These healthy and easy pumpkin recipes are the best ways to use this nutritious orange vegetable! Use it in cookies, pasta, soup, and more.

Pumpkin recipes

Once cooler temperatures start to creep into the mornings, it starts: pumpkin mania. Yes, this nutritious orange squash has a cult-like following starting in September. It’s a short season, so the time is here. Let’s make all the pumpkin recipes!

Pumpkin is extremely versatile: it’s most popularly used in desserts, but it works in savory recipes like pasta sauce or a bright orange hummus that’s perfect for fall parties. Here are all the top pumpkin recipes that are easy to make with healthy, whole food ingredients. Want recipes by type? Try these 10 Pumpkin Breakfast Recipes or Top 20 Pumpkin Desserts.

And now, our best easy pumpkin recipes!

Pumpkin puree vs pumpkin pie filling

Let’s get technical for a moment. What’s the difference between pumpkin, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling?

  • Pumpkin refers the fresh pumpkin squash! All of the pumpkin recipes above don’t call for this because it’s easiest to find and work with pumpkin puree.
  • Pumpkin puree is cooked pumpkin that has been blended down into a puree and canned. It is unflavored. Take a taste out of the can, and it tastes very bland. When you’re shopping, do not accidentally grab pumpkin pie filling because…
  • Pumpkin pie filling is sweetened and includes pumpkin spices. Many of the pumpkin recipes above are savory, so you’ll want plain old pumpkin puree. (Remind us to tell you the time we accidentally made our pumpkin Parmesan penne with pumpkin pie filling…!)

Canned pumpkin can contain butternut squash, too

That can of pumpkin puree sometimes has other squashes too! Here’s what’s really in your canned pumpkin puree. Butternut squash is sweeter and creamier than pumpkin, which can be bitter and stringy. So many times manufacturers add butternut squash. Don’t worry, it’s not cheating: it’s just the best way to that creamy, sweet puree that we can call pumpkin!

What is pumpkin spice?

Now, some pumpkin recipes don’t even use that bright orange puree at all. They rely solely on pumpkin spices! Pumpkin has a fairly neutral flavor: our brains just associate the flavor of pumpkin with the spices in pumpkin pie. Some types of recipes simply don’t work with actual pumpkin: like iced coffee or energy bars.

Pumpkin spice can stand in to evoke the flavor in a pumpkin recipe where adding the actual vegetable would be too gooey. What spices are in pumpkin spice? Here’s our Pumpkin Pie Spice recipe. It’s a blend of:

  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Allspice
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg

More pumpkin recipes

There are so many ways to include pumpkin in recipes! Here are some more serving ideas:

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Pumpkin cookies

35 Easy Pumpkin Recipes: Cookies & More!

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 24 to 26 1x


This pumpkin cookies recipe is ultra soft, chewy, and cozy spiced! Drizzle with simple icing for the perfect fall cookie.



For the cookies

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (280 g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (Libby brand is most consistent for baked goods*)

For the glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the butter (sliced into pieces) in a skillet over medium heat. Heat for about 5 minutes until it melts, turns foamy, and then becomes golden brown in color and smells nutty. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes to cool (you can also do this in advance and cool it to room temperature).
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt.
  4. Add the cooled browned butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar and mix on High speed for 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk, molasses and vanilla extract, and beat on High speed for 1 minute. Add the pumpkin puree and mix just until incorporated, scraping once. Pour in the bowl of dry ingredients and mix on Low speed until just combined.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place ¼ cup granulated sugar on a plate. Roll the dough in 1 ½ tablespoon balls, using a cookie scoop if possible, then roll the ball into the plate of sugar. Repeat for a tray of 12 cookies. Add a single tray to the oven and bake 12 to 13 minutes, until puffed. Chill the remaining dough while baking (recommended but not required; without it the second batch comes out with slightly more crinkles**). Allow to cool on the pan 5 minutes before removing to a baking rack.
  6. Repeat for the second batch of cookies (baking the trays separately yields more even results).
  7. Allow the cookies to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. For the glaze, mix the powdered sugar, milk and melted butter in a small bowl until a thick icing forms (add slightly more sugar if it’s too runny or a hint more milk if too thick). Use a fork to drizzle the icing over the cookies. Wait for about 20 minutes for the icing to dry before serving.
  8. Store at room temperature for about 1 week, refrigerated for 2 weeks (bring to room temperature before serving), or frozen for 3 months (un-iced cookies freeze best).


*Don’t use pumpkin pie filling! Canned pumpkin can vary in moisture level, and too much moisture makes cakey pumpkin cookies. We’ve found Libby brand canned pumpkin has the best dry texture for baking, while other brands can have more moisture than others.

**You can also chill the dough longer than it takes to bake the first tray, but let it come to roughly room temperature before making the balls. (Baking the dough right from chilled yields different results.)

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Cookies
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Pumpkin Recipes

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. If you want more soft squishy cookies that are easier to eat, I suggest cooking them for two minutes or so less. It turns out tons better

  2. I made these cookies yesterday, and this recipe is a winner! I substituted pumpkin pie spice blend for the cinnamon and nutmeg. Thanks for the recipe. I will be making these again, for sure.