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Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Maple Icing

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Bake a small batch of delicious pumpkin spice sugar cookies with maple icing, perfect to welcome fall!  This easy recipe features classic sugar cookie cut-out cookies flavored with pumpkin pie spice and decorated with sweet maple syrup royal icing.

A pretty fall plate full of frosted pumpkin spice cookies.

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies 

The classic sugar cookie is getting a bit of a makeover for this recipe!  Traditionally a Christmas treat, the sugar cookie is an iconic treat come the holidays.  The simple cookie can be decorated in a myriad of ways, flavored with fall spices, and even enhanced with marshmallow, like my marshmallow sugar cookies.

These pumpkin spice sugar cookies take the classic and dress it up a bit with all the cozy spices for fall – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.  Or, in other words, pumpkin pie spice!  And if you are looking for pumpkin to pair with your pumpkin pie spice, be sure to check out my pumpkin bars recipe, or the frosted pumpkin cupcakes!

Why You’ll Love These Cookies Too

  • Super tender cookies – The cookies are tender and almost melt in your mouth.  With a perfectly caramelized exterior and good snap. 
  • Amazing flavor – At the base of the cookie is the buttery and sweet cookie, highlighted with warm pumpkin pie spice.
  • They hold their shape when baked – The hallmark of a good sugar cookie recipe is they don’t spread when they bake.  Even my gluten free sugar cookies have the same feature!
  • Fun to decorate – Now is the time to break out all those cookie cutters you bought last year!  And get creative with coloring your icing for decoration!
  • Flavored icing – Not only can you get creative with your icing decoration, but also the flavor!  Maple syrup adds another flavor note in the icing.  Or try the apple cider icing from my gingerbread cookies. or the caramel icing on the soft apple cookies.
Frosted pumpkin spice cookies on a wire cooling rack.

Key Ingredients For Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

  • All-Purpose Flour – You could always try a cup4cup gluten free blend.  Or better yet, try my gluten free sugar cookies!
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice – Store-bought works great!  Or you can use all cinnamon if you prefer. 
  • Baking Powder – To give the cookies a little lift and texture.
  • Salt – A must to balance the flavors in the cookies.
  • Unsalted Butter – My preference is unsalted butter because we add our own salt.
  • Sugar – Granulated white sugar or even organic cane sugar, which will add a rich flavor.
  • Egg Yolk – The egg yolk because it is a small batch, and the yolk gives the cookies their delightful texture.
  • Vanilla – For flavor!

Maple Icing

For these pumpkin spice sugar cookies, we keep the icing easy.  3 ingredients, that’s it.  

  • Maple Syrup – The maple syrup is a delicious pair with pumpkin spice.  Just be sure it is pure maple syrup to get the rich buttery and caramel flavor.
  • Powdered Sugar – Traditional in any icing really, the powdered sugar gives the icing its structure, and sweetness
  • Milk or Water – I like to use milk to keep the icing rich in flavor, though water works.  

Baking Equipment For Sugar Cookies

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Baking Sheets with Parchment Paper
  • Rolling Pin
  • Cookie Cutters
A cute pumpkin spice pumpkin shaped cookie standing up on a table.

Tips For success

  • Use room temperature butter – Butter is much easier to mix when it is not chilled solid.
  • Chill the cookie dough – My recommendation is these sugar cookies need time to chill – for two reasons:  1.  they have butter which can make the cookies spread if they go into the oven warm, and 2. chilling the dough gives it time to hydrate and the flavors develop, which will result in wonderful texture and flavor. 
  • Flavor the cookies to your taste – If you want a bigger punch of pumpkin spice, add a little more, or even a little extra cinnamon.  You can also add different flavored extracts (i.e. maple extract) to match the flavor of your icing. 
  • Roll the dough to your desired thickness – If you like a thicker cookie, don’t roll the dough too thin.  You will want to watch the bake time as a thicker cookie may take a minute or two longer to bake. 
  • Cookie yield – The number of cookies you yield from the recipe depends on how thick/thin you roll the dough, and the cookie cutters you use.
  • Bake one sheet at a time – I prefer baking one baking sheet of cookies at a time for a couple of reasons:  Even baking and not having to worry about rotating the baking sheets in the middle of baking.  

How To Make Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

  1. Cream the butter and sugar first.  Then mix in the egg yolk and vanilla.
  2. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet, and mix until no dry streaks remain.
  3. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Roll and cut your dough into desired thickness and shape.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes.
  7. Let the cookies cool down.  Make the icing while the cookie cool.
  8. Decorate and enjoy!
Two cute pumpkin spice cookies in the shape of pumpkins on a fall plate.

faq

Can this sugar cookie recipe be doubled?

I have not tested it, but I think doubling the recipe would work. For the egg, I would recommend two egg yolks vs. 1 whole egg. The egg yolk adds great flavor and texture to the cookies. If you try a larger batch, let me know!

I want gluten free sugar cookies. Can I swap in a 1:1 gluten free flour blend?

Try my gluten free sugar cookies recipe instead – a delicious small batch of gluten free cookies!

Do I really have to chill the dough?

Yes. We don’t want the cookies to spread while they bake – especially after all of that work to roll and cut them out! And, chilling the dough gives it time to hydrate and the flavors develop.

Can I save time and bake both baking sheets at the same time?

You certainly can. I recommend keeping an eye on the cookies and if the cookies in the back or on the lower rack are baking too fast, rotate the pans. I prefer to bake on baking sheet at a time so I don’t have to open the oven, let out heat, an rotate the baking sheets.

Are the sugar cookies soft and chewy or crispy?

I would describe these sugar cookies as soft and tender. They are not chewy, nor are they crispy. If you prefer a crispy cookie, bake them for 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Can I freeze the sugar cookie dough?

Yes! Shape into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw in the refrigerator.

Can I freeze baked sugar cookies?

Yes! You can freeze baked and decorated sugar cookies. Place in a freezer saft container, or in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw at room temperature.

Fall cookies arranged on small wooden plates on a table.
A pretty fall plate full of frosted pumpkin spice cookies.
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5 from 4 reviews

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Maple Icing

Yield: 12 Cookies
Bake a small batch of delicious pumpkin spice sugar cookies with maple icing, perfect for welcoming fall! This easy recipe features classic sugar cookie cutout cookies flavored with pumpkin pie spice and decorated with sweet maple syrup royal icing.
Prep10 minutes
Cook10 minutes
Chill30 minutes
Total50 minutes

Ingredients
 

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • teaspoon salt

Maple Royal Icing

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons milk, any kind

Instructions

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar. Use a hand held mixer and beat on medium-high speed until the butter is creamy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until fully incorporated.
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 large egg yolk, room temperature, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt over the top of the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until a dough forms and no flour streaks remain. Do not overmix.
    ¾ cup all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ⅛ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Pour the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a disc. Wrap completely in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Lightly flour your work surface roll the chilled dough to 1/4 inch thickness. If you want thicker cookies, don't roll the dough so thin.
  • Use a cookie cutter to cut out your shapes, and place the cookies at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Re-roll any scraps to cut into more cookies. Avoid re-rolling the dough more than twice – otherwise the cookies will be tough.
  • I recommend baking one baking sheet of cookies at a time. While the first batch is baking, refrigerate the other baking sheet of cookies. If the cookies feel as though they got too warm while rolling and cutting, place both baking sheets in the refrigerator to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, or until the edges turn slightly golden. If you want crispier cookies, bake for a couple minutes longer. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet set on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to the cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cookies are cool, make the royal icing and decorate the cookies!

Maple Royal Icing

  • In a small mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar and maple syrup. Whisk together until the powdered sugar is moist. Add a teaspoon of milk at a time to get to your desired icing/decorating consistency.
    ½ cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, 1 to 2 teaspoons milk, any kind
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RECIPE NOTES

  • Serving Size – This recipe has been tested as a small batch.  Though, it can easily be doubled to make more cookies.
  • Yield – The number of cookies in your batch will depend on how thick you roll out your cookie dough and the size of your cookie cutters.
  • Chill Time – I recommend refrigerating the cut-out cookies before baking.  This helps them not spread.
  • Baking Tip – I prefer baking one baking sheet of cookies at a time.  For an even bake and not having to worry about rotating baking sheets in the middle of baking.
  • Crispy Cookie – For a crispier cookie, bake for a couple of extra minutes.   
  • Freezing Cookie Dough – The cookie dough can be frozen – for up to 3 months.  Shape the dough into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and place in a freezer bag to freeze.  Thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Freezing Baked Cookies – Baked and decorated cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months.  Either in a Tupperware, or gently placed in a Ziploc bag.  Thaw the cookies at room temperature.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich
Nutrition information is calculated by a third-party and should only be considered an estimate and not a guarantee.
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about the author ...

I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!

I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch gluten free and traditional desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you!

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