Pumpkin Spice Cookies (with frosting)

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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.

I took my favorite sugar cookie recipe and added pumpkin spice to the cookie and the icing. This is an EPIC fall cookie recipe: PUMPKIN SPICE SUGAR COOKIES!

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pumpkin spice cookie with frosting on rack

BEST EVER Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Every fall bloggers post about 1 billion pumpkin recipes on the internet. This is one of them!

That’s an estimation on the 1 billion. I may be off a few hundred thousand, but I think that number is close. I mean, scroll through Pinterest. Is there anything NOT pumpkin on there?

Before some of you angrier readers send me comments at tell this recipe isn’t really pumpkin because there’s no pumpkin in it, don’t worry: I know. It’s pumpkin spice.

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.

Why are these the BEST Pumpkin Spice Cookies?

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!

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!

How to make Pumpkin Spice Cookies Video

Ingredients in Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Butter: I always use unsalted butter. Be sure to soften it before making the cookies.

Sugar: Granulated sugar goes into these cookies – they’re like a sugar cookie!

Egg, Vanilla, Baking Soda: Normal cookie Ingredients.

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.

Flour: Be sure to measure it correctly!

If you’re looking to make pumpkin spice cookies without pumpkin puree well then, here you go!

4 photos showing how to make pumpkin spice cookies

How to make Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

Step 1. Cream Butter and Sugar: Use a hand or a stand mixer to cream your butter and sugar until fluffy.

Step 2. Add Egg and Vanilla: I like to mix those in before adding dry ingredients.

Step 3. Add Pumpkin Spice: A whole lot of it!

Step 4. Flour: Mix in the flour then you can scoop and bake.

pumpkin spice cookie with frosting on rack

Ingredients in Pumpkin Spice Frosting

These cookies are great alone but we love frosting them! You’ll need:

  • Softened Butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Heavy Cream – you can sub milk but you’ll need less of it
4 photos showing how to make pumpkin spice frosting

How to make Pumpkin Spice Frosting

Step 1. Butter and Sugar: Mix the two until they’re crumbly.

Step 2. Spice: Add the pumpkin spice.

Step 3. Cream: Add the cream and mix. The cream makes the frosting fluffy and delicious.

Step 4. Frost: You have a creamy frosting – time to frost your cookies!

pumpkin spice cookie on rack

Tips

  • 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).

FAQ

Why don’t your cookies have pumpkin in them?

I have a pumpkin cookie recipe but for these I wanted just a pumpkin spice cookie!

What can you substitute for cream of tartar in cookies?

You can use 1 tsp lemon juice in place of the cream of tartar in this recipe.

How do you use spices in place of pumpkin pie spice?

If you have all the spices and not the pumpkin spice, you can make your own DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice.

Do you have to chill the cookie dough?

No these cookies are drop and bake which is why I love them.

My cookies didn’t flatten.

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.

My cookies are much thinner than yours.

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.

Do I have to frost the cookies?

No these are good plain too!

Do I have to use heavy whipping cream in frosting?

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.

Love pumpkin spice? Make these recipes:

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Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Cookies are an easy sugar cookie recipe filled with warm fall pumpkin spices, both in the cookie and the easy frosting!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 22 cookies
Serving Size 1 cookie

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • 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.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

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 ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons pumpkin spice coffee creamer until smooth. Frost as desired.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 301IU | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookie, frosting, pumpkin spice, sugar cookie

This recipe was created in 2014 and originally used coffee creamer to flavor the frosting. The recipe reflects both ways of making these easy cookies.

**Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!**

close up of cookie on rack

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!

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7 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. My cookies didn’t spread out. They remained in ball/dome shape even after cooling. I followed the recipe added everything I needed to. Any suggestions?

    1. Sometimes if they get extra cold while chilling (chilled longer than an hour or two) I’ll press them slightly with the palm of my hand before baking to help them spread.

  2. I just made these! The only thing I did different was add a spoon of maple syrup to the icing! These are so delicious!

  3. Love these! Love using pumpkin pie spice in cookies rather than actual pumpkin as the texture doesn’t get all wonky which can happen so easily when you add pumpkin puree. That may have only taken me about 99879 batches of cookies to figure out when I was writing my cookbook. LOL  I love the frosting on these. Mmmm!! And the collage! Pinned 🙂

    I put a recipe for pumpkin pie spice in my book and when I was researching it, yes, there’s a million different combos and since I’m a spice hoarder I do always have all the component spices on hand so it’s easier to DIY. Usually. Until those seasonal jars of TJs spices come out for like 1.99.  That’s hard to beat!