Now that we are in the heart of October, it is time to start baking with all of those delicious fall flavors. These pumpkin pie spice shortbread cookies have that classic shortbread crumble with a slight punch of pumpkin flavor. With only six ingredients and a food processor, you can whip these cookies up easily and satisfy that craving for cozy, warm-flavored cookies.
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These pumpkin shortbread cookies are perfect for the fall, though if you love pumpkin spice flavor, they are tasty all year.
Facts about these Cookies:
- These pumpkin shortbread cookies are made with a food processor, so no cleanup of tons of bowls!
- They are very quick to make, though you do need to factor in at least an hour of time to chill the cookie dough before baking.
- These shortbread cookies can be stamped with designs, but they are not good for cut-out cookies as they won’t hold a strong shape. If you are looking for fall cut-outs, try this Pumpkin Cut-Out Sugar Cookie recipe.
What is shortbread?
Shortbread is “short” due to the ratio of ingredients: 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, and 3 parts flour by weight. This creates a buttery crumb and that classic melt-in-your-mouth cookie.
- All-Purpose Flour
- Powdered Sugar
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Unsalted Butter (cold, not room temperature)
- Pure Pumpkin Puree (make sure you get puree and not pumpkin pie filling)
See recipe card for quantities.
- Mix the dry ingredients in the food processor. You’ll need a food processor for this recipe, mine is 8 cups and it just fits. If you have a smaller one, you may need half the recipe. Add the flour, powdered sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice into the bowl of the processor. Mix on high speed until all of the ingredients are fully combined
- Cut the butter into slices and add to the food processor. Cut the butter into approximately tablespoon-sized pieces of butter. Add them into the processor about 5-6 pieces at a time mixing on high in between each addition. The butter will begin to crumble into the flour mixture, but it will still look to be very dry.
- Add the pumpkin puree to the food processor. Add the pumpkin puree to the processor, turn it on high, and watch closely. You will begin to see the shortbread dough form and as soon as this happens, turn it off.
Mixing dry ingredients in the food processor.
Adding butter to dry ingredients.
After adding pumpkin puree.
Shaped cookie dough into a flat disc before refrigerating.
Hint: If the dough still has a very crumbly texture, take a small amount into your hand and press it together. If it comes together like dough, gently knead the dough together to form a large cookie dough ball. If you take a small amount and press it together, if it breaks apart in crumbles, add another teaspoon of puree and blend together again. Continue this process until a dough forms.
- Wrap the cookie dough and refrigerate. I split the dough into two balls, rolled into a flat disc, and wrapped them in plastic wrap. The dough will be refrigerated for at least one hour before rolling and baking.
- Prep the oven and baking sheets. While the dough is cooling, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Roll out the shortbread cookies. Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and roll dough out to about ¼” thickness. I prefer to roll the dough between two pieces of wax paper to make cleanup easier and prevent the dough from sticking. If you do have sticky dough, sprinkle a bit of flour on the surface before rolling.
- Cut out the cookies. With approximately a 2” circle cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and add them to the prepared baking sheets.
- Stamp cookies (optional). If you want to add designs to your cookies, you can do this now. Use cookie stamps (or I used pie stamps) to create the leaves or other fall shapes on the cookies. You can complete this step after you roll the dough but before you cut out the circles.
- Bake the shortbread cookies. If the dough loses its firmness and starts to get sticky, place the tray of cookies into the freezer for a few minutes until they are more set. Bake cookies for 14-16 minutes. You will know they are done when the bottom edges are a slight golden brown. Also, the tops of the cookies should no longer look shiny. You do not want to underbake these as they will be doughy and not have the classic shortbread crumble.
- Allow cookies to rest. Let the cookies sit on the baking tray for at least 10 minutes as they will continue to bake and set for easy removal from the cookie sheet. With a spatula, place the cookies on a wire rack and allow them to completely cool.
- Sugar: Some other recipes use granulated sugar (white sugar) or brown sugar. However, I created this recipe specifically with powdered sugar to get a really soft texture so I would not recommend substituting the sugar.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: If you do not like the flavor of pumpkin pie spice you can substitute it for cinnamon and still have a nice fall flavor. You can omit it entirely, however, the cookies will lose the pumpkin flavor and will be closer to a traditional shortbread cookie.
- Pumpkin Puree: Do NOT substitute for pumpkin pie filling. There are of often other flavors and ingredients in the pre-made pie filling so you cannot control what is in it. Also, the water content may be higher which may change the texture of the cookie. If you do not have pumpkin puree, you can substitute for milk.
- Butter: If you only have salted butter, you can use that but omit the salt from this recipe.
- Food Processor
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Cookie Sheets
- Parchment Paper or Silicone Mat
- Rolling Pin
- Cookie Cutters or biscuit cutter
- Cookie Stamps (optional)
Once fully cooled, store pumpkin cookies in an airtight container for up to 10 days. Freeze for up to 3 months and allow them to come to room temperature before serving. When freezing, I recommend placing them gently in a freezer bag and then in an airtight container for extra protection!
I hope you enjoy these shortbread pumpkin spice cookies! If you try this recipe and love it, a five-star review would help me tremendously. Happy baking!
When making shortbread, do not overwork the dough or you will get a tough cookie. When mixing the dough, as soon as the dough is formed, stop mixing. When rolling out the dough and creating shapes, do not roll more than necessary.
Also, do not overbake. If the shortbread is underbaked you’ll get a doughy center and lose that classic crumbly shortbread, melt in your mouth, texture.
You put the shortbread cookie dough in the fridge before baking to help re-solidify the butter. If the butter is soft, the cookies will melt immediately when baking and the cookies will spread.
After rolling and creating shapes with the dough, if the unbaked cookies are soft and you can make an indent when lightly pressing down on the dough, you will need to place them in the refrigerator or freezer until they become firm again before baking.
Pumpkin Shortbread Cookies
- 3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 ½ Cups Butter (still cold)
- 1 Tablespoon Pure Pumpkin Puree
- Add the flour, powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Mix on high until well combined.
- Cut the cold butter into tablespoon-sized pieces.
- Add 5-6 pieces of butter to the dry ingredients and turn the processor on high until mixed in. Repeat this process until all of the butter has been added.
- Add the pumpkin puree into the bowl of the food processor and blend until the dough starts to form.*
- Roll the dough into a flat disc, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325° and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Roll the dough out to ¼" thickness and cut out circles.
- Add cookies to lined baking sheet. If stamping them, do so at this point.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes until the bottom edges are slightly golden brown and the top no longer looks shiny.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to set on the tray for at least 10. Once set and mostly cooled, move to a wire cooling rack to completely cool.