. Roll them in a mixture of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon-sugar, then top with a sweet cream cheese frosting for a sure-fire winner of a cookie!

They’re soft, chewy, dense and spiced to perfection. To say we’re obsessed is an understatement!

Process shots-- images of the wet ingredients being mixed together; the dry ingredients being added on top.

The cookie base ingredients

  • Butter: Use unsalted butter to ensure you perfectly control the amount of salt (If you use salted, omit the extra salt addition).
  • White sugar
  • Brown sugar: We love the slightly deeper and rich molasses flavor that dark brown sugar contributes to these cookies, even though light brown sugar will work as well. Because dark brown sugar has a higher molasses content, the cookies end up with a more intense molasses flavor; that complements the pumpkin and spices nicely.
  • Pure canned pumpkin: See more on this ingredient below!
  • Pure vanilla extract: Vanilla adds a wonderful background flavor.
  • White all-purpose flour: Make sure to spoon and level this measurement so you’re getting the right amount of flour; there’s more on this in the baking tips.
  • Cornstarch: The cornstarch contributes to the softness of these Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies.
  • Salt: Salt works its magic to intensify all the flavors and balances sweetness
  • Baking soda
  • Spices: We add cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, ground allspice, and pumpkin pie spice to these cookies. Feel free to slightly reduce quantities for a less-spiced cookie or increase quantities for a more powerful cookie.

QUICK TIP

Pumpkin pie spice is a delicious combination of warming spices. You can find it among other spices in the grocery store, or you can make your own!

No Eggs?

Yes, that’s right! There are no eggs in these cookies. The pumpkin actually replaces the need for eggs in this recipe.

Process shots-- images of the dough balls being rolled into cinnamon sugar.

Let’s chat about pumpkin

  • Use a good solid-packed pumpkin. I highly recommend Libby’s® pumpkin (not sponsored) for these Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies; I’ve always had the most success with their canned pumpkin — it’s thick, not watery and has a great pumpkin flavor.
  • Avoid pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling has added spices and sugar and will make these cookies too sweet and way too spicy. These cookies have been tested with plain canned pumpkin.
  • Measure carefully. Too much pumpkin and these cookies turn overly cake-like. Level the measuring cups/spoons with the pumpkin to avoid excess pumpkin in these cookies. If the pumpkin is overly wet or watery, dab it first with cheesecloth or paper towels.

Process shots of the cream cheese frosting being mixed together to top these Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookie frosting tips

  • Set out your butter and cream cheese about an hour before you begin, so they reach room temperature. If these ingredients are too cold, they won’t combine very smoothly, and there will be unpleasant cream cheese chunks in the frosting. Here are some tips for how to bring your cream cheese and butter to room temperature quickly.
  • Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Depending on your personal taste preferences and how firm you want the frosting, add more or less powdered sugar (see quick tip below).
  • Let cookies cool fully. Warm cookies = melted frosting, so before frosting, make sure the cookies are completely cool. 
  • Pipe the frosting on top. To make these cookies look more cinnamon roll-esque, I like to pipe the frosting in a swirl pattern. Using either a plastic bag or a piping bag, cut off the very tip. Then, holding the cookie in one hand and the frosting bag in the other, swirl the frosting from the inside of the cookie outwards. You can easily cover any piping “blemishes” with the spiced sugar topping.

QUICK TIP

More powdered sugar will make the frosting sweeter and firmer; less powdered sugar will leave the frosting a bit tangier and softer.

Process shots-- images of the frosting being piped on top of the cookie and the spiced sugar mixture being added on top.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookie baking tips

  • Measure the flour correctly. If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour and scoop, you will pack in way too much flour– which results in a cakey cookie with less flavor. Avoid this by properly measuring the flour: spoon the flour into the measuring cup until it is overfilled, and then use the back of a table knife to level the measuring cup at the top. (Video visual here).
  • Roll tall cookie dough balls. Instead of rolling a perfect ball, I’ve found that rolling the dough so it’s taller and skinnier yields that perfectly thick and chewy center and the crisp edges. By using this technique, the bottom of the cookie ball bakes first, which will push out and become the crisp edge. The top of that tall cookie dough ball then becomes the thick and chewy center, creating the perfect texture every time! 
  • Keep the dough balls as cold as possible. Chill the dough balls after rolling to be sure the dough is very cold (not warm from being rolled in your hands) going into the oven. The colder the dough balls, the better these cookies bake!
  • Bake at 325 degrees F (162°C) and use a pan liner. Most of my cookie recipes bake at 350 degrees F (176°C), but these cookies are best at 325 (162°C). The temperature is an easy thing to miss, and it makes a big difference for the softness of these cookies. To keep the bottoms from over-browning, I recommend a good baking mat, and parchment paper also works.

Image of Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies stacked on top of each other.

QUICK TIP

You’ll likely have leftover pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon-sugar mixture. I find it easier to roll dough and top cookies when I have more of this mixture to work with, so I like to mix up more of the spice blend that the recipe actually requires. Store the leftovers in a spice cabinet for months and use as a fun fruit topping, to dredge waffles in (churro waffles — yum!), etc.

Use leftover pumpkin in one of these recipes

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies

5 from 2 votes
Thick and chewy, spiced Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies start with a sweet pumpkin cookie that is topped with a creamy pumpkin-spice frosting.
Print Recipe

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies

5 from 2 votes
Thick and chewy, spiced Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies start with a sweet pumpkin cookie that is topped with a creamy pumpkin-spice frosting.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword pumpkin cinnamon roll cookies
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 47 minutes
Servings 20 cookies
Calories 300kcal
Cost $4.12

Ingredients

Cookie Base

  • 16 tablespoons (1 cup; 227g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup (140g) white sugar
  • 2/3 cup (93g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 6 tablespoons (80g) solid-pack pumpkin (I recommend Libby's)
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 and 3/4 cups (331g) all-purpose white flour (See Note 1)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH: nutmeg, ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 1/3 cup (67g) white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Frosting

  • 4 ounces (115g) full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups (242g) powdered sugar

Instructions

  • WET INGREDIENTS: Place the melted butter in a large bowl and allow it to fully cool to room temperature. This is very important or the cookies will end up greasy and spread. Once the butter is cooled to room temperature, add in the white and brown sugars. Whisk briskly until combined and smooth. Add in the pumpkin and the vanilla extract. Whisk again until combined.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS: In another bowl, stir together the flour (See Note 1), cornstarch, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine.
  • COMBINE: Add all of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until JUST combined. Do not over mix the dough.
  • FORM COOKIE BALLS: Roll tall cylindrical balls of dough that are 2 tablespoons in size. If you have a kitchen scale, the balls of dough should be about 45 grams. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon-sugar coating -- the white sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Roll the balls of dough to coat them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  • CHILL: Cover cookie balls with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour. When cookie dough balls have almost finished chilling, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • BAKE: Place dough balls on a parchment or Silpat-lined sheet pan with plenty of space (I only add 6 cookie balls at a time) and bake for 10-14 minutes. Watch carefully, being sure to not over-bake. We like our cookies slightly under-baked best!
  • COOL: Remove from the oven and, working quickly, immediately press the edges of each cookie slightly inwards with the back of a spoon. Let stand on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
  • FROSTING: Meanwhile, prepare the frosting by beating the room-temperature butter and cream cheese until completely smooth. Mix in the pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and salt. Add in the powdered sugar and then beat until the frosting is smooth. It will seem like you need more liquid, but just keep beating; it will come together!
  • DECORATE: Transfer the frosting to a plastic bag or piping bag and cut off the tip. Frost each cooled cookie by piping the frosting in a swirl on top. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with leftover cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour, you will pack in way too much flour; instead, use a spoon to scoop it into a measuring cup and then level the top with the back of a table knife.
STORAGE: Because of the cream cheese frosting, these cookies don't store or freeze well once they're frosted. If you're going to have extra cookies that won't be enjoyed the same day, I recommend storing the frosting and cookies separately and frosting right before serving. The frosting needs to be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, while the cookies do best when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Allow the frosting to soften/come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before frosting the cookies; it's very stiff right out of the fridge.
FREEZING: While the cream cheese frosting doesn't freeze and thaw as nicely, the unbaked cookie dough freezes beautifully. So, instead of freezing already-baked cookies, 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 or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. You can bake the cookies straight from the freezer. There is no need to thaw, but you may need to add an extra minute or two onto the baking time. Bake until the edges are lightly browned and the center is still soft.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 2.3g | Fat: 13.6g | Cholesterol: 36.3mg | Sodium: 22.2mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 29.5g

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These cookies take a little time to make but they are totally worth it! Thanks to the detailed instructions, they turned out perfectly. Absolutely delicious!

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