Melt in your mouth pumpkin snickerdoodles, that are shaped like pumpkins! They’re crispy yet very soft, not-too-sweet, and super adorable. They can be made in one bowl with a hand whisk and rubber spatula, making these cute cookies an easy project for beginner bakers!
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About these pumpkin snickerdooodles
My base recipe for snickerdoodles is one of my absolute favorites, because my adapted versions always come out sooooo soft and melt-in-your-mouth. They kind of remind me of the super soft sugar cookies you can find in grocery stores… but elevated. One of my friends referred to them as “dressed up sugar cookies”, but with the perfect amount of cinnamon.
Like my other cookie recipes, these pumpkin snickerdoodles are not too sweet. They’re are a little tangy due to the cream of tartar (which is a key ingredient in snickerdoodles!) and have the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor from the warming spices + pumpkin puree. It’s a great Fall cookie, and a dessert I’ll most likely bring for upcoming Fall holiday parties.
What’s even better is that the dough is made with one bowl. You don’t need any fancy equipment either, and can stick to a hand whisk and rubber spatula. It’s a great recipe for beginner bakers and beginner cookie decorators. The cookies are shaped by hand and decorations are done using melted chocolates, so no need to make royal icing! BUT, you also don’t need to decorate them at all, and can bake regular circular cookies! It’s really up to you. 🙂
So if you’re looking for a fun, easy autumn cookie recipe, I hope you give these a try.
Can I make vegan pumpkin snickerdoodles?
Yes, you can!
Instead of regular butter, you can swap in high quality vegan butter made for baking. Make sure to use a good brand—some brands are very high in water content and melt at lower temperatures, yielding very flat cookies. I recommend brands like Miyokos and Country Crock.
This recipe also doesn’t contain any eggs—it uses milk instead! Feel free to use any type of alternative milk you prefer—oat, almond, soy, etc.
Lastly, for decorating the pumpkin faces, you can replace the decorating chocolate for a vegan brand, like Pascha chocolate. OR, you can try out my easy icing recipe, which is found in my teddy bear cookie recipe.
Can I make them gluten-free?
Yes! To make these pumpkin cookies gluten-free, I recommend using a high quality 1:1 gluten-free flour, like King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill.
Tips for baking and decorating
Properly measure the flour
I always like to measure my ingredients with a kitchen scale for consistent, accurate results. But if you’re measuring with cups, make sure you follow this tip: gently spoon in the flour into the cup until it’s full, then scrape the excess off using the back of a knife or offset spatula.
If you scoop the cup directly into the flour bag or container, the flour may get compacted, and you will be adding in more flour than necessary. On the other hand, if your flour is clumpy, you could be adding in chunks of flour into the cup with gaps in between them, possibly adding less flour than required. These instances can cause tougher or even really flat cookies, since the proper ratio of dry:wet ingredients isn’t met.
So, for best results, use a scale. If you don’t have one, gently spoon and level the flour into your measuring cup!
Shaping the pumpkin cookies
After mixing the dough, scoop into 1 ½ tbsp balls. Split the ball in half, then split one half into two. You should have one larger ball and two smaller, equally-sized balls.
Use your fingers to shape them into chonky cylinders, then place them onto your lined baking tray. Make sure the bigger cylinder is in the middle. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and repeat with the rest of the cookie dough, spacing them 3-4 inches apart.
Bake for 9-12 minutes. Cookies should look slightly puffy + soft, and the edges should be set + firm.
Storing the pumpkin-shaped cookies
Store these pumpkin-shaped cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week!
Cute Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- 1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, can sub in gluten-free flour (160g)
- 1 ½ tsp pumpkin spice
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick butter/8 tbsp)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree (56g)
- 2-4 tbsp any type of milk
- orange food coloring (gel, liquid, or powder), optional
- ½ tsp cocoa powder
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50g)
- ½ tbsp cinnamon
Decoration for face:
- ½ tbsp white chocolate, melted
- 2 tbsp milk or dark chocolate, melted
- oil-based red or pink food coloring, see steps
For the pumpkin cookie dough:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, pumpkin spice, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
- In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment (can alternatively use hand mixer or whisk), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape bottom of bowl.
- Add vanilla extract + pumpkin puree and mix until smooth. If you'd like a deeper orange color, add orange food coloring.
- Dump in all of the dry ingredients and mix until combined. If the dough is crumbly, slowly add 2-4 tbsp of milk until it comes together. The finished dough should be thick but scoopeable.
- Transfer about 2 tbsp of dough into another bowl. Add cocoa powder, mixing until the brown color is uniform throughout the dough. This will be for the pumpkin stems.
Shaping the pumpkins:
- Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Use small cookie scoop to gather orange dough into 1 ½ tbsp balls. Split the ball in half, then split one half into two. You should have one larger ball and two smaller, equally-sized balls.Use your fingers to shape them into chonky cylinders, then place them onto your lined baking tray. Make sure the bigger cylinder is in the middle. See picture in this post for reference.
- Take about ½ tsp of brown dough and shape into a short cylinder. Place right above the pumpkin to create the stem.
- Sprinkle the top of the cookie cinnamon sugar, then repeat this process with the rest of the cookie dough. Space the pumpkins 3-4 inches apart. They will not spread much while baking.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes. Cookies should look puffy, soft, and retain their orange color. They should not be browned.
- Let cool on pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cool completely.
For the faces:
- You can a piping bag, toothpick, or cookie scribe to add on the details. I used a piping bag for the arrow and snouts, eyes, and noses, then a scribe for the blush.
- Use melted milk chocolate to create the eyes and mouths.
- Add oil-based red or pink food coloring to the melted white chocolate. If you don't have oil-based food coloring, then the chocolate will seize/become lumpy. To counter this, stir in a tsp of neutral oil (canola, vegetable) at a time, until it becomes smooth again.Use this for the blush.
- I remade this recipe using King Arthur’s gluten-free flour and they were just as delicious!
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.