Perfect Pumpkin Cookies

October 14, 2010 · 63 comments · Print This Post

in Baked Goods, Cookies

It’s pumpkin time again! A few weekends ago CK and I traveled to Connecticut for a joint October Kelly family birthday celebration. CK’s dad requested that I bring something pumpkin flavored to the shindig so my mind instantly turned towards cookies. There was only one problem. Pumpkin cookies are notoriously fluffy, misshapen, and much too cake-like for my taste. In addition, even if they’re delicious I find nothing appealing about a lumpy cookie that actually looks more like an orphaned whoopie pie half. But I was running late and low on time so I pulled out a recipe from the Boston Globe that I’d bookmarked eons ago (thanks for the reminder Sarah).

Of course in true Erin-fashion I immediately messed up the recipe, only realizing after I’d measured all of the wet ingredients into the bowl of my mixer that I had forgotten to cream the butter and sugar together. After uttering a few choice expletives and debating whether or not I should start over I forged ahead simply because if I started over there was no way I’d have time to do my hair. I’m sorry but properly curled hair wins over recipes every time.

For once though a seemingly boneheaded kitchen mistake had a rather happy outcome. What makes cookies fluffy? That’s right: expertly creamed butter and sugar. So what could have been a “disaster” actually yielded batch after batch of perfect pumpkin cookies with a chewy texture, round shape, and not a cake-like quality in sight.

Perfect Pumpkin Cookies
Adapted from the Boston Globe recipe.
Yields 3 dozen cookies

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (preferably mini)
1 cup cinnamon chips (preferably mini)

Set the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla; beating just until blended.

Mix in the dry ingredients.

Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate and cinnamon chips.

Using a cookie scoop drop the dough 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let the cookies cool on the sheets for two minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 NiftyButton October 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I feel exactly the same way. Down with fluffy cookies! The flatter and chewier, the better. I’m totally going to make these today. They sound great.


2 Grace October 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm


I’m excited to try your recipe, because that was one thing I hated about the pumpkin cookies I’ve made in the past – the cakiness. If this is indeed chewy, that would be perfect. Thanks Erin!


3 c October 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I totally agree! Pumpkin cookies sound so good in theory, but when so many end up like flat dense muffins.. I will definitely try these out, thank you.


4 katy October 14, 2010 at 1:06 pm

these look amazing! i made pumpkin cookies a while ago and they didn’t turn out nearly this pretty!


5 Hänni October 14, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Pumpkin cookies are my absolute fav! This is similar to the recipe Mom made growing up (which I now make in my own kitchen, subbing spelt for wheat and omitting the icing–it’s so sweet, it really doesn’t need it!)
best pumpkin cookies ever!


6 blackbookkitchendiaries October 14, 2010 at 2:56 pm

it’s like you read my mind:) this looks amaizing… i am in love with this. thank you for sharing.


7 Elina October 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I have the same complaint about pumpkin cookies (that they are too muffin-top like). Must try these 🙂


8 Sarah October 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Happy to remind you! Its a great recipe that I bust out every season. And I will definitely use your tweak next time since mine definitely come out pretty cakey. It would be nice to change it up!


9 [email protected] October 14, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Yay! Finally a chewy pumpkin cookie! I never liked those cakey ones either. Mistakes are good.


10 Jacy October 14, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Wow, those look soo cute!


11 Kathy - Panini Happy October 14, 2010 at 8:36 pm

And now I’m going to bookmark your bookmark! These look incredible and I’m all for non-cakey cookies. Your mom’s pumpkin muffins from last year are still my favorites. 🙂


12 Michelle October 15, 2010 at 8:44 am

Can’t wait to try them. I agree that most pumpkin cookies are just not the texture I’m after, so I’m eager to give this a shot. Thanks for sharing it!


13 Shannon October 16, 2010 at 8:28 am

a happy accident, indeed 🙂 these look absolutely wonderful!


14 Cindy D. October 16, 2010 at 1:48 pm

These are so delicious!! My family loves them and I can’t stop eating them. I didn’t have any cinnamon chips on hand, so I just added more mini chocolate chips. Thank you for sharing this recipe – it’s a keeper!



15 Kasey October 16, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I love pumpkin time! Yay for October…and Fall cookies.


16 Courtney October 16, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Those look amazing!! I am going to try this one.


17 Allen of EOL October 19, 2010 at 1:39 am

I haven’t had pumpkin cookies in forever and often find them too cake-like for my tastes. I like that your happy mistake yielded a chewier cookie … and there just happens to be a can of pumpkin hanging out in my cupboard 😉


18 organic tables October 20, 2010 at 2:52 am

Well, I think I found something here for the coming Halloween. Thanks a lot for this one. The kids will love this.


19 Ashley October 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I feel exactly the way you do about pumpkin cookies! So glad you made a mistake with these as they sound like a pumpkin cookie I could love.


20 Mags October 21, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I’m happy to hear that your mistake turned out the perfect cookie. I’m also one that doesn’t like the fluffy, lumpy kind. I can’t wait to try this!


21 Monica H October 22, 2010 at 12:12 am

These really do look perfect! And I have to thank you for this recipe because your excuse for not liking fluffy pumpkin cookies, is the exact reason I don’t like then- they’re too cakey. But these look awesome!


22 TheHealthyApron October 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Definitely saving this recipe!! Thanks so much for making such a mistake because I also don’t like cakey cookies!!


23 sandi October 24, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Tried them this morning they were wonderful!!! thanks for the recipe 🙂


24 Melanie Plush October 25, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Pumpkin cookies are my favorite. I should try to make my own now. Thanks for sharing this simple and easy recipe.


25 Mary October 27, 2010 at 1:18 am

Okay, yummmm! These are perfect! I can’t wait to try these!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls


26 vanillasugar October 28, 2010 at 8:28 pm

cinnamon chips, yes, brillant. ok, i must give these a go.


27 Peggy October 29, 2010 at 9:08 am

I definitely side with the chewy cookie gang! These sounds absolutely delicious and it’s always great to know that a mistake lead to a brilliant ending!


28 Rebecca November 3, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I just made batch of these cookies and was surprised that they turned out cakey. I also realized that I forgot to add salt……could that have been the cause?! They taste amazing nevertheless!


29 Sherry Greek November 4, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Oh boy these do look perfect! I see plenty of chocolate chips;)


30 Melanie Baby November 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Hmmm! I can’t wait to try your version of pumpkin recipe. I think it is yummier if you eat it with a glass of fresh hot milk. Thanks a lot for the recipe.


31 Tracy November 9, 2010 at 6:28 pm

I agree with you about pumpkin cookies. They look terrible and are too cakey. Can’t wait to try these!


32 kat November 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm

These are so good! I just made them for Thanksgiving and am freezing them till Thursday. I still think they are pretty cakey, but it doesn’t matter because of how delicious they are!


33 Sarah November 27, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Mine turned out cakey, too, but are still wonderfully delicious!


34 kaceyt October 13, 2011 at 11:13 am

Ah! I love pumpkin cookies but have always hated the cakiness of the recipes that I have tried…THANK YOU for making such a wonderful mistake and giving us a chewy pumpkin cookies recipe!


35 Chris October 18, 2011 at 8:33 am

This sounds like just the cookie I was looking for – something different to take to our Sunday School class without all the fussy topping so I can stack them in a carry box! I can’t wait to try these – I’m drooling already! Thank you so much….. so you just throw it all together and mix it up???


36 Bunny October 19, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I chose not to add any chips t mine and they still have a great taste.
I also have no mixer with a paddle attachment and mixed mine with beaters…mistake. That incorporated too much air, and of course resulted in cakey cookies. I will mix by hand next time I guess.
Also, since you are getting so many positive remarks about people not liking puffy pumpkin cookies, maybe you should change the name of these to “Chewy” Pumpkin Cookies to come up on the search engine. You may get more “hits” that way, and make a lot more people happy. =)


37 debra October 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I got cakey cookies! How did you get them to be like that! I did everything you said! Now I’m eating sad cakey cookies. 🙁 Very upset


38 Cheri November 1, 2011 at 7:45 pm

YUM! Just made these and WOW! they made the house smell so good and they taste amazing! didn’t have chocolate and cinnamon chips so I used white chips and the flavors work great! Thanks for sharing your recipe!


39 Hayley November 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I can’t wait to try your recipe! I was so disappointed in my last batch, a cakey cookie is not (in my opinion) a cookie at all. I did a little detective work and -looking at recipes for chocolate chip cookies – I noticed they only call for using baking soda (not baking powder) but that muffins typically include both powder and soda in their recipes. Could this contribute to the cakey texture of pumpkin cookies? Let me know!


40 yummypumpkin November 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I just made these last night, very yummy! They were successful, although I agree they were puffed up I took out of the oven. I smooshed down with the back of the spatula to flatten. They were delicious!


41 susan November 6, 2011 at 11:25 pm

The recipe calls for “a can” of pumpkin. What size can? Or, better still, how many cups or ounces of pumpkin did you use?


42 Erin November 7, 2011 at 11:02 am

Sorry for any confusion. The 15 ounce version of canned pumpkin is what the recipe is referring to. I’ll make a note in the post as well. Thanks for your email.


43 PJ November 17, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Just a note that the size can of pumpkin you have doesn’t matter because the recipe calls for 1 cup of canned pumpkin.


44 Mery November 25, 2011 at 6:49 am

I am about to try this, may be I should not use the beater, huh? This is for a funeral….I hope they turn out ok. I do not have any cinnamon chips, so only chocolate will be…I hope they are cookies, I do not want muffins!.


45 Mery November 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm

ok…they were cakie….I made a few batches….the second had a cup of oats the third one I added brown sugar….much better. But it took too much time….lol


46 Kelly November 28, 2011 at 6:28 pm

I agree that they were not chewy and were more cakey than I would have liked. That being said, they were still very tasty. I think in my next batch I will omit the baking powder and maybe reduce the amount of flour. The batter was pretty stiff. I think I did over beat it a bit, but I had to get the chunks of butter mixed in. Thanks for a great starter recipe. (I also think replacing 1/2 cup of the white sugar with brown may be a good idea.)


47 augie carrington December 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

Just made these for 1st time with the 6 yr and 8 yr old read instructions and both took turns adding,tasting.used the paddle,easy recipe.had no cinn chips,just mini-choc. All in love with them.I shorted the sugar,as usual,used parchment for the 1st time.I give it 5 stars.!


48 amy t. September 25, 2012 at 10:08 pm

i made these for the first time and from your recipe. your pictures look amazing, but my cookies also came out cake-like. was it because i used an electric mixer instead of the stand up mixer? or was there something that i did incorrectly?


49 Tanya October 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm

My cookies came out delicious, but they are definitely still cakey


50 Jennifer October 18, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I made these cookies today and they were delicious. Never thought of doing something like this with a pumpkin since we do not have any canned pumpkins in Switzerland. I used a fresh one and it tasted very good and not too sweet. Thank you for the recipe.



51 Nikki October 25, 2012 at 1:55 am

Pumpkin is probably too WET to make proper chewy cookies. I’ve seen some recipes that “dehydrate” the pumpkin first, but that takes a long time to cook it down. You can also buy pumpkin “flour” but it’s hard to find. I’m still going to try these…mix by hand, decrease the amount of pumpkin, omit the baking powder, swap some of the white sugar for brown…and hope for the best!


52 Rebecca Orr April 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm

I made these and they turned out excellent. I liked that they were dense. Mine did not turn out cakey ike some others have said. Excellent recipe!


53 Tb October 6, 2019 at 3:10 pm

I have made these cookies many of times now. They always turn out perfect and everyone loves them! Thanks for the great recipe!


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