These easy Pumpkin Snickerdoodles are the Fall version of the beloved classic snickerdoodle cookies. These are made with real pumpkin and lots of pumpkin pie spice, rolled in pumpkin spice sugar, and baked to soft perfection.
If you love snickerdoodle cookies, you will love the Fall version made with real pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. These Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies are tall and soft, and each bite is bursting with flavorful spices. They are the perfect cozy pairing for a hot mug of pumpkin spice hot chocolate.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- These cookies are made with real pumpkin.
- Instead of rolling the cookies in a cinnamon sugar mixture, we use pumpkin pie spice sugar to amp up the pumpkin spice flavor!
- They are made with cream of tartar just like a classic snickerdoodle recipe.
- You’ll need just a ¼ cup of pumpkin for these cookies, so it is perfect when you have leftover pumpkin from another recipe.
Ingredients and substitutions
As always, you’ll find the complete list of ingredients and quantities in the recipe card at the end of this post. Below are some notes and substitution tips for each ingredient:
- Unsalted butter – softened at room temperature. You can substitute salted butter, but remember to omit the salt called for separately.
- Sugar – these pumpkin cookies have both brown sugar and granulated sugar. I used light brown sugar but dark brown sugar will work too.
- Pumpkin puree – canned pumpkin is totally fine but you can use homemade pumpkin purée as well. Make sure to use pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling since that has added sugar and other ingredients in it.
- Egg – just one egg to bind everything together.
- Vanilla extract – even though the main flavor will be coming from the pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract will enhance the flavor of the cookie further.
- Flour – good ‘ole all-purpose flour will do.
- Baking soda and cream of tatar – these are leavening agents, and they come in pairs because the cream of tatar is needed to activate the baking soda. Cream of tatar is also said to give snickerdoodles their tangy taste. Though it was very difficult for my taste buds to detect that at such a small amount. If you want to omit cream of tartar, you can also omit baking soda.
- Baking powder – also a leavening agent, added for extra lift to keep the cookies tall and soft. Increase to 1 teaspoon if you plan to omit baking soda and cream of tartar.
- Salt – always salt your cookies so they don’t taste flat. I use kosher salt, you can substitute table salt but use ½ to ⅔ as much.
- Pumpkin pie spice – our main flavor profile, this is also divided. Half of this is mixed with the granulated sugar used for rolling the cookie dough before baking. I used my homemade mix but you can use store bought or your favorite spice combination.
Tools you’ll need
Having a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer will help with combining the ingredients to make the cookie dough.
A medium size cookie scoop will help dividing the dough easier but you can always eyeball it or use a tablespoon.
How to make pumpkin snickerdoodles
The following instructions, step by step photos and tips are here to help you visualize how to make the recipe. You can always skip straight to the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
Beat sugar and softened butter together until fluffy in a stand mixer bowl or a large mixing bowl. Then combine the rest of the wet ingredients with the butter mixture. Mix in the dry ingredients mixture using the lowest mixer speed setting, allowing it to mix until just combined.
Tip: This cookie dough will be very soft and wet, so allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour to firm up some.
Use a medium size cookie scoop (1.5 tablespoon) to portion out the cookie dough into about 19 dough balls, 1 oz each, or roughly 1 ½” in size.
Prepare the sugar and pumpkin pie spice for rolling in a shallow dish before you start dividing the cookie dough. Roll the cookie dough balls in the pumpkin spice sugar mixture right away after you shape it, this will help keep the stickiness at bay.
Tip: This cookie dough is soft and slightly sticky. I didn’t have too much trouble with it right out of the fridge, but as it sits out on the counter, it will start to get stickier. If the dough starts to get too sticky and uncooperative, rub your hands with some oil or butter to keep it from sticking.
Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet about 2” apart and bake for 10-11 minutes at 375°F.
More baker’s tips
- Room temperature ingredients – It is essential to allow all of your refrigerated ingredients to come to room temperature before baking. This will help the wet ingredients combine and emulsify easier.
- Use a kitchen scale – When measuring ingredients or dividing the cookie dough, using a kitchen scale makes it a lot easier and gives you exact results.
- Chill the cookie dough – the dough is soft and sticky, so chilling it will help with the shaping process.
- Flatten or not flatten? Flattening the dough ball with the bottom of a measuring cup before baking will help the cookies spread and bake more evenly. However, if you like your cookies to rise higher with more dome, bake without flattening.
Yes, the dough needs to be chilled for at least an hour to firm up. Since it is made with real pumpkin puree, it will be a wet and sticky dough. Chilling it will definitely help with the shaping process.
Absolutely, if you have fresh roasted pumpkin, feel free to use it in place of the canned pumpkin puree in the same amount.
Since this recipe only uses ¼ cup of pumpkin purée, you’ll have plenty of leftovers. You can use it in another recipe such as pumpkin pie bars or pumpkin hand pies. You can always freeze leftovers to use it another day.
Like I mentioned under the ingredient section, cream of tartar is typically used in classic snickerdoodle recipes and is supposed to add tanginess to the cookies. However, I have made snickerdoodles without cream of tartar before and they are just as delicious.
Omitting cream of tartar is acceptable but you also need to omit the baking soda and increase the baking powder.
Note that baking soda tends to make cookies spread a little more with a chewy texture. So if you are making these pumpkin snickerdoodles with just baking powder, expect them to rise higher with a more cakey texture.
- Room temperature: Store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will last up to a week.
- Refrigerator: These cookies don’t need to be stored in the fridge.
- Freezer: Baked cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months.
The pumpkin cookie dough can be prepared a few days in advance and kept refrigerated. If refrigerating:
- You can store the dough as is in the mixing bowl, covered, or in another container.
- When ready to bake, divide the dough, shape into balls, and roll in sugar topping.
- Cookie dough will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
You can also make the dough weeks in advance for holiday preparation and freeze it. To freeze this cookie dough:
- You’ll want to portion it out and shape the dough balls first. But don’t roll them in sugar.
- Place the plain dough balls on a lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container and keep frozen until needed.
- When ready to bake, thaw the frozen dough balls on a baking sheet in one layer for about 30 mins, roll them in the sugar topping and bake as directed.
- Cookie dough will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Add up to 1 cup of mix in such as white chocolate chips, semi sweet chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, or a mixture of chocolate chips and nuts.
- Spread cream cheese frosting on top to make frosted cookies.
- Or add cream cheese frosting in between 2 cookies to make cookie sandwiches.
More cookies for Fall
- Pistachio Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
- Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
- Oatmeal Fig Cookies
- Ginger Molasses Cookies
- Pistachio Cookies
I promise you won’t be able to stop at one with these Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies. They’re soft on the inside, and each bite is bursting with those quintessential warm Autumn spices. They need to make it on your list of holiday cookies this season!
📖 Recipe card
- 4 oz unsalted butter (room temperature, 113 g)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (50 g)
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (divided, 101 g)
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree (58 g)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour (195 g)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (divided)
- Measure out granulated sugar and set aside 3 tablespoons for the topping.
- Add the remaining granulated sugar, brown sugar and softened butter to a medium mixing bowl and beat with the paddle attachment until combined and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add pumpkin puree, egg and vanilla to the sugar mixture and beat for another minute until thoroughly combined.
- In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, stir in the salt until evenly distributed. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Scrape the side and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is well mixed.
- Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Mix 3 tablespoons of sugar set aside earlier with 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice in a shallow dish for topping.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and divide with a medium size cookie scoop, roll the dough in the palm of your hand to form 1 ½” balls, about 1 oz portions. This will yield about 19 balls.
- Roll each dough ball entirely in pumpkin pie spice sugar and set the dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet about 2” apart. Flatten the dough ball with the back of a measuring cup.
- Bake for 10 – 11 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Allow all of your refrigerated ingredients to come to room temperature before baking. This will help the wet ingredients combine and emulsify easier.
- When measuring ingredients or dividing the cookie dough, using a kitchen scale makes it a lot easier and gives you exact results.
- This cookie dough is soft and sticky, so chilling it will help with the shaping process.
- Flattening the dough ball with the bottom of a measuring cup before baking will help the cookies spread and bake more evenly. However, if you like your cookies to rise higher with more dome, bake without flattening.
- Rub your hands with some melted butter or oil to keep the dough from sticking to your hands while rolling them into balls if necessary.
- Variations: add up to 1 cup of mix in such as white chocolate chips, semi sweet chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, or a mixture of chocolate chips and nuts. Spread cream cheese frosting on top to make frosted cookies or in between 2 cookies to make cookie sandwiches. Rub your hands with some melted butter or oil to keep the dough from sticking to your hands while rolling them into balls if necessary.
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