Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies: Make your own Halloween fun

Halloween is one of the fastest-growing holidays in America, in terms of dollars spent. What used to be an exercise in creative reuse of on-hand materials for costumes (my older sister drew a body-sized peanut on an old pillowcase one year, cut holes for her head and arms, and went as a Goober) and parties (my brother is famous for Halloween parties with honest-to-God bobbing for apples: each contestant is timed with a stopwatch) has become a blockbuster for the local party store.

If you’d like to get back to the make-your-own fun style of doing things, allow me to propose making some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

This is really a simple recipe, which is a good thing, because you have plenty to do if you’re getting kids ready for Halloween. It also makes 5 dozen, which is handy if you have a lot of people to feed.

Here we go. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
Cream the butter and sugar, scrape,pmkn3scrape.JPG

then in go the pumpkin, eggs, and flavorings. The orange zest is optional; if you ‘re baking for kids who might not be up for that kind of taste combination, by all means leave it out.


The mixture will break and look icky; that’s OK. If this freaks you out, you can alternate adding some of the dry ingredients between eggs. The mixture will look better as it develops, but it will bake up the same way however you add the flour mixture.


Mix in the chips and walnuts, then scoop


and bake.


If you want to do the extra step in decorating, press a couple of chocolate chips into the cookies for eyes right after you take the cookies out of the oven.


You can get as creative as you want with this idea…


The glaze is easy to whisk together. The recipe says you can just dip the tops in the glaze, like this:


But I like the pumpkin look. All it takes is a disposable pastry bag.

Here’s one of my favorite hints: since you really need three hands to fill one of these, try putting the bag inside a tall narrow container with a heavy base, like a vase or a beer mug. Then you can have both hands available to encourage the icing into the bag.


The mug will hold the bag open as you pour.


Hint number two: never fill a pastry bag more than 2/3 full, and close up the back. Spring clips or twist ties both work.


This step is especially important if you’re going to be working with kids, who tend to squeeze the middle of the bag and have a big mess back up over their hands.


Fun, but messy, and doesn’t help you concentrate on your piping.

Get ready to draw: snip a small triangle off the bottom of the bag (the opening should be about 1/8” across).


Now, trace the outside edge of the cookie, then move up and down to make the ribs of the pumpkin.


This recipe is just right for whole wheat: white whole wheat, in particular, can step into recipes that feature high moisture ingredients like apples and pumpkin. You simply can’t tell that you aren’t eating white flour. So go ahead, make the switch. Just don’t tell the kids until after!


Read, review, and rate (please!) our recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Susan Reid

Chef Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently the Food Editor of Sift magazine. She does demos, appearances, and answers food (and baking) questions from all quarters.


  1. Jackie

    This is perfect timing! I’m having a Halloween party at my house for ten first-graders, and I think these cookies will be a hit. How are they to store? In other words, how far ahead should I bake them? Does the glaze hold up well in storage? You can always bake the cookies ahead and decorate them just before the party. The icing will stand up for a day or so-but for sturdier storage you could try using royal icing. Joan at the baker’s hot line

  2. Deb in MN

    This sounds like a wonderful cookie. I’m forwarding the recipe to my mom and dad, they like to cook lower fat cookies because my dad has some heart disease. I’m wonderering if you could subtitute applesauce for some of the butter-I know the end result wouldn’t be exactly the same, but it seems like it would work OK for this recipe-what do you think?
    DebDear Deb: The pumpkin in this recipe is already working the way an applesauce substitution would; more water will make the cookies even more cakey. If I were in your shoes I’d consider substituting a combination of 1/4 cup nonfat yogurt (drain it in a fine sieve for an hour before using to thicken it) and another 1/4 cup pumpkin or applesauce for half of the butter in the recipe. Susan

  3. Pam

    These look yummy, but I’ve never been a big fan of the pumpkin and chocolate combination. Could I substitute raisins for the chocolate chips, and if so, would I use the same amount (2 cups)? Yes you may use the same amount of raisens instead of chocolate. Joan at the Bakers Hot Line

  4. Gail Strauss

    I have always liked your recipes but for the past several months, I have not been able to get them. Everything is in real big print and all over the place. It will not just show the recipe that I have clicked, just gives categories. I am able to get the blog though. I was wondering what happened, did you change anything on your web site? I really would like some of the recipes that I have seen recently, they really look scrumptious. Have you tried clicking on print? This may help. Joan at the Baker’s Hot Line

  5. Sandy

    Oh YUM!!!!! I am going to make these for my husband to take to work for his employees next week. I am sure they will love them….I can’t wait to taste them myself and I am very sure my 7 y/o grandson (who stops by every day on the way home from school for a cookie) will love them!

  6. Beth Ann Ferguson

    I have used King Arthur Flour for so many years, I can’t count them. Within the last 6 months at my grocery store, a 5 lb. bag of All Purpose flour is selling for $5.65. I find it hard to spend that much for my flour, so I am trying others. Gold Medal is awful-nothing consistent about it. I am so sorry but I am on a tight budget and find it hard to spend that much for flour. I have followed so the King Arthur history and know that I am supporting you employees as owners and have told so many people I know about your story. I am so sorry to let you know that I will probably not be a customer in the future.

    We’re sorry we’ll lose you, too, Beth Ann- maybe temporarily, as hopefully the price will come down at your store – it’s around $4.29 here now. I think, at under $1/pound, King Arthur Flour still a heckuva good buy, considering how much per pound most food costs… PJH

  7. Kimberly

    I make something similar to this cookie, minus the chocolate chips. In my icing I put in pumpkin spice and it taste good with it. A big hit with my friends.

  8. diane

    I agree with Beth Ann that, like everything, King Arthur Flour has gone up in price. I still believe it is more than worth at the more expensive price, but if Beth Ann is able to get to a Trader Joe’s she will find that Kind Arthur Flour is no more expensive than the “other” brands at the grocery store. I know Trader Joe’s is not everywhere yet but hopefully that will be an option.

    Thanks, Diane – I can’t wait for TJ’s to expand their presence, as they’re an AWESOME store. I travel 3 hours to get to one (well, I’m going that way anyway to see the in-laws’, but still…) – PJH

  9. Linda

    I have a partial bag of King Arthur white whole wheat flour – can I substitute this for the white all purpose?

    Sure, Linda, go for it. Cookies might be a bit denser, but they’re dense/moist anyway… PJH

  10. Melissa

    What a coincidence, I made these just before the recipe appeared on the blog! I used all White Whole Wheat Flour and got great results! I’m always trying to sneak white whole and wheat flour into things. LOL They came out moist and my children and their friends loved them. These will stay on my list of must-bake fall cookies!

  11. Sue E. Conrad

    Oh, if my husband only liked pumpkin……………hm-m-m, of course, now that I think about it, the cookies would be an entirely different consistency than a pumpkin pie. It’s a textural thing with him – hence, no squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, or lima beans; even his mother couldn’t get him to eat them! Ah, well, he likes almost everything else.

    I’ve got to admit that I don’t let the price of K.A. flour deter me from buying it; the fact that it’s just so far superior to any other flour on the market is enough to override any cost. Sort of like being a Red Sox fan, no matter what!!

  12. Cindy Young

    If you consider that flour has nearly tripled in cost over the past year, I think King Arthur has done an amazing job of keeping their prices reasonable. My market does not stock KA flour and I make a trip to another market specifically to buy it. I do a lot of baking and rely on the consistent results I get. You really do get what you pay for – both in product and commitment. Thanks for all you do for the bakers of the world!

  13. Casey

    EXACTLY the treat I was looking for to have in our store on Halloween. We make a big production of the day and wear costumes. First year it was Alice in Wonderland, last year Peter Pan, this year The Wizard of Oz. We let our customers know in advance, have cookies on hand and post a picture on our website. This year we have a store cat who will stand in for Toto 🙂 Now Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies will become part of our tradition!

  14. Sue

    Try a warehouse club if there is one in the area. BJ’s sells 10 pound bags for a lot less than the grocery store. It is also on sale at a local grocery store. I stock up and put it in the freezer.

  15. Karen

    Beth Ann, I purchased a 25 pound bag of KA all purpose flour in March and am using up the last cups now. I just checked the website and it is currently priced at $19.95. It was very convenient since I bake 1 to 3 times each week. I committed to doing my own baking about 2 years ago for health and economy.

    I also appreciate the cost comparison given on the blog recipes, thanks!

  16. Linda

    I usually make the Pumpkin Rocks from “Maida Heatter’s Cookies” cookbook. Because the recipes are so similar, I will now be using KA white whole wheat flour in them. The rocks do not spread out, hence their name. They look more like golf balls instead of half a pumpkin. But they may help some of the writers who wanted to make some changes in the KA recipe. To make 48 large pumpkin rocks, add 1/4 cup more flour; 1 more teas. baking powder; reduce the cinnamon, add nutmeg, cloves & allspice; reduce the butter to 4 oz.; and add 1/2 cup more white sugar. The rocks call for 1 cup raisins and 2 cups nuts and no chocolate. My family loves these little pumpkin “cakes”. Thanks for the great seasonal recipes.

  17. Peggy

    I just made these and love them! I also tried a few with raisins and they were great too. Next time I am thinking I might add a little ground cloves. I found that they baked much faster than 18 minutes, and my glaze was too runny. Next time I’ll put the milk in a little at a time instead of all at once. I love how they stay fat instead of flattening out in baking.

  18. Mary Ann

    What did I do wrong? They were more like little muffins than cookies? Mine were very soft and puffy. Hello Mary Ann – Did you use a mixer or did you do these by hand? Is it possible you over creamed the butter with the sugar? And/or over mixed while adding your eggs? If so, you may have developed too much air in your batter. Mixers can overdue it if you are not careful. Puffy pumpkins are not a bad thing, or? More room for decorations! Elisabeth @ King Arthur Flour

  19. Lisa!

    I made these yesterday and they are very good. Not as crispy as most cookies, but that was fine. My son loved them and can’t wait to take them to school today.

    I’m tired of trying to buy cookies at the store and having them all contain high fructose corn syrup. Give me good ol’ sugar any day. Lisa – I simply agree. I’ll take baking my own goodies over convience any day. Tastes better and good for the soul. Happy baking! Elisabeth @ King Arthur Flour

    1. Barbara Harris

      I did exactly the same thing and wondered what had happened to my cookies. They do look a lot like pumpkins puffy but with the second batch I press them down a bit with what fingertips and they look a little bit more like the picture. I guess I got a little over anxious with my big mixer.

  20. Gayle

    I made these this morning and they were delicious! I don’t like nuts, and I was worried about omitting them; would they flatten out too much without the nuts? I needn’t have worried. They turned out fabulous! Nice and moist rounds–much better than store-bought. I didn’t have enough powdered sugar, but the cookies tasted so good without the frosting, that I don’t feel any compulsion to frost them on future tries. Oh so yummy! (By the way, I doubled the recipe and used a 29 oz. can of pumpkin instead of two 15 oz. cans, and they were plenty moist. I have a 6-quart mixer, and it handled the double batch beautifully.)

  21. Connie

    I wonder if different brands of canned pumpkin change the consistency? I made the cookies with a store brand of pumpkin and the batter was very thin. I had to use at least 2 more cups of flour than the recipe.

  22. Philip

    My icing came out runny. It is nowhere near the consistency of what your pictures showed. What did I do wrong. I used skim milk. Is that the culprit?
    Dear Philip: There could be some variation in the confectioners’ sugar, if it’s cut with dextrose, which some generic and store brands are, that could make the difference. In general, the rule of thumb I try to teach is “never add all of anything to anything else at once”; that way you have more wiggle room to make adjustments for what you’re seeing. And skim milk would certainly thin things out more than heavy cream or half and half would. You can always thicken the glaze with more sugar; just be sure it’s sifted or pushed through a strainer to take out the lumps first. Susan

  23. Eric Hirsh

    Made these cookies today(hot and humid), used pumpkin my wife and I put up last year, needed to add about 1/2 cup of flour more to make it stiff (moist pumpkin in Ct), but I wanted to know if anybody as added craisins ? or maybe pecans not walnuts. They did remind of scones, very nice cookie.

    1. PJ Hamel

      Eric, feel free to use whatever “add-ins” you like. I’m guessing Craisins would be not only yummy, but attractive, too. Enjoy! PJH

  24. Donna s

    I have been making this cookie recipe for three years,my kids and grand kids love it, I use air baked cookie sheets, all my cookies don’t run on them, too keep moist I put them in frig, bake cookies one pan at a time. I have three of your cook books, I use them all the time.

    1. PJ Hamel

      Eve, dried cranberries or hulled sunflower seeds are both complementary substitutions for the nuts. Enjoy — PJH

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