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Grandma Dorothy’s Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Nothing welcomes Fall like baking up a batch of Grandma Dorothy’s Soft Pumpkin Cookies for dessert! These amazing cookies are so easy to make and are topped with an incredible orange cream cheese frosting.

whole wheat soft pumpkin cookies with frosting on a cooling rack with pumpkins in the background

Grandma Dorothy is the real-life grandmother of my husband Troy. Known as “Grandma Sweetie” to almost everyone, she is allergic to pretty much all food. We joke she exists on a diet of air, cardboard, and beans. So naturally, she makes the best soft pumpkin cookies you’ve ever had in your life. She just can’t eat them herself.

Truth be told, I don’t give two craps about pumpkin anything. The whole onslaught of “pumpkin-spiced everything” makes me roll my eyes so hard that I may sprain them one of these days. But these cookies have changed my mind about snickering at the basicness of pumpkin. They taste of Fall, and of pumpkin mixed with cinnamon.

They taste a bit like redemption.

Ok, here is the weirdest and most awesome part about these pumpkin cookies…they are even better the next day. Freshly baked cookies are always an amazing treat, but they tend to get a bit more “meh” as time progresses.

These cookies though? They actually improve with a little time in the fridge and are more fabulous 24-48 hours after baking. It’s a freaking miracle people.

Why Are These Soft Pumpkin Cookies Whole Wheat?

Dang, you’re nosy son!

I love using whole wheat flour for baked goods because it is healthier and if done correctly you can’t tell the difference. But mostly, I need help reigning myself in with my sweet tooth and whole wheat cookies fill me up more quickly than their white floured cousins.

I bake with whole wheat because I can’t freaking control myself around cookies. Ok? You happy?

That being said, you can totally use all-purpose flour in these cookies! Sub in the flour cup for cup and leave out the vital wheat gluten.

Can I Add Chocolate Chips?

The recipe originally called for walnuts (ah hell nope) and dried cranberries (meh, fine), but I left them out. But I think adding chocolate chips would be an amazing addition to these soft pumpkin cookies! I would start with 1/2 cup and see how the ratio looks for your tastes.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably also eat about 1/4 cups of chocolate chips during the mixing process.

ingredients on a wooden board for soft pumpkin cookies

What Kind of Pumpkin Should I Use?

For this recipe, I used plain ol’ pure organic solid packed canned pumpkin from the grocery store. It’s super affordable, incredibly easy to use, and it has a consistent texture that lets you duplicate the same results each time.

If you want to make your own pumpkin puree, my girl Katie over at Hey Nutrition Lady has an awesome post on how to process a pumpkin.

Here’s How to Make It

*detailed instructions available in the printable recipe card below.

Cream together the butter, sugar, eggs, and pumpkin.

ingredients for soft pumpkin cookies in a stand mixer

Add in the vanilla (related: try homemade) and then the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.

Three steps of the mixing process for soft pumpkin cookies

Drop dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake and cool completely.

unbaked soft pumpkin cookies on a baking sheet

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

Cream together room temperature butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.

Add in the powdered sugar (related: try homemade), orange zest, and vanilla and mix until combined.

ingredients for orange cream cheese frosting in a stand mixer

Frost your cooled and amazing cookies!

frosted soft pumpkin cookies on a baking rack with a dish of frosting and a knife

Fun fact: that little knife in the bowl was my play dough knife as a kid.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • Make sure the butter, cream cheese, and eggs are room temperature before mixing. Don’t have time for that? Microwave the butter and cream cheese in 10 seconds increments until softened. Place eggs in a small bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.
  • The dough for these soft pumpkin cookies will be fairly sticky. Resist the urge to keep adding more flour, and either use a cookie scoop or a large spoon to turn these into drop cookies.
  • The cookies will be very soft until completely cooled. Be patient and do wait until they are fully cooled before frosting.
  • Store in an air-tight container in the fridge. If you need to stack the cookies in the container, place a piece of parchment between the layers.
  • I reduced the sugar by half compared with the original recipe (for both cookie and frosting).

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whole wheat soft pumpkin cookies with frosting on a cooling rack with pumpkins in the background
Print
5 from 2 votes
Grandma Dorothy's Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
22 mins
 
Course: Baked Goods, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: soft pumpkin cookies, whole wheat cookies
Servings: 18
Calories: 297 kcal
Author: Sarah Cook - Sustainable Cooks
Ingredients
Pumpkin Cookies
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Instructions
Soft Pumpkin Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, eggs, and pumpkin on medium speed.

  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine.

  4. Slow the mixer down to the lowest level and add in the vanilla and then the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.

  5. Drop dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Cream together room temperature butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.


  2. Add in the powdered sugar, orange zest, and vanilla and mix until combined.

  3. Frost your cooled and amazing cookies!

Recipe Notes

Make sure the butter, cream cheese, and eggs are room temperature before mixing. Don't have time for that? Microwave the butter and cream cheese in 10 seconds increments until softened. Place eggs in a small bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.

 

The dough for these soft pumpkin cookies will be fairly sticky. Resist the urge to keep adding more flour, and either use a cookie scoop or a large spoon to turn these into drop cookies.

 

The cookies will be very soft until completely cooled. Be patient and do wait until they are fully cooled before frosting.

Nutrition Facts
Grandma Dorothy's Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Amount Per Serving (1 cookie)
Calories 297 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 22%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 53mg 18%
Sodium 250mg 10%
Potassium 225mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 40g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 18g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 93.6%
Vitamin C 1.9%
Calcium 5.4%
Iron 8.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Nothing welcomes Fall like baking up a batch of Grandma Dorothy's Soft Pumpkin Cookies for dessert! These amazing cookies are so easy to make and are topped with an incredible orange cream cheese frosting. #sustainablecooks #pumpkincookies #wholewheatbaking #pumpkindesserts

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11 comments on “Grandma Dorothy’s Soft Pumpkin Cookies”

  1. Curse my gluten intolerance, these sound amazing

  2. I have fond memories of these cookies. My brother and I couldn’t wait until they cooled. We would steal a few off of the cooling “dish towel”. We would sneak some frosting, and run away leaving a trail of melting, dripping icing. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  3. These sound great Sarah. Thanks for sharing!
    My mom’s pumpkin cookie recipe is very similar (higher sugar content) and also get better after sitting for a day or two. When I was a kid I would help her make all the Christmas cookies, and these were usually the first ones we made because they keep well. We would also freeze the cookies. I would bet these freeze well too, as long as you don’t let them get too moist while defrosting.

    • Oh, I definitely cut the sugar in half from the original recipe. Does yours call for 2 cups of sugar in the cookies and 2 cups of powdered sugar in the frosting? I mean, I love sugar but damn!

      I think they would totally be freezer friendly.

  4. These look soooooooo good, and I just happen to have six cups of pumpkin purée stashed in the freezer, so I think we know what needs to be done. Swedish cream cheese does this weird thing where it never firms up in a frosting, but I’m gonna give it one more chance here. 

  5. I am also not a “pumpkin spice” everything fan (I don’t even drink coffee), but I love this time of year because pumpkin pie for breakfast! Also popular, crustless pumpkin pie for breakfast. We may be trying these this weekend! Whatever gets more veggies into the kids.

  6. These yummy pumpkin cookies were easy to make! I made them with regular flour as that’s whats in my pantry. My kids (3 &7) loved them! My family likes them with and with out the frosting. win/win!