Crisp-tender pumpkin gluten free snickerdoodles made with pumpkin spice and butter are as perfect for fall baking as they are for Christmas plates everywhere!
All it takes is a well-suited recipe, like this one for slice and bake pumpkin gluten free snickerdoodles. Although growing up, I'd never even heard of snickerdoodles (still can't figure out why!), much less pumpkin butter.
The best gluten free pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies
Snickerdoodles are a holiday favorite, although of course they’re lovely any time of year. They’re a staple of Christmas cookie tins everywhere and are never without their cinnamon-sugar topping. So it wasn’t much of a leap to make them with pumpkin pie spice and my favorite pumpkin butter.
Despite their simplicity and many common ingredients, in person you’d never really confuse them with plain drop sugar cookies. Snickerdoodles of all sorts are made perfect crisp on the outside and chewy and tender inside with lots of cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is easily found in the spice section of most grocery stores, and it’s a must-have for snickerdoodle baking!
Making these cookies in the slice and bake style makes everything seem easier to me. You can make the dough ages ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or even the freezer. Then slice off what you like, coat in sugar and spice, and bake.
But if you’d prefer, you can simply roll the dough in heaping tablespoon-size pieces, flatten into disks, coat in the topping and bake. The slice and bake cookies will be a bit flatter, the others a bit puffier—but not by much.
The concentrated flavor of the pumpkin butter makes these cookies smell and taste like the very best fall has to offer, but without all the moisture that plain pumpkin puree would bring. The topping calls for a ton of pumpkin pie spice, to flavor the cookies and ensure a slightly darker color. If you’d prefer, you can always dial it back. Happy fall baking to all, and to all a good night!
What you need to make gluten free “pumpkin-doodle” cookies
- Gluten free flour – I developed this pumpkin snickerdoodle cookie recipe using Better Batter. If you use a different gluten free flour blend, be sure it is properly balanced, has a superfine rice flour, and contains xanthan gum; otherwise, you'll need to add some.
- Baking soda – A leavening agent, baking soda helps give these pumpkin cookies their fluffy texture.
- Cream of tartar – Cream of tartar also contributes to the cookie's texture, but also its taste: It's what gives snickerdoodle cookies that classic tangy flavor.
- Pumpkin pie spice – I use my own homemade blend, but you can use store-bought if you'd like.
- Sugar – We use sugar in the cookies, as well as for the crackly coating. Note we use granulated sugar; brown sugar won't produce the same texture and taste.
- Butter – We use quite a bit of butter for these fluffy, rich cookies for richness, mouth feel, and tenderness.
- Pumpkin butter – This is where the all that incredible pumpkin flavor comes from. Follow my recipe to make your own pumpkin butter using canned or homemade pumpkin puree or buy some rich pumpkin butter from the store.
- Egg – We use one whole egg and an additional egg yolk for structure, lift, and extra tenderness.
Tips for making the best pumpkin snickerdoodles
Measure your flour the right way
Using the right amount of flour is an important step in baking. Use too little, and your dough won't set up properly. Use too much, and you'll end up with puffy, possibly crumbly messes.
To be sure you use just the right amount of gf flour in this recipe for pumpkin snickerdoodles, I suggest you use a kitchen scale rather than a measuring cup.
Here's the thing: When you scoop flour out of a container with a cup, the force of that downward and then up movement can compact the flour into the cup. Depending on how vigorously you scoop, you could easily end up using 30% more flour than necessary.
Use a kitchen scale, and it's easy to measure out the precise 350 grams of flour you need for one batch of gf pumpkin snickerdoodles.
Chill the dough for easier handling
Depending on your environment, your snickerdoodle cookie dough could get sticky. If this happens, just put into the fridge until it firms up.
I also suggest that if you're going the slice and bake route, keep your dough in the fridge until you need it, and put the remaining dough back in between baking batches.
Don't overbake your pumpkin snickerdoodles
Nail this recipe, and you'll end up with deliciously chewy pumpkin snickerdoodles. Part of the formula involves removing the cookies from the oven at just the precise moment.
To keep from ending up with crunchy cookies, give them a look over once you reach 10 minutes of baking time. Unlike other types of cookies, you don't want to see any browning. Instead, look for a nice, even spread and crackling on top.
How to store gluten free pumpkin snickerdoodles
Freshly baked pumpkin snickerdoodles are the best. However, they'll retain their chewiness so long as you store them properly. To keep them from drying out and becoming stale, store them in an airtight container on your countertop. They'll last about 5 days.
Can I freeze pumpkin snickerdoodles?
Yes, you can freeze gf pumpkin snickerdoodles. Here are two ways:
- To freeze baked cookies, let them cool completely, and then pop into a ziptop storage bag. They'll stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, place them in the fridge until they're defrosted.
- To freeze cookie dough, portion into balls and flash freeze on a baking sheet. When the cookie dough balls are frozen, transfer them to a ziptop bag. When you're ready to bake, you can throw them right into the oven. Bake at 350°F at 12 to 14 minutes (rather than 10) to be sure they're baked through.
Gluten free pumpkin snickerdoodles: substitutions
Gluten free, dairy free snickerdoodles
The only dairy in this gf pumpkin snickerdoodle cookie recipe comes from the butter. You should easily be able to sub it out for your favorite vegan butter or vegetable spread.
Gluten free, egg free snickerdoodles
There's an egg and a half in this gluten free pumpkin snickerdoodle recipe, so you may be able to get away with using chia eggs. To make 1 chia egg, combine 1 tablespoon of ground white chia seeds with 1 tablespoon of warm water, stir, and then allow it to sit until it takes on a gel-like consistency.
Gluten free, vegan pumpkin cookies
To make vegan pumpkin snickerdoodles, follow my suggestions above for replacing the dairy and eggs.
Pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies without cream of tartar
Cream of tartar is the magic ingredient that gives snickerdoodle cookies their signature tangy flavor. I highly suggest you use this ingredient if you're aiming to recreate that taste.
But if you've run out of cream of tartar or otherwise don't want to use it, you can omit it and the baking soda use 2 teaspoons of baking powder instead. Your gf pumpkin cookies will still be chewy, but you won't get that added flavor dimension.
Pumpkin snickerdoodle variations
- Add some chocolate chips to your cookie dough for an added explosion of sweetness
- If you only want a little added sweetness, drizzle the cookies with icing
- For festive occasions, consider dipping these chewy pumpkin snickerdoodles in some white chocolate and then adding sprinkles
What do pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies taste like?
These gluten free pumpkin spice cookies are like sugar cookies that have been loaded with tons of pumpkin flavor. You get that delicious pumpkin taste courtesy of the pumpkin butter.
But you also get the distinctly festive flavor of pumpkin pie spice. There's cinnamon, just like traditional snickerdoodle cookies, but there's also the ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg that come together to scream, “Autumn is here!”
What's the best flour for making these gf pumpkin cookies?
I developed this gluten free pumpkin snickerdoodle cookie recipe using Better Batter, my favorite purpose gluten free flour. You can likely use a similar recipe, such as Cup4Cup, but as I haven't tried it myself, I cannot guarantee your results.
How do you know when these pumpkin spice snickerdoodle cookies are done?
It can be difficult to tell when pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies are done because you don't want to wait until they start to turn brown (they'll be overcooked by that point).
The best way to ensure you don't end up with crunchy cookies rather than soft and chewy pumpkin snickerdoodles is to keep an eye on your kitchen timer. After 10 minutes of baking, take a peek at them. If they've spread and taken on a crackled appearance, they're ready.
Can I use pumpkin pie filling to make these snickerdoodle pumpkin cookies?
No, you cannot use canned pumpkin pie filling in place of the pumpkin butter in this recipe. While pumpkin pie filling is sweetened and spiced like pumpkin butter, it's not reduced the same way, so it won't have the same thick, creamy texture.
Besides, this recipe was developed to account for the sweetness of pumpkin butter, so using pumpkin pie filling would like result in an overly sweet cookie.
Can I make pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies without cream of tartar?
You can omit the cream of tartar in these gluten free fall cookies if you'd like, but be warned that doing so will take away the tanginess for which these treats are known.
To make the substitution, skip the cream of tartar and the baking soda, and use 2 teaspoons of baking powder in their place.
Why are my pumpkin spice snickerdoodles so puffy?
Overly puffy pumpkin-doodle cookies are typically a result of using too much flour.
Remember, when measuring gluten free flour (or any flour, really), you should use a kitchen scale rather than just a measuring cup. Scooping flour out of a bag or jar can compact it, causing you to use more than the recipe calls for.
Why did my pumpkin pie snickerdoodles spread so much?
The most common reason for gluten free pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies that have spread too much is too low of a baking temperature.
Remember, most ovens aren't properly calibrated, so even if the display reads 350°F, your oven could be off by 50°F or more.
When your oven temperature is too low, the butter in your cookies will melt before the cookie can set up enough to hold its shape. This results in super-flat cookies that are typically overcooked.
Pumpkin Gluten Free Snickerdoodles Recipe, below
Homemade Gluten Free Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies | Chewy & Tender!
For the cookies
- 2 ½ cups (350 g) all purpose gluten free flour blend (I used Better Batter; click thru for full info on appropriate blends)
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (See Recipe Notes)
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- 12 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 4 ounces pumpkin butter (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 (50 g (weighed out of shell)) egg at room temperature, beaten
- 1 (25 g) egg yolk at room temperature
For the topping
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (See Recipe Notes)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.
- In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar, pumpkin pie spice and sugar, and whisk to combine well.
- Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the pumpkin butter, butter, egg, and egg yolk, mixing to combine after each addition. The dough will be thick, but soft.
- Divide the dough equally among two large pieces of unbleached parchment paper or plastic wrap.
- Roll each piece of dough in the paper or plastic into a cylinder about 1 ½-inches in diameter, and roll to wrap tightly, twisting the ends to seal.
- If the dough is too soft to shape properly, place on a baking sheet and in the freezer for about 10 minutes or until firm enough to shape and slice.
- When you are ready to bake the cookies, in a small bowl, place the pumpkin pie spice and sugar for the topping in a shallow bowl, and whisk to combine well.
- Unwrap the cookie dough one roll at a time, and slice it in cross-section into about 24 pieces, each about ½ inch thick.
- Press each disk of dough into the topping mixture on both sides, and on the edges if you can manage.
- Place the disks of dough on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 ½-inches apart (the cookies will spread during baking).
- Place the baking sheets, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies have spread to about double their original size, have a crackled appearance on top and appear set.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets until firm (about 5 minutes).
- Repeat with the remaining dough.