Easy to make pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies are as charming as they are delicious. But surprise, don't let them fool you! There is no pumpkin in the ingredient list.
This simple cookie recipe celebrates the pumpkin, but not the ingredient itself. It's all about the look and shape, and not about a pumpkin spice flavor.
**Please Note - The printable recipe card with detailed instructions and complete ingredient measurements for making Pumpkin Shaped Sugar Cookies is available near the end of this post. OR click on the "jump to recipe" button (found above) to be taken directly to the recipe.
The ingredient list:
**Note - The following lists of ingredients plus kitchen tools and equipment contain affiliate links (highlighted in blue) for your consideration and shopping convenience. #CommissionsEarned
- brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- baking soda
- cream of tartar
- kosher salt
- pure vanilla extract
- all-purpose flour
- green and orange gel food color
Kitchen tools and equipment needed:
- hand mixer or stand mixer
- mixing bowls
- measuring cups and spoons
- baking sheets
- parchment paper
- wooden spoon or spatula
- small cookie scoop
- flat bottom glass
- paring knife
- gel food color
Do some kitchen equipment upgrading:
Wilton Navy and Gold Kitchen Collection
How this recipe came to be:
Every year for Christmas it's a tradition for me to make my family's favorite sugar cookie.
I've shared the recipe back in 2010 and dubbed it "Santa's Favorite Cookie."
This year, I decided to mix things up a little, so I used the same recipe (basically), and made pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies as a special surprise they didn't see coming!
Needless to say, the cookies were gobbled up quickly. 🙂
When is the proper time to color the dough?
After the cookie dough is thoroughly mixed, divided the dough into two pieces. One large, and one small.
The larger section of dough should be colored orange for all the pumpkin bodies, and the smaller piece of dough I colored green for all the pumpkin stems.
What is cream of tartar?
Cream of tartar is a leavening agent similar to baking powder.
The cream of tartar combined with the baking soda will give the pumpkin cookies a nice little lift, and will balance the flavor of the cookies.
Can the colored cookie dough be frozen before shaping and baking the cookies?
Wrap the colored dough well in cling wrap and freeze, unbaked, for up to 2 months.
When ready to make the pumpkin cookies, thaw the dough completely, shape the cookies as instructed, and bake.
Can these pumpkin sugar cookies be frozen after baking?
Store them in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Additional fall pumpkin-free desserts:
*Acorn Cookies with Peanut Butter and Banana (pictured below)
"These acorn cookies are just as cute as can be! They have a delicious peanut butter and banana flavor, and I promise you’ll go NUTS for them."
*Thanksgiving Turkey Cupcakes from Crayons and Cravings
*Easy Apple Pie Wedges (pictured below)
"You’re going to love how easy and delicious these apple pie wedges are to make…and eat. With store-bought or homemade pie crust, apple pie wedges are utterly delicious!!"
*Cranberry Pear Galette from Hearth and Vine
*Chocolate Covered Shoestring Haystacks (pictured below)
*Cinnamon Bundt Cake from The Greedy Gourmet
*Pumpkin-Free Pumpkin Sugar Cookies (pictured below) THIS IS THE PLACE!!
How to make pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies:
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
- Add a beaten egg and vanilla extract. Blend to combine.
- Add the all-purpose flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt to the bowl.
- Blend to thoroughly combine.
- Remove a small portion of the dough (about ¼ cup) to a small bowl.
- Add orange gel food color to the large bowl of dough and mix until no streaks are left.
- Add a small amount of green gel color to the small bowl of dough.
- Mix well.
- Use a tablespoon or small scoop and roll the orange dough into balls the size of golf balls.
- Once rolled, drop the dough balls into a small bowl of granulated sugar and roll to coat the entire ball in sugar.
- Place the sugared cookie balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup.
- Make a small indentation on the top of each flattened cookie (where the stem will go).
- Use a paring knife to slice each pumpkin cookie with four curved pumpkin lines.
- Use a small amount of green dough and form into a cone shape.
- Press each cone-shaped stem onto the top of each pumpkin.
- Use the paring knife to add two small slits to the stem (if desired).
- Bake the cookies in a preheated 350-degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned, but not dark.
- Cool completely on a baking rack.
- Continue the same process with the remaining dough.
- This recipe makes approximately 3½ dozen cookies.
Below is the printable recipe card along with the exact ingredient measurements and nutritional information for making today's pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies.
If you've made this recipe, or are excited to make this recipe, I'd appreciate it if you'd take a moment to leave it a star rating in the recipe card, along with a comment if you're so inclined. I thank you most sincerely! 🙂
Printable Recipe Card
Pumpkin Shaped Sugar Cookies
- 2 sticks butter softened (I use salted butter)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar divided
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- orange gel food color
- green gel food color
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to cream the butter, brown sugar, and ½ cup granulated sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Blend in the beaten egg and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and all-purpose flour.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and blend until a soft dough forms and the ingredients are completely blended.
- Remove ¼ cup of the dough to a small bowl and add a few drops of green gel color. Mix well.
- Add a few drops of orange gel color to the large bowl and mix until well combined and no streaks remain.
- Scoop the orange dough out by the tablespoonful (or use a small scoop) and roll into balls approximately the size of a golf ball. Roll each ball into the remaining granulated sugar to coat.
- Place the orange sugared balls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper (optional), and use a glass with a flat bottom (or a measuring cup) to flatten each ball into a disc.
- Press a small dimple into the top of each pumpkin (where the stem will go), and use a paring knife to carefully cut four rounded slits onto each pumpkin.
- Use the green dough to form a small cone shape for each pumpkin and press the narrow end into the area at the top of each pumpkin for the stem.
- Use the paring knife to carefully cut two small slits on each pumpkin stem (optional).
- Bake in a preheated oven for 18 minutes (or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned, but not dark).
- Cool the cookies on a wire rack and repeat the same process with the remaining dough.
I sincerely hope you've enjoyed this recipe for pumpkin free pumpkin cookies as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you.
This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.
Jeanette Flores says
I’m making these cookies to give my thanksgiving treat boxes a bit of color. I followed the recipe and am a seasoned baker but with those measurements my dough came out too wet so I added a bit more flour to stiffen a bit but that didn’t seam to help so I then packed it up in ziplock bags to refrigerate/freeze a little so I’ll be able to work with them. The dough was too wet and sticky for me following these measurements but if it’s an error I made perhaps it was that my butter was pretty soft to start off so I’ll try again if these don’t bake well (presentation is key) & next time I’ll use butter that hasn’t quite gotten as soft in hopes that it will fix my issue with sticky dough. Wish me luck
I'm so sorry you're dealing with a too soft dough issue. Refrigerating it should help, but I wonder why that happened in the first place?
Like you, I'm wondering if the butter was too soft or perhaps the egg you used was too large? Still though, that small difference shouldn't make such a wet dough.
Also, did you add gel food color or liquid? Using a liquid would make a difference in the dough consistency.
Other than adding more flour, I'm not quite sure what else you can do to salvage the dough to make it workable.
In the future, you can also use Crisco in place of butter, but not everyone is a fan of using shortening. I've used both, and they both work well.
Please keep me informed with how your cookies turn out.
Kerri Hess says
If you were to use a cookie scoop for the cookies, do you know what number of scoop you would use? Do you think a #50 scoop would be the right size? I'm also curious about the length of bake time. Does it require 18 minutes?
Thanks for your question. I do believe a #50 cookie scoop will work well.
After doing a little research I believe it's very similar in size to what I used (per cookie), perhaps a tiny bit more.
It's hard to say because I don't know how many tablespoons are in a golf ball. 😉
That said, keep an eye on them around the 18 minute mark. They'll most likely be done. You're looking for a very light brown on the bottom.
You don't want to take them too far as you don't want them to lose their vibrant orange color. Note - they will firm up a bit as they cool.
I hope this information is helpful and that you enjoy these cookies.
They're fun to see, and even better to eat.
Have a great day,
Sangeeta Nelson says
Cute cookies! I was just curious, if you were going to put in cream of tartar and baking soda, why not just use baking powder which is essential both together.
Thanks for the sweet words about the cookies.
Regarding the cream of tartar and baking soda combo.
It's just the way I've always made them.
Feel free to use baking powder if you prefer.
Have a great day!
How do you keep the cookies from losing their cute pumpkin shape??
These are so cute I know my nieces will love this
These are SO cute and perfect for Halloween parties! Love them!
Glad you like them, Taylor. Thank you!
Justine Howell says
So good and cute for a Fall themed party, love these!
Yes, they would be perfect for a fall themed party, Justine. Glad you think so.
I love recipes that you can do with your little ones. Thank you for your creativity!!
These cookies would delight the little ones! I'll bet they'd have a blast making these in the kitchen!
Thanks for the inspiration
I'm all about the inspiration. You're welcome. Now, have fun baking, and make them your own!
Cathy @ Lemon Tree Dwelling says
Such perfect little works of art!
Thank you. They're easy too!!
I feel like I can eat these cookies every day!
Well, I wouldn't stop you. LOL
Catalina @ Peas & Peonies says
What a great idea! Looks so good!
Glad you like them, Catalina. Thank you.
Joanie @ One Dish Kitchen says
These are such pretty cookies and I really love your step by step instructions!
Thank you so much. I love adding all the photos. I'm glad you find them helpful.
Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says
Your treats are always so pretty and colorful! These cookies are adorable!
The end of the year always begs for colorful treats 🙂 Thank you, Anna.
Love your idea!
Thank you so much. That makes me happy!!
These are so festive and I love them!
I'm glad you do. Thank you!
Dorothy Reinhold says
There is something so simple and tasty about sugar cookies!
They're the best! I agree!