IT’S HERE! The first pumpkin recipe of the season. Healthy Pumpkin Cookies that are thick, pillowy soft, and filled with pumpkin spice and everything nice.
Packed with whole-grain goodness in the form of oatmeal and happy-life goodness in the form of warm fall spices and dark chocolate chips, these healthy pumpkin oatmeal cookies belong in your cache of repeat-worthy fall desserts (right aside Sweet Potato Cookies).
Every fall, I feel a moment of hesitation around the inaugural can of pumpkin.
The weather is usually still fairly warm, and I worry that I’m rushing sweater weather.
And then the scent of cinnamon fills my kitchen with warm nostalgia.
Initial feelings of hesitation are replaced by the excitement of change…or is it the excitement of a warm batch of cookies about to emerge from the oven?
I’ll evaluate the first plausible cause (change) while eating my first cookie, and the latter (freshly baked cookies) while munching my second.
If I’m still not sure, well, that’s what the third cookie is for!
These healthy chocolate chip pumpkin cookies are tender and buttery.
The flavor of the pumpkin is front and center, thanks to a rich array of warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and a generous quantity of pumpkin.
No being disappointed by the lack of pumpkin or the lack of pumpkin spice here!
As with my iced Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, the addition of rolled oats lends these healthy pumpkin cookies a pleasing texture, touch of hominess, and an excuse to go in for more (hello, healthy whole grains!).
If you are more of a purist with your pumpkin baked goods, or if you are looking to lighten these up a bit and serve them as healthy pumpkin breakfast cookies, you can swap the chocolate chips for another of your favorite pumpkin mix-ins. The cookies do already include walnuts (more texture!), which you can increase or complement with other yummy additions like chopped toasted pecans or dried cranberries.
Or you can take your pumpkin cookie cravings the opposite direction and go all-out indulgent with these chewy Pumpkin Snickerdoodles.
Just promise me you won’t wait long to bake these healthy pumpkin cookies. They are truly scrumptious and sure to be one of your favorite healthy fall desserts.
How to Make the Best Healthy Pumpkin Cookies
You’ll love how fast these easy pumpkin cookies come together. You don’t even need to chill the dough prior to baking.
While many healthy pumpkin cookies include applesauce, I found that applesauce made the cookies *too* cakey. (If you are looking for cookie recipes with applesauce, check out these Healthy Oatmeal Cookies instead.)
The moderate amount of butter here yields a more traditional chewy cookie texture. Pumpkin cookies generally do have a touch of cakiness (a product of baking with pumpkin in general), which I don’t typically love in my healthy cookie recipes, but it’s not overwhelming and 100% works here.
- Pumpkin. On its own, pumpkin can be ho-hum, but the ingredients in these cookies help it reach its full cozy flavor potential. Make sure to use pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) for this recipe.
- Flour. A mixture of white whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour makes these cookies wholesome while keeping their texture light.
- Oats. A nutritious and filling addition. Oats bring in fiber and create a satisfying textural element.
- Butter. Hello, perfect chewy texture and real-deal cookie flavor!
- Spices. Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg put the “spice” into our pumpkin spice dreams.
- Sugar. A mix of brown sugar and granulated sugar is ideal in these cookies.
- Vanilla. Vanilla complements the pumpkin and warm spices perfectly.
- Mix-ins. Dark chocolate chips and walnuts were my mix-ins of choice, but you could easily swap in pecans, dried fruit, or more chocolate chips instead.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together.
- Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to the butter mixture, beating until blended.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed until the flour disappears.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
- Scoop the dough into balls, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 11 to 12 minutes. Let cool, then ENJOY!
Make-Ahead and Storage Tips for Cookies & Cookie Dough
- To Freeze Unbaked Cookies. Scoop cookie dough balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid, then transfer frozen cookie dough balls to an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen as directed, adding extra baking time as needed (usually about 3 to 5 minutes).
- To Freeze Cookies. Transfer fully cooled cookies to an airtight freezer-safe storage container, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy whenever a craving strikes!
- To Store. Store cookies in an airtight storage container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
- Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins
- Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Banana Bread
- Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
- And all of these healthy pumpkin recipes!
Recommended Tools to Make these Cookies
- Mixing Bowls. Durable, easy-to-store, and one of my most-used kitchen essentials.
- Baking Sheet. Your pumpkin cookie BFF!
- Cookie Scoop. The easiest way to create perfectly-sized cookies.
What’s the first thing you plan to bake with pumpkin this year? If you haven’t decided yet, I have a tasty contender for you right here.
As always, if you do make these healthy pumpkin cookies, I’d love to know what you think! Please leave a review in the comments below. I adore hearing from you, and your feedback is very helpful to others too.
Healthy Pumpkin Cookies
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour or swap all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/4 cup brown sugar light or dark
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or swap pecans, chopped dried apricots, dried cranberries, or additional chocolate chips
- Position rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (If you’ll be baking multiple batches, line an additional sheet.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
- In a separate, large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars on medium speed until smoothly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat once more, just until reincorporated.
- To the bowl with the butter mixture, add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Beat again, just until evenly blended.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, beating on low speed. Stop as soon as the flour disappears.
- By hand with a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
- With a cookie scoop or spoon, scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons so that you have balls that are about 1 1/2-inches each. Leave about 1 inch of space around each cookie (they will not spread much during baking). Place the remaining dough in the refrigerator while the first batch of cookies bakes.
- Bake the cookies on the center rack for 11 to 12 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and the tops feel dry to the touch but the center is still soft underneath. Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookies, ensuring that you always scoop them onto a cooled cookie sheet. Enjoy!
- TO FREEZE UNBAKED COOKIES: Place cookie dough balls in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid, then transfer frozen cookie dough balls to an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen as directed, adding extra baking time as needed.
- TO FREEZE COOKIES: Transfer fully cooled cookies to an airtight freezer-safe storage container, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy whenever a craving strikes!
- TO STORE: Store cookies in an airtight storage container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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