I don’t really like pumpkin, but I keep finding ways that I love it like these Paleo Pumpkin Sugar Cookies. These cookies are soft with just enough pumpkin spice to make you feel all the cozy fall feels. A great fall baking project and festive dessert!
Why We Love These Paleo Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
First, they are Paleo, which means they are also gluten-free, dairy-free, and grain-free, with modifications to make them Keto or nut-free as needed. Second, they are as simple as making a traditional batch of cookies. Cream the wet ingredients, add the dry, scoop, and bake! No chilling or rolling out the dough is required.
Also, my kids love the frosting, which is such a win as paleo frostings can be hard to pull together. Note: We love the frosting once chilled, not so much straight out of the bowl. If you don’t love it out of the bowl, spread it on top of the cookies and chill. Then the texture is perfect and we love it on these cookies.
Modifications and Substitutions
- You can leave off the frosting and toss in some chocolate chips instead.
- I highly recommend using palm shortening and maple sugar even though they are pricer ingredients. Why? Palm shortening is a Paleo version of traditional shortening and maple sugar has a much lighter flavor than coconut sugar more similarly to white sugar. Together, they give a cookie result far more similar to traditional cookies with a result I think is worth it. BUT, if maple sugar and palm shortening aren’t accessible to you, you can sub coconut sugar and ghee.
- Need a nut-free option? I have you covered! See the notes for a cassava flour option to make these nut-free.
- Need a Keto option? No problem! Use Lakanto Golden Monkfruit Sugar instead of the maple sugar in the cookies, and all Golden Monkfruit Sugar in the frosting instead of the honey + maple sugar in the frosting.
Lots of Frosting Options!
The recipe includes a frosting option that is Paleo. Note: We love the frosting once chilled, not so much straight out of the bowl. If you don’t love it out of the bowl, spread it on top of the cookies and chill. Then the texture is perfect and we love it on these cookies.
Here are some other frosting options to fit your dietary needs and accessibility:
- You can make my Easy Dairy-free Frosting (dairy-free but not Paleo) or the Cream Cheese Frosting from my Paleo Zucchini Cake, adding in 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice for the pumpkin flavor
- Or, you can buy a premade dairy-free frosting that works for your dietary needs and stir in the 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Miss Jones Bakes is a dairy-free store-bought frosting option we have enjoyed.
- Palm shortening – Palm shortening is palm oil (an oil derived from a tropical palm tree) with some of the unsaturated fats removed and is fantastic for an awesome cookie texture. You can learn more about palm shortening here. I can find it in the baking aisle of my local natural food store, but more affordably on Amazon. Again, I prefer the results of palm shortening by FAR, but you can substitute ghee or vegan butter here.
- Maple sugar – Maple sugar is derived from maple syrup. It has a much lighter flavor than coconut sugar. It’s like the white sugar of the Paleo world. It’s pricey, but I have found to be worth it for amazing Paleo cookies. I get it on Amazon. You can substitute coconut sugar if needed, I just strongly prefer the results with maple sugar. Or, you can use Lakanto Golden Monkfruit Sugar instead of the maple sugar for a Keto option.
- Pumpkin – Canned pureed pumpkin. I find this in the baking aisle of Winco or Walmart and most grocery stores.
- Vanilla – Pure vanilla is ideal for it’s simple ingredients and minimal processing. And also, Imitation Vanilla extract works just as well if that is what is accessible to you.
- Almond flour – I prefer “super-fine” almond flour to get the best texture. I like this one from Blue Diamond I can get at Sam’s Club or Amazon. See notes for nut-free option!
- Tapioca flour – Tapioca is what gives these cookies a nice soft texture. I recommend it over arrowroot, if you can. I get mine from the bulk bins at Winco. You can also find it easily on Amazon here.
- Baking powder
- Pumpkin Pie Spice – Found in the baking aisle for the perfect pumpkin pie flavor.
- Ghee – Found in the oil aisle and is clarified butter. If there is a high dairy allergy, vegan butter will work here as well.
- Honey – Preferred for it’s thickness to give the frosting the thickness it deserves. Can also sub all Golden Monkfruit Sugar in the frosting instead of the honey + maple sugar in the frosting for keto.
Perfect for any fall celebration or treat. Delicious!
Paleo Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
- 1/4 cup palm shorting*
- 1/2 cup maple sugar*
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/4 cup almond flour
- 3/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup palm shortening*
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 ` cup maple sugar*
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
- Cream shortening, sugar, egg, pumpkin and vanilla.
- Add all the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
- Scoop small spoonfuls (about 1 tablespoon) of batter onto the cookie sheet, spacing about 2" apart. Bake for 10-11 minutes in the 350 degree oven.
- While baking, combine all the frosting ingredients in a small bowl, whisking or beating with a mixer to combine.
- Let the cookies cool completely, and then frost. Enjoy! We love these stored in the fridge or freezer for a thicker frosting texture.
- Cookies can be frozen in a single layer and then stored in the freezer in a sealed container for 3+ months.