pumpkin flavored sugar cookies cut out in shape of pumpkins

Pumpkin Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

It’s finally the season filled with sweaters, leaves, leggings, and, of course, everything pumpkin. After making so many classic sugar cookies, it is fun to switch it up and try something new this time of year. These pumpkin cutout cookies have just the right amount of canned pumpkin and pumpkin spice to add flavor, but not so much that it completely overwhelms the taste. For royal icing cookie decorators, these pumpkin spice cookies will hold their shape and do not rise. Enjoy these perfect fall cookies!

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Decorating Pumpkin Cut-Out Cookies

This pumpkin cookie recipe was designed with royal icing in mind. They will not spread and will hold the cutter’s shape very well. However, royal icing is not the only option for these cookies. A cream cheese icing would pair very well too. A classic buttercream is an option, but the sweetness can overwhelm the pumpkin flavor.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Royal Icing Cookie Decorating (For Beginners)

Sometimes decorating isn’t even necessary. Plain sugar cookies with coffee can be a really great combination. 

pumpkin shaped cut out cookies on a tray

Ingredients You Will Need for Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

  • Unsalted Butter
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Canned Pumpkin Puree
  • Egg
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Cinnamon

Supplies Needed for Roll Out Cookies

Hand mixer or Stand Mixer

You can use a Kitchen Aid or a Hand mixer. If you are making a double batch, I highly recommend a stand mixer. 

Silicone Mat or Parchment Paper

I prefer to bake my roll-out cookies on a silicone mat. In my opinion, the mat helps them to bake evenly. I also roll out the cookie dough on a silicone mat (with wax paper) because it keeps the dough from slipping around when pushing it with the rolling pin. While mats are not necessary for this recipe, they are definitely helpful. In my house, we now use them for almost everything we bake on cookie sheets from chicken nuggets to stuffed peppers. If you don’t have silicone mats, parchment paper will work just fine.

Wax Paper

I prefer to roll out the dough between two sheets of wax paper. This helps the dough from sticking to the counter and to the rolling pin. It also helps to make cleaning a breeze! Additionally, this dough needs to be frozen before cutting it with cookie cutters. Wax paper makes it easy to transport from the counter into the freezer and back.

Rolling Pin

Any rolling pin will work fine, but this one is my favorite! The wheels on the side are all different sizes allowing the dough to be rolled even in various thicknesses.

Cookie Cutters

Here is where you can get creative. As these are pumpkin-flavored cookies, they are more often than not made in the fall, pumpkins or Halloween shapes will work nicely. When I can, I love buying cookie cutters on Etsy to support small businesses (and they also have the most adorable and creative cutters)!

Instructions for Making Pumpkin Cookie Dough

First things first, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper, set aside. 

Your ingredients do not have to be brought to room temperature for this recipe, with the exception of the butter. However, I am simply horrible at remembering to take the butter out of the refrigerator an hour or two before baking, so I use the microwave. If you use this trick, less is ALWAYS more. You can add more time, but if your butter begins to melt, it’s not going to work for this recipe. I put the butter sticks in the microwave for 10 seconds at 50% power until room temperature, usually no more than 25 seconds total. Keep in mind, that every microwave is different so yours may be more or less powerful – so use this trick with caution! 

Prepping Dry Ingredients

In a separate bowl, add the flour, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon. Whisk well until combined. 

flour, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice in a bowl

Mixing Wet Ingredients

To the bowl of a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) or large mixing bowl, add your room temperature butter and granulated sugar. Beat on high for approximately 2-3 minutes until fully combined. The mixture will be slightly clumpy and light yellow. 

butter and sugar after mixed in bowl

Add the pumpkin and beat into the butter mixture on medium speed with an electric mixer for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all of the sugar and pumpkin are mixed in well. After scraping the bowl, beat for just a few more seconds. At this point, it will be less clumpy (but still just a bit clumpy), looking more “fluffy” and light orange in color. 

pumpkin butter and sugar mixed

In a small bowl, add egg, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. It will start to look moister and the dough will start to appear more cohesive. 

pumpkin added to butter and sugar

Adding the Dry Ingredients

Now add the flour mixture to the butter and pumpkin mixture. Add ½ cup and mix on low speed until most of the flour is incorporated. As you are adding the flour, scrape down the sides occasionally. Add another ½ cup and repeat until the mixture is just combined. When the dough is complete it will be light brown/orange in color and be sticky to the touch. 

flour added to cookie dough

Rolling the Pumpkin Sugar Cookie Dough

If you have a silicone mat, this is the time to place it on your work surface. If not, work on a surface that is not slippery. Lay down one piece of wax paper and about ⅓ to ½ of the dough on top. Shape the dough into a long log and cover with another piece of wax paper. With your rolling pin, roll out the dough. Place the sheet of dough on a tray and place it in the freezer. Continue rolling out your dough in the same manner and stacking the sheets of dough in the freezer.

Roll out cookie dough to ¼” or ⅜” thick. If you like thicker, softer cookies go with the ⅜”. 

cookie dough rolled into log

The dough will remain in the freezer until you are ready to roll. It will need to freeze for about 15-20 minutes, though this could vary depending on the climate and temperature. It will be done when it is no longer sticky or tacky, but also not frozen solid. Your cutter should be able to go through the dough with some effort, but shouldn’t be impossible to press down. 

Using your cutters, cut out your shapes of dough and place them on your large baking sheet lined with either parchment or silicone. Make sure cookies are spread out at least 1 ½ -2 inches. For the fall, I like to use fun festive shapes like pumpkins, leaves, ghosts, etc. You could even make these thanksgiving cookies and use those shapes!

rolled out pumpkin cookie dough

Baking the Pumpkin Cookies

Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes for ⅜” thick cookies. If you roll them out to ¼” lower the baking time to 11-14 minutes. Rotate the cookies about halfway through, especially if your oven bakes unevenly. 

Your cookies will be done when the tops no longer look shiny but have more of a matte appearance. The bottom edges will be slightly darker. Let sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Once they are cool, it’s time to decorate. When decorating with royal icing, I like to let the cookies set for a night (in an airtight container). This is my personal preference to make sure nothing negatively affects the royal icing when it is drying.

cookies in the oven

Storing Pumpkin Cut-Out Cookies

Store in an airtight container (these Rubbermaid ones are my favorite) for up to 5 days. You can freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. 

If you like this one, here are a few other cookie recipes to try:

I really hope you enjoy these delicious and easy pumpkin cut out cookies! Please share your creations with me on social!

Ghost and Pumpkin Meringues

Halloween Meringue Cookies

Yield: 24
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 31 minutes

Meringues are light and airy cookies, and guess what - they are also gluten-free! They are made up of only egg whites, granulated sugar, cream of tartar, and extract. Such simple ingredients for a melt in your mouth, delicious cookie!

Ingredients

  • 2 Egg Whites Room Temperature
  • ½ Cup + 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar (135g)
  • ¼ Tsp Cream of Tartar
  • ½ Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ Cup Sprinkles (approximately)Preheat oven to 220° and prepare a baking sheet with templates and parchment paper. Prepare 2 piping bags with Wilton 12 and 1M tips.
  • Place your egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat ingredients on medium-high (6 speed on Kitchenaid) for 3-4 minutes until soft peaks form.

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 220° and prepare a baking sheet with templates and parchment paper. Prepare 2 piping bags with Wilton 12 and 1M tips.
    2. Place your egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat ingredients on medium-high (6 speed on Kitchenaid) for 3-4 minutes until soft peaks form.
    3. Slowly add in granulated sugar 1 Tbsp at a time. Make an addition every 10-15 seconds. This process will take around 3-4 minutes.
    4. Once all of the granulated sugar has been added, continue to beat on medium-high for another 3-5 minutes until meringue holds stiff peaks and is glossy.
    5. Add half of the meringue into the piping bag fitted with the 12 tip. Add food coloring to the stand mixer and beat until incorporated - add to the other bag fitted with the 1M tip.
    6. Add a small dollop of meringue to the corners of your parchment paper to help it stay flat on the tray. Use the 1M tip and pip up and down along the shape of the pumpkin and use the white meringue for the stem - add your sprinkles! To pipe the ghosts, use the white meringue and fill in the body of the ghost, flattening out the line with an offset spatula. Add your eyes and mouth. Carefully slide the paper templates out from the tray.
    7. Place the tray of meringue cookies into the preheated oven for 60-70 minutes. Don't open the oven until the first 60 minutes have passed. At this point, lightly tap your meringue to feel the consistency. If it feels too soft, allow them to continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the cookies feel only slightly soft and are more stable.
    8. Turn off the oven but leave the meringue cookies in the closed oven for another 60 minutes.

Notes

Store in an airtight container for 4-7 days (depending on how humid your climate is).

pumpkin flavored sugar cookies cut out in shape of pumpkins

Pumpkin Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Yield: 20
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

These cut out sugar cookies give a hint of pumpkin spice to a soft and chewy sugar cookie. They are no spread cookies and perfect for royal icing decorating.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Flour
  • ½ tsp Pumpkin Spice
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Butter (room temperature)
  • 1 ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ Cup Pumpkin
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp Salt

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
    2. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Set aside.
    3. In a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) beat the butter and granulated sugar on high for 2-3 minutes.
    4. Add pumpkin and beat on medium for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate everything.
    5. In a small bowl, combine egg, vanilla extract, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter and pumpkin mixture and beat on medium for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
    6. Beat in flour ½ cup at a time, mixing each addition until just combined. Scrape down the bowl as you go. Don't over mix.
    7. Place a sheet of wax paper down and add a portion of the dough. Roll dough into a long log and add another piece of wax paper on top. Roll the dough 3/8" thick. Place in freezer on a tray. Continue rolling out the remainder of the dough.
    8. Let the dough sit in the freezer for 15-20 minutes until it is almost solid and no longer sticky, but not frozen solid.
    9. Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into shapes. Place on lined cookie sheet. Re-roll and re-freeze dough when necessary. Continue to roll and cut dough until the dough is gone.
    10. Bake cookies at 350° for 12-15 minutes for ⅜" thick cookies (11-14 for ¼" thick cookies). Cookies are done when the top of the cookie is no long shiny, but appears more matted and the bottom edges are brown.

Notes

*After the dough is rolled twice it will create a slightly tougher cookie. 

**Store cookies in an airtight container for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

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