Soft, Chewy, & Thick Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Fall is here, and we couldn’t be happier filling our houses with the delectable scents of apple cinnamon bread, pear crisp, and these vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! These vegan pumpkin cookies are not only perfectly soft and thick, with a crisp outside and chewy middle (not cakey), but they’re loaded with real pumpkin, are super simple to make, and are the perfect way to embrace the season!
Rather than letting the increasing energy costs slow us down (yet), we’re using it as the excuse to use the entire oven every time it’s switched on. Meaning double or triple batches of all our favorite goods to freeze for later or making a combination of fall-based treats like these easy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies alongside pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and pumpkin bread. As a bonus, baking helps to keep your house warm, too!
Even better, canned pumpkin puree allows you to enjoy these dairy-free pumpkin cookies year-round if desired. Though, with the combination of regular sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon (or pumpkin spice), these vegan pumpkin spice cookies are the embodiment of fall and require no eggs or dairy to be delicious.
The recipe requires only 10 inexpensive pantry ingredients, one bowl, and minimal hands-on effort to prepare. Best of all, it’s adaptable too. Increase or decrease the batch size, replace the vegan chocolate chips, add to the cookies, or tweak the recipe to become gluten-free, refined sugar-free, etc.
Once baked, these soft pumpkin cookies make for a delicious afternoon snack or a welcome addition to potlucks, parties, and gatherings like Halloween and Thanksgiving!
This easy vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe relies on just 10 inexpensive, simple pantry staples for a budget-friendly fall treat.
Pumpkin: You can use canned or homemade pumpkin puree (check FAQs for the latter) for these vegan pumpkin spice cookies.
Dairy-free butter: Use room-temperature vegan butter. Our favorites are Miyoko’s and Earth Balance.
Sugar: A combination of brown sugar and regular white sugar creates the perfect flavor and texture for these chewy, soft pumpkin cookies.
To make refined sugar-free pumpkin cookies, use coconut sugar in place or brown sugar and organic cane sugar to replace the white sugar. However, these both are more costly.
Vanilla extract: Use natural vanilla for the best flavor.
Applesauce: Store-bought or homemade applesauce is great for binding and adding moisture to these eggless pumpkin cookies.
Flour: Regular all-purpose flour works great for this easy pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe but can be replaced with all-purpose gluten-free flour, like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur’s, for vegan gluten-free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
Salt: Salt is excellent in baked goods for balancing and enhancing various flavors.
Baking soda: To provide lift and airiness, so these vegan pumpkin cookies are thick but not too stodgy.
Vegan chocolate chips: Use vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks.
We also like to add raw and unsalted chopped nuts, like pecans or walnuts, but they’re 100% optional.
Optional Add-ins & Recipe Variations
Whether you want to skip the vegan chocolate chips, add a topping, or more, here are our favorite recipe adaptions.
How to Substitute the Vegan Chocolate Chips?
Our favorite combination is using pumpkin seeds or walnuts with dried cranberries. They’d taste great with some vegan white chocolate chips, too.
Other Vegan Pumpkin Cookie Recipe Add-Ins
Orange zest: From one orange.
Coffee: 1-2 teaspoons of espresso or instant coffee powder make delicious pumpkin spice latte cookies.
Coconut: 2-3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut for texture and flavor.
Crystallized ginger: Very finely chopped and just a little for added heat.
You can also add various toppings to the dairy-free pumpkin cookies for an extra moreish, decadent treat. Options include:
Cinnamon sugar: Roll the cookie dough in a coarse cinnamon sugar mixture to make pumpkin snickerdoodle-style cookies.
Icing: Combine powdered sugar, maple syrup, plant-based milk, and a little vanilla or cinnamon to drizzle over the vegan pumpkin cookies.
Frosting: Pumpkin and vegan cream cheese frosting pair wonderfully, and it’s easy to veganize, too. Combine powdered sugar with vegan cream cheese and a little vanilla - that’s it.
Vegan chocolate: To double up on chocolate in these vegan chocolate chip pumpkin cookies, drizzle some dairy-free chocolate over the cooled cookies (semi-sweet, sweet, or white chocolate).
Flaky salt: A tiny sprinkle over the cookies balances and enhances the sweetness and flavors within these vegan pumpkin cookies.
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies?
Preparing these easy vegan pumpkin spice cookies couldn’t be much simpler and requires just a handful of steps, one bowl, and minimal effort.
1) First, preheat the oven to 350F/175C and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
2) Next, cream the vegan butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Then add the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, and applesauce, mixing well.
3) Next, sift in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and mix until well combined, being careful not to overwork the batter. Finally, carefully fold in the vegan chocolate chips (and chopped walnuts, if used).
4) Divide the cookie dough into generous spoonfuls (for even-sized cookies, use a cookie scoop) to transfer to the prepared cookie sheet (with ½-inch space between each), flattening the dough gently with the back of a spatula.
These dairy-free, eggless pumpkin cookies don’t spread much in the oven, so you’ll need to flatten them into your desired thickness and shape before baking.
Lightly greasing the spatula can help avoid sticking when flatting the dough.
5) Bake the vegan pumpkin cookies for between 12-15 minutes until they become golden-orange in color and are crisp along the edges.
6) Then, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes before enjoying!
For prettier cookies, you can press a few more vegan chocolate chips into the top of each cookie immediately after removing them from the oven while they’re still soft.
Can I use homemade pumpkin puree?
You can use homemade or store-bought pumpkin puree (not canned pumpkin pie filling) to make these easy vegan pumpkin spice cookies.
However, be aware that homemade pumpkin puree can contain more liquid and may require straining through a cheesecloth-lined strainer for about an hour to remove excess liquid.
Can you prepare the cookies ahead?
These vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are actually very make-ahead-friendly. First, you could store the cookie dough, covered, in the fridge for 2 days before baking the cookies.
You can also either freeze the unbaked cookie dough balls or roll the dough into a log and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap to freeze for up to 3 months.
You can bake the cookies from frozen, adding a few minutes to the oven time (slightly flattening them halfway into the baking) OR allow the cookie dough to thaw in the fridge overnight, then shape and bake.
Top Recipe Tips and Notes
Flatten the cookies: They don’t spread in the oven, so flattening/shaping them beforehand is important.
The cookie size: You can easily increase or decrease their size and the baking time accordingly.
Be careful not to overbake the cookies: They may look soft, but these vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies firm up as they cool.
Don’t skip the cooling time: They’re delicious warm, but their firmness, chewiness, and flavor only improve over time, making them even better after an hour or two of cooling (and even better on day two!).
How to Store Vegan Pumpkin Cookies?
Store the cookies in an airtight container with parchment paper between the layers for 2-3 days (or 4-5 in the fridge). Note that they will soften over time this way. For a slightly crisper cooker, only loosely cover them.
To freeze them, either wrap the cookies individually or in stacks with parchment paper between them. Store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow them to thaw at room temperature (for about 15 minutes) or warm up gently in a microwave in 10-second intervals to enjoy.
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