These Vegan Pumpkin Sugar Cookies are SO soft, flavorful, and easy to make. Plus, these dairy-free pumpkin cookies are topped with the best pumpkin pie buttercream frosting for the ultimate Fall dessert!
It's officially pumpkin season which means it's time to bake all things pumpkin spice! Last year I made the best Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread & these perfectly chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.
They are both SUCH good recipes, but it was time to bring a little pumpkin spice to the SGTO sugar cookie rotation!
- Pumpkin Puree:This is the pumpkin puree I used for these cookies. You can also use homemade pumpkin puree or even pumpkin butter for a sweeter and chewier cookie. Please do not use pumpkin pie filling as it is pre-sweetened and will make these cookies way too sweet.
- Vegan Butter: I used Country Crock vegan butter for this recipe but also like Miyokos and Earth Balance buttery sticks for baking.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: Believe it or not it has absolutely no pumpkin in it, but it is full of spices that taste like Fall. Here is the pumpkin pie spice I used for this recipe.
How to make pumpkin sugar cookies
Cream butter, sugar, and pumpkin
The first thing you're going to do is cream together room temperature vegan butter, sugar, and pumpkin puree. This helps to bring air into the dough and makes these pumpkin cookies super soft & fluffy!
You may be wondering, but what about eggs?! Thanks to the pumpkin puree, you actually don't need eggs or flax eggs for this recipe. If you read through my guide on vegan egg substitutes, you'll know pumpkin works great as an egg replacement!
P.S- If you want, you can also add vanilla bean paste or extract at this point, but I chose to skip it for this recipe.
Add dry ingredients
Once creamed, add in the dry ingredients including the all-purpose flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking powder. Yes, these cookies truly only need 7 ingredients!
Then mix everything together into a thick pumpkin cookie dough. The dough will be VERY sticky at this point, but that's okay.
Chill dough 30 minutes-1 hour
Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and store in the fridge 30 minutes-1 hour. This helps to make the sticky dough easier to scoop and actually makes the cookies sweeter and chewier as the sugar will soak up some of the moisture.
Roll pumpkin cookie dough in sugar
Remove the chilled dough from the fridge, scoop out 10 cookie dough balls, and roll them in sugar.
Rolling the cookie dough in sugar gives them a nice crispy exterior which is such a great contrast compared to the soft insides. I highly recommend rolling cookies in sugar before baking, but you can skip this step if you want softer cookies.
Bake the pumpkin cookies
Add the pumpkin cookie dough balls to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Then, flatten the cookies slightly with your palm or a spoon before baking to help them spread.
Add to the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Then, remove from the oven, let the cookies cool, and get ready to frost them!
Vegan pumpkin spice frosting
While frosting these vegan pumpkin cookies is totally optional, I highly recommend it. Since these cookies are softer & fluffier than most of my sugar cookie recipes, they really go so well with frosting.
To make the frosting first whip the cold vegan butter and pumpkin pie spice until it is smooth and fluffy. Then, gradually add in the powdered sugar and whip until all the sugar is incorporated.
This simple 3-ingredient vegan pumpkin spice buttercream is SO easy to make and really takes these cookies to the next level.
However, if you're looking for a different frosting flavor the maple buttercream I used in my Pumpkin Bourbon Cupcakes is also amazing as is the salted caramel frosting I used in this Vegan Pumpkin Sheet Cake!
FAQ & Tips:
Can I make pumpkin sugar cookies gluten-free?
Yes! You'll need to use a 1:1 GF flour mix like Bob's Red Mill that is meant for substituting in place of all-purpose flour.
Unfortunately, using other flour alternatives like coconut, almond, or cassava will not work in this recipe.
Can I make these cookies refined sugar-free?
Honestly, I really don't recommend it. Using a sugar alternative like coconut sugar or maple sugar will really change the texture of these cookies as those sugars tend to be drier.
If you do use a different sugar, just keep in mind the cookies won't be as chewy and they will spread less. Also, if using a different sugar you'll want to skip the step where you roll the cookie dough in sugar before baking as this really only works with cane sugar.
Do I need to frost these pumpkin cookies?
Nope! These cookies are just as delicious on their own, the frosting just makes them extra special!
How do I store vegan pumpkin cookies?
Unfrosted cookies can be stored on the counter at room temperature for 3-4 days. Frosted cookies can also be frozen for 1-2 months and just need to defrost at room temperature before eating.
They can also be stored in a closed container in the fridge and will keep up to 2 weeks, but it will slightly alter the texture and is my least preferred method for storing cookies
I hope you love these Vegan Pumpkin Sugar Cookies with pumpkin spice frosting just as much as I do. Happy Fall Baking!
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Vegan Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
Pumpkin Sugar cookies
- ½ cup vegan butter *room temperature
- ½ cup+ 2 Tablespoons sugar ( ½ cup for dough, 2 tablespoon for rolling before baking)
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (optional)
- 1 cup+ 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1.5 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting
- ½ cup cold vegan butter
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup powdered sugar
Make the pumpkin cookie dough
- First add the butter, ½ cup of the sugar, and the pumpkin puree to a mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. If using, add in the optional vanilla at this point too.
- Next, add in the flour, baking powder, and salt to the mixing bowl. Mix until a thick, yet sticky, pumpkin cookie dough forms. Do not overmix or else you will form too much gluten and the cookies will not spread as much and will be tough.
- Cover the mixing bowl of dough and add to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes- 1 hour.
Bake the cookies
- Line a baking sheet in parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F. Next, remove the dough from the fridge and use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to form your cookie dough (about 45 grams of dough per cookie). Roll into balls between your palms and then roll in the 2 tablespoon of sugar that was set aside so that each dough ball is coated in sugar.
- Place the pumpkin cookie dough balls onto the baking sheet. Then, slightly press each dough ball down with your palm. Make sure that each cookie is kept about 2 inches apart since they will spread slightly while baking.
- Bake for 11-13 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned and the cookie is cooked, but still has soft centers. The cookies will continue baking after they are removed from the oven so the centers should be soft and slightly under-cooked, but not glossy or raw, when they are removed from the oven.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then, move to a wire rack to continue cooling. While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting.
Making the frosting
- Add the cold vegan butter and pumpkin pie spice to a mixing bowl and whip until an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Once fluffy, gradually add in the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time and whip into the frosting. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, whip the frosting for another 2-3 minutes until white and fluffy.
- The frosting will be pretty soft, so at this point it's best to add it to a piping bag and then place the piping bag in the fridge for about 10 minutes before frosting the cookies.
- Top each cooled pumpkin sugar cookie with a generous swirl of frosting and enjoy!
- Unfrosted cookies can be stored on the counter at room temperature for 3-4 days.
- Frosted cookies can also be frozen for 1-2 months and just need to defrost at room temperature before eating. Cookies can also be stored in a closed container in the fridge and will keep up to 2 weeks, but it will slightly alter the texture and is my least preferred method for storing cookies.
- For this recipe, I used Country Crock plant-based butter and also tested with Earth Balance buttery sticks which both work great. If using Miyokos butter or earth balance from a tub add 1-2 tablespoon more flour (7-14 grams) to the dough as these kinds of butter contain more moisture.
- If you would like to make the dough and freeze it scoop the dough into balls and freeze on a parchment-lined sheet pan in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the cookies to a ziploc bag or freezer-safe container. The baking time will need to be increased slightly for frozen cookies (usually 2-3 more minutes) so do keep that in mind!