These soft pumpkin cookies are wonderfully reminiscent of a pumpkin muffin. The batter features a lovely blend of pumpkin pie spices. Add in some butterscotch chips, and you've got a winning combination!
This past weekend, Matthew and I celebrated our FOURTH wedding anniversary! I can’t help but reflect on how much has happened in our lives over these past four years. The newest little addition to our family has made me fall in love with Matthew in a completely new way. Seeing him as a father to our daughter has been amazing. We celebrated our anniversary—thanks dad for babysitting—by going out for coffee and a morning stroll downtown. Then in the afternoon we went to the furniture store to buy ourselves a new sofa set because… #adulting. I welcome the fact that we have reached the age where buying a sofa is big time excitement.
These pumpkin cookies are the #1 dessert that my husband requests. Followed very closely by my pumpkin bread, which he also really enjoys. That being said, it is no surprise that I made these for him on our anniversary weekend. AND... as of Tuesday morning, all the cookies were gone! That’s how good these are folks… seriously, you need these cookies in your life.
Why This Recipe Works
So let’s talk more about the real reason you’re here: pumpkin + butterscotch cookies. I’ve gone back and forth on what I should actually call these cookies. They are soft and fluffy, sort of like a pumpkin muffin top. But I think the scales tip more towards cookie than muffin top, so I’ve made my decision. These cookies are great for any occasion and I love the mix of pumpkin pie spice flavors in the batter.
What Baking Sheets Should I Use?
A quality baking sheet should last you for years—generations, actually. I still have one of my grandmother's baking sheet that is a favorite of mine. I like a half-sheet pan in terms of size, which is 18 by 13 inches and is fairly common. I will also add that I'm not a big fan of nonstick cookie sheets. They are typically darker in color, and cookies bake much quicker than on a standard aluminum pan. I actually prefer a basic aluminum pan. And a step up from this is a double-thick aluminum pan, which can be used for everything from baking cookies to roasting veggies.
There are a number of different ways to switch up this recipe according to your tastes. Here are some fun ideas to try!
- Substitute 1 ½ cups white chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips
- Add ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts to the batter
- Try topping these cookies with a drizzle of melted butterscotch chips
- Add a toasted marshmallow topping, using this marshmallow frosting recipe.
Step By Step: How to Make Soft Pumpkin Cookies
The entire recipe is below and can be printed to save for later. Before you get there, let's walk through it step-by-step, so you understand what you're doing beforehand.
1. First, start with your eggs and sugar in a bowl. Whisk together until light in color. Then add your oil, pumpkin, and vanilla extract.
2. Next, mix all ingredients until combined. Add in your flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add the butterscotch chips and mix them into the batter.
3. Using an ice cream scoop or a ¼ cup capacity measuring cup, scoop the dough out onto a baking sheet.
4. Once on the baking sheet, use a spatula or knife to smooth out the tops of the cookies. You may also want to drop a few more butterscotch chips on the top. I know I did!
5. Your cookies should bake for about 15 minutes in the oven. They are ready to come out when the tops are firm, and your finger doesn't leave an indent when you press lightly. These cookies almost have a cake-like texture when they are ready to come out of the oven.
Heather's Helpful Hints
- Make sure you cool your cookie sheets between each batch in the oven. Placing cookies on a hot sheet will cause them to spread.
- I like to use an ice cream scoop to ensure consistent cookie size. A measuring cup is a great alternative.
- Let your cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven. Cookies continue to cook even after you take them out, so this step is essential.
Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- 2 cups flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teason cloves
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups butterscotch chips
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color (about one minute). Whisk in the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until completely blended.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing just until all ingredients are incorporated. Add butterscotch chips and gently fold into the mixture.
- Using an ice cream scoop with a ¼-cup capacity, scoop the batter and place on baking sheets with parchment. Cookies should be about 1 inch apart. Use a knife to smooth and flatten the cookies.
- Bake the cookie sheets one at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 14-16 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes and Tips
- When baking cookies, it’s best to put one batch at a time in the oven. Cookies need to bake on the middle rack for even baking. If you can fit two pans on the middle rack without touching each other, you’ll get the baking results you want. If you add additional sheets of cookies on higher or lower racks, they might bake unevenly. You may save some time, but the cookies will suffer.
- These cookies hardly spread at all while baking. That means you can place them fairly close together on the baking sheet. I fit 12 cookies on one half-sheet baking pan. The cookies are spaced one-half to one inch apart.
- White chocolate chips are a delicious substitution in this recipe. Our family enjoys both kinds of chips equally. Feel free to get creative!
This recipe was originally posted in September 2018. It was updated in December 2020 with new pictures and a few updates to the recipe.
Did You Make Our Soft Pumpkin Cookies?
Did you make this recipe? First, let me say THANK YOU for giving it a try! Please leave us a rating above and leave any feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post. I always love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what went well — and what didn’t — with a recipe! Be sure to check out some of our other recipes linked below!