Pumpkin Spice Cookies that Melt in Your Mouth

Pumpkin Spice Cookies on a Cooling Rack

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Vanilla Butter Icing are a vintage-inspired, melt-in-your-mouth, light and airy cookie, so delicious it will become a fall tradition.

The Story Behind this Pumpkin Spice Cookie

Email inboxes have a way of becoming untidy. Which then becomes a dreaded chore we often procrastinate. Wondering what emails have to do with pumpkin cookies? I’m getting to that…

It was in one of those read/delete/save/sort sessions when I happened across an email from my Auntie Betty, who is to this day a fabulous cook and baker. It was a recipe for pumpkin cookies — sent in 2012! Did I mention… procrastinating? Seven years… I like to look at it as a lost treasure. 

In that recipe email was an addendum that read in part:

“This recipe came from Grace Jio, a Japanese lady we would take to Sunday School every week. She used to bring these pumpkin cookies to share and they were always a hit.”

Sold — I had to try them!

closeup of frosted pumpkin spice cookies

Converting a Vintage Recipe

I love old, tried and true recipes passed down between friends and family. You know they’re good or they never would have survived.

As is true for these Pumpkin Spice Cookies.

The original recipe contained shortening, cinnamon, and 1/2 cup raisins and nuts. I decided to tweak it a little by substituting butter for the shortening, adding pumpkin pie spice and eliminating the raisins and nuts. But honestly, raisins and nuts would be amazingly delicious.

The icing is the same. The sugar in the recipe is a smaller amount than we’re used to today. For my son, he loves the icing. For me? I like them without. So we make them both ways! Happy house. 

Pumpkin Spice Cookies on a Metal Rack

Pumpkin Spice Cookies on a Cooling Rack

Easy Pumpkin Cookies with Vanilla Butter Icing

Yield: 36 Cookies
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Vanilla Butter Icing are a vintage-inspired, melt-in-your-mouth, light, and airy cookie, so delicious it will become a fall tradition.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a medium-size bowl.
  3. In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Then add the egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla; stir until combined.
  4. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the pumpkin butter mixture. Using a cookie scoop, transfer mounds of pumpkin cookie batter to the prepared cookie sheet. Two spoons work well too. Bake in the preheated oven for 17 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Cool on a wire rack and make the icing.
  6. To Make the Icing: In a small saucepan, bring 3 tablespoons of butter and 4 tablespoons of milk to a boil. Stir in 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Let the mixture cool and then stir in powdered sugar until you reach spreading consistency.


Depending on the size of your cookie scoop or spoons, you should have between 28 and 36 cookies.

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