Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

October  3, 2022
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • makes 20 cookies
Author Notes

A pumpkin snickerdoodle is a cookie that makes a whole lot of sense, if you ask me. I mean snickerdoodles are all about cinnamon and cinnamon says fall— but you know what else says fall? Pumpkin. Thus adding pumpkin puréee and spices to a snickerdoodle recipe is just about the smartest way to get fall (aka pumpkin) into a cookie, as I can imagine. And if we can’t eat the season in cookie form, then what can we do?

Now, full disclosure: I am new to the world of snickerdoodles. I did not grow up with snickerdoodles, nor has anyone ever made me a snickerdoodle. However, I decided to include a recipe for them in my latest cookbook, Snackable Bakes, as snickerdoodles happen to be my dear friend’s favorite cookie. And you know, I think I might have been onto something, as my “Epic Snickerdoodles for Stephanie” have been labeled “genius.” As such, I have borrowed some of the tricks and techniques from my genius version and applied them to this scrumptious pumpkin one.

First, my pumpkin snickerdoodles are easy-peasy to make (like the originals)—all you need is a bowl, a whisk, and a flexible spatula. They also do not require several hours of chilling in order to achieve their deliciously chewy texture and to avoid the dreaded spread, despite the fact they call for melted butter. This dough only needs to be chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes (The pumpkin purée makes scooping the dough a little challenging). Once chilled,  they hold their shape so well that I recommend pressing down on the dough balls and flattening them slightly pre-bake (I am very much against a puffy, domed cookie, snickerdoodle or not).

Now, I know shortening is a controversial ingredient, so if you would rather substitute additional butter for the shortening, you do you. Just know that you will likely have to chill your dough for longer than 30 minutes, and likely bake for longer, too. Moreover, I have included a little nutmeg and ginger in the cookie, to pop that pumpkin flavor just a tad, but you can play with the spices—both the variety and amount— as you see fit. Finally, a snickerdoodle word to the wise: I find that the longer I bake the cookies, the puffier and cakier they become. Six minutes might seem crazy fast, but it really is golden when it comes to chewy snickerdoodle baking. And I like to bake only one sheet at a time for even baking; if that reads fussy to you, you can absolutely bake both sheets at the same time. Whether you are a snickerdoodle lover from way back or are new to their world, I am pretty sure these pumpkin ones are going to make it into your cookie-making rotation kind of a lot this fall. —Jessie Sheehan

What You'll Need
  • Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, almost melted, but with a few soft, but solid, pieces remaining
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, cold
  • 1/4 cup 100 percent pure pumpkin purée, chilled
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. To make the dough, whisk the butter and shortening in a large bowl until combined. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla, about 30 seconds. Add the egg and pumpkin purée, one at a time, and whisk to combine. Sprinkle the baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar over the bowl, one at a time, vigorously whisking after each. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and combine. Gently fold in the flour with a flexible spatula until the last streak of flour disappears, careful not to overmix. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. To make the cinnamon-sugar, whisk the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl until combined.
  4. Scoop 1½-tablespoon balls of dough with a small portion scoop or measuring spoons and drop them in the cinnamon-sugar, rolling them around to coat completely. Place 10 balls of cookie dough on each sheet, spacing them 2-inches apart. Flatten the cookies just slightly into discs with your fingers. Bake one tray at a time on the middle rack for 6 to 8 minutes until the cookies begin to crack and are lightly browned. Repeat with the remaining sheet.
  5. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. The cookies will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Pamela Turner
    Pamela Turner
  • AntoniaJames
  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Jessie Sheehan
    Jessie Sheehan
Bio: Jessie Sheehan is the author of The Vintage Baker and Icebox Cakes. Her new easy-peasy baking book, Snackable Bakes, hits shelves in spring 2022. She contributes to the Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Food Network, and the Kitchn, among others.

14 Reviews

Pamela T. November 10, 2023
This is great seasonal cookie! Pumpkin notes are clearly present and spice level is well balanced to let the pumpkin through. I ended up weighing my dough balls to get each approximately the same size and netted 18 cookies. Served for dessert after lunch with vanilla ice cream and rum dulce de leche. In-laws raved and DH kept sneaking cookies into the evening!
Pamela T. November 10, 2023
And meant to add 6 minute baking time seems like solid guidance. I deviated to 7 minutes as mine were bigger with the “two less” yield count. Definitely want to keep an eye out and not multitask as these approach that mark as texture was so, so lovely!
Jessie S. November 10, 2023
Yay! so happy you liked.
AntoniaJames November 15, 2022
Yes, please!! ;o)
CrisW November 11, 2022
I just made these cookies and they’re fabulous! I was a bit put off that it seemed like a lot of work for only 20 cookies, but decided to try because I love pumpkin. So glad I did! Chilling batter is absolutely necessary for easy handling & I also put the bowl back in fridge between filling each cookie sheet. Also, found using a shaker for the cinnamon sugar was very helpful even when rolling. The cookies came out so light & flavorful! Only question I have is if you can double the recipe. I got 30 cookies rather than 20, but would double, if possible. My husband couldn’t stop at just two, so think this is a winner…perfect fall cookie!
Jessie S. November 12, 2022
Yay to all this and yes to doubling!!
Stefanie W. October 16, 2022
Haven’t made these yet, but I’m planning to. Just a little confused by your comment, “They also do not require several hours of chilling in order to achieve their deliciously chewy texture. Unlike the original, the dough absolutely needs to be chilled in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.” Do they need to be chilled or not?
Jessie S. October 16, 2022
i feel you - i'm confused too. sometimes when headnotes are edited things get lost in translation so thank you for flagging. i have made some edits that will show up on the site at some point that will make it easier to understand what i was trying to say: bottom line: pumpkin snickerdoodles need 30 minutes of rest but my original. genius ones on the site, do not. hope that helps.
Taylor S. October 16, 2022
These are really delicious! Pillowy and chewy with a nice cinnamon sugar crust, exactly what a snickerdoodle should be in my opinion. And the hint of pumpkin and dash of spices really takes it over the top!
Jessie S. October 16, 2022
Yay! makes me so happy that you enjoyed them.
Leslie October 16, 2022
Haven’t made them yet but wondering if I could substitute coconut oil for the vegetable shortening?
Jessie S. October 16, 2022
yes - i think so, but not sure if it will provide the same chewiness that the shortening provides or the same ability to stop the cookie from spreading (which the shortening also provides)
Kathy October 15, 2022
Super good! Easy to make. My grandkids loved them! 👍😋
Jessie S. October 15, 2022
Yay! So happy to hear.