Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

October 13, 2022
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Author Notes

Clara hasn't had much in the way of sweets yet. Yes, I put maple syrup in her yogurt, and she's hooked on clementines and pear slices, but until a few weeks ago, she hadn't tasted cake or a cookie or anything you might call "dessert." That is, until her well-meaning 3-year-old cousin offered her a piece of his chocolate chip cookie–which she inhaled, smearing bittersweet chocolate all over her face in the process.

And what better time to inaugurate her into the world of sweets than during December? Trying to come up with some seasonal treats that wouldn't send her into a sugar-induced tailspin, I thought about the soft, domed pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that are a mainstay at pick-your-own apple farms in the Northeast, along with warm apple cider doughnuts and hot cider. I've never actually made the cookies myself but have always wanted to, and I thought Clara would probably like the soft, cakey texture and the earthy flavor of pumpkin, gently spiced. I knew at least she'd like the chocolate chips.

After consulting lots of different recipes (apparently, everyone else has made these and written about them already), I came up with my own version. Hope you like them! —Merrill Stubbs

Test Kitchen Notes

We can’t really celebrate fall without baking at least one batch of pumpkin–chocolate chip cookies. These are soft, chewy, and moist thanks to a cup of pure pumpkin purée and a 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. Use bittersweet chocolate chips or, for an even chocolatier bite, fold in chopped bittersweet chocolate chunks (like the kind we sell in the Food52 pantry!). The bite of the chocolate prevents the cookies from being too sweet.

The rest of the ingredients should be easy enough to find in your home pantry—all-purpose flour, ground spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger), baking powder and baking soda, sugar, vanilla, and one egg. The process of making the dough is about as easy as it gets, and there’s no chilling time necessary, which means that you can snack on a batch in way less time than it takes to rake up all the acorns in your yard. Simply combine the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. The key to achieving a soft, pillowy texture is avoiding overmixing—fold until everything is just incorporated, and not a minute more.

Feel free to riff on the recipe, too: One reader swapped coconut oil in place of vegetable oil for a little more sweetness, while another added rolled oats to the dough for a heartier texture and a more toothsome bite. It’s safe to say that co-founder Merrill Stubbs has upped the ante on our fall baking projects—beginning with these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, pumpkin, vanilla, and egg until smooth.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined, then stir in the chocolate chips. Do not over-mix.
  5. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about an inch between the cookies. Bake for about 12 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the cookies comes out clean. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet on a wire rack for a few minutes, and then remove the cookies with a spatula and finish cooling the directly on the racks.
  6. Repeat with the remainder of the batter, re-using the baking sheets once they're cool enough.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mollie Peretz
    Mollie Peretz
  • Nanda Garber
    Nanda Garber
  • Kris
  • Liz
  • M.e. Thomson
    M.e. Thomson

41 Reviews

JennieC November 28, 2020
Oh these were super EASY and so lovely. Light, cakey texture. I used white choc chips since that’s what I had, and I topped w sugar. Will make them again :)
andrea S. October 24, 2020
My daughter & I made the dough one evening, put it in the fridge, and cooked them the following evening. They turned out well, and we all enjoyed them. They are very cakey and my daughter was the scooper so ours were a bit bigger than expected, so they took an extra 2 mins to cook. They were like whoppie pie halves and I could see using filling/frosting and making whoopie pies with them. Yummy!
Louise S. November 3, 2018
Substituted veg oil with coconut oil, delicious cookies!
rachelnewman November 7, 2017
These were honestly SO good. I made like 70 cookies for a volunteer event at my church, and they all got inhaled.
Jane August 2, 2017
These are cookies my grandmother made. She didn't have chocolate chips one day so she used butterscotch. DELICIOUS!!!!!
LaTasha December 23, 2016
I baked these this morning and don't get me wrong, they are delicious YET they were more 'cake-like' than cookie. My batter was more like a bread consistency than cookie. They're not pretty but they taste great...may leave them at home.
Mollie P. November 16, 2016
Do you think that this is something I can prepare in advance and freeze?
Plum I. April 22, 2017
I freeze these all the time they freeze surprisingly well! (I know this comment was ages ago but just in case)
Gretchen S. November 4, 2016
Alterations drive me nuts, so this is a note more to myself. Excellent cookie. It's light, airy and just the right size. Make sure to make at least 36. They'll seem small, but raise. 15 per sheet is fine. Used slightly less bp and bs (elevation 5k). Frosted with browned butter frosting and eliminated the chocolate chips. That worked well. Baked at 335 convection ~ 10 minutes.
Kaede S. October 22, 2016
Made them again this year but replaced the chocolate chips with raisins and chopped pecans. Goodness, these are good!
Shane September 23, 2016
I made these for a holiday party and they were AN ABSOLUTE HIT! I also added oats for heartiness, and a dash of maple syrup and cayenne for a kick and they were so great. The cookie itself is rather cakey and very enjoyable. This recipe is foolproof, so easy to follow with such great results.
Nanda G. October 21, 2015
Just made these with almost no alterations, only one being I did 1 C AP flour and 1 C whole spelt flour. Some of them are cakey but hold together, but others seem doughy/floppy soft and never really stay together, even after cooling. Also, they were so sticky that they stuck quite a bit to the parchment paper. Luckily, I had one sheet with a silpat and those were fine. I might skip the paper next time and just butter the cookie sheet, or maybe even grease the paper.

As I measured 1 T cookies, my batch made 4 dozen. Anyhow, not sure what to do, perhaps cook them longer next time? I ended up going 14-15 minutes on the non-silpat sheet (the silpat one was 12), and the cake tester came out clean for both.
Kris October 18, 2015
my husband loves soft cookies but hates pumpkin. Can I substitute the puree with something else? maybe applesauce? But I will try a batch of this for myself :)
Liz October 15, 2015
These are soo good and super easy to make. I replaced about a 1/4 of the flour with whole wheat flour, I'd probably try and increase that to 1/2 whole wheat next time. (Small ways of pretending I'm being healthy). Only downside is that the recipe doesn't use the whole can of pumpkin, so just need to figure out how to use that. Love these!
M.e. T. March 24, 2015
These were wonderful! I made them for a client's BD because he needed sugar free & loves pumpkin! I omitted the chocolate chips. Excellent!
Shea March 15, 2015
Delicious! Just the thing when you are craving pumpkin 'something' in March. Great with pecan cinnamon sugar crushed grahams on top.
Kaede S. December 20, 2014
Just made these now. They are lovely and soft. For some palates, the spicing could be revved up a bit but it's all a matter of taste.
Yulia December 15, 2014
It would be great to see an iteration of this recipe that uses an entire can of pumpkin instead of just one cup. Not everyone will want to figure out what to do with the leftover pumpkin in the can. I've tried this recipe using the whole can two ways. First: doubling the pumpkin and doubling all of the other ingredients, which resulted in less airy, heavier (but still scrumptious) cookies. Second: doubling the pumpkin, bumping the flour up by one cup, and increasing the spices a little. That's all. The second option yielded a light, fluffy, PERFECT cookie. Highly recommend!
Cole November 20, 2014
I didn't change a thing and these cookies were so good! My 4 year old daughter did most of the work and they were wonderfully simple for her to bake.
Count M. October 8, 2014
I have a chocolate tooth, so I increased the chocolate chips by 1/2 cup. I also used homemade pumpkin, but I had cooked it in the Crock-Pot for a long time to get it to the consistency of canned pumpkin. Nice recipe! They're going in my daughter's lunchbox tomorrow.
Agnes October 4, 2014
Just made these! Will add nuts next time! Nice to see a cookie recipe not using butter!