These pillowy pumpkin snickerdoodles are infused with delicious fall flavors and the crunch of chopped pecans. They’re a quick and easy classic holiday cookie!

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Stack of 4 pecan pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies, with the top cookie with a bite taken out, showing the inside of the cookie.

About Pecan Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodle cookies are a staple around the holidays, and these pumpkin snickerdoodles do it one better by adding all the comforting flavors of fall. From the creamy pumpkin and crunchy pecans, these pillowy cookies would be a perfect fit for any Thanksgiving or Christmas spread.

Do you have to chill the dough?

This particular recipe calls for chilling the cookie dough for at least four hours or ideally up to eight hours.

I know it can be frustrating to put your baking on hold, but when it comes to cookies, chilling the dough is totally worth the impact it has on your baking.

The short explanation for chilling has to do with the butter. The firmer the butter is at the time of baking, the slower it will melt, which makes cookies less likely to spread while baking. So, as a general rule of thumb, chilling the dough will lead to more dense, fluffy cookies while not chilling will lead to flatter, chewier cookies. This is not always the case, though. Whether you need to chill depends largely on the amount of butter used AND the composition of the other ingredients.

If you’d like a more indepth explanation of chilling dough (with examples!) then check out this article: To Chill or not to Chill.

Baked pecan pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies cooling on a wire cooling rack.

Do you have to use cream of tartar?

This recipe calls for cream of tartar, which works as a leveling agent to create soft, pillowy cookies. If you’ve never baked with cream of tartar before, I highly recommend trying it – the results are delicious.

However, if you don’t have any cream of tartar on hand (or don’t want to buy it for just one recipe) you can substitute every 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar for 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar. For this specific recipe, that would mean substituting the 1 teaspoon cream of tartar for 2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar.

Pumpkin puree vs pumpkin pie filling

When it comes to holiday treats, you’re going to be faced with two types of canned pumpkin in the baking aisle:

Pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling.

And while these types might seem interchangeable, there is a slight (yet significant) difference.

With pumpkin puree, the only contents are cooked and mashed pumpkin (or a variety of winter gourds), with no added flavors or spices. Pumpkin pie filling is made with cooked and mashed pumpkin, too, but it is also has flavored added, typically with pumpkin pie spice.

The key difference here is convenience. If you don’t have (or don’t want to buy) pumpkin pie spice, using pumpkin pie puree can save you some time and effort; you simply add it to the recipe and skip measuring the spices. However, it does limit your ability to control the taste, and if you’re using the pumpkin pie puree with other flavors, there’s no way to guarantee how they’ll interact.

This is why you’ll see many homemade recipes use pumpkin puree (which, again, is just the gourds, no added flavor) and season and spice the recipe by hand as needed. It is a tad more work but it also gives you more control over the flavor of your fall treats.\

Top down view of pecan pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies stacked on a plate.

Can you still use pumpkin pie filling?

If pumpkin pie filling is what you have to work with, then yes, you can use it in this recipe. Just be sure to omit the cinnamon from the dough (you can keep it for the cinnamon sugar coating) so that the flavor balance is correct.

How long are snickerdoodles good for?

Once baked and cooled, pumpkin snickerdoodles can be stored in a sealed container on the counter for up to three to four days.

Can you freeze snickerdoodles?

If you’d like to always have a batch of these cookies on hand, the easiest way is to freeze them for later. There are two ways you can do this.

To freeze the raw dough: 

  • Mix all ingredients, then scoop out about one tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball (the same way you would before baking).
  • Place cookie dough balls on a tray and freeze for at least two hours or until outside is no longer tacky. Once firm, transfer to a freezer bag or a storage container with a sealable lid.
  • Cookie dough can be stored for up to six months. When ready to bake, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then bake like normal.

To freeze the baked cookies:

  • Bake cookies and allow to cool completely.
  • Store cookies in a single layer in a freezer bag or storage container. If you need to stack the cookies, separate each layer with a sheet of wax paper.
  • Baked cookies and be stored for up to one to two months.
Side view of pecan pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies on a plate, with one cookie with a bite taken out, showing the inside.

Notes & tips for snickerdoodles

  • If you’re doing a lot of baking, I highly recommend having some silicone baking mats on hand. Baking cookies takes enough time without having to cut or measure parchment paper. Or if you prefer using parchment paper, you can try using pre-cut parchment paper sheets instead.
  • Plus, some quality baking sheets are a must for a cookie baking extravaganza!
  • For this recipe, I highly recommend using a stand mixer or a hand mixer. This recipe would be difficult to mix by hand.
  • If you don’t like pecans, you can omit them entirely; nothing else in the recipe needs to change.
  • If you’d like to add more flavor, feel free to add up to 1/2 up of white chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, or caramel chips.
  • Enhance the pumpkin flavor by substituting the ground cinnamon for pumpkin pie spice.

More delicious cookie recipes

Other great recipes with pumpkin

How to make pumpkin pecan snickerdoodles

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – In a medium bowl, whisk together the following ingredients: flour, some of the cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Step 2 – Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), cream together the light brown sugar, melted butter, pumpkin puree, and some of the granulated sugar until nice and fluffy.

Step 3 – Mix the dry ingredients until a thick batter forms.

Step 4 – Turn off the mixer and toss in the chopped pecans. Use a spatula to gently fold them into the batter.

Step 5 – Cover the dough and chill it for at least four hours (or ideally up to eight hours.)

Step 6 – When ready to bake, mix together the remaining granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, then set nearby.

Step 7 – Use a cookie scoop to scoop up one or two tablespoons of dough. Roll the dough between your hands to form a ball, then drop the cookie dough ball into the cinnamon sugar mixture, tossing it to coat. Place the coated cookie dough ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat this step until all the dough has been used, spacing the cookies one inch apart.

Step 8 – Bake!

Step 9 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Stack of 4 pecan pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies, with the top cookie with a bite taken out, showing the inside of the cookie.
5 from 1 vote

Pecan Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

20 mins prep + 12 mins cook + 4 hrs Chilling Time
112 kcal
Yields: 24 cookies
These pillowy pumpkin snickerdoodles are infused with delicious fall flavors and the crunch of chopped pecans. They're a quick and easy classic holiday cookie!

Ingredients 

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set bowl aside.
  • Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), whip together the light brown sugar, melted butter, pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until combined, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Drop mixer speed to low and quickly scoop in dry ingredients, adding about 1/3 to 1/2 cup at a time. Stop mixing as soon as dry ingredients appear fully incorporated in the dough. Remove bowl from mixer and scrape sides of bowl, mixing in any wayward dry ingredients.
  • Turn off mixer. Add chopped pecans to bowl, then use a spatula to gently fold them into the batter.
  • Remove dough from bowl and firmly wrap dough in plastic wrap. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or ideally up to 8 hours.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, then set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining granulated sugar (roughly 1/4 cup) and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, then set aside.
  • Scoop up 1-2 tablespoons of cookie dough with a cookie scoop and roll it into a ball. Drop ball in cinnamon sugar and toss to coat. Place coated cookie ball on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this step until all the cookie dough batter is used, spacing cookies 1 inch apart.
  • Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  • Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 112kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 119mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 649IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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2 comments

    • Susan Dunn

    Your measurements call for 1/3 granulated sugar, divided. Instruction # 2 says to add with brown sugar, etc. Instruction #7 says to whisk together remaining sugar, roughly 1/4 cup, to cinnamon. I’m confused. What remaining sugar?

    • Thank you for catching this! There should only be 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in the dough, then the rest is used for the cinnamon-sugar coating. I updated the instructions to reflect this. Sorry for the trouble!