These soft and pillowy pumpkin drop cookies are laced with crunchy walnuts and sweet raisins. They’re the perfect treat to bake for festive fall comfort food.
This post contains affiliate links. Read the disclosure policy.
Table of Contents
- About Pumpkin Drop Cookies
- Why are they called drop cookies?
- Do you need to chill the dough?
- Do you have to use raisins or walnuts?
- Pumpkin Puree vs. Pumpkin Pie Filling
- How long are drop cookies good for?
- Can you freeze pumpkin drop cookies?
- Notes & tips for drop cookies
- More fun cookie recipes
- Other great recipes with pumpkin
- How to make pumpkin drop cookies
- Recipe Details
About Pumpkin Drop Cookies
Nothing quite says fall quite like pumpkin flavored anything, and one of my absolute favorites are these pumpkin drop cookies.
And sure, maybe that’s because I adore pumpkin. Maybe it’s the amazing combination of soft cookie and crunchy walnut. Or maybe it’s the fact that I don’t need to whip out my non-existent baking skills because these cookies can be lumpy and unpretty and it’s totally okay.
But no matter the reason, these cookies have become a must-make for fall comfort snack food in our house.
Why are they called drop cookies?
To put it simply, drop cookies refer to how the cookie batter is placed on a baking sheet.
Because the dough isn’t placed. It’s dropped.
The idea is simple: scoop out a small amount of dough, hold it a few inches above the baking sheet, and let the dough drop and hit the baking sheet.
And better yet, you don’t need to fix or “neaten up” these cookies. The idea is to let the cookie dough fall where it may, so they might be lumpy or uneven – and that’s totally okay. The messier these cookies are the more identifiable they will be as true drop cookies.
Do you need to chill the dough?
When it comes to baking cookies, one of the most important steps is whether or not you chill the dough.
And for this particular recipe, you do not need to chill the dough.
The “beauty” of a drop cookie is the motion of letting the dough drop to the baking sheet, giving these cookies a uniquely messy look. The dough wouldn’t drop or splay as well if it was made firmer by chilling.
Do you have to use raisins or walnuts?
This recipe is written to include raisins for a touch of subtle sweetness and walnuts for a little texture, but ultimately, both ingredients are optional (or can be replaced with other things you might like more, such as chocolate chips or different types of nuts).
However, keep in mind that omitting raisins or walnuts completely will result in a smaller yield for this recipe (up to 5-10 fewer cookies per batch).
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 also has flavor 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 filling 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 filling 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.
How long are drop cookies good for?
Once prepared and cooked, these pumpkin drop cookies can be stored in a sealed container on the counter for up to five to seven days.
Can you freeze pumpkin drop cookies?
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 (the same way you would before baking).
- Drop cookie dough 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.
- Drop cookies 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 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 three months.
Notes & tips for drop cookies
- 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 make by hand with a whisk.
More fun cookie recipes
Other great recipes with pumpkin
How to make pumpkin drop cookies
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, mix together the following dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg, then set the bowl aside for now.
Step 3 – Drop the mixer speed to low and mix in the pumpkin puree, egg, vanilla, and dry ingredients.
Step 4 – Turn off the mixer and use a spatula to fold the raisins and walnuts into the batter.
Step 5 – Scoop up about one tablespoon of cookie dough and “drop” it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The idea with drop cookies is for them to be imperfect, so don’t worry if the cookie dough is a little rough around the edges. Repeat this step until all the cookie dough has been used.
Step 6 – Bake!
Step 7 – Serve and enjoy!
Pumpkin Drop Cookies
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg. Set bowl aside.
- Drop mixer speed to low and add egg, pumpkin, and vanilla extract. Mix until all ingredients are just blended, particularly the egg, about 1-2 minutes.
- Keeping mixer speed on low, slowly blend in dry ingredients, about 1/2 cup at a time. Mix until dry ingredients incorporate and there are minimal clumps, about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove bowl from mixer. Add raisins and walnuts to bowl, then use a spatula to gently fold them into the batter.
- Use a spoon to scoop out about 1 tablespoon (less or more, as desired) of cookie dough. Hold the spoon about 2 inches above the baking sheet, then use another spoon to scrape down and allow the dough to “drop” on the baking sheet. If possible, refrain from fixing the cookie dough look neater; drop cookies should be a bit uneven. Repeat this step until all dough is used, placing cookies about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
- Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. Tops of cookies should no longer appear damp and have some resistance when touched (but not too firm).
- Let cookies rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Serve cookies immediately.
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.