These pumpkin sugar cookies are perfect little treats for fall. Packed with so much great flavor in every cookie and topped with homemade cream cheese icing, these cookies really are a fantastic autumn dessert.
We use real pumpkin puree in these pumpkin spice sugar cookies making them a wonderful way to use homemade puree or canned storebought. The pumpkin is what gives us our orange color and real pumpkin flavor but it’s the spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves that really help to drive the flavor home.
Every cookie is a winner and even without the delicious frosting on top, these cookies will be a treat everyone won’t want to keep their hands off of.
- Granulated sugar
- Pumpkin puree
- Baking soda
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
Make sure to check out the recipe card below for the exact measurements needed.
How to Make Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
- To make the cookies, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set the mixture aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until well mixed.
- Add in the egg and pumpkin puree, mixing again to combine.
- Add your dry ingredients and mix until just combined (do not overmix).
- Scoop the dough out by the rounded tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet and then flatten them down with the palms of our hands or a greased glass until the cookie dough is ¼ inch thick.
- Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the bottoms are slightly golden brown in color.
- After the cookies have cooled, make the frosting by combining the butter, cream cheese, milk, and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Add in powdered sugar, a little at a time until the frosting is a spreadable consistency that will not drip off of the cookies.
- Ice the tops of your cookies and then sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top for a finishing garnish that looks pretty.
- Shortening. If you do not have shortening on hand you can use room temperature butter instead. Keep in mind that if the butter is too soft the cookies may spread, so if needed, chill your dough for at least 15-30 minutes before scooping and baking.
- Spices. The spices can be switched for pumpkin pie spice if desired. Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of seasonal spices that would taste great with this recipe.
- Shaped cookies. This dough is great for rolling out and cutting into shapes, making them extra fun for seasonal cookies! Just roll the dough out to be ¼ inch to ½ inch thick (depending on how thick you want them) and then cut with your desired cookie cutters. The dough will not spread much while baking but you do need to make sure that the dough is all the same thickness or else some parts will cook more than others.
- Storage. I recommend keeping these cookies stored in the fridge in an airtight container. To prevent the cookies from sticking together once frosted, lay a sheet of wax paper between layers or place them in a container big enough for them to fit side by side. The cookies will last up to a week this way.
- Freezing. These cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. If freezing with the icing on, freeze them on a baking sheet for 1 hour until solid before transferring to an airtight container. You can also freeze them once cooled if you don’t plan on adding the frosting until ready to serve.
These cookies can last anywhere from one week in the fridge to 3 months in the freezer making them perfect for enjoying whenever you want. Just make sure to thaw before eating if you chose to freeze them. You can do this by placing a cookie on the counter for about 15 minutes.
If the cookies are unfrosted then no, they will not need to be placed in the fridge and they can last up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature. If they have been iced, they should be kept stored in the fridge because the icing contains cream cheese which must be kept refrigerated.
The cookies will appear set around the edges and no longer look glossy on top. The bottoms of the cookies will be lightly golden brown in color too. If you have doubts you can always use an instant-read thermometer to check the doneness. The internal temperature of your cookies should be at least 165 degrees F.
Soft Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
For the Cookies
- 1/2 cup shortening OR butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Icing
- 2 tablespoons butter softened
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar enough to make a spreadable icing that won’t drip
For the Cookies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
- In a medium bowl, sift flour, spices, baking soda and salt together, set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream shortening (or butter) and sugar together.
- Add egg and pumpkin puree, mix well.
- Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Scoop tablespoons onto greased baking sheets. Flatten with the bottom of a greased glass to about 1/4 inch thick.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until bottoms are slightly golden brown.
- Combine butter, cream cheese, milk, and vanilla.
- Add powdered sugar until the icing is spreadable and won’t drip off the cookies.
- Ice cookies and sprinkle with cinnamon to finish.
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