Soft Pumpkin Cookies

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Super big, chewy and soft, muffin-top like pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies that taste like they are straight from a bakery! These bakery-style pumpkin cookies are made in ONE bowl! Recipe via chelseasmessyapron.com

Soft Pumpkin Cookies, reminiscent of a muffin top dotted with pools of melty chocolate! These cookies taste like they are straight from a bakery and can be whipped together in one bowl.

If you’re hoping for pumpkin cookies without chocolate chips, these pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting are soft and thick as well.

 

Overhead image of Soft Pumpkin Cookies on a plate, ready to be eaten.

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Last year I worked hard to create a pumpkin cookie that had the same texture as regular chocolate chip cookies. After quite a bit of trial and error, I shared these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They’ve got the great flavors of pumpkin pie, but with a typical cookie texture — soft and chewy with crisp edges.

These cookies, however, aren’t your typical type of cookie. They are thick, chewy, soft, and cake-like resembling a muffin top. Soft Pumpkin Cookies are exactly how my mom made pumpkin cookies when I was growing up. And while some would argue these aren’t technically “cookies”, these are one of my favorite fall treats. If you love thick, soft pumpkin cookies flecked with chocolate throughout, this is your recipe!

Process shots-- images of the wet and dry ingredients being measured and mixed together; the dry ingredients being added on top; everything stirred together; the dough being rolled out and baked.

Soft Pumpkin Cookie tips

  • Use a good solid-packed pumpkin. I highly recommend Libby’s® pumpkin (not sponsored) for these Soft Pumpkin Cookies, since I’ve had great success with their product. Whatever pumpkin you choose to use, make sure it’s not overly watery and has a deep, rich orange color.
  • Add some food coloring. Pumpkin cookies don’t actually come out all that orange unless they have a little help. A bakery “secret” is to add in some orange food coloring. If  you’d like these cookies to be more orange in color, I recommend a few drops of orange food dye.
  • Increase spices to personal preference. We prefer these soft pumpkin cookies to have a mild taste. If you’d like them to be more spiced, increase the pumpkin pie spice and/or cinnamon. Ground nutmeg and/or ground cloves can also be added.

QUICK TIP

What’s the difference between canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling? Canned pumpkin contains no other ingredients. Pumpkin pie filling contains puréed pumpkin plus added spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves; sugar; and other chemical additives. This recipe calls for canned pumpkin, so read the label to be sure you get the right product!

Overhead image of the Soft Pumpkin Cookies on a cooling rack.

More Soft Pumpkin Cookie tips 

  • Spoon and level the flour. Use a spoon to add flour to a measuring cup, and then level the top with the back of a table knife. You’ll have a perfect flour measurement!
  • Chill the dough. If you’re in a rush, this dough can be baked as soon as it’s made, but it is pretty sticky, wet, and hard to work with. I recommend chilling the dough for 30 minutes to an hour to make it easier to work with.
  • Make them pretty. Press some chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies as soon as you take them out of the oven; this ensures even dispersion of chocolate and makes them look more appetizing.
  • Halve the batch for fewer cookies. This recipe makes over 4 dozen cookies. They’re small and totally pop-able, so you’ll probably want more than you think! That said, this recipe can be halved for fewer cookies.

Overhead image of Soft Pumpkin Cookies on a cooling rack, with a bite taken out of one of them.

Storing baked Cookies

Unlike most cookie recipes, Soft Pumpkin Cookies do not store well at room temperature. Because of the canned pumpkin and the oil, these cookies tend to get wet and sticky when kept at room temperature for more than a day. To combat this, it’s best to freeze them after the first day.

Take the completely cooled (and baked) cookies and put them in a freezer-safe container or bag. Freeze for 2-3 months and bring them back to room temperature by placing one in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.

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

To bake: You can bake 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).

Bonus: You’re the super star when you can provide freshly baked Soft Pumpkin Cookies with just a moment’s notice!

QUICK TIP

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

Use leftover pumpkin in one of these recipes

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Soft Pumpkin Cookies

5 from 10 votes
Soft Pumpkin Cookies, reminiscent of a muffin top dotted with pools of melty chocolate! These cookies taste like they are straight from a bakery and can be whipped together in one bowl.
Print Recipe

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

5 from 10 votes
Soft Pumpkin Cookies, reminiscent of a muffin top dotted with pools of melty chocolate! These cookies taste like they are straight from a bakery and can be whipped together in one bowl.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chill Dough 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 32 minutes
Servings 4 and 1/2 dozen small cookies
Calories 38kcal
Cost $4.52

Ingredients

  • 1 CUP (247g) canned pumpkin, not an entire can
  • 1 cup (217g) white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (53g) light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup (104g) vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (See Note 1)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups (244g) white flour
  • 1 cup (171g) semi-sweet miniature chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup (167g) milk chocolate chips
  • Optional: red or orange food dye

Instructions

  • WET INGREDIENTS: In a large bowl, add in ONE CUP of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling and not an entire can of pumpkin), white sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, the egg, and vanilla. Mix until completely smooth. If desired, add in the food dye. This will give you a darker more "pumpkin-looking" cookie. (The photos in the post have 3 drops of orange food coloring.) Mix until completely smooth.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS: Without stirring in between these additions, add in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, salt, flour, 3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips, and regular chocolate chips. Mix by hand or with an electric hand mixer until just combined. Do not overmix. The dough is wet, thick, and sticky!
  • 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.
  • BAKE: When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a large tray with parchment paper or a Silpat liner. 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 tablespoon measuring spoon, use a small spoon to scoop it out of that 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 messy to work with. Bake for 8-11 minutes and remove. Use the remaining 1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips to press a few more chocolate chips onto the tops of the cookies straight out of the oven.
  • ENJOY: Let cookies stand on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before using a spatula to transfer the cookies from tray to cooling rack. Repeat the baking process with the rest of the dough, keeping dough in the fridge until it's scooped into cookies (colder dough = easier to work with!) For a fudgy pumpkin pie-type cookie, chill the cooked cookies in the fridge -- delish!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: We like a mild amount of spice in these pumpkin cookies. If you'd prefer more, use another teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice or an additional 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.
Storage: Soft Pumpkin Cookies do not store well at room temperature. Because of the canned pumpkin and the oil, these cookies tend to get wet and sticky when kept at room temperature for more than a day. We prefer baking what will be eaten same day and then freezing the unbaked dough (see next note). However if there are baked cookies that won't be finished, I've found it's best to freeze them after the first day. Put the completely cooled (and baked) cookies in a freezer-safe container or bag. Freeze for 2-3 months and bring back to room temperature by warming one in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.
Freezing the unbaked dough: Place the cookie dough balls on a large sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer the frozen dough balls to 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 cookies 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).

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 38kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.1g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 2.1g | Cholesterol: 3.4mg | Sodium: 1.9mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 4.8g

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37 Comments

  1. I have several pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipes I always use but I saw this one and had to try it!!!
    Love, love, love!! This is my new go to recipe.
    They were delicious and turned out perfectly. My picky kids loved them too!
    Thank you for this recipe. I will be making these several more times this season!!

    1. Oh YAY! I’m so thrilled to hear this is your new go to and that they turned out perfectly for you 🙂 Thanks so much for the comment Melissa!

  2. I followed the recipe exactly, then put the batter in the fridge for 3 hours while I went to run errands. The batter came out perfect! My husband & I loved these cookies ?!

  3. 5 stars
    Can I just say Oh My Goodness, I followed this recipe to the letter, except for leaving it in the fridge for at least an hour, I only had mine in there for 40 minutes. I had to keep them in for the full 15 minutes, but they came out soooo yummy, the 1st 6 were gone before I have the next 6 on the cookie sheet to go back in the oven! and these are supposed to get better after a few days??? I won’t have any left for the Holiday Party in 2 days! lol
    thanks for a yummy, easy recipe

    1. Wahoo!! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed these Lynn! 🙂 And yes, I seriously love them on day 2 straight out of the fridge – YUM! You are so welcome, thanks for the kind comment 🙂

  4. I tried this recipe last night, as I don’t like hard cookies and substituted the oil for applesauce.
    These cookies are amazing, they keep soft and chewy, my whole family loves them.
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Ok I just found this recipe today, so I hope you can still respond since it’s been a long time since you posted it. I made the dough and it’s kind of runny. Not dough like most cookie dough. Is this normal? I added all of the ingredients just like it said to do. Looks so good. I can’t wait to bake them.

  6. 5 stars
    I made these wonderful cookies tonight with a few substitutions you may be interested in… for the oil I used coconut oil softened/melted in the microwave. I doubled the cinnamon to 2 teaspoons… and instead of food coloring, I added 1 teaspoon of turmeric! It enhanced to color and added a nice spice note to the blend.

  7. 5 stars
    I made these the other day with my two little girls and we LOVE them. Even my husband, who doesn’t usually like sweets or pumpkin, ate a bunch of them. This is officially my go-to recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Thanks!

  8. 5 stars
    These were delicious! I especially liked the taste of milk and semi sweet chips in them, and even decided to add in some white chips, too! I loved them with the three kinds of chips (and every bite was full of them!) but white chip haters (like my daughter) will be happy with just the two other kinds. These were divine frosted with cinnamon cream cheese icing, which you can find on Chelsea’s Pumpkin Cupcakes recipe. Also, I wanted to make these really small to have along with several other desserts at a bridal shower. I needed them even smaller than my smallest cookie scoop would do, so ended up using a melon baller to scoop out the batter, then another spoon to get it out of the melon baller. It was a little tedious, as the dough is pretty sticky, but they were just the right size that way! I did wet my hands with cold water (you just want them damp so your hands don’t stick to the dough) to shape them a little rounder before I baked them, so they were more uniform in shape without jagged edges. They needed to bake for 8-9 minutes at that size.

  9. Has anyone tried to freeze these after they’re baked? Wondering if I can make these ahead of time and then bring them out day of. Thank you!

  10. 5 stars
    I literally cannot believe how amazing these cookies were! This was the first ever healthier alternative dessert I’ve had that actually tasted like real cookies. Recommend to everyone!

  11. 5 stars
    Love these cookies and have been making them for years!! Random question – Did the recipe change recently by chance? I was positive that these were large cookies and you scooped like 1/4 cup instead of 1 teaspoon. I have this saved on Pinterest so maybe it changed?

    1. Hey Brittany! I’m so glad you’re enjoying this recipe! I did update it after lots of testing and found they were the absolute best a bit smaller! 🙂

  12. Hey I love this recipe but always get a little confused because when I make it I’m not sure what flour you mean. Do you mean all purpose or am I supposed to use white whole wheat flour. If you could respond I’d really appreciate.

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