A delicious and simple-to-make pumpkin oatmeal chocolate-chip cookie that is crisp on the outsides and chewy in the center. These oatmeal cookies are not “cakey”. I know a lot of you know and love the traditional oatmeal pumpkin cookie! This, is not quite that recipe. It’s not even a little bit “cakey,” but rather crisp on the outsides and chewy in the middle. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a traditional oatmeal pumpkin cookie, but these are so dang good. And they live up to their name — “cookies.”
If you have been looking for a non-cakey pumpkin cookie — this is your recipe! And I think you are going to go crazy over it. 🙂 But, if you are looking for a more traditional oatmeal pumpkin cookie, you’ll probably want to try a different recipe because I definitely don’t want you to be disappointed because you were expecting something different.
Pumpkin is generally what is going to make the cookies more cake-like so you’ll want to use the exact measurements of pumpkin as written in this recipe. The pumpkin you use is also super important. If you use a more water-y pumpkin or a homemade pumpkin puree you will likely not get these crisper cookies. I use and recommend Libby’s pumpkin. Two other pumpkin puree’s I’ve been pleased with is the store-brand at both Kroger stores (Smith’s) or the Great Value Brand at Wal-Mart. All three of these pumpkin puree’s have given me great and consistent results.
Other ways these cookies become more cake-like? Measuring/packing in too much flour! I scoop and level the flour so there isn’t too much packed in. By pressing a measuring cup into a bag or container of flour you are often getting way more flour than needed. If your cookies are not spreading and getting crisp edges you likely have too much flour in your dough. Alternatively if the cookies are spreading like crazy you likely under-measured and didn’t get enough flour mixed in. I always like to err on the side of less flour and then test bake 1-2 cookies before baking a whole batch. Depending on how those two cookies come out (the right crispiness or too crisp) I’ll leave the dough as is and bake the rest or add a little bit more flour to the dough. 🙂
The other two important things to get this texture? Chilling the dough! Chilling is absolutely mandatory — at least 30 minutes and preferably one hour. And the last thing is how you actually roll out the cookie dough before it goes into bake. I roll two small balls of dough and then press one ball on top of the other and mesh them together into one tall piece without flattening. This forms a tallish and vertical somewhat of a rectangle shape. This is how I get the cookies to look like they do and have that crisp exterior + chewy interior. Basically the bottom of the tall rectangle cookie cooks first and then the top section cooks next but for slightly less time leaving a chewier interior.
These balls of dough are quite large (about 3-4 tablespoons) so I usually only fit 6-8 cookies per regular sized cookie sheet. I also then strategically press chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies as they come out of the oven. This is obviously not required, but I hate when I can’t make a recipe look as pretty as I see in a picture so I want to be all inclusive with every step of the way for what I did with these cookies 🙂
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling and not the entire can)
- 1 large egg yolk discard or save the whites for another recipe
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups quick oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup regular milk or dark chocolate chips
- I have lots of notes/trouble-shooting/reasons behind the method throughout this post. The detailed instructions are to help you get the exact texture shown in the pictures and described in the post.
- In a large bowl, with hand mixers beat together the butter (softened and not melted) with the brown sugar and white sugar.
- Beat in the pumpkin, egg yolk, and vanilla. (Make sure your canned pumpkin is high quality and not watery. If it is watery your cookies will be more cakey. Drab the pumpkin with some paper towels if needed.)
In another bowl stir together the flour, quick oats, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. If you like more seasonings in your pumpkin cookies (we just like cinnamon) feel free to add them here. Some ideas would be some pumpkin pie spice, more cinnamon, a little bit of nutmeg, allspice, cloves, etc.
- Please note as you measure your flour that packing in too much flour will also lead to cakey cookies. I spoon the flour into the measuring cup and then level it at the top with my finger without pressing it down. Too little flour and your cookies will spread way too much and too much flour and they will be cakey. If experiencing either of these problems, you likely measured your flour incorrectly.
- Add the dry to the wet and mix until just combined.
- The mixture should pull away from the edges once all the flour is added. Stir in the chocolate chips (I use and prefer regular sized milk chocolate chips with the miniature semi-sweet mixed together, but use what you like!).
- Cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and preferably 1 hour. This is a crucial step and if skipped your cookies will likely spread like a pancake.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Once the dough has been chilled, line a baking mat with a nonstick liner (or parchment paper). (The times I haven't used the liners the bottom of these cookies cook faster than the tops are cooked and have the tendency to slightly burn at the edges)
- Roll two small balls of dough and the press one ball on top of the other and mesh together into one tall piece without flattening. This forms a tallish, almost vertical rectangle shape - this is how I get the cookies to look like they do and have that crisp exterior + chewy interior. Basically the bottom of the tall rectangle cookie cooks first and then the top section cooks next but for slightly less time. So that is why this shape is so important to getting your cookie to look like the ones I have pictured and have the texture described).
- Once you've rolled about 6-8 balls of dough, chill on the cookie sheet in the fridge for another 10-15 minutes. (I only put 6-8 cookies on a cookie sheet as they spread quite large depending on how much dough you have rolled -- I use 3-4 tablespoons per cookie)
- While one batch is chilling you can work on rolling out another one.
- Take the tray right from the fridge and place it in the oven.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until very lightly browned at the bottom/sides. The key to these cookies is slightly under-baking - that will keep them soft and chewy in the inside.
- Remove from the oven and allow to "cook" for another 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire cooling rack. This is optional but huge for appearance: I press in 5-6 additional chocolate chips into the tops of each of the cookies as soon as I remove them from the oven.
- These cookies taste even better the next day -- the cinnamon and pumpkin flavor have definitely intensified by then!
- Store in an airtight container.
Prep time does not include mandatory chilling time.
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