Every time we embark on a bake-off, a part of me still believes there won’t really be a difference between any of the recipes. They all use the same ingredients, right? But like clockwork, that belief quickly flies out the window when the taste testing begins. That couldn’t have been more true in our search for the best pumpkin cookies on the internet.
I’ll say it loud and proud: you can never have too many pumpkin recipes during this time of year. And while I love a pumpkin bread and will happily dig into a pumpkin pie, the one pumpkin recipe I don’t often make is a pumpkin cookie. But after this bake-off, I consider myself a full-fledged pumpkin cookie convert. There were some hot-takes, heated debates, and lots of brown butter frosting to go around in our search for the best pumpkin cookies.
Rules of the Road
As always, all recipes are followed exactly as written without any adjustments for personal taste or flavor preferences.
When you think of a pumpkin cookie, what kind of cookie comes to mind? While there was initial debate over what actually counts as a pumpkin cookie—chewy versus cakey—we ultimately decided to test the more cakey and almost whoopie pie-like type cookie. (Think soft Lofthouse grocery-store style cookies piled high with frosting.) Once we decided on cookie type, we could then discuss our ranking guidelines.
- Frosting should be additive, not overwhelming.
- Most pumpkin baked goods don’t taste like pumpkin but of spices. Which is fine, we just wanted a nice balance of spice-to-pumpkin, and not be overwhelmed by cinnamon.
- Will we eat more than one?
Keep scrolling for the best pumpkin cookies to make this fall!
6. Food Network: Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
To quote one of our taste testers, this cookie tasted like “a Yankee pumpkin candle.” While we thought these cookies were pretty thanks to the addition of crunchy pecans on top, the flavor and texture were not our favorite. The texture leaned more spongey than cakey and was almost too soft and slightly sticky. As far as flavor was concerned, the taste was slightly floral and too sweet without a lot of spice coming through. The frosting also didn’t add anything to the cookie which was disappointing since the frosting uniquely used lemon zest.
5. Taste of Home: Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Overall, our tasting team had pretty positive notes on this cookie. We liked that it was a moist cookie with a nice chew, and the flavor was delicately spiced. However, when it came to texture, some testers noted that this cookie was more like pumpkin bread, and numerous more didn’t enjoy the use of walnuts in the dough. But if you’re a walnut-in-your-pumpkin-bread type of person, you might enjoy these cookies.
4. Food and Wine: Pumpkin Cookies
These pumpkin cookies had a lot of conversation around them. Some tasters thought this wasn’t cookie enough because of how light the cookies were, others really enjoyed their softness and how delicate they were. Some really liked the thin and crisp icing, others didn’t think it added anything. Another group loved the bite of minced candied ginger, others thought it was too much for such a delicate cookie. Overall, these were middle of the road for us.
3. Betty Crocker: Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting
These cookies had a lot of really great things going for them. Brown butter frosting giving these cookies a delicious flavor, a little sweet spice, and a bit of chew which taste testers liked, although some wished it was a little moister compared to the other cookies. A few noted that while the cookie wasn’t as fall pumpkin-y as they wanted, it would actually make a good holiday cookie.
2. Pillsbury: Soft Ginger-Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting
This cookie clawed its way to the top half of our bunch despite a few tasters who thought the cookie was a little too rich, meaning it didn’t pass our would-you-eat more-than-one-of-these test for some. However, for those who loved this cookie, they enjoyed the ginger flavor in the cookie and the brown butter frosting. Texture-wise, it was also very close to a Lofthouse style cookie in being soft and melt-in-your-mouth. If we had to make one addition, it would be to use a pumpkin pie spice blend in addition to the ginger just to give it the ultimate upgrade.
1. Better Homes & Gardens: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies
Our surprise winner came in with top marks across the board. While on the sweeter side with the brown sugar frosting, this was a cookie we all ate multiples of. The cookie had the best pumpkin and spice flavor among the bunch, and the frosting was additive rather than overwhelmingly sweet. The texture was also very cookie-like and soft with a little bit of chew that we all enjoyed. Do we agree with the melt-in-your-mouth moniker? You bet we do.
Did we try your favorite? What recipes should we try in our next bake-off? Sound off in the comments!
Share this Post