The best soft-baked cake mix pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting! These homemade bakery-style iced pumpkin cookies are a delicious fall baking recipe and a great cake mix cookie idea. The easy pumpkin cookie recipe needs only 4 ingredients and 20 minutes prep.
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Soft pumpkin cookies with cake mix
When it comes to homemade pumpkin cookies, you have this important question to answer: do you like your pumpkin cookies chewy or crisp?
If you say chewy pumpkin cookies, you’re in the right place. These soft-baked cake mix pumpkin cookies have a texture, similar to pumpkin muffin tops. They are frosted with a fluffy layer of cream cheese icing. So soft and delicious!
Now grab a glass of milk or maybe even this tasty pumpkin spice milk, and let’s bake some pumpkin spice cookies!
The cookies start with a can of pumpkin and spice cake mix. The rest are things you probably already have on hand. Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements and ingredients.
- Spice cake mix: Duncan Hines Signature Spice Cake Mix and Betty Crocker Super Moist Spice Cake Mix work great. You can also use yellow, vanilla, or white cake and add 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
- Pumpkin puree: For the best texture, opt for canned pumpkin puree. I recommend Libby’s because it’s dense and flavorful. When you use homemade pumpkin puree, make sure it isn’t watery. I explain how to thicken pumpkin puree in the baking tips section.
- Butter: Let the butter sit out on the counter to soften. I recommend unsalted butter because the cake mix contains some salt, but salted butter will also work.
- Egg: You need 1 large egg to give the cookies their soft, cake-like texture. Again, allow the egg to warm up to mix easily into the batter.
- Frosting: I used my pumpkin bread cream cheese frosting to ice the cookies. It’s made with cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
These spice cake pumpkin cookies are so simple and easy that they will definitely become a go-to fall treat at your house! Not to mention that you can even buy pre-made frosting to make it easier!
#1: Mix cookie dough
- Cream butter. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter until creamy and fluffy, for about 2 minutes.
- Add wet ingredients. Add the pumpkin and egg and beat until blended.
- Stir in cake mix. Add the spice cake mix to the wet mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined.
#2: Bake cookies
- Scoop cookies. Scoop heaped tablespoons of the batter on parchment lined baking sheet. Space the cookies 2 in / 5 cm apart as they will spread while baking.
- Bake. Bake the cookies at 350°F for 16 to 20 minutes, until puffy and cooked through.
- Cool. Take out of the oven and let sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Then remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
#3: Frost cookies
- Mix frosting. Add the butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and beat on high until well combined and light in color, about 4 to 5 minutes. Next, beat in the vanilla. Turn the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Mix the mixture on high until light and fluffy in texture, about 3 minutes. If the consistency seems too soft, put the frosting in the fridge for a bit to firm up.
- Decorate. Generously ice the cooled pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting. Optionally, sprinkle with ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
While it’s incredibly easy to make this pumpkin dessert, there are a few things you need to know to get the best cake mix pumpkin cookies.
- Soften the butter: The butter should be soft but not melty. Letting it sit on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes should do the trick. This time might even be shorter if you live in a hot climate.
- Use only 1 cup pumpkin: You need 1 cup pumpkin, which is about half the can. Please don’t add more to the batter. I found that this amount is perfect to get soft-baked cookies.
- Avoid pumpkin pie filling: Only use canned pumpkin or thick pumpkin puree. This won’t water down the cookie batter and will give you perfectly baked cookies.
- Use a cookie scoop: A cookie scoop is the best way to achieve uniform-looking cookies. I like to use this cookie scoop. It holds 1.5 tablespoons of dough, which is the perfect size for these cookies.
- Watch the baking time: Watch your spice cake mix pumpkin cookies closely while they bake. Overbaking will make them dry and hard – not at all what we want. The cookies take 16 to 20 minutes to bake. Mine are perfect after 18 minutes.
- Let the cookies cool before icing: When the pumpkin cake cookies come out of the oven, let them sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer them onto a cooling rack. Let the cookies cool completely before putting on the icing. The cream cheese frosting will melt on cookies that are still warm.
Blot fresh pumpkin puree
Homemade pumpkin puree contains more water than canned. Blotting is a way to dry your pumpkin puree and get rid of the excess moisture. Here’s what you want to do:
- Spread 1 cup pumpkin puree on a large plate and place paper towels over the top.
- Lightly press to absorb the liquid.
- Repeat the step at least four more times until hardly any liquid transfers to the paper towel. It needs to reduce down to just 1/2 cup from 1 cup.
- Repeat with another cup of pumpkin puree so you’ll end up with 1 cup blotted pumpkin puree.
Add-ins & variations
With this cake mix pumpkin cookie recipe, you can add extra ingredients and create new flavors. Here are a few ideas to customize the cookies:
- Chocolate cake mix: To switch things up, swap out spice cake mix with chocolate cake mix.
- Nuts: For extra warmth and nuttiness, stir in 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts. You can even toast them in the oven at 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4 for 5 to 7 minutes to bring out their flavor.
- Chocolate chips: For a bit of decadence, stir 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips into the batter.
- Raisins: For extra sweetness and chewy texture, fold 3/4 cup raisins into the cookie dough.
- Maple glaze: The cookies would also be fabulous with a drizzle of maple glaze on top. To make it, mix 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 tbsp butter and 2 to 3 tbsp maple syrup.
How to store cake mix pumpkin cookies
Spice cake mix and pumpkin cookies store well. Here are some tips to keep them fresh and flavorful:
- Uniced: Uniced pumpkin cookies store perfectly in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days.
- Frosted: Cake mix pumpkin cookies with cream cheese icing should be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days. Always store them in a single layer, as you can’t stack frosted pumpkin cookies.
- Serve: Before eating, let them sit on the counter for 10 minutes so you can enjoy truly soft pumpkin cookies.
- Freeze: If you want to store them longer, you can freeze the unfrosted cookies for a month.
Gift cake mix pumpkin cookies
Whether you need a hostess gift, visit a friend, or want to say thank you to someone special – chewy pumpkin spice cookies are an excellent homemade food gift idea for fall.
You can put pumpkin cake mix cookies on a plate and take to your neighbor or to work, or bring them to a bake sale, party, or luncheon.
I also like to gift soft pumpkin cookies without frosting. I simply put them into a decorative jar, for example, this gorgeous apothecary jar, and use natural twine to attach a free printable gift tag. Nice and easy!
And don’t forget to download more printable fall gift tags and get more DIY fall food gift ideas.
Reasons to love pumpkin cookies with spice cake mix
- Taste: Cake mix pumpkin cookies embody fall in the most perfect way. The aromatic flavor of spiced pumpkin with the light tanginess of the cream cheese frosting makes this recipe so scrumptious.
- Texture: The cookies have a soft texture similar to muffin tops and are frosted with a luscious cream cheese icing.
- Ease: Making pumpkin cookies with cake mix is super simple and straightforward. You’ll have no trouble baking these beauties.
More pumpkin baking recipes to try
If you’re looking for more ways to use leftover canned pumpkin or dessert recipes using canned pumpkin thanks to these 4-ingredient pumpkin cookies, try some of these other treats. The recipes are easy and will be hit with your family!
- Cake Mix Pumpkin Muffins
- Classic Pumpkin Pie
- 4-Ingredient Pumpkin Bread
- Libby’s Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Pie Bars
- Crustless Pumpkin Pie
The post was first published in September 2019. The recipe has been updated with new content and photos in October 2022.