Pumpkin Spice Cookies

These lovely pumpkin spice cookies are spiced perfectly, easy, and pumpkin-pie-delightful. Delicately flavored, with a soft center and crisp edges, they’re the autumn treat you’ve been craving.

Pumpkin spice cookies stacked on a wooden cutting board.

These pumpkin spice cookies are moist, supremely soft, with hints of chewiness at the edges, and have a wonderful flavor from being sweetened with honey. There’s no pumpkin purée in them—the pop of pumpkin flavor comes from the pumpkin pie spice. The honey makes it a soft, limp dough, which must be chilled before baking so your cookies bake up thick and puffy. These cookies appeared on my blog and were an instant reader favorite.–Averie Sunshine

How do I bake cookies that stay puffy?

Make sure that you chill you dough for at least an hour. You can also pop your dough mounds into the freezer if you have issues with patience–just don’t let them freeze through, you want them cold, not iced. 20 minutes should be enough.

A few other tips–let your butter soften so it can be easily creamed but don’t let it get too warm. Just warm enough to combine with the sugar and flour. For those of you that like numbers, 67°F is the perfect temperature for “room temperature” butter. Finally, instead of flattening the dough mounds, leave a little peak in the middle so they retain some thickness.

How should I store these cookies?

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or the cooked, cooled cookies can be frozen for up to 4 months.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Pumpkin spice cookies stacked on a wooden cutting board.
These lovely spiced pumpkin cookies are spiced perfectly, easy, and pumpkin-pie-delightful. Delicately flavored, with a soft center and crisp edges, they're the autumn treat you've been craving.

Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 4 hrs
18 cookies
154 kcal
4.75 / 4 votes
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  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice (yes tablespoons, not teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch salt (optional)


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar, and egg, and beat on medium-high speed until well creamed, light, and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use a hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes), stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Don’t shortcut the creaming process; make sure dough is very light in color and fluffy.
  • After scraping down the sides of the bowl, add the honey, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until combined and smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Again scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, if using, to taste, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
  • Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, form mounds of dough and place them on a large plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 5 days before baking. (The unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days; consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough for baking them as needed.)
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and line the baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
  • Place the mounds of chilled dough on the baking sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Don’t bake room-temperature dough; the cookies will spread and bake thin and flat. Bake the cookies for 8 to 9 minutes if you prefer super soft cookies or 9 to 10 minutes if you like soft yet slightly firmer cookies. The cookies are ready to come out of the oven when the edges have set and the bottoms are just barely beginning to turn golden brown and the tops are beginning to set but may still appear undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center.
  • Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. (You can store the cookies in a resealable container at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 4 months.)
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 154kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 24g (8%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 6g (9%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 24mg (8%)Sodium: 69mg (3%)Potassium: 40mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 13g (14%)Vitamin A: 174IU (3%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 18mg (2%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is a nice and easy recipe that makes a nice-sized batch of pumpkin spice cookies with that nice chewy, soft quality usually only found with fresh molasses cookies. It is tempting to over-bake them, but if you want the chewy center to stay soft, just give the cookies 9 minutes, 10 at the most, in the oven. The bottom will be just slightly browned.

I found my antique ice cream scoop was exactly the right 2-inch size if filled scantly. I covered the mounds with plastic wrap, just gently pressing down as I smoothed the plastic, and gave them a bit more than 3 hours. Cooking on parchment made cleanup easy, and the cookies came off just fine. I plied my friends and some perfect strangers with them, and all agreed they were lovely, delicately flavored, yummy cookies.

The last couple that came home with me were finished off with a cappuccino. All gone! If I could cut back a little on the brown sugar I might feel more virtuous, but the sweetness level was very pleasant, and the honey flavor came through without being overwhelming. The spicing is just perfect.

These pumpkin spice cookies are so delicious when baked during a beautiful fall. The dough was simple to make and took only approximately 10 minutes from start to fridge! I used store-bought pumpkin pie spice, which gave the cookie a perfect pumpkin pie flavor in a portable treat.

I found it worked better to put the dough mounds on a Silpat-lined pan instead of putting them on a plate and then transferring them to a pan. The dough stuck to the plate but luckily did not stick to the plastic wrap cover. I wanted my cookies soft, so I baked them for 9 minutes.

When they came out of the oven, they were puffed and just as described with a dark edge and a soft center. Unfortunately, as they cooled, they also flattened. They still stayed soft though. I will make these again, as they are so easy and delightful.

Soft and puffy? Yes. Spice? Yes. This is an excellent pumpkin spice cookie recipe, even though there’s no pumpkin flavor to them at all. It took 10 minutes to really cream the butter. I refrigerated the dough overnight. The baking time was just right at 10 minutes.

I baked my cookies on parchment paper, which worked beautifully. My recipe yielded 17 wonderfully delicious cookies. They tasted amazing warm and at room temperature, remaining soft and puffy even the next day. They were fantastic cookies, spiced perfectly and full of all the joys of fall.

Originally published October 9, 2015


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. 5 stars
    Pumpkin spice ANYTHING—sign me up! These pumpkin spice cookies exceeded my expectations. The rest of my family loved them, too, including my beagles. The dogs went crazy over them. I love a soft cookie, but I kept these in the oven for a full 10 minutes. They came out perfectly soft, and they stayed soft and fresh in a plastic resealable bag on the counter. Well, at least for 24 hours they did. I’d have to hide them in the garage if I expected them to go uneaten for longer than that. I have a few cookies hidden, unbaked, in the back of the fridge. I’ll surprise the family later this week. I’m sure the beagles will come running as soon as they smell these little lovelies baking.

  2. 5 stars
    “The world doesn’t revolve around chocolate.” A childhood neighborhood friend of mine used to tell me this each time I asked her how in the world she didn’t like chocolate. As I’ve gotten older, I’m finding myself agreeing with her. If I had to pick a dessert from a menu, I’d go for the fruit pie or cinnamon something or pumpkin goodie before I’d choose something chocolate. These pumpkin spice cookies would certainly fit the bill. Soft, spicy, holiday memory-invoking, these cookies are absolutely delicious! My longtime friend Jacquie would certainly approve. I used my 2-inch cookie scoop to make the cookies, placing 8 mounds of the batter on each baking sheet. The batch made 3 dozen cookies. I went ahead and placed parchment paper on each of the 3 cookie sheets I used, scooped the cookies directly on the sheet, flattened them with the palm of my hand, covered the sheet loosely with wrap, and refrigerated the whole thing for the 3 hours prior to baking. The cookies hardened just a bit after cooling completely but were still delicious. I think these cookies would make a great base for a whoopie pie. A marshmallow or cinnamon cream, sandwiched between two of these cookies, would be amazing!

    1. Ginger, I hear you. The One LOVES chocolate. He doesn’t understand why anyone would choose anything but. These are some marvelous cookies–and not a morsel of chocolate in sight!

  3. 4 stars
    Four batches have consistently turned out delicious…and totally flat. I’ve tried freezing the dough instead of refrigerating, and I’ve tried turning the oven down by 20°C to compensate for the fan, but nothing can persuade them to turn out like the puffy clouds of loveliness in your photo. (Thankfully, it’s no hardship to eat the evidence and try again.)

    1. Briony, oh no! I’m a little perplexed and a lot sorry to hear that. A few of our testers reported that their cookies fell a little flat after cooling, but most testers said their cookies remained puffy and soft. Not to blame the victim, but can we go through a short list of things that often contribute to baked goods not achieving lofty heights? The baking soda could be the culprit if it’s an old box that’s been opened a while. Also if the butter and sugar aren’t beaten sufficient long enough, there may not be enough air incorporated into the butter to help the baked goods rise. And if you’re at altitude, that will affect things, too. Mind crossing these off the list for me? In the meantime, I’m continuing to research and see what other possible culprits it could be…

      1. I’m quite certain it’s my fault, don’t worry. I live only about 200 feet above sea level, it was a brand new box of baking powder, and my trusty mixer beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. From some research, I understand that overbeating the butter can make cookies go flat and spread as the butter starts to separate; I’m going to try beating them a little less for my next batch and see if that helps. I’ll let you know if I find the solution! My ‘testers’ keep asking when there will be more cookies, so I’m not short of reasons to try 🙂

        1. Hah! That’s terrific to hear about your fan club, Briony. And yes, either overbeating or underbeating can cause cookies to be flat. Very complicated stuff, this whole baking thing. Will be thinking of you and yes, please let us know if you remedy the situation!

  4. Recipe tester, Sofia Reino, knows how much I love anything having to do with pumpkin spice. She wanted me to make these cookies two different ways. One with regular all purpose flour and one with a gluten-free alternative. Even with the difference in flour, the cookies tasted very similar. The gluten-free batch had a more distinct pumpkin taste to it and melted away in my mouth. This recipe was very easy to follow and will be a recipe that I will use many more times throughout this pumpkin spice season.

    1. Austin, many thanks! May I inquire, which gluten-free flour blend did you use? Was it a store-bought brand or a homemade rendition, and if the latter, which recipe? Would love to share this information with our readers just because we’ve heard that different mixes can act slightly differently…again, thank you!

      1. Hey Renee, my fast to-do mix is:
        2/3 white rice flour
        1/3 brown rice flour
        1/3 starch (I used potato this time)
        a little bit of xantham gum (usually 2 teaspoons per 2 cups of flour made)
        But I also use often the Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour from LC site.

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