These soft pumpkin cookies are topped with a cream cheese frosting. The cookies are almost like a muffin top with how fluffy and soft they are! 

Soft pumpkin cookies on a tray. One has a bite taken out of it.

Soft Pumpkin Cookie Overview

These soft pumpkin cookies remind me of a muffin top with delicious cream cheese frosting. The cookie is so soft and fluffy and the kind you really want to sink your teeth into. 

I purposefully made the cookie dough only slightly sweet so that it balances the sweet frosting on top. These are perfect the perfect fall cookie for a bunch, or a holiday party! 

Completed soft pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting on a serving platter

How to Make Soft Pumpkin Cookies

These cookies use shortening instead of butter in them. This creates the soft pumpkin cookie texture because shortening is 100% fat. If you want to substitute it for you butter you can, but the texture will be slightly different. 

Step 1: Cream the Shortening and Sugar Together

Showing creaming together the shortening and brown sugar for soft pumpkin cookies

These pumpkin cookies use the classic creaming method for cookies. Start by creaming together the brown sugar and shortening. 

The brown sugar gives the cookies more depth of flavor and helps retain moisture. I like to use dark brown sugar because it contains the most molasses. However, you can use light brown if that is what you have or prefer. 

Step 2: Add the Egg and Pumpkin

Add the egg and the pumpkin puree and mix until combined. This recipe doesn’t call for the entire can of pumpkin, but I love the save the leftover to put into oatmeal. Here are a few other ways to use up your leftover pumpkin as well! 

Step 3: Mix in the Dry Ingredients

Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. As soon as the flour is absorbed evenly, stop mixing. Mixing too long will cause your cookies to become dry and tough. 

Step 4: Scoop and Bake

Scooping large mounds of pumpkin cookie dough to be baked

Scoop rounded mounds of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. I like to use this large cookie scoop. It ends up being about 3 TBSP of dough per each cookie. 

Step 5: Frost the Cooled Cookies

Frosting the soft pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting

Once the cookies have completely cooled you can frost them with the cream cheese frosting. I also like to sprinkle a little bit of pumpkin pie spice on top to make them a little prettier. 

If you aren’t serving these cookies right away you can cool them completely and store them at room temperature in an airtight container. Frost them right before serving. Once the cookies are frosted, you do need to store them in the refrigerator. 

Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 16 Medium Cookies

Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


Soft Pumpkin Cookie Dough

  • 3/4 cup (155 gr) vegetable shortening (*can substitute with softened butter but cookies will spread more)
  • 3/4 cup (170 gr) brown sugar, lightly packed (light or dark brown)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 gr) pumpkin puree (*not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (*see note for substitution)
  • 2 cups (240 gr) all-purpose flour (*spooned and leveled, do not pack into the measuring cup)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz (225 gr) full fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 TBSP (28 gr) unsalted butter, toom temperature
  • 3-4 cups (360-480 gr) powdered sugar
  • large pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract


For the Cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (170 C). Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the shortening with the brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the egg and the pumpkin puree (only use 1 cup, not the full can) into the mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add the baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice into the mixing bowl and mix until evenly distributed. Scrape down the bowl. Add the flour to the mixing bowl and mix on medium speed just until it is incorporated. This should take just about 10-15 seconds of mixing. You don't want to over-mix.
  5. Scoop rounded mounds of dough (about 2 1/2 TBSP each) onto parchment lined baking sheets. Do not over-crowd the pan. I place about 8 cookies each baking sheet.
  6. Bake one sheet pan at a time at 350 F (170 C) for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven when the tops are set. You don't want to over-bake these because they will become dry.
  7. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar into the bowl. Start the mixer on low and gradually increase the speed to incorporate the sugar in. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy- about 2 minutes.
  3. Frost the cookies once cooled and sprinkle with a bit more pumpkin pie spice to decorate if desired.

To Store: Place the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  • If you do not have pumpkin pie spice you can substitute with 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp each of ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. If you don't have any of those spices you can replace it with more cinnamon.

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