Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Icing


Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Icing – deliciously soft and tender cookies filled with pumpkin flavor and finished with a rich tempting frosting.

I found these cookies on Martha Stewart and they had my name written all over them with their pumpkin and browned butter combo, it’s what I live on lately.

I made several of my own adjustments to the recipe such as slightly altering the spice amounts, replacing some of the brown sugar with granulated sugar, using salted butter and reducing the amount of salt added and omitting the vanilla from the icing (because really all you need is the browned butter flavor).

Then the biggest change I made was replacing the evaporated milk with a smaller amount of sour cream in the cookie dough batter and replacing the evaporated milk in the icing with half and half. These cookies are Heavenly! They are so soft, pillow-y and moist. The icing, which is more of a frosting really, reminds me of a caramel or penuche frosting. I love how browned butter combined with sugar can instantly create a caramel like flavor.

You wouldn’t believe how quickly these cookies disappeared! Everyone loved them including me. I love trying a new cookie recipe and finding it is a definite keeper. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Icing

Deliciously soft and tender cookies filled with pumpkin flavor and finished with a rich tempting frosting. 

Servings: 54
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup salted butter , softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 recipe Browned Butter Icing , recipe follows

Browned Butter Icing

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 10 Tbsp salted butter , diced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup half and half


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt, set aside. In the bowl an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and set on medium speed, whip together butter, light-brown sugar and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 - 4 minutes.
  2.  Add in eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until combine. Mix in sour cream and vanilla extract, then mix in pumpkin puree. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combine (be sure to scrape down bowl throughout entire mixing process).
  3. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the cookie dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip and pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheets, spacing cookies at least 1 inch apart*. Bake in preheated oven about 12 minutes until tops spring back when touched. Allow to cool several minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack. Cool completely then prepare icing and spread icing over cookies. Store in an airtight container in a single layer in refrigerator and rest at room temperature before serving.
  4. *Alternately you can drop dough by the tablespoonfuls onto the lined baking sheets (they just won't look as nicely circular). You can make them larger than listed in the recipe (which is what I did after the first batch because the 1 1/2-inch rounds yields pretty small cookies). If you do decide to pipe them bigger just allow a little more space between each cookie.

Browned Butter Icing

  1. Measure 4 cups of powdered sugar into a mixing bowl, set aside. Brown butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally (butter will melt, after a few minutes it will splatter, then it will foam, then golden brown flecks will begin to appear in the center of the foamy bubbles. This is when you remove it from heat - I wait for for the flecks to expand to about a 1 1/2 to 2-inch circle over the foam then immediately remove). 
  2. Carefully pour browned butter over powdered sugar in mixing bowl, use a rubber spatula to scrape any excess butter and browned bits from pan. Add half and half and stir mixture until smooth. Spread over cookies, adding additional half and half, about 1 - 2 tsp at a time, to icing mixture to thin as it will thicken as it sits.
  3. Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Martha Stewart
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pumpkin cookies
Author: Jaclyn


  • Michele: OMG!! I just made these cookies and they are incredible. The browned butter frosting compliments the pumpkin/spice of the cookies. They are really delicious. Another winner. You’ve become my go-to site for recipes!! Thank you Jacklyn!! November 1, 2013 at 4:07pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: That’s great to hear Michele! I’m so excited my site has become your go to for recipes! So glad you liked these cookies too! Thanks for leaving a comment! November 5, 2013 at 6:52pm Reply

  • BreakThru Radio: […] time and short and the dessert itself is well worth the effort.The cookie recipe is adapted from Cooking Classy.What you'll need for the cookies:1/2 cup unbleached whole wheat flour1 cup unbleached all-purpose […] October 7, 2013 at 10:55pm Reply

  • Jillian: Hi there – these cookies look awesome!! I’m thinking of making some to package up as gifts – does the frosting harden as it sits, so they would stack ok, or does it stay pretty soft? September 22, 2013 at 2:51pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: The frosting seems to dry on the outsides a bit but it still stays soft, so I probably wouldn’t recommend stacking them. I hope you make them and love them though! September 22, 2013 at 6:10pm Reply

  • Loretta E.: I have the same feeling about browned butter. That perfect frosting swirl is just killing me… November 26, 2012 at 3:02pm Reply

  • Emily: Just made these… Delicious!! My 8 year old son loves them!! He can’t stop talking about them! :-) November 21, 2012 at 1:33pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So great to hear! I love comments letting me know you/family enjoyed, thanks! Also good news because aren’t kids the worst critics sometimes =). I hope you have a great Thanksgiving! November 21, 2012 at 4:58pm Reply

    • Emily: Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!! Kids are definitely the toughest critics! My family will be enjoying your Pumpkin Bars this afternoon! Can’t wait to try them! November 22, 2012 at 8:41am Reply

  • Anonymous: Thanks! I have been looking for a fluffy pumpkin cookie recipe for awhile….these would be really good with maple frosting too. Any recommendations about how to go about making that? November 20, 2012 at 5:12pm Reply

  • são33: Essas bolachas ficaram lindas era capaz de comer já umas quantas.
    bjs November 20, 2012 at 2:32pm Reply

  • Sara: Love! Browned butter is awesome. :) November 20, 2012 at 1:03pm Reply

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