These soft, chewy gluten free pumpkin oatmeal cookies are packed with the season's best spices and flavors, and have that satisfying bite of an oatmeal cookie.
What to expect from these gluten free pumpkin oatmeal cookies
These pumpkin oatmeal cookies have the familiar chew of the best oatmeal cookies. But they're extra chewy and have lots of additional flavor from the addition of pumpkin butter (a cooked down version of lightly sweetened and spiced pumpkin puree) and lots of warm winter spices.
There is a bit of crispness, but only on the very edges. In fact, these cookies are so chewy that they never really freeze solid, if you do choose to freeze leftovers (what leftovers?).
When I'm baking for my family, I rarely include dried raisins or other dried fruit, like cranberries, in cookies. My family just doesn't care for the taste, I guess.
But when I'm making oatmeal cookies for anyone in the world outside my house, I make half of the batch with a combination of raisins and dried cranberries. The other half, I make with dark chocolate disks, like you see in the photos here.
Pumpkin and chocolate are a flavor match like few others, as well. You simply can't go wrong with dark chocolate pieces.
What is the raw dough like?
Unlike our recipe for classic gluten free oatmeal cookies and many of our other thick and chewy cookies, these cookies are a bit thinner and the cookie dough is much stickier. Don't expect to shape this dough by rolling it in your palms.
You don't really have to “shape” this dough at all. In fact, that's true of nearly every drop cookie. But shaping the raw dough helps us control for the shape and texture of the baked cookies.
Since the dough is sticky, it's easy to mix in a bowl with a mixing spoon. Scoop it in 2-tablespoonful mounds, then press it into a thick disk with wet fingers. The cookies will spread quite a bit during baking, so be sure to space the dough 2-inches apart.
Baking with pumpkin
My recipe for homemade pumpkin butter requires little more than cooking down pure packed pumpkin with maple syrup, apple juice, and pumpkin pie spices until reduced. Canned pumpkin puree has a ton of moisture, and moisture makes for cake-like baked goods.
A cake-like texture can be great—if that's what you want. But baking with pumpkin butter instead of pumpkin puree allows us to control the amount of moisture in the baked goods. And who doesn't love to have control?
I'm afraid that you cannot make this recipe with pumpkin puree in place of pumpkin butter. But you can easily make your own (scroll down for the recipe), or buy it—and we use it all season long. You won't regret it!
What is pumpkin pie spice?
If you buy a spice blend that is called “pumpkin pie spice,” you won't know precisely what the blend of spices, and how they are balanced. All you'll really know is how it smells all together—and whether you like the smell.
If you make your own pumpkin pie spice, with a mix of 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, you'll essentially have the blend that I like best.
If you're from the U.K., you might refer to it as “mixed spice,” which is also a cinnamon-dominant blend of spices, including most notably nutmeg and allspice. But these combinations are all very similar to one another.
Pumpkin pie spice is also very similar to apple pie spice, with a couple of differences. Pumpkin pie spice contains ground cloves, which is part of what gives it that tell-tale pumpkiny aroma. Apple pie spice doesn't contain cloves—and sometimes also contains cardamom.
Ingredients and substitutions
Especially since this recipe is made with melted butter, you should be able to replace it with Melt or Miyoko's Kitchen brand vegan butter in place of butter. The cookies may not brown as much, and may spread a bit more, though, so don't flatten the mounds of dough too much.
You can also try using virgin coconut oil, which is the type that is solid at room temperature. If you're at all concerned about the extremely mild coconut flavor, just use triple filtered coconut oil, which has no coconut flavor or aroma at all.
Since the butter is melted, you may be tempted to replace the butter with a fat that is liquid at room temperature, like a neutral oil. Please don't do that! The cookies will feel and taste greasy, and the texture will be all wrong.
There is only one whole egg in this recipe, and you should be able to replace it with a “chia egg.” Just mix 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, and all it to gel at room temperature before mixing it into the wet ingredients in the recipe as directed.
The egg yolk is different, though, and it adds to the tender, chewy texture of the cookies. In its place you can try adding another 1/2 tablespoon (7 g) unsalted butter, and replacing 2 of the tablespoons of all purpose gluten free flour with cornstarch.
“Purity protocol” certified gluten free oats, which are sold in the United States, are, in fact, free of gluten. For a complete discussion, please click over to our post analyzing exactly how to replace oats in gluten free baking.
If you can’t have oats, you can try replacing the old fashioned oats in this recipe with flattened (or beaten) rice. I've even used that substitution in our recipe for classic gluten free oatmeal cookies, and it's amazing how close the recipe gets to the “real” thing.
You cannot use pumpkin puree in place of pumpkin butter in this recipe. It simply has too much liquid and will make puffy, cake-like cookies—if it works at all.
You can buy ready-made pumpkin butter (Trader Joe's has a great version), or make your own. My recipe for homemade pumpkin butter is easy as can be. Just click on through.
Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies With Pumpkin
1/4 cup (84 g) pure maple syrup
1/2 cup (125 g) pumpkin butter, store-bought or homemade, at room temperature
12 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) + 1 egg yolk (25 g), at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (210 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (See Recipe Notes)
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups (150 g) certified gluten free rolled oats
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chunks, disks, or chips (See Recipe Notes)
Pumpkin pie spice: To make your own pumpkin pie spice, combine 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
Chocolate pieces: You can use any sort of chocolate pieces you like, or you can replace the chocolate with raisins and/or dried cranberries. Most of the people in my family do not like raisins in their oatmeal cookies, but that is a personal decision and this is a no-judgment zone!
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
In a medium-size bowl, place the maple syrup, pumpkin butter, melted butter, egg and egg yolk, and vanilla, whisk together vigorously until smooth and well-combined. Set the wet ingredients aside.
In a large mixing bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the oats, and mix to combine. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the pumpkin and butter mixture. Mix until just combined. Add the chocolate pieces, and mix again just until the pieces are evenly distributed throughout the cookie dough.
Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop or two spoons, scoop the dough in portions of about 2 tablespoons each and place them about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. They will spread quite a bit during baking. Using wet fingers, press each mound of dough with the tips of your fingers to flatten it into a disk about 3/4-inch thick.
Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven, and bake for about 14 minutes, or until lightly golden brown all over, and a bit browner around the edges. The cookies will still be soft to the touch. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet until firm (about 10 minutes) before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.