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These chewy pumpkin snickerdoodles are a delightful fall take on the classic snickerdoodle cookie. Flavored with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, these cookies are so good that you’ll want to make them year round.

Four pumpkin snickerdoodles stacked on a cloth napkin with a fifth cookie leaning against the stack.

I have been so excited to share this recipe with you. 

I love pumpkin cookies (and iced pumpkin cookies), but they are soft and cakey and sometimes I want a chewy cookie instead. 

My goal when making these pumpkin snickerdoodles was to make sure they had that classic chewy snickerdoodle texture but still tasted like pumpkin.

So you can guess my excitement when I pulled these beautiful cookies from the oven and found that they tasted amazing and had a fantastic texture. 

Close up image of pumpkin snickerdoodles on a wire cooling rack.


When I think of childhood cookies, I think of chocolate chip cookies and snickerdoodles. 

I think most of us have probably had snickerdoodles at some point in our lives, but do you know what makes a snickerdoodle a snickerdoodle and not just a sugar cookie?

A few things are pretty important when it comes to snickerdoodles:

  1. A crackly outside
  2. A slightly tangy flavor
  3. A cinnamon-sugar coating

The cinnamon-sugar on the outside of the cookies not only tastes delicious and pairs really well with the tanginess of the dough, but it also helps the cookies to get that characteristic crackle on the tops.

But there’s one key ingredient in snickerdoodles that sets them apart from standard sugar cookies: cream of tartar.

What is cream of tartar and what does it do?

Cream of tartar is the acidic byproduct of winemaking. It is white and powdery and looks a bit like baking powder.

There are actually a lot of uses for cream of tartar, but in cookies it helps prevent the sugars from crystalizing. That means it helps keep your cookies soft and chewy.

The acidity of cream of tartar also gives snickerdoodles their tangy flavor! 

To make true snickerdoodles, you really have to use cream of tartar. You can find it in the spice aisle of any grocery store. 

Vinegar or lemon juice can be substituted for the acidity in cream of tartar, but the cookies will not have the same texture without the cream of tartar.

Three pumpkin snickerdoodles on a white plate with more cookies scattered around the plate.

My chewy pumpkin snickerdoodle recipe

I love classic snickerdoodle cookies, but wanted to give them a pumpkin spin this year.

I had a feeling that these pumpkin snickerdoodles were going to be good, but I had no idea just how amazing they would be!

These are definitely my new favorite cookie. I wanted them to actually taste like pumpkin, not just pumpkin pie spice, and I’m happy to say I totally achieved that.

These pumpkin snickerdoodles are soft and chewy, perfectly spiced, a bit tangy, and have that gorgeous cracking along the top. I am begging you to make these. They’re that good!


If you’ve made classic snickerdoodles before, you will be pretty familiar with the process for making these pumpkin snickerdoodles, too.

Ingredients you’ll need

To make the pumpkin snickerdoodle dough, you will need:

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

I know that some people prefer to use shortening in their snickerdoodles, but I personally like the results I get with butter. 

When I was developing this recipe, I wanted to pack as much pumpkin into this dough as possible without making the dough too soft. This recipe has ½ cup of pumpkin puree in it, so you actually get some pumpkin flavor in the final cookies.

Traditional snickerdoodles don’t have any cinnamon in the dough. But since this is already a twist on the original recipe, I wanted to add just a hint of pumpkin pie spice into the dough itself.

Instead of regular cinnamon sugar, I rolled these cookies in a mix of granulated sugar, cinnamon, and a bit more pumpkin pie spice. 

Ingredients for pumpkin snickerdoodles arranged on a white countertop.

Helpful tips

  • Make sure you know how to measure flour correctly before starting. This will help your cookies turn out perfect every time.
  • Make sure you purchase pure pumpkin puree for this recipe, not pumpkin pie filling.
  • If you forget to set your butter out to soften ahead of time, check out my tips for how to soften butter quickly.
  • If your brown sugar hardened in the pantry, I have a few tricks for softening brown sugar. You can also whip up a simple brown sugar substitute if you run out.
  • Before you start mixing the dough, make sure you know the basics of how to cream butter and sugar correctly.

Making this recipe

I prefer to use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to make this cookie dough, but you could use an electric hand mixer instead.

Cream together the butter with the brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. This will take 3-4 minutes. Add the egg along with the pumpkin puree and vanilla and mix until well combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. 

This dough is pretty soft, so cover and chill it for 12-24 hours before baking.

When you’re ready to bake your pumpkin snickerdoodles, preheat the oven to 350°F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and whisk together the spiced sugar topping in a shallow bowl.

Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop the dough into balls. Roll each dough ball in the spiced sugar, coating it completely.

Place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes – they should be puffed and barely golden. They won’t look super crackly yet; they’ll deflate and crackle more as they cool.

Let the pumpkin snickerdoodles cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Pumpkin snickerdoodles cooling on a wire rack.


I don’t have any cream of tartar. Is there a replacement I can use?

Cream of tartar is a key ingredient in these pumpkin snickerdoodles and there really isn’t a replacement for it. Lemon juice or vinegar can replace the acidity, but those won’t provide the soft and chewy texture cream of tartar gives the cookies.

Cream of tartar can be found with the spices in any grocery store and typically only costs a few dollars, so I recommend investing in some for the best snickerdoodle cookies. 

Can I use homemade pumpkin puree in this recipe?

Yes! I usually use canned pumpkin puree because it’s so easy, but you can absolutely use homemade pumpkin puree instead.

Keep in mind that homemade pumpkin puree isn’t as vibrant orange as canned pumpkin. Canned pumpkin contains a mix of squash that falls into the pumpkin family. So the color of your pumpkin snickerdoodles might not be as dark but they will still taste great!

Do you have to chill the dough for a full 12 hours?

Technically you only have to chill this dough until it is firm enough to scoop and roll into balls.

But waiting until at least the 12-hour mark makes for a better flavor and texture in these cookies. I promise that you will be glad you were patient!

Four pumpkin snickerdoodles stacked on a linen napkin. The top cookie is broken in half to show the inner texture.

What causes the outside of these pumpkin snickerdoodles to crack?

A crackly outside is one of the signature characteristics of a snickerdoodle. Cracking on cookies happens when the outside of the cookies set before the inside. As the inside of the cookie rises/puffs, it causes cracks to form along the outside.

Two things help make this happen in these pumpkin snickerdoodles: Chilling the dough before baking and rolling them in the spiced sugar mixture. So don’t skip those steps in this recipe!

Can I freeze the pumpkin snickerdoodle dough?

Yes! Roll the dough into balls, roll in the spiced sugar, and freeze according to the instructions in my post on freezing cookie dough

Now you can grab and bake as many pumpkin snickerdoodles as you like whenever you get a craving for them. 

Can I freeze the baked cookies?

Sure! Place them in a zip-top freezer bag or an airtight container and freeze for up to a month. 

How do you get such perfectly round cookies?

Using a cookie scoop to make the dough balls can help you get nice, round cookies after they have baked. If you still have a few that aren’t perfect circles, you can use a glass or mug over the cookies and spin it in circles a few times. 

For more details on that trick, check out how to make perfectly round cookies.

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Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

By: Jamie
4.73 from 36 ratings
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 13 minutes
Chilling Time: 12 hours
Total: 12 hours 43 minutes
Servings: 30 cookies
These chewy pumpkin snickerdoodles are a delightful fall take on the classic snickerdoodle cookie. Flavored with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, these cookies are so good that you’ll want to make them year round.


  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

For the spiced sugar:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  • Gradually add dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Cover and chill for 12-24 hours.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a shallow bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
  • Use a medium cookie scoop (1.25-1.5 tablespoons) to scoop the dough into balls, rolling each in the spiced sugar mixture.
  • Place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-13 minutes, until barely golden and puffed. Cookies will deflate and and take on the characteristic snickerdoodle crinkles as they cool.
  • Let cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.



Cookies can be baked before the 12-hour chilling mark, but they are much better if you wait. Your patience will be worth it!
Helpful resources:


Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 141kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 18mg, Sodium: 81mg, Potassium: 68mg, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 786IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 13mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Julie says:

    5 stars
    These cookies were very yummy and a hit with my friends. Now, for Christmas, I’d like to make red velvet snickerdoodles. Since you said that cream of tartar is key for snickerdoodles, do you think I could just add 2 tsps of tartar to your red velvet crinkle cookie recipe and refrigerate overnight to red velvet snickerdoodles?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Julie – I really am not sure. The dough for the red velvet crinkles is quite a bit different than this dough, so I’m not sure how it would work. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Happy baking!

  2. Madeline says:

    The butter is mot nearly enough, they’re kinda like little cakes when done, barely any spread. It’s delicious and like a small spiced cake. I’m going to try again with more butter.

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Madeline – Sorry to hear you struggled with these. I’ve made them multiple times, as have others, without any issue. Definitely make sure you are using the fluff, scoop, level method to measure your flour – too much flour could cause the issue of them not spreading properly. I am glad you found them delicious, though!