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I love pumpkin spice season! These Pumpkin Spice Cookies may not have any actual pumpkin in them – just pumpkin spice – but they’re an easy sugar cookie with warm fall flavors – and they’re addictingly good.
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BEST EVER Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Before some of you angrier readers send me comments at tell this recipe isn’t really pumpkin because there’s no canned pumpkin puree in them, don’t worry: I know. It’s pumpkin spice.
Pumpkin cookies are really good. I know, because I’ve made several pumpkin cookie recipes, even one stuffed with Nutella. But sometimes you’re in the mood for pumpkin spices but not actual pumpkin (you know, how I loved the PSL before it actually had pumpkin in it?) That’s where these cookies come in!
These cookies are TO DIE FOR. I literally ate 5 without thinking about it. And then I had to give away a bunch and throw some away (!!!) to get rid of them. These cookies are “cover with coffee grounds in trash” cookies. Some of you get that reference. You know – when you cover food with coffee grounds so you don’t go back digging in the trash for them.
Pumpkin Spice Cookies are an easy sugar cookie recipe filled with pumpkin pie spice in both the cookie dough and the frosting. They’re the perfect fall cookie recipe!
Important Ingredients Needed
- Butter: I always use unsalted butter. Be sure to soften it before making the cookies so that it’s room temperature.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar goes into these cookies – they’re like a sugar cookie! You could also do half and half brown sugar if you want a more chocolate chip cookie texture.
- Cream of Tartar: I use this to keep the cookies nice and soft. Learn all about Cream of Tartar – and if you don’t have it you can substitute 1 tsp lemon juice.
- Pumpkin Spice: Pumpkin Pie Spice is another one of those enigmas to me because every recipe I’ve found for pumpkin pie spice is different. Cinnamon and nutmeg are always there. But some have allspice, some have cloves and some have ginger. Some have a combination or none of the above. That’s why I made my own DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice so I never have to guess, plus it’s easier than getting out all the spice jars individually.
How to make Pumpkin Spice Cookies without pumpkin
- Cream Butter and Sugar: Use a hand or a stand mixer to cream your butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add Egg and Vanilla: I like to mix those in before adding dry ingredients.
- Add Pumpkin Spice: A whole lot of it!
- Flour: Mix in the all-purpose flour then you can scoop and bake in an oven preheated to 350°F.
Ingredients in Pumpkin Spice Frosting
- Softened Butter – I prefer using unsalted butter.
- Powdered Sugar – a classic frosting ingredient
- Vanilla and Pumpkin Spice
- Heavy Cream – you can sub milk but you’ll need less of it
How to make Pumpkin Spice Frosting
- Butter and Sugar: Mix the two until they’re crumbly.
- Spice: Add the pumpkin spice.
- Cream: Add the cream and mix. The cream makes the frosting fluffy and delicious.
- Frost: You have a creamy frosting – time to frost your cookies!
If you want, you can make cream cheese frosting instead and add the pumpkin pie spice. This is my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe!
- Don’t skip the cream of tartar. That gives the cookies a lot of their softness!
- Don’t over bake them. Err on the side of underdone – they’ll finish cooking and set as they cool. Learn how to tell when cookies are done!
- Add a full teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the batter – the result will be a nice warm and flavorful cookie (with or without frosting).
- You could also make these semi-homemade with cake mix: use my cake mix sugar cookies and add pumpkin spice!
- Do you want a pumpkin cookie recipe? Try my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.
I have a pumpkin cookie recipe but for these I wanted just a pumpkin spice cookie!
You can use 1 tsp lemon juice in place of the cream of tartar in this recipe.
If you have all the spices and not the pumpkin spice, you can make your own DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice.
No these cookies are drop and bake which is why I love them.
Did you use too much flour? They should flatten just fine if baked right after mixing. Also check the expiration dates on your baking soda and cream of tartar.
Chances are your butter was too softened and your cookie dough was too sticky and warm going into the oven. If that happens, chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes.
No these are good plain too!
You can also use milk or half and half, or even nondairy milk. Just know you’ll need less of it – the less fat your milk has the less you need to make the frosting thin enough to spread.
Pumpkin Spice Cookies Recipe
For the Cookies:
- ¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter softened
- ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (248g) all-purpose flour
For the Frosting:
- 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter softened
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (226g) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with silpat liners or parchment paper.
- Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat in egg and extract. Mix in pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Slowly mix in flour.
- Scoop 2 tablespoon balls of dough (use a cookie scoop if you have one) onto cookie sheets.
- Bake for 9-10 minutes. Take them out just as you notice the bottoms start to turn golden (or right before). They’ll finish cooking as they cool. If they get too golden on the bottom before you remove them, they won’t be as pillowy and soft!
- Cool 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheets. Place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting: Beat butter until creamy with a hand or a stand mixer. Mix in salt. Slowly add in powdered sugar until mixture is crumbly. (It will be very crumbly if using a hand mixer, more smooth if using a stand mixer.) Add vanilla, pumpkin spice and 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream. Mix until the frosting comes together and becomes smooth, adding remaining tablespoon of heavy whipping cream as needed for consistency. Frost.
- Store at room temperature loosely covered. Frosting will semi-dry and cookies are stackable but some frosting may transfer.
To make the frosting with Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer instead:Mix 3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter with 2 cups powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons pumpkin spice coffee creamer until smooth. Frost as desired.
Love pumpkin spice? Make these recipes:
Pumpkin Spice Cookies are the BEST Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with pumpkin spice FROSTING! These are an easy fall cookie with tons of spice and they’re the most popular fall cookie recipe!
Last Updated on September 26, 2023