Soft, Chewy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies

Last updated: September 19, 2021
4.63 from 8 votes
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If you’re craving a gluten-free pumpkin cookie with the soft, chewy texture of a chocolate chip cookie, this recipe is for you. These cookies have buttery edges and a dense middle, made with almond and oat flour. The secret is an egg yolk and real pumpkin!

gluten free pumpkin cookie with a bite taken out of it.
pumpkin cookies on a copper cooling rack

This recipe is sponsored by Watkins, a valued partner of Heartbeet Kitchen.


Much of my inspiration when developing gluten-free dessert recipes comes from you! When asked which fall treats you wanted a recipe for, several of you mentioned soft gluten-free pumpkin cookies that were chewy, not cakey.

Pumpkin is a tricky ingredient to add to cookies because it adds moisture. Moisture is great for making soft cookies, but can also result in a plush, cakey texture. Pumpkin is nearly 90% water, which is wonderful for making super moist pumpkin bread, but not so welcomed in cookie baking.

And when it comes to cookies, we’re after irresistibly chewy. Like your favorite chocolate chip cookie. Am I right?

I researched a lot of cookie and pumpkin puree recipes, and found two things to be particularly important for making a dense, chewy cookie. Then the testing began. Six batches of gluten-free pumpkin cookies later, and here we are with the best pumpkin cookie I’ve eaten.

They’re perfectly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, giving them a quintessential fall flavor.

ingredients for pumpkin cookies
pumpkin cookie dough lined up on a plate
gluten free pumpkin cookie dough, close up photo

How to Make Chewy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies

Melted Butter Helps Cookies Spread

Creaming butter and sugar is the traditional first step in making cookies, which whips air into these ingredients, helping the cookies to puff and rise. We’re using melted butter instead, which helps the cookie spread as they bake rather than grow tall, resulting in more chew and density.

Butter is also what keeps cookies tender. In simplest terms, melted butter = denser cookies, creamed butter = cakier cookies.

We start with browned butter – a delicious addition to any cookie, and a great flavor to complement the warm pumpkin and spices. This short and simple process transforms the color and flavor of the butter from pale and mild, to dark and nutty.

Use an Egg Yolk Rather Than A Whole Egg

A whole egg is made up of three things: water, protein, and fat. These three components work together to perform different functions in baking.

With pumpkin puree in the dough, we’re already adding a significant amount of moisture, reducing the need for the whole egg. Egg whites contain a great deal of water and no fat, and tend to have a drying effect on baked goods. Egg yolks are the protein, which adds chewiness to a cookie and helps increase spread, so we’re using the yolk without the white!

Which flours are used to make gluten-free pumpkin cookies?

Almond flour, oat flour, and tapioca starch were the perfect combination for creating a lovely flavor and a plush, moist texture that binds together well.

drizzling icing on pumpkin cookies
watkins organic cinnamon and baking vanilla sitting by cookies
pumpkin cookies on cooling rack with icing
gluten-free pumpkin cookie with bite taken out of it

Finishing Touches

Brown sugar and a bit of molasses also build a denser cookie, helping weigh the cookies down to prevent them from puffing up drastically. Brown sugar rather than granulated sugar brings out great depth and almost caramel-like flavor while creating those beautiful cracks on the tops of the cookies.

Salt is essential to balance the flavor of caramelized sugars, and a good amount of Watkins Organic Original Gourmet Baking Vanilla Extract  is a must. The double-strength formula is designed to hold-up to baking and freezing.

Resting: I like to chill my dough for about 30 minutes to let the gluten-free flours absorb the fats, and make it easier to scoop. You can also scoop the dough balls and freeze them, which is a nice way to always have warm cookies at the ready in under 15 minutes with no prep!

And finally, a light drizzle of p icing, if you desire! Once cookies are completely cooled, you can whisk together powdered sugar and a tiny bit of milk to make a really pretty pattern on top of the cookies. Not essential, but it does add a little magic.

pumpkin cookies with powdered sugar icing
pumpkin cookies on a copper cooling rack

Soft, Chewy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies

An easy recipe for chewy gluten-free pumpkin cookies, with warm spices. They're the perfect fall cookie, and you can add a simple icing to make them extra beautiful!
4.63 from 8 votes
Prep Time :15 minutes
Cook Time :14 minutes
Additional Time :20 minutes
Total Time :49 minutes
Yield: 12 cookies
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 130 grams brown sugar
  • 60 grams pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 115 grams blanched almond flour
  • 100 grams oat flour
  • 55 grams tapioca starch
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground nutmeg

Icing

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Instructions

  • Start by melting and lightly browning butter on stovetop. To do this, add butter to a saucepan and turn on to medium heat. It will begin melting, then turn to a simmer and sputter. It will then turn to a foaming, continue stirring. You will then start to smell a nuttiness and see little bits of brown specks accumulating on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and pour into a large glass bowl to cool.
  • After 8 minutes, whisk in brown sugar and pumpkin puree. Then whisk in egg yolk, molasses, and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together almond flour, oat flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Fold dry ingredients into wet, and once no flour streaks remain, make 20 aggressive stirs.
  • Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Scoop dough into 50 gram dough balls, about 2 tablespoons. The dough will be sticky, and that’s okay. Put 8 cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 13 minutes, until cookies are just set. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  • Once cookies are completely cooled (important for icing), whisk icing ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle onto cookies.
  • Cookies will keep well in a closed container for up to five days.

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October 28, 2020

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14 comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’m so highly sensitive to sugar- would either coconut or maple sugar be a satisfying substitute? Or any recommendations as far as subs for the molasses and brown sugar?

  2. I really want to make these but I need standard measurements, not metric. How do I convert? Also, have you tried with raisins?

    • Hi Christine! I test the recipes with metric measurements because it’s so important for gluten-free baking. Volume does not equal weight, for example; 1 cup of oat flour weighs something completely different than 1 cup almond flour. Measuring my weight ensures the recipe turns out as written.

  3. This recipe looks delicious but I was wondering if there is a substitute for the oat flour as it is not
    considered gluten free. Thanks for sharing your expertise – I have only just found your site but I will definitely coming back for more.
    Thanks
    Heather

      • 5 stars
        I made a double batch and used 1 stick butter and 1 stick vegan butter. Weighed and measured everything. They were delicious flavor but came out cakey. So it would seem butter or possibly shortening would be the option to go with. Even one use of the vegan butter didn’t make these chewy.

        • Hi Heather! Yes, using vegan butter will change the texture of these cookies. It doesn’t brown like real butter does, which will change the chemical structure of it and how it behaves in the recipe. Glad you enjoyed them, though!

  4. These are delicious! My kids loved them. I ended up trying to convert to cups because I have no idea how to cook with grams and I do not own a scale. I may have to learn how to bake using grams.

    Thank you for sharing your recipe!