To celebrate all things pumpkin spice I created the ultimate soft & flavorful Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies! With only 9 ingredients and less than 15 minutes of time in the oven, these soft pumpkin spice cookies are delicious and soft but NEVER cakey!
*Recipe originally shared October 2018 and updated October 2020*
The best vegan pumpkin cookie
Since Halloween is my favorite Holiday and Fall is my favorite season, it was time to make the perfect chocolate-filled & pumpkin spiced eggless cookie for both occasions!
My goal for these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies was to make a cookie that was soft, but noncakey, with enough pumpkin flavor and plenty of chocolate goodness.
I find that so many pumpkin cookie recipes are flavorless and way too fluffy, so I made it my mission to solve this problem! Well, I can assure you these cookies are soft, chewy, and oh so ooey-gooey without any of that cakey texture. Everyone I've fed them to says they remind them of a thick slice of pumpkin bread in cookie form...and I am here for that!
Tips for chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
Making these vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies is actually pretty easy! No standing mixer or electric mixer is required and just ONE bowl and 1 hour of chill time are needed.
Use melted coconut oil
This was my first trick to make these gooey pumpkin cookies. Unlike most of my cookie recipes where we cream together vegan butter and sugar to incorporate air into the dough, we really don't want to bring that extra lift to these cookies.Instead, we use melted coconut oil which also has the added bonus of adding extra moisture to the cookies.
For this recipe, I used REFINED coconut oil because it really has no coconut taste. I highly recommend using this coconut oil vs. unrefined coconut oil when it comes to vegan baking.
Can I use another oil or vegan butter?
I have not tried any other oil in the recipe (such as olive or vegetable oil) so I'm not sure if it will work. However, the temperature at which coconut oil melts and solidifies makes it a pretty unique oil to work with. The one substitute that may work best is using melted vegan butter, though keep in mind the cookies may not be *quite* as moist.
More brown sugar than white sugar
Another thing that is unique about this recipe is that we are using *A LOT* more brown sugar than my typical cookie. Brown sugar has molasses in it which makes it a more moist sugar than cane sugar. Using cane sugar in cookies leads to crispier cookies whereas brown sugar leads to softer cookies.
Brown sugar also has the added bonus of helping cookies spread more AND being the acidic ingredient needed to interact with baking soda. Isn't food science amazing?!
Also, I did want to note I used dark brown sugar in this recipe. If you use light brown sugar, the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies will taste just as good, but they will look much lighter than the cookies I have pictured here.
Only use baking soda
You may notice that this cookie recipe differs from my other recipes because we also ONLY use baking soda.
There is no baking powder in this recipe. Baking soda actually helps cookies spread more and ultimately leads to a softer cookie. The baking powder would actually make these cookies puff up more and we really don't want that with this recipe.
Always chill pumpkin cookie dough for at least 1 hour
Why Do We Chill Pumpkin Cookie Dough Before Baking?
After you've mixed the egg pumpkin cookie dough together it is going to be really soft and, quite frankly, super hard to scoop. That is one of two reasons we chill the cookie dough. The other reason is it actually brings so much more flavor to the pumpkin cookies.
It is seriously so worth it to take the time to chill your dough.
To prove this theory, I first baked these dairy-free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies without any refrigeration. The result was that the cookies spread out a bit too much and frankly were too soft and crumbly even after cooling. With just an hour of refrigeration, this problem was solved! The best version was actually the cookies I baked after 24 hours of refrigeration as the moisture from the pumpkin was soaked up by the sugar in the dough.
This is the same process I follow in most of my vegan cookie recipes on SGTO!
Here is why chilling the dough leads to better cookies:
- Refrigeration helps solidify the fat (coconut oil) in the dough leading to cookies that spread less while baking and hold together once cooled.
- The sugar will absorb some of the liquid over time leading to a drier dough with a higher concentration of sugar. This leads to a sweeter dough with a more complex flavor.
Last tip: DO NOT overbake cookies
This is one of the hardest tips to follow, but you really only want to bake the pumpkin choc chip cookies until the edges are starting to brown and the centers are just barely cooked and no longer glossy.
For this recipe, I baked my cookies at 325F and used 40-45 gram balls so I recommend no longer than 12-14 minutes.
FAQ & Substitutions:
I haven't tried it, but if you do I would recommend using a 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Mix like Bob's Red Mill.
Coconut, almond, or other alliterative flours will not work 1:1 in this recipe.
While it may work, I actually would not recommend making these cookies refined sugar-free.
As mentioned above, brown sugar has molasses in it which is SUPER important because it's the acidic ingredient needed to interact with the baking soda in the dough.
Coconut sugar or other sugar alternatives will not provide this same effect and your cookies will likely not spread as much and may even have a bad aftertaste from the baking soda.
Leftover cookies can be stored in a closed container at room temperature for 2-3 days, in the fridge for 5-7 days, and in the freezer for up to 1 month.
My preferred way to store these cookies is in the freezer because I find it's the best way to keep that chewy texture intact! Just remove cookies from the freezer 1 hour before you want to eat to defrost!
If you are searching for one last vegan pumpkin recipe or even a vegan Halloween cookie recipe to make before all the Thanksgiving recipe mayhem starts- let these Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies be it. Happy Halloween & Pumpkin Spice Season friends!
More vegan pumpkin dessert recipes you will love:
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Vegan Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Begin by adding your melted coconut oil, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, and white sugar to a mixing bowl and whisking together until combined.
- Then, add in the flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda. Make sure to add the flour first and then add the other ingredients on top. Mix together until a smooth but semi-sticky dough forms. Then, fold in ½ cup of the chocolate chips using a spoon or spatula until evenly distributed.
- Cover the bowl of cookie dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This helps the dough form a better flavor and cookies can even be chilled up to 24 hours.
- Once you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325F and cover a baking tray with parchment paper. Take the dough out of the fridge and use a cookie scoop to scoop 1.5 Tbsp sized cookies onto the baking pan (40-45 grams). Leave a few inches between each cookie as they will spread while baking. Also, make sure to flatten each cookie a bit with a spoon or your palm before baking. Then, take the additional ¼ cup of chocolate chips that was set aside and add 3-5 chips to the top of each cookie. (*Please keep in mind, if making smaller or larger cookies you will need to adjust baking time by 1-2 minutes*)
- Add to the oven and bake for 12-14 minutes until edges are beginning to brown, but center is still soft yet no longer glossy.
- Remove the cookie tray from the oven and immediately tap the tray on the counter to produce a more “wrinkly” cookie and help the cookies deflate. This is also a good time to swirl the warm cookies between a round pastry/cookie cutter to make them round
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes. Then, remove from the tray and place onto a wire rack to finish cooling or eat right away for warm and gooey cookies. Enjoy!
- If you don't like the taste of coconut oil, you can use refined coconut oil which doesn't have the taste of coconut at all! Melted vegan butter may also work as a 1:1 substitute.
- Cookies are best enjoyed day of, but will keep in a closed container at room temperature up to 5 days or stored in the freezer between sheets of parchment paper up to 1 month.
- You can also freeze the scooped dough up to 1 month if you are not ready to bake all the cookies at one time. If you do use frozen dough just add a few minutes of baking time.