This small batch recipe for gluten-free Pumpkin Cookies makes cookies that are soft, sweet, and full of warm spices. The coconut sugar perfectly complements the pumpkin, creating the ultimate fall treat and can be easily doubled.
Why I Love These Gluten Free Fall Cookies
These healthy cookies are like little pieces of Fall in a heavenly bite. They are absolutely packed with warm Fall spices and the texture is so special. They are chewy and crisp on the outside, and soft and cake-like on the inside. The coconut sugar gives a subtle caramel taste that is unbeatable! These cookies are certainly a staple cookie for this Fall, perfect to enjoy alongside you late morning coffee.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Can I use fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned?
Yes, fresh pumpkin puree should work in this recipe. Canned pumpkin is a fairly thick puree.
If using homemade fresh pumpkin puree, make sure the consistency is similar to that of canned pumpkin puree to avoid adding additional moisture to the recipe. I recommend baking the pumpkin in the oven at 370°F for about 30 to 45 minute, and then blend well in a blender or food processor.
Can I use regular flour in this recipe?
If you don’t need to follow a gluten-free diet, regular flour can be substituted in this recipe.
You should be able to substitute regular all-purpose baking flour at a 1:1 ratio replacing the gluten-free flour.
What can I use instead of coconut sugar?
Coconut sugar has an almost caramel-ly flavor which makes it perfect for pumpkin treats.
Dark brown sugar or maple sugar (granulated maple sugar not syrup) make the best substitutes for coconut sugar in this recipe.
If substituting, measure using volume measurements instead of weight-based measurements eg cups instead of grams.
How to make these into Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies
This recipe was tested using softened coconut oil (not melted) in place of butter and a flax egg in place of the egg yolk.
To make the flax egg, stir together 1 tbsp. ground flax seed with 2 tbsp. hot water and let it sit for about 5 minutes before mixing it into the dough.
The cookies will not flatten out as much using vegan substitutions, but they will still be delicious.
How to Make Pumpkin Spice?
If you have ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and ground ginger on hand, you can make pumpkin pie spice at home.
Simply combine 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp. of ground nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. of ground cloves, and ¼ tsp. of ground ginger in a small bowl and stir together.
Measure out ½ tsp. of the spice mixture for this recipe and store leftovers in an airtight container.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies: Pro Tips
- Always use softened, not melted, butter. Melted butter would cause the cookies to spread too much. If substituting coconut oil or another vegan alternative to butter, it is also recommended to soften but not melt this ingredient.
- A stand mixer can be used instead of a handheld electric mixer.
- Check on the cookies after 11 minutes of baking. Fully baked cookies, should flatten out, have a crinkly top, and crispy-looking, well-formed edges.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the pan and then transfer using a spatula. The pumpkin in the cookies causes them to be fairly fragile before they have cooled.
- When you finish mixing the dough, it is fairly soft. Chilling it for 10-15 minutes before rolling it will help it form into uniform balls.
- Make sure you purchase canned pumpkin puree and NOT pumpkin pie filling. Even though we only use a small amount in this recipe, pumpkin pie filling tends to be waterier and will cause the cookies to be overly sweet.
- Top with a cream cheese frosting or a drizzle of icing to make these cookies extra tasty!
Frequently Asked Questions
Using a gluten-free all-purpose baking flour that measures 1:1 with regular flour will yield the best results. I tested King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure-to-Measure Flour and Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 All-Purpose Flour.
While weights varied slightly, results were similar with both flours when measuring with loose and level scoops.
Once they have cooled, make sure they are in an air tight container and they can live in the refrigerator fro up to 5 days – I’ll be super impressed if you manage to keep them for that long though!
The short answer – no. I wouldn’t recommend it. Pumpkin pie filling is often much more watery than puree and a lot sweeter. It will change both the taste and texture of the cookie.
Hungry for More Delicious Fall Cookies?
If you loved these gluten free Pumpkin Cookies as much as me and would like to try more of my Fall themed cookies, then try my delicious Pumpkin Molasses Cookies, or even my easy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies.
If you want to step away from the pumpkin (although I couldn’t at this time of year) check out my warm and spiced Carrot Cake Cookies. They are full of yummy textures and go so well with a hot cup of tea on a crisp Fall morning.
I hope you loved this recipe as much as me, leave a comment below if you made them! Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram, I love seeing your recreations of my desserts! You can also follow me on Pinterest to keep up to date with all the latest JavaCupcake Blog news!
- ½ cup salted butter, softened (4 ounces, 110 g)
- ¾ cup coconut sugar (145 g)
- 1 egg yolk, large
- 2 tbsp pumpkin puree (30 g)
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 ¼ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (155 g)
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a large baking sheet with
parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and
coconut sugar until smooth and fluffy using a handheld electric mixer.
- Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and pumpkin puree to the mixing
bowl. Beat together until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking
soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice). Stir together until all dry
ingredients are well incorporated.
- Add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet
ingredients and mix them together, using the handheld mixer, until there are no
streaks or lumps. Avoid overmixing.
- Place the mixing bowl with the cookie dough in the fridge
for about 10-15 minutes to chill.
- In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp. coconut sugar, 1 tbsp. of
granulated sugar and ¼ tsp of pumpkin pie spice. Mix together and set aside.
- Once the dough has chilled, scoop the dough using a 1-ounce
cookie scoop and roll the dough between your hands.
- Roll each ball of dough in the sugar mixture and then roll
between hands until it is an even shape. Place on the lined baking sheet.
- Leave about 3 inches between the cookies because the dough
will spread while baking. You should be able to fit 8 cookies on a large baking
sheet. You will need two baking sheets if you want to cook all the cookies at
the same time, otherwise, you will need to cook them in batches.
- Place the baking sheet in the center rack of the oven and
bake for 11-14 minutes or until the cookies flatten out, develop a crackly look
on top, and the edges begin to become firm.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet
for at least 5 minutes before transferring using a spatula to a wire cooling
- Store cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for
about 5 days. Cookies can be stored on the countertop but will become soft
after a day or two.
This recipe was developed at about 5000 ft elevation. In theory, this may affect bake time. For this recipe, moderate elevation change probably won’t make much of a difference, but for reference, these in the photos baked for exactly 13 minutes.