The best soft, fluffy gluten-free pumpkin cookies are cakey, pumpkin spiced, and topped with a simple, healthy cream cheese yogurt frosting. So good that you can’t tell they’re gluten-free!
Bets cakey gluten-free pumpkin cookies with frosting
This pumpkin cookie recipe is a Healthful Blonide favorite! My boyfriend has celiac, so I pride myself in making irresistibly delicious treats that you cannot tell are gluten-free. Now, that it’s almost pumpkin season, these extra soft and cakey pumpkin cookies are a must-bake. I take my pumpkin treats seriously, so you have to try this pumpkin carrot cake or these healthy pumpkin oatmeal bars next.
Trust me when I say that you can’t tell they are gluten-free. The cookies are thick and pillowy and topped with a healthy homemade cream cheese yogurt frosting that practically melts in your mouth. I love the taste and texture of these gluten-free pumpkin cookies. They are cakey, not dry, and they’re warmly spiced, and taste like Fall. Plus, the texture is to die for… it is like a pumpkin Lofthouse cookie, so thick and soft.
If you’re in search of a healthier pumpkin cookie recipe that’s delicious and gluten-free, you’re in the right spot. I take my pumpkin desserts very seriously, and these cookies have passed the friends, family, and party test. Everyone is obsessed with them.
I think my favorite part about these cookies is the homemade yogurt and cream cheese frosting. ontop. It’s sweet, creamy, and addictive.
Why you’ll love this easy recipe:
- Quick & Easy: Any level baker can easily make these pumpkin cookies.
- Frosted: They’re frosted with a melt-in-your-mouth homemade cream cheese yogurt frosting.
- Fall Treat: The perfect Fall dessert filled with warm, pumpkin-spiced flavors.
- For the Holidays: Make them for Thanksgiving or Halloween!
- Gluten-Free: You can’t tell these frosted pumpkin cooking are gluten-free.
- Classic Fall Flavors: They’re filling with pumpkin spice and taste like Fall!
- Cookie Lover: If you love cookies, try these apple pie cookies for another Fall-time cookie!
The taste and texture
Taste: These frosted gluten-free pumpkin cookies are sweet and warmly spiced. This fall cookie tastes like pumpkin since most of the flavor comes from the pumpkin pie spice. The frosting on top is light, and sweet, and has a nice vanilla maple flavor.
Texture: Once baked, these pumpkin cookies are super thick, soft, and cakey. The frosting adds the perfect sweetness on top. I am obsessed with them, as you can probably already tell.
These thick and soft gluten-free pumpkin cookies call for basic baking ingredients. You need gluten-free flour, pumpkin puree, greek yogurt, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and a few others. Trust me when I say that these cookies are the BEST soft pumpkin cookies you’ll ever eat. Here is a list of everything you need so you are prepared:
Gluten-free pumpkin cookies:
- Flour: You need gluten-free 1:1 baking flour, and do not substitute it with almond flour, coconut flour, or oat flour.
- Cornstarch: Adding cornstarch to gluten-free flour makes a gluten-free version of cake flour. The cornstarch, combined with the baking soda and baking powder, is how we get that perfect airy and fluffy texture. You can also use tapioca flour and arrowroot powder.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: For the pumpkin flavor! You can use store-bought or homemade (recipe below).
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder: You need both! Together they give these cookies the soft and light texture you crave in a cake cookie.
- Egg: This helps hold the batter together and gives the cookies a nice richness.
- Pumpkin Puree: You can use homemade pumpkin puree or store-bought. Do NOT use pumpkin pie filling; it is not the same.
- Greek Yogurt: Grab 2% or 5% Greek yogurt. This makes these cookies healthier and higher in protein. Since we use yogurt, we can reduce the amount of butter.
- Vanilla Extract: A dash goes a long way flavor-wise.
- Granulated Sugar: To sweeten these gluten-free cookies.
- Butter: You need unsalted butter to make these gluten-free pumpkin cookies soft, so they melt in your mount. If you use salted butter, don’t add more salt to the cookie dough.
Healthy Cream Cheese Yogurt Frosting:
- Cream Cheese: You can use regular or low-fat (Neufchatel) cream cheese.
- Greek Yogurt: I like using vanilla FGreek yogurt for flavor, but plain works too! Substitute with non-Greek yogurt if needed.
- Maple Syrup: To sweeten thy healthy frosting without refined sugar. You can also use honey.
- Vanilla Extract: For flavor.
Kitchen tools needed
These healthy pumpkin cookies are easy to make. Here is a list of kitchen utensils you will need:
- Electric Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- Baking Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Measuring Tools: 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup.
How to make gluten-free pumpkin cookies with frosting
These gluten-free pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting come together in a few simple steps. They are so easy to make, but let’s walk through the process together. Here are step-by-step directions with pictures for visual reference:
First, add flour to a large mixing bowl. Then remove 2 Tablespoons of the flour (either discard or add it back to the bag) and add the cornstarch. Add the rest of the dry ingredients: baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk or sift the dry ingredients, so there are no lumps.
Then, in a stand mixer (with a paddle attachment) or an electric handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy. It should take about 1 – 2 minutes.
Now, add the egg, yogurt, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract; and beat until combined. Add the flour in 3 different increments on low-speed or medium-low. Stop beating as soon as the last bit of dry flour is no longer visible. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and make sure all flour is combined.
Next, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set to the side.
Then, use a cooking scooper to portion out about 2 Tablespoons of dough for each cookie. Roll and flatten them to about ½ inch thick.
Then, bake for 8 – 9 minutes. They will look underdone, puff up, and be almost barely golden on the bottom. Remove from the oven and let them sit for 5 mins on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack. I like my cookies a little underdone and soft, so I baked them for 8 minutes, but some gluten-free flours can have the slightest graininess, so you can bake up to 9 – 10 minutes if needed.
Finally, while the cookies cool, make the frosting by placing all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beating with a handheld electric mixer on medium until fluffy and smooth. You can also you a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
Make sure your cookies are completely cool before frosting! Dust with extra pumpkin spice, and enjoy!
Baking tips for gluten-free pumpkin cookies
- Don’t skip out on the cornstarch. The cornstarch in this gluten-free cookie recipe is so important since it gives these cookies that soft and pillowy texture. When cornstarch is added to gluten-free flour, it resembles cake flour.
- Use room temperature ingredients. This ensures perfect cookies. If you use cold or chilled ingredients, the cookies might not rise, or they will require a longer baking time.
- Use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. They are not the same. Pumpkin pie filling has lots of added flavors and sugars, which will change the taste and texture of these gluten-free pumpkin cookies.
- Spoon and level your flour. This is my #1 baking tip. It is super important to measure the right amount of flour by spooning and leveling it in a measuring cup. You will add too much flour if you scoop the flour directly out of the bag since the flour gets compacted into the measuring cup. Too much flour will make the cookies dry and dense.
- Check the freshness of your baking powder and baking soda. If your baking powder or baking soda is expired or old, the cookies will not rise and will not be cakey! You should replace your baking soda every 4 months to be safe.
- Let the dough chill for at least 20 minutes. This allows the cookies to develop more flavor and ensure the perfect soft and cakey texture. I always chill my cookie dough for an hour because it’s the easiest to work with, but if you only have 20 minutes, no worries, it won’t affect the final texture.
- The salt is essential. This balances the flavor of pumpkin, sugars, and vanilla.
I love this recipe as is, but if you are out of an ingredient or two, here is a list of the best substitutes. I only recommend making one or two swaps, so the original recipe doesn’t change too much!
- Greek Yogurt: You can substitute Greek yogurt with sour cream, or if you want to make them dairy-free, you can use almond milk or coconut yogurt. I always recommend full-fat and not 0%.
- Cornstarch: You can also use tapioca flour or arrowroot powder.
- Butter: You can use vegan butter sticks; Earth Balance Sticks are best.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: You can make your own at home with ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, all-spice, and cloves. The next sections give you the recipe.
- Pumpkin Puree: Do not use pumpkin pie filling. You can use butternut squash puree or sweet potato puree if needed.
- Cream Cheese: You can use any dairy-free cream cheese for the frosting if you want.
How to make homemade pumpkin pie spice
If you don’t have pre-made pumpkin pie spice in your pantry, don’t worry! Here is a simple recipe to make your own pumpkin pie spice at home. Mix all the ingredients together and make sure to measure out the correct amount for these cookies. You can save the rest for another recipe!
- 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of all-spice
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
Frequently Asked Questions
Are they chewy?
These pumpkin cookies are soft and cakey, not chewy. They are very similar to a Lofthouse cookie.
Do I have to chill the cookie dough?
Yes, you need to chill the cookie dough for at least 20 minutes, but preferably 1 hour. This ensures that the cookies don’t flatten out and burn during baking.
Do I have to add the frosting?
No, you can defiantly leave the frosting off these cookies if desired. I love the frosting, but it is not necessary.
Can I use pumpkin pie filling?
NO! But you can substitute the pumpkin puree in this recipe with three things: (1) butternut squash puree, (2) sweet potato puree, or (3) acorn squash puree. Don’t use pumpkin pie filling.
What can I use instead of Greek yogurt?
You can use sour cream instead of Greek yogurt in this cookie recipe.
Is there a healthy alternative to cream cheese?
Yes, I like to use Neufchatel, which is low-fat cream cheese.
Can I make these cookies dairy free?
Yes! To make this gluten-free pumpkin cookies dairy-free, substitute the butter with dairy-free butter sticks (like Earth Balance Sticks), the cream cheese with dairy-free cream cheese, and the Greek yogurt with coconut yogurt or almond milk yogurt.
Are the cookies soft?
Yes, these cookies are cakey, soft, and pillowy. They are thick and so delicious!
Storing, make ahead, and freezing instructions:
- Make Ahead: You can make these soft gluten-free pumpkin cookies ahead of time by covering and chilling the cookie dough for up to 48 hours. I recommend letting the cookie dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before shaping it.
- Freezing Cookie Dough: You can also freeze the unbaked cookie dough for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake, allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before shaping into discs and baking.
- Freezing Baked Cookies: You can freeze un-frosted pumpkin cookies for up to 3 months. Just store them in a freezer-safe bag and thaw overnight in the fridge, or leave them at room temperature for an hour. If absolutely necessary, you can freeze frosted cookies, but the frosting texture will change, so I do not recommend it!
- Storing: If you have leftovers, store these soft pumpkin cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 – 3 days. You can also refrigerate them for up to 5 days.
If you love this pumpkin recipe, try these next!
- Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars
- Pumpkin Carrot Cake
- Pumpkin Protein Muffins
- Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Soft Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies
- 3 cups gluten-free 1:1 baking flour, spooned & leveled
- 2 tbsp cornstarch*
- 2 – 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice , I like a strong pumpkin flavor (3 tsp) but this depends on your taste preferences
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- ½ cup pumpkin puree, room temperature
- ¼ cup greek yogurt (2 or 5%), room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (12 tbsp), room temperature
Cream Cheese Yougrt Frosting:
- 8 oz cream cheese or Neufchatel, room temperature
- ¼ cup greek yogurt (plain or vanilla), room temperature
- ¼ cup real maple syrup, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a large mixing bowl, add 3 cups of spooned and leveled flour. Then remove 2 Tablespoons of the flour (either discard or add it back to the bag) and add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Add the rest of the dry ingredients: baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk or sift the dry ingredients, so there are no lumps.
- In a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) or using an electric handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. It should take about 1 – 2 minutes.
- Add the egg, yogurt, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract. Beat until combined. Add the flour in 3 different increments on low-speed or medium-low. Stop beating as soon as the last bit of dry flour is no longer visible. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and make sure all flour is combined.
- Cover to bowl and chill for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set to the side.
- Using a cooking scooper, portion out about 2 Tablespoons of dough for each cookie. Roll and flatten them to about ½ inch thick.
- Bake for 8 – 9 minutes. They will look underdone, puff up, and be almost barely golden on the bottom. Remove from the oven and let them sit for 5 mins on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack. I like my cookies a little underdone and soft, so I baked for 8 minutes, but some gf flours can have the slightest graininess, so you can bake up to 9 – 10 minutes if needed.
- While the cookies cool, make the frosting by placing all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beating with a handheld electric mixer on medium for 1 – 2 minutes until fluffy and smooth. You can also you a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Make sure your cookies are completely cool before frosting! Dust with extra pumpkin spice, and enjoy!
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