Soft Pumpkin Cookies – gluten-free & vegan with grain-free, low-carb, & AIP options

Looking for a Healthy Treat like Gluten Free Cookies? These Soft Pumpkin Cookies are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, and Sugar Free - They remind us of Enjoy Life Cookies, but without all the sugar and very little sweetener at that! Great not just for fall, but all year round.
Although pumpkin is typically a fall food, I personally think it should be eaten year round. We love these Pumpkin Snickerdoodles and this Pumpkin Spiced Creamer, but today I am sharing a favorite pumpkin cookie recipe that we’ve been making for years.

These cookies are amazingly low in sugar (which is great if you are on a candida diet) and yet they still taste great.  The pumpkin adds a natural sweetness and the orange flavor adds a nice hint of orange.

Often when you add flavors or extracts you can get away with less sweetener.

They are soft and moist and my whole family loved them.

My oldest was walking around the kitchen, nibbling on them and saying, “Now these really remind me of something.”  And then he remembered what, and my youngest agreed.  They reminded him of Enjoy Life’s Gingerbread Spice cookies.

Now mind you, even in my sugar-aholic days, I never really bought those, mainly because they’re expensive.  We’d sample them at Gluten-Free fairs and then feel plenty sick afterwards.

Not that there is anything technically wrong with Enjoy Life.  We just couldn’t handle all of the sugar and white flour.

Well, he was sure right.  These soft little bites are like Enjoy Life’s yummy treats, minus the white flour and all the sugar. Healthy.  Yum

I adapted this recipe ever so slightly from one on Whole Approach’s Forum.  I basically lived in this forum when I first started learning about candidiasis – that’s for another post.

We made the cookies four different ways – with and without nuts and with and without rolling them in sweetener. Hubby likes nuts in his cookies and oldest son does not like crunchies in his cookies. In my opinion, rolled in sweetener, either with or without nuts, is the best option :-).

When you roll them in sugar, you get a nice punch of sweetness without a bunch of added sweetener to the whole recipe.

The top photo shows the plain version and here is a photo of the nut-filled version with walnuts.

Soft Pumpkin Cookies - These gluten free cookies are vegan and sugar free too! They taste like Enjoy Life Cookies!

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Looking for a Healthy Gluten Free Treat? These Soft Pumpkin Cookies are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, and Sugar Free - They remind us of Enjoy Life Cookies, but without all the sugar and very little sweetener at that! Great not just for fall, but all year round.

If you end up using stevia for this recipe, you will for sure want these spoons since you’ll be measuring out such teensy amounts.  The 2nd smallest size is the one that you will use, but I am finding that stevia powders are now greatly varying in their strengths, so sweeten to taste.

Either way, you will find these spoons to be a huge help.

Norpro Mini Measuring Spoons

I think you are just going to love these and love how good they are for you.  It’s a great way to have healthy sweets around to help you avoid eating the junk.

Particularly if it’s around the fall and winter Holiday season when those kinds of sugar-laden treats are everywhere.

Here are more “Pumpkin Treats” to enjoy:

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Creamer (DF & SF)
Pumpkin Custard
Pumpkin Chia Pudding
Pumpkin Pie Spice – DIY for use in your own recipes!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Soft Pumpkin Cookies (vegan w/ gluten and sugar-free options)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Desserts - Cookies and Bars
Cuisine: Gluten-Free & Vegan
 
These Soft Pumpkin Cookies are gluten-free, vegan, and sugar-free. Perfect for fall or all year round. The perfect allergy-free cookie.
Ingredients
Wet Ingredients:
  • 1 c unsweetened pumpkin
  • ½ c coconut oil, or other healthy fat, melted
  • ¼ c sweetener, either granulated (here is a link to xylitol, which is a good low-carb option) or liquid (use coconut sugar or honey for AIP)
  • 1 T orange flavoring or extract (Try Nielsen-Massey or Frontier Flavor.)
Dry Ingredients:
  • 1½ c gluten-free flour (use almond flour for low-carb, tiger nut flour for AIP)
  • 3-4 scoops stevia extract (each scoop is about 1/32 tsp), or approx 4-8 T additional sweetener, to taste (For stevia, I recommend NuNaturals. If using stevia, add it to either wets or dries. See How to Use Stevia for usage tips.)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (If you use flour with gluten, decrease to about ¾ tsp)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt (I recommend Real Salt)
  • ½ chopped or ground nuts, optional (We used walnuts. Almonds, macadamias, or even pumpkin or sunflower seeds would be great. Please use soaked and dried nuts if possible.)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine pumpkin, oil, sweetener, and orange flavoring in a medium bowl.
  2. Add flour, baking soda, & seasonings. Mix just 'til combined.
  3. Fold in nuts if using.
  4. Make spoonfuls or scoops with a 2 Tbsp muffin scoop. If desired, roll in a bit of granulated sweetener before baking. You get a really nice "punch" of sweetness without adding a lot of sweetener when you coat cookies rather than adding more to the batter. :-P.
  5. Place spoonfuls or scoops on a baking sheet (the scoops result in a cookie that really resembles the Enjoy Life ones :-)).
  6. Bake 8 -10 minutes or until lightly browned. They will harden a bit as they cool, but will still be nice and soft.
Notes
1. As I always say, with sweeteners, choose the healthiest one that you can. If you aren't on a sugar-restricted diet, use honey, sucanat, or maple syrup. If you cannot have those, use vegetable glycerin, stevia, or yacon. If you have no other alternatives, xylitol or erythritol will work, but you will need about 25% more sweetener if using erythritol.

If using a granulated sweetener, add 1T water. Oh - and 1 scoop of stevia is a teensy amount - just 1/32nd tsp (this is for the pure extract. If using pourable stevia, use 3-5 tsp, to taste.). Read What Stevia Is and How to Use it for more tips.)

2. Both the nut-filled and plain versions were great, but my boys and I much preferred the plain version (my husband simply loves nuts in just about anything.)

3. Try whatever gluten free flour blend, or individual flour, that you have on hand. Each will give the final cookies a bit of a different result, but they will be delicious! These are pretty forgiving little treats :-)!

4. If you make them with a nut or seed flour, they will have to bake longer. Add on at least an additional 5 minutes but keep an eye on them.

 

What is YOUR favorite pumpkin recipe?

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.

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  1. Thank you for the recipe! I’ve been looking for something keto-friendly so I could use up my extra canned pumpkin, but a lot of the gluten-free/sugar-free recipes I came across required specific ingredients that weren’t already in my pantry. For these cookies I used flaxseed meal for the flour, powdered truvia for the sweetener, and almond extract (I didn’t have orange and thought almond would be a safer bet than my other flavors). It took almost twice as long to fully bake but they taste great! Sometimes they remind me of banana bread (if ever there was a banana bread recipe that included pumpkin pie spices), but I’m happy with that because I can’t have bananas anymore due to their high sugar content. Thank you again!

    • You are so welcome! Your adjustment sounds wonderful I am going to try it b/c I don’t eat bananas either and my youngest LOVES them….but he doesn’t do well w/ all of the carbs either. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for sharing this response! These cookies are AWESOME! Neither my husband nor I can eat cane sugar, and neither of us can tolerate other sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. I made this recipe with just 4-5 drops of liquid stevia, and the cookies turned out perfectly. My husband doesn’t usually like pumpkin baked goods, but he loves these cookies. He eats them plain — I like them with a little fruit-sweetened jam. I love how quick they are to pull together.

    The first time I made them, I didn’t have the orange extract, and I could taste the pumpkin and spices more. The second time, I used the orange extract which gave them a wonderful aroma while baking, but I felt like I couldn’t taste the pumpkin as much. They were fantastic either way, just sharing observations in case anyone’s wondering what happens if you don’t add the orange extract. 🙂

    Also, I’ve made these with coconut oil and Spectrum palm oil, and both versions were great. I actually tripled the recipe the second time so that I could freeze a bunch. Looking forward to forgetting about them and then rediscovering them in a couple of months for a nice treat.

  3. I made your soft pumpkin cookies yesterday and tossed in ground sunflower seeds. When I went to take one out of the fridge today, the seeds had all turned green. Any idea’s as to why this would happen?

  4. am curious whether you would have a suggestion for a sweetener problem i am facing.. about a yr ago i had a kidney stone issue and was given some major drugs for the pain.. almost immediately afterwards i noticed a significant change in my taste perceptions.. i can no longer tolerate any ‘fake’ sugars (no diet products ) and i was just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.. so real sugar must be curtailed a lot..
    with the holidays coming up am at a loss as to what i Can use and still have foods edible.. could you suggest what might work? these recipes sound wonderful but not sure what i can use.
    thank you

    • Hello there. So sorry you had that issue. I wonder if you can do something about that? Stevia is not fake and xylitol and erythritol arguably are not either. Can those work? How about vegetable glycerine or lo han guo? Coconut sugar? I hope something can work.

  5. Can you substitute agave nectar?

  6. Trevor Henry says:

    Am 85 and my mother passed away when I was 9 but the memories of her making what we called coconut icing are still so strong in my mind but have not found a recipe for making this. Do you have one by any chance?

  7. I’d love to make this but WITHOUT the artificial sweeteners, what would be the substitute with Honey ?

  8. Ok so this recipe sounds great but it says a gluten free flour but different flours need more liquid or less depending on what they are… for instance coconut flour is gluten free but is extremely absorbant. Did I miss something? So a mix of almond and coconut flour?

    • I wouldn’t use coconut flour as it behaves quite differently. Other flours should work quite well. Almond is not a grain so that will be a little different, possibly, but tiger nut flour should be fine.

  9. I would like to use Xylitol instead of stevia ……….can you tell me how much I would use to replace the stevia?
    Anxious to try. Thank You!

  10. Hi Adrienne,
    Have you tried this with molasses? also would orange zest work instead of orange extract? Thanks!

  11. Sounds yummy! Any recommendations for someone who reacts to stevia? I’ve tried a few different kinds and always get a stomach ache. Wondering what we could use instead, to keep it sugar free.

    • That’s odd. Have you only used pure stevia? Can you do coconut sugar? It feeds candida but not as bad. I use xylitol too but that tends to cause digestive upset if you eat too much.

  12. Thank you very much for the great recipe! I didn’t have any orange extract and I don’t really like cinnamon but the pumpkin taste is not that bad. Plus my oven is old and brocken and has only one setting “hot as hell” and these cookies still turned out amazing!

  13. Lisa Baarns says:

    A whole Tablespoon of orange extract? Is that correct? You didn’t mean one teaspoon, by any chance?

  14. Daisy Luther says:

    These were SO delicious. Next time, I think I’m going to try using coconut flour in place of part of the gluten-free flour mix I used. I also added bit of ginger and clove to increase the gingerbread-y flavor 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

  15. Truly amazing receipt!:)the whole family loved it.Thanx!!!

  16. Carrie Hauser says:

    I made these last night and they are great! My 2 and a half year old son has MANY allergies and these are the first vegan, nut free, wheat free cookies I’ve made that pretty much taste like real cookies! Thanks for the blessing of being able to give my little man a treat!

  17. Hi Adrienne! I just wanted to let you know that I’m featuring this amazing recipe in my post 102 Gluten Free Cookie Recipies. I’m also pinning it to my Gluten Free Cookie Madness Board. 🙂

    You are more than welcome to share this amazing resource with your readers or link to this post if you’d like! Thanks so much for the inspiration! Here’s the url: 102 Gluten Free Cookie Recipies