Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies (with cinnamon vanilla icing)

Not only do these cookies taste wonderful, but baking them will flood your home with the amazing smells we all associate with fall. There are a few extra steps than your average cookie recipe, but I promise, you will be glad you took them.

First we start out by browning the butter. If you have never added browned butter to your baked goods, boy are you missing out. Browned butter is magical. Lets leave it at that. To brown the butter you begin by cutting the butter into smaller chunks so they melt evenly. Place the chunks of butter in a pan on the stove over medium low heat. You will need to whisk it constantly to ensure the milk solids don’t settle to the bottom and burn before the butter has a chance to brown.

Right before the butter starts to brown it will bubble/foam up like this. This is expected & completely normal! That’s how you know its getting close.

You will be able to tell your butter is starting to brown because it will have a different smell and appearance. It will start to smell nutty and almost sweet (smells almost like english toffee to me!), and it will turn from yellow to a golden amber color (see below).

The butter is beginning to brown here! Keep whisking for a little while longer!
Look at that beautiful amber color!

Once your butter is browned you will want to turn off the heat and pour it into a bowl to cool for about 5 minutes. Then you will add all the wet ingredients and sugar and whisk it together. In a separate bowl you’ll whisk up the flour, salt, baking soda and spices and then you will add the wet ingredients to the dry!

You’ll combine the mixtures until only about halfway well mixed… and then you’ll add the oats and combine it all! See? So simple.

This is what the mixture will look like once it is combined. It is pretty wet, that’s why we let it chill.

Next you just chill the dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. This ensures all the components and flavors have time to combine. Then we will roll the dough into balls and flatten slightly into discs. This cookie dough wont spread much in the oven, that’s why we flatten the balls of dough. I like to make my cookies big with three tablespoons of dough! But, really, you can make them any size you’d like. Just be sure to adjust the baking time shorter if they are small or longer if they are bigger.

These are my cookie dough balls after I flatten them into discs!
Baked to perfection!!

You want to bake the cookies until they are just barely getting golden on the bottom/sides and with the centers still looking a little soft. Letting them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes makes sure they won’t fall apart when you lift them off the baking sheet.

As if these cookies aren’t good enough on their own, I top them with a cinnamon & vanilla icing. This icing sets a little if you leave them out for 30 minutes to an hour. It won’t set as much as royal icing but it will set up enough so it doesn’t smear everywhere. The icing is of course optional but I highly recommend it! All you have to do is stir together powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and milk. I use a condiment bottle to drizzle it on, but you can also dip them or spread it on the cookies as well!

This is the consistency you are going for. Not too thin or it won’t set up nicely.
DELICIOUS!… you can thank me later 😉

Ready, set, go!

Ingredients: (for the cookie dough)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup butter, unsalted
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients: (for the icing)

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-3 tbsp milk


  1. In a medium sized pan, brown the butter (see photos above if needed), then pour into a medium bowl to cool for 5 minutes.
  2. While the browned butter is cooling, in a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, salt.
  3. In the bowl with the browned butter, add the pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk well until it is all combined. Then pour it into the flour mixture and combine with a rubber spatula until it is *almost* combined. Add the old fashioned oats and then combine everything well.
  4. Place the bowl of dough into the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. If you are chilling the dough longer than that, cover it with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.
  5. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Once the dough has chilled, roll the dough into balls (I like to do 2-3 tablespoons of dough per ball). Place the balls of dough 2-3 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Flatten each dough ball slightly, forming a disc. This ensures the cookie spreads evenly.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  8. Make the icing! In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk. stir it well. Keep adding the milk one teaspoon at a time until the icing is the desired consistency. You don’t want it too thin, because then it will not set. In a condiment bottle or with a spoon, drizzle the icing over the cookie and then let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour to set the icing. You can skip this step if you don’t want the icing to set.
  9. Enjoy! These cookies keep at room temperature in an airtight container for a week.

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