Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
Classic sugar cookies get a fall makeover in this pumpkin sugar cookie recipe! Pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice are used in the cookie dough, then the cookies are cut out and decorated to look like pumpkins.
These decorated pumpkin sugar cookies are perfect for fall! They’re a unique take on my favorite cut-out sugar cookie recipe, but I added pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and ground cinnamon to drive home the pumpkin theme.
What I love about these sugar cookies is that they’re both pumpkin flavored and pumpkin shaped. I used a pumpkin cookie cutter to achieve the adorable shape, but you can just as easily use a round cookie cutter and top them with orange icing.
These cookies would be a tasty addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table and are also perfect for Halloween parties. Feel free to get creative with the icing and decorate the cookies however you like!
What You’ll Need
These cookies call for similar ingredients as classic cut-out sugar cookies, but with a few seasonal additions. Let’s review the main ingredients you’ll need for this recipe.
- Spices: To keep things simple, this recipe uses a mixture of pumpkin pie spice plus some extra cinnamon. If you don’t have any or can’t find it, I have a recipe for homemade pumpkin pie spice that you can use.
- Butter: You’ll need a full cup of butter to make the cookie dough, and I recommend using unsalted butter to prevent the cookies from being too salty.
- Pumpkin puree: Use pure pumpkin puree to make the cookie dough, NOT pumpkin pie filling. You’ll need to blot some of the excess moisture from the puree to prevent the cookie dough from being too soft.
- Egg yolks: The extra fat from the egg yolks adds richness and flavor to the cookies. You can save the egg whites for another dessert like candied almonds, angel food cake, or Swiss meringue buttercream.
- Vanilla extract: I added 2 teaspoons of vanilla to the cookie dough to ensure it’s well flavored.
How to Make Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
- Whisk together the dry ingredients: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder, and salt.
- Mix the butter and sugar: In another bowl, beat the butter until smooth before mixing in the granulated sugar (I used my stand mixer for this step!).
- Blot the pumpkin: Line a plate with paper towels, then spread out the pumpkin puree and blot the top with additional paper towels. This will ensure that your cookies aren’t too cakey, so don’t skip this step!
- Add the remaining wet ingredients: Add the blotted pumpkin puree to the butter mixture, beat to incorporate, then mix in the egg yolks and vanilla.
- Mix in the dry ingredients: Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. The dough will be very thick, this is normal! If needed, use a rubber spatula or even your hands to help work the cookie dough together.
- Roll out the dough: Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper. Place HALF of the cookie dough on top, then top with another piece of parchment paper. Roll the dough between the two pieces of parchment paper until it’s roughly 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the rest of the dough using two additional pieces of parchment paper.
- Chill the dough: Place the rolled out sheets of cookie dough — still in the parchment paper! — in the fridge for about an hour. This will give the butter time to firm up and help your cookies hold their shape.
- Cut out the dough: Working with one sheet of cookie dough at a time, remove the top piece of parchment paper and cut out the cookie dough using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Place the cut-out pumpkin sugar cookies onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
- Bake: Bake the cookies until the tops are set, mine usually take about 12 minutes at 350°F (180°C).
- Cool & decorate: Let the cookies cool completely before decorating with your favorite sugar cookie icing or royal icing.
How to Decorate Your Cookies
You can decorate your cookies however you like! I opted to make pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies using this pumpkin shaped cookie cutter.
Feel free to decorate these cookies with your favorite royal icing. If you’re new to decorating cookies, my sugar cookie icing is another great option! To color the icing, I used AmeriColor burnt orange and leaf green gel food coloring.
I started by outlining and filling in the orange parts on each side, then went back and filled in the middle. Once that was done, I added the green tops and vines.
If you don’t want to meticulously decorate the sugar cookies, you can easily add a few drops of orange food coloring to cream cheese frosting or buttercream frosting and spread it over the cookies instead. It’s much easier, but will still look and taste good!
If you decorate the cookies with royal icing or sugar cookie icing, they’re safe to store at room temperature for up to a week. Once the frosting hardens, you can stack the cookies on top of each other without fear of the icing sticking or getting messed up.
You can also freeze the cookies with or without icing for up to three months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, simply place them on your countertop to bring to room temperature.
- I thought the spice level of these cookies was perfect, but you’re welcome to adjust the amount of pumpkin pie spice in this recipe to your liking.
- You don’t have to cut the cookie dough into pumpkin shapes; you may use any size and shape of cookie cutter you have on hand!
- Take the time to carefully blot the excess moisture from the pumpkin puree. If you skip this step, your cookie dough will be too wet.
Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour spooned and leveled (375 grams)
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened (2 sticks; 230 grams)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
- ½ cup pumpkin puree (120 grams before blotting out moisture; 80 grams after blotting)
- 2 large egg yolks at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together until well combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and continue mixing for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined.
- Line a large plate with several paper towels. Scoop the pumpkin puree on top of the paper towels and spread it out. Add several more paper towels on top and blot the pumpkin to remove some of the excess moisture. You may need to use several more paper towels for this step.
- Add the blotted pumpkin puree to the wet ingredients and mix until fully combined. Then, mix in the egg yolks and vanilla extract, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. The dough will be really thick, so if needed, use a rubber spatula or your hands to help work it together.
- Divide the dough in half. Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper, add half of the dough, top with another piece of parchment paper, and roll the dough to ¼-inch thick between the pieces of parchment paper. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Leaving the dough between the parchment paper, place them on a baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least 1 and ½ hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
- Remove one sheet of the cookie dough from the refrigerator and peel off the top layer of parchment paper. Using a 3-inch pumpkin shaped cookie cutter, cut the cookie dough out and place onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave a little room between each one.
- Re-roll any scrap pieces of dough between the two pieces of parchment paper and continue cutting out shapes. Repeat with the other sheet of chilled cookie dough.
- Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until the tops of the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cookies have cooled completely, top with your favorite sugar cookie icing or royal icing. Allow to dry completely before serving.