Soft, moist and dolloped with tangy cream cheese frosting, these pumpkin pie cookies are packed with rich fall flavor. Warm autumn spices come together with real pumpkin and light cream cheese to make the ideal fall dessert.
Cozy Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting
These pumpkin pie cookies are the perfect fall dessert to make when you don’t have time to go all out with a pumpkin pie. They’re sure to satisfy your craving for all things pumpkin spice and are super easy to make.
Soft and chewy pumpkin cookies are topped with a simple frosting, then finished off with fall leaves made out of pie crust! These treats are festive enough for the holidays, yet simple enough to make for a mid-week treat.
What You’ll Need
We’ll start with the ingredients for the cookies, then move on to talk about what you’ll need for the frosting. Scroll down to find the exact amounts for everything on the printable recipe card below.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter to control the amount of salt in the recipe.
- Vanilla Extract
- Egg: Bring it to room temperature.
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- Canned Pumpkin
- Food Coloring Gel: Use orange food coloring gel to dye the frosting.
- Cream Cheese: Let this warm to room temperature first.
- Powdered Sugar
- Pie crust
- Leaf Pie Crust Cutters- optional
Can I Use Homemade Pumpkin Puree Instead of Canned?
Yes! The big difference between homemade and canned pumpkin purée is the water content. Canned pumpkin has some of the liquid removed to help preserve it, while fresh pumpkin obviously doesn’t. If you want to use fresh, just put a paper towel or cheesecloth over a mesh strainer and remove as much liquid from your homemade pumpkin purée as possible.
How to Make the Best Pumpkin Pie Cookies
We’ll cover the steps to make the cookies first, then talk about how you’ll make the frosting.
Make the Cookies
- Prep Your Materials: Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set your oven to preheat at 350°F.
- Beat Together the Wet Ingredients: Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Blend them until they become light and fluffy. Add a couple of drops of the orange food coloring gel. Place the pumpkin in a bowl, add the cinnamon and the 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and stir it together well. Add the pumpkin mixture to the mixing bowl, and blend it until it’s smooth.
- Add the Dry Ingredients: Mix together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and stir them well. Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer a little bit at a time on the low setting, until all the flour is added. Remove the whisk attachment and switch to the paddle. Continue to blend the cookie dough until it’s completely blended and a smooth ball starts to form. Scrape down the mixing bowl as needed.
- Bake: Form the cookie dough into 1-inch balls using a cookie scoop or your hands. Arrange the dough balls onto the parchment paper and place the cookie sheets into the oven for 15 minutes, or until the cookies turn light brown around the edges.
- Crinkle the Cookies: Dip a flat-bottomed glass in sugar and gently press it on top of the cookies to make them flatter, which will give them a crinkle look. Place them on a wire baking rack to cool.
Make the Frosting and Decorations
- Make the Leaves: Unroll the pie crust and put it on a lightly floured surface. Use leaf cookie cutters and lightly flour them all the way up the sides, then cut out the pie crust leaves for the tops of the cookies.
- Bake the Leaves: Pop the leaves onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper using a metal spatula and place the cookie sheet into the oven for 10-15 minutes until they turn light brown. Take the leaves out of the oven once they are baked and keep them on the parchment paper, adding a generous amount of sugar on top.
- Make the Frosting: Add the butter and cream cheese into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat them until combined. Pour in the powdered sugar a little at a time and beat to combine it after each addition until the mixture turns smooth and fluffy.
- Color the Frosting: Put half of the frosting into a mixing bowl and add a few drops of orange food coloring gel. Mix it into the frosting until it turns a pumpkin orange color.
- Frost the Cookies: Tear off a 10-inch wide piece of plastic wrap and put a length-wise log of frosting into the center. Roll the plastic around the frosting into a long tube and use scissors to snip the end of the tube. Put the tube into a pastry bag with a large star tip and apply the frosting in a swirling motion, pulling up at the center to create a peak.
- Decorate: Add a small amount of uncolored frosting to the top of the cookie and stick one pie crust leaf on top. Crumble any remaining leaves on top of the finished cookies, allow the cookies to sit for 30 minutes, serve them and enjoy!
Tips for Success
Making these pumpkin cookies is a breeze. Follow these helpful tips to make sure they come out just right every time.
- Add Flour If Needed: If the cookie dough is a little sticky after you’ve combined everything, try adding up to another 1/4 cup of flour, going a little bit at a time. Continue to add a little more flour until the dough forms a ball, and no longer comes away on your fingers when you touch it.
- Drain the Pumpkin Puree: You’re less likely to need to add extra flour if you press some of the liquid out of your pumpkin puree before adding it. This will give your cookies a bolder pumpkin flavor, since it increases the pumpkin-to-flour ratio.
- Check the Crinkles: Check the cookies halfway through their baking time to make sure they have begun to crack. This will give you that fun fall crinkle effect. You want to look at these cookies and immediately think of fallen leaves crunching under your feet.
Because of the frosting, you want to store these cookies in the refrigerator. Pop them in an airtight container to keep them from getting stale and store them for up to 3 days. If you need to stack the cookies, try not to go for more than 2 layers, and make sure to place a piece of parchment or wax paper in the middle.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes, these cookies freeze, but they do best if you freeze them before adding the frosting. Keep them in an airtight container or double-lock freezer bag for up to 3 months. Let them thaw completely, add the frosting, and enjoy!
More Fun Fall Dessert Ideas
- Pumpkin Cookies with Cake Mix
- Pumpkin Cake Roll
- Instant Pot Pumpkin Cake
- Pumpkin Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Pumpkin Cookies Recipe
FOR THE COOKIES
- 2 Sticks Butter softened
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
- 1 Egg
- 3 cups flour plus more if needed
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 2 Heaping Tablespoons Canned Pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- Orange Food Coloring Gel
FOR THE FROSTING
- 4 Tablespoons of butter, softened
- 4 ounces Cream Cheese
- 4 cups of Powdered Sugar
- Orange Food Coloring Gel
FOR THE PIE CRUST LEAVES
- 1 Roll of prepared Pie Crust – I used Pillsbury from the Dairy Case
- 1 Set of cut-outs for Leaves
- Sugar to top
Make the Dough
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, add the Butter, Sugar, Vanilla, and Egg, and blend until light and fluffy.
- Add a couple of drops of the Orange Food Coloring Gel.
- Place the Pumpkin in a bowl, and add the Cinnamon, and the 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and stir well.
- Add the pumpkin mixture to the mixing bowl, and blend until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, add the Flour, and Baking Powder, and stir well to blend.
- Add the flour a little at a time and mix on low to blend, until all the flour is added. (If the cookie dough is a little sticky, add another 1/4 cup of flour until the dough is no longer sticky – continue to add a little more flour until the dough forms a ball, and is not sticky).
- Remove the Whisk attachment, and use the paddle. Continue to blend the Cookie dough until it’s completely blended and a smooth ball starts to form. Scrape down the mixing bowl as needed.
Assemble the Cookies
- Line two cookie sheets with Parchment paper, and roll the cookie dough into small balls, about 1 inch balls, and place the balls on the Parchment paper.
- Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes, or just until the cookies start to turn a light golden brown around the edges.
- About halfway through baking the cookies, check the oven, and the cookies may have started to crack a little.
- Take a flat bottom glass, dip it in Sugar before lightly applying it to each cookie – smash the cookies very gently, and slightly, making them a little flatter, and spread out a little more. This will give the cookies a crinkle look.
Prepare the Pie Crust
- While the cookies are baking, cut out the Pie Crust Leaves to top the Cookies; Unroll the prepared Pie Crust, and place it on a floured surface.
- Dip the pie crust cutouts in a little bit of Flour, just on the edges, and cut out the leaves. You should be able to cut one leaf to top each cookie – about 40.
- With a metal Spatula, gently remove the cut-out leaves to a Parchment Paper lined Cookie sheet, and place them in the oven at 350°F for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
- When they’re baked, remove the leaves from the oven, and leave them on the parchment paper. Sprinkle generously with Sugar. Let Cool.
- When the cookies are done, remove them from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely. While cookies are cooling, make the Frosting.
Make the Frosting
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add the softened Butter, and Cream Cheese, and blend to combine.
- Add the Powdered sugar a little at a time, blending after each addition, until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
- Divide the Frosting, taking about half a cup out of the mixing bowl, and leaving it white, set aside.
- In the mixing bowl, add a couple of drops of the Orange Food Coloring Gel, and stir to blend until the Frosting is tinted a pale Pumpkin color.
Frost the Cookies
- Using Plastic wrap, tear off a piece about 10 inches wide, and place the Frosting length-wise in the middle of the plastic wrap; it will look like a long ribbon of Frosting.
- Then, roll the plastic wrap around the Frosting, making sure to keep it long, or length-wise like a long ribbon.
- Snip the end off of the Plastic wrap, on one end only, and place it in a Pastry bag with the large Star Tip.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cookies, using a swirl, and bring it up to a point.
- Place a small dollop of the White Frosting on the top of each cookie, and place one of the cutout pastry, or pie crust leaves in the White Frosting.
- Crumble any leftover pie crust leaves, and sprinkle on cookies.
- Allow the Frosting to set or firm up a bit, about 30 minutes.
- Serve, and Enjoy!
- To Store: Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- To Freeze:Keep unfrosted cookies in an airtight container or double-lock freezer bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw completely, then frost and serve.