These one-bowl gluten-free pumpkin cookies are thick, tender, chewy, and packed with flavor – then topped off with an optional icing. Even better, this healthy fall-favorite recipe for pumpkin spice cookies is freezer-friendly, vegan, oil-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free!
Soft and Chewy Vegan Pumpkin Cookies
A few days ago, I posted a recipe for a savory pumpkin curry – but I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was whipping up large batches of sweet pumpkin chocolate chip bread, pumpkin cake, and chocolate pumpkin bars. This time, I’m starting pumpkin baking season with a batch of these gluten-free pumpkin cookies! They’re soft, chewy, and packed with just enough pumpkin spice to warm you right up!
These vegan pumpkin cookies make for the perfect Fall treat. Using either canned or fresh pumpkin puree with pumpkin pie spice, these cookies contain just enough pumpkin flavor while still tasting sweet and decadent. More so, the recipe requires just around 10-15 minutes of hands-on prep and 15 minutes of baking time – filling your kitchen with the fantastic aroma of warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
Best of all, this recipe is very versatile. You can prepare them as refined sugar-free, sugar-free, paleo, and more. Plus, there are tons of ways to jazz the cookies up with extra add-ins like nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. Or stick to the simple iced pumpkin cookies; no add-ins necessary. It’s up to you!
Once baked, these soft pumpkin cookies are a great addition to fall potlucks, parties, and Thanksgiving recipes (along with caramel apple cheesecake and vegan pumpkin pie). And your guest will inhale them! Of course, you might also enjoy these savory, healthy pumpkin recipes like a creamy pumpkin pasta bake or pumpkin potato bake!
For the gluten-free pumpkin cookies:
- Pumpkin puree: You can use homemade (method in curry recipe notes) or canned pumpkin puree. Just make sure to use plain pumpkin, not ‘pumpkin pie filling’ – or these healthy pumpkin cookies will be overly sweet and ‘off’ in flavor.
- Flax seeds: Flax or chia seeds would work within these vegan pumpkin cookies as a binder (as well as adding healthy fats, protein, and fiber).
- Almond flour: You can use any finely ground nuts or seeds. Use sunflower seeds for a nut-free version of these pumpkin spice cookies.
- Coconut flour: If you don’t have coconut flour, use double the amount of oat flour (80 grams). Both are absorbent, which is great to stop moist cookies from being too cake-like. Plus, pumpkin oatmeal cookies are wonderfully chewy.
- Baking powder: This will help provide a bit of lift and texture to the soft pumpkin cookies.
- Pumpkin pie spice: You can use homemade or store-bought pumpkin pie spice – make sure it’s fresh!
- Sugar: This is fairly versatile. You could use regular sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar, or even Erythritol (for a keto version).
- Peanut butter: Or another nut/seed butter. This adds more natural fats to the vegan cookies without the need for oil or vegan butter.
- Vanilla extract (optional): Use natural vanilla for the best flavor.
While technically optional, I definitely recommend trying these as iced pumpkin cookies.
- Powdered sugar: You can use regular icing sugar or a sweetener like powdered Erythritol.
- Plant-based milk: Use your preferred vegan milk: almond, coconut, cashew, oat, etc.
- Dairy-free milk powder: This is optional (I used coconut milk powder – soy milk powder is also available) but great for ‘richer’ icing.
You could also optionally add a little cinnamon or additional pumpkin pie spice to the icing. Alternatively, you can make a salted maple icing for these cookies by using half pure maple syrup and half dairy-free milk with a pinch of salt. Optionally, add a little vanilla, too (just a few drops).
Optional add-ins and recipe variations:
- Nuts/seeds: Pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts or pecans work well for texture and flavor. Add around 1/8 cup.
- Dried fruit: cranberries, dates (chopped), and raisins would all pair well with the flavors in these vegan pumpkin spice cookies. I recommend adding 1/4 cup.
- Chocolate chips: Add around 1/4 – 1/3 cup of your favorite dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can use sugar-free chocolate if preferred to create delicious vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
- Orange zest: Use the zest of one orange for extra aromatic flavor in the healthy pumpkin cookies.
- Pumpkin spice latte cookies: Add 1-2 teaspoons of espresso powder to the cookie dough. Instant coffee powder would also work – adjust the amount to personal taste (start with 1 tsp of either and increase to taste).
- Flaky salt: A tiny sprinkle of flaky salt over these pumpkin spice cookies can help to enhance all the flavors in the cookies.
- Cinnamon sugar topping: Combine some cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice) with the granulated sugar of your choice and sprinkle a little over each cookie before baking.
- Paleo pumpkin cookies: Make sure to use a paleo sweetener, swap the peanut butter for any other nut/seed butter (like almond butter or sunflower seed butter) and use a paleo-friendly baking powder.
Please read the recipe card below for the whole ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies
Step 1: Prepare the cookie dough
- First, preheat the oven to 350F/175C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, spices, sugar, and flax seeds). Then, add the wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and vanilla) and mix with a spoon or hand mixer until well combined.
If the dough seems a little too dry, add a little additional pumpkin puree.
Step 2: Shape and bake the vegan pumpkin cookies
- Scoop about 1 heaped tablespoon of dough into your hands and roll it into a ball. Then, repeat with the remaining dough (I made 12 cookies).
- Transfer the cookie balls to your prepared tray and gently flatten with your hand (they won’t spread).
- Bake the gluten-free pumpkin spice cookies for between 13-15 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool entirely.
The cookies are VERY soft and brittle right out of the oven, so ensure you allow them to cool for at least 30 minutes. They’ll firm up as they sit.
Step 3: Ice the cookies
- Only do this step when the cookies are fully cooled. If you’re just using icing sugar, start by adding two teaspoons of milk and increasing as needed until you have a runny paste. When using icing sugar and dairy-free milk powder, you’ll need closer to 2 tablespoons milk (I used 2 ½ tablespoons in total).
- Drizzle the cookies with the icing and enjoy!
How to Store
Make ahead: Chill the cookie dough (covered) for up to 3 days before baking. Alternatively, you could try freezing the shaped, unbaked cookies. Bake them from frozen, adding a few extra minutes (3-4 usually) to the baking time.
Store: Store the gluten-free pumpkin cookies in a cool, dry place, in an airtight container for several days, OR in the fridge for up to a week.
Freeze: Spread the pumpkin spice cookies (un-iced) on a tray and freeze until solid. Then, transfer to a Ziplock bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw a cookie at room temperature for several minutes before enjoying it!
Can I replace the pumpkin spice?
It’s best to try to at least use cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg and/or ginger or allspice.
Can I just use coconut flour?
No- Coconut flour is very absorbent – whereas almond flour is packed with healthy fats, so they react completely differently in bakes. The combination of the two together has been specially tested for best results.
Can I substitute coconut flour?
You may be able to use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend or regular all-purpose flour. However, I haven’t tried either, so I can’t guarantee results. Oat flour (ground oats) works great, though, as mentioned before.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- Use high–quality pumpkin puree: If you aren’t making it homemade, use a high-quality, organic canned pumpkin for the best flavor.
- Ensure your spices are fresh: If not, they can throw off the whole balance of the pumpkin pie spice, but also the cookies. Check the Best-before date, but also give them a good sniff (they should be strong-smelling).
- Don’t forget to flatten the cookies before baking: This gluten-free pumpkin cookie recipe doesn’t naturally spread in the oven, so it’s important to flatten them gently before baking.
- To enjoy the pumpkin spice cookie dough raw: Omit the baking powder in the dough. Otherwise, all these ingredients are fine to eat raw.
More Vegan Cookie Recipes
- Double Chocolate Chip Fudge Cookies
- Soft Coconut Sugar Cookies
- Vegan Snickerdoodles
- Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies
- Chocolate Stuffed Cookies
- German Hazelnut Cookies
If you try this recipe for vegan gluten-free pumpkin cookies, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan #elavegan – I love seeing them.
Vegan Pumpkin Cookies
For the cookies
- 1 cup (96 g) almond flour (see notes)
- 5 tbsp (40 g) coconut flour (see notes)
- 4 tbsp (24 g) ground flax seeds
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 6 tbsp (72 g) coconut sugar or sugar of choice (see notes)
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup (120 g) pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup (80 g) peanut butter (see notes)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 8 tbsp (62 g) icing sugar (I used powdered Erythritol)
- 2-4 tsp dairy-free milk
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Combine all dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, flax seeds, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and sugar) in a bowl and stir with a whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and vanilla extract) and mix with a hand mixer or a fork, then use your hands until the dough comes together.If the dough appears too dry, simply add a little more pumpkin puree.
- Scoop about 1 heaped tablespoon of the dough into your hands and shape it into a ball. Repeat this step with the remaining dough. The recipe makes about 12 cookies.
- Place the dough balls onto your lined baking tray. Gently press each dough ball down and bake the cookies in the oven for 13-15 minutes. Let them cool completely.
- To make the icing, simply add the icing sugar to a bowl. You can, if you have, also add 4 tablespoons of dairy-free milk powder (like soy milk powder or coconut milk powder). Pour in just enough plant-based milk (start with 2 teaspoons and add more if needed) until it's a runny paste.Since I also added dairy-free milk powder, I had to add about 2 1/2 tablespoons of plant-based milk. However, it's always better to use less milk at first and add more if needed.
- Drizzle the cookies with the icing and enjoy. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container, either on the counter for just a few days or in the fridge for about a week.
- Flax seeds: You can also use ground chia seeds instead of flax seeds.
- Almond flour: You can use any finely ground nuts/seeds of choice.
- Coconut flour: If you don't have coconut flour, you can use the double amount (in grams) of oat flour (80 grams). All-purpose flour might work too, but I haven't tried it.
- Sweetener: You could use coconut sugar, date sugar, or regular sugar. Use Erythritol (e.g. Swerve) for a keto version.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically