Soft Pumpkin Cookies - gluten free & vegan with grain-free options
These gluten-free pumpkin cookies are soft, tasty, and not too sweet. Made with nutritious, whole food ingredients, they are the perfect snack to keep on hand 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 recipe for pumpkin cookies that we've been making for years.
These Gluten-Free Pumpkin 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 Pumpkin Cookies 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.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies - 4 Ways
We made these Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies four different ways - with and without nuts and with and without rolling them in this Homemade Cinnamon Sugar. 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 sweeteners to the whole recipe.
The top photo shows the plain version and here is a photo of the nut-filled version with walnuts.
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 vary in their strengths, so sweeten to taste.
Either way, you will find these spoons to be a huge help.
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 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 Pie Spiced Creamer (DF & SF)
Pumpkin Chia Pudding
Pumpkin Pie Spice - DIY for use in your own recipes!
Recipe Notes and Substitutions
- Sweetener: You could substitute any healthy sweetener for the xylitol, although if you use a liquid sweetener you may need to use a different amount, so read this post for tips on substituting sweeteners. Although xylitol is a good low-carb option, vegetable glycerin and stevia (use 2-4 scoops) are as well. So is erythritol, but you will need about 25% more sweetener if using erythritol. If using a granulated sweetener, use coconut sugar, sucanat, or this Bocha Sweet sugar substitute for AIP, and if using a liquid, use honey, maple syrup (read Choosing Maple Syrup), or yacon for AIP. Omit the water if using a liquid.
- Stevia: Stevia is much stronger than other sweeteners. Read What Stevia Is and How to Use it for more tips. Here is a great brand of stevia scoops. If using pourable stevia, use 3-5 teaspoons, to taste. You can substitute approx. 4-8 tablespoons additional sweetener, to taste, for the stevia. If using stevia, add it to either wets or dries.
- Nuts: For nuts, we used walnuts. Almonds, macadamias, or even pumpkin or sunflower seeds would be great. Please use soaked and dried nuts if possible.
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.)
- Flour: Try whatever gluten-free flour blend, or individual gluten-free flour, that you have on hand. Each will give the final cookies a bit of a different result, but they should still be delicious! I do recommend combining flours when baking gluten-free, however, as noted in this post about gluten-free baking tips.
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.
For almond flour or any other nut or seed flour, increase the baking soda by 50%, using 3 cups almond flour, and 1/4 cup coconut oil.
- THM: For those on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, this recipe will be a crossover.
Soft Gluten-free Pumpkin Cookies (vegan w/ gluten and sugar-free options)
- 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (or other healthy fat, melted)
- 1/4 cup low-carb sweetener (see Recipe Notes for sweetener alternatives)
- 1 tablespoon orange flavoring or extract (try Nielsen-Massey or Frontier Flavor)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (use almond flour for low-carb, tiger nut flour for AIP - see notes above)
- 3-4 scoops stevia extract (each scoop is 1/32 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped or ground nuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375. Combine pumpkin, oil, sweetener, and orange flavoring in a medium bowl.
- Add flour, baking soda, & seasonings. Mix just 'til combined.
- Fold in nuts if using.
- Make spoonfuls or scoops with a 2 tablespoon 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.
- Place spoonfuls or scoops on a baking sheet (the scoops result in a cookie that really resembles the Enjoy Life ones :-)).
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. They will harden a bit as they cool, but will still be nice and soft.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
What is YOUR favorite pumpkin recipe?
I made these with coconut flour and they were a complete ? BOMB! They never stayed together and just crumbled. I decided to add an egg to the left over dough. Nope. Didn’t work. Threw out the extras and the crumbled mess of cookies. Bummed.
Hi there, Tina. So sorry about that. Coconut flour is a very unusual flour and doesn't behave like others. It soaks up a ton more liquid and never really works without eggs. Perhaps you haven't used that before?
I have never used it exclusively b/c our son has a life threatening allergy to eggs -- I only use it in conjunction with other flours like in this recipe. Hopefully the next go around will work better. https://wholenewmom.com/egg-nog-cookies/ and hope that helps!
They are delicious! I used 3 cups almond flour, 1.5 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp orange zest, 3-4 drops of sweet orange essential oil, and 1/8 cup of maple syrup and 2 full droppers of stevia.
Soooo glad you liked them! I need to get the photos redone. You made my day literally! If you ever are so inclined and would like to leave a 5 star review, that would be lovely but not mandatory at all. It just helps us bloggers at least a little bit for others and google to see that it's a good recipe. Thanks again!! 🙂
These are delish. I made them for the first time today. I was wondering if they freeze well
So glad you liked them! Yes, they should! Have you found that some kinds of cookies don't freeze well?
I’m using Tigernuts flour. Do I understand correctly that when using nut flours I should double the flour from 1-1/2 cups to 3 cups? And increase the Baking Soda from 1 tsp to 1-1/2 tsp and decrease the coconut oil from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup? And the spices stay the same as the original recipe? Seems like these cookies would be pretty dry by increasing the flour that much and reducing the oil.
Hi there. Tiger nut is really not a nut. Interestingly. You can sub it in 1:1. I haven't baked with it yet so I would try 1 batch and see how it goes! Please let me know!
These are mind-blowing! I used Bob's Red Mill 1:1 GF flour, swapped the orange for vanilla because that's what I had, sweetened with 1/4 c coconut sugar and 1/8 tsp pure stevia, added chopped pecans and a 1/4 tsp ginger powder, and fresh ground nutmeg. Rolled in coconut sugar and cinnamon before baking. At 8 minutes they are still moist. If I didn't know better I wouldn't think these were refined sugar and gluten free. By far the best gluten free cookies I've ever had. Even better than Aldi's GF brand and I truly LOVE those.
Wow - this made my day - thank you and soooo glad you liked them. LOVE the rolling in sweetener idea!
Could you add protien powder to this? And if so, how would one go about doing it?
How much are you thinking you would like to add? Of course it you add a lot you will affect the texture. You can typically add substitute in about 1/3 of the amount of flour with protein powder.
Hope that helps!
These are delicious and love the soft muffin like texture! I used brown rice flour, substituted stevia for the xylitol and then added a couple teaspoons of coconut sugar to make it sweet enough and turned out perfect 🙂 Great recipe!!
So glad you liked them! We haven't made them in awhile--time to remedy that!
Why do you use xylitol? I would rather use pumpkin sugar. Thanks.
Hi Michelle - I used sweeteners that have low glycemic index since we struggle w/ candida here. But pumpkin sugar would be great too! I have alternatives suggested in the post above or in the recipe card. Hope you like them! You can read more about candida here: https://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/candida-symptoms-explained/
What are flax eggs? I’ve seen it quite a bit but don’t see how to make.
3 T water to 1 T ground flax seed. Let set for about 15 min before using. I will do a post on it :).
Very nce recipe. For the flour, I used 1/2 cup arrowroot starch, 3/8 cup sorghum flour, and 3/8 cup brown rice flour. I omitted the nuts and added a handful of mini chocolate chips. They turned out well with a fluffy texture.liz
To anyone who uses Xylitol as a sweetener, please be aware that it is highly toxic to dogs. A very small amount can kill them quickly.
I'm so glad I found your blog! I just started a very restricted diet that is gluten-free, mostly vegan, and avoids refined sugar, among other restrictions. I'm really appreciating all the wonderful-sounding recipes here.
I made these pumpkin cookies with almond flour and coconut sugar (left out the orange flavor), and they are absolutely delicious. I've been craving pumpkin spice goodies now that it's autumn, so I added in a dash of ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. They're perfect – thank you so much.
Welcome and thanks!!
These cookies did not turn out very well. They were flat and fragile, moist to the point of breaking apart. Not sure what went wrong. I used Nutiva "shortening" as my oil. Also I used almond flour. I don't think almond flour can be used in this recipe. Have you used almond flour?
Thanks so much for your delicious recipes. Hoping to try the cookies again.
Hello Dawn, I actually worked out more information on using almond flour for this recipe. The notes are in the post now. Hope that helps and sorry about that! Sorry for the delay in responding--I didn't have the ability to respond to comments for a long time and just got it back so trying to catch up. 🙂
I just made these cookies with organic Pumpkin, Bobs Red Mill GF flour, Coconut Oil, Xylitol, chopped Walnuts. I didn't use any flavoring in them as I didn't have Orange, They are soooo good!!!! Love that they have a muffin like texture!!!!
How do I get more of your recipes?
Your version sounds great!! Here are more. Hoping to have a visual index up soon. https://wholenewmom.com/recipes/
I just made these !! They are yummy !! I use Monkfruit sweetener and I only used 1/4 cup and I use cranberry extract because I didn't have orange extract. Added walnuts and they are so good. I made 16 cookies with the above ingredients - makes nice size with a muffin like consistency. Thank you for this recipe!!
Five stars !!
Sounds so good!
Do you have the nutritional info ? I calculate carbs so would love to know- I'm baking them now -
Hi Laura - sorry I don't have that option but we're starting work on it next week. Gradually we'll be putting it on each recipe as we have time - thanks in advance for your patience!