Home » Brown Butter Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free & Egg Free)

Brown Butter Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free & Egg Free)

These are THE BEST pumpkin chocolate chip cookies you’ll ever make. They’re deliciously fudgy (and decidedly NOT cakey!) and combine all the best flavours: brown butter, pumpkin spice, pecans and chocolate. They’re also incredibly quick and easy to make: you don’t need any special equipment (no stand or hand mixer) and you can bake these straight away – no chilling required. 

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A stack of brown butter pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that have been broken in half.

Pumpkin cookies can be rather annoying. Which is a weird way to start this blog post, but bear with me. Pumpkin cookies can be annoying because they can get really cakey really quickly – and I’m sure we can all agree that when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, cakey is the worst texture there is. (I’m not accepting any counterarguments, it’s just a fact.)

With chocolate chip cookies, I want the edges to be deliciously crisp, with the centre being either fudgy, gooey or chewy (or a combination of these). There’s no room for cakey in good chocolate chip cookies.

Now, I do have an older, non-cakey pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe on the blog – and don’t get me wrong, it’s a really good one. But… it’s also not The One.

The great news is that I’ve finally discovered THE ABSOLUTE BEST pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They’re fudgy and very slightly gooey (and they get chewier with time), there’s no cakiness in sight and there’s brown butter involved.

And when a recipe includes brown butter, you just know it’s going to be absolutely, ridiculously delicious.

To top it off, they’re both gluten free AND egg free – not that you could possibly tell.

Overhead view of brown butter pumpkin chocolate chip cookies on a sheet of brown parchment paper.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these amazing pumpkin cookies – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

What makes pumpkin chocolate chip cookies cakey and how can you prevent that?

In order to avoid cakey pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, we first need to understand what can make them cakey in the first place.

Pumpkin puree (either shop-bought in a can or homemade) contains a lot of moisture and adding too much extra moisture to a chocolate chip cookie dough is what inevitably results in cakey cookies. That can be because you added too much extra flour to counteract that moisture or simply because the extra moisture reacts differently with the raising agents and the other ingredients in the cookie dough.

In any case, the conclusion is simple: in order to avoid cakey pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, we need to reduce the total amount of moisture in the cookie dough.

Now, in addition to the pumpkin puree, there are two further sources of moisture in a typical cookie dough: eggs and the water content of the butter (as butter contains about 15% of water by weight).

As we obviously don’t want to eliminate the pumpkin puree, we need to get rid of the other two. So, this recipe is egg free (in addition to being gluten free, as well) and we’ll be browning the butter.

When you brown the butter, two things happen:

  • You remove pretty much all of the moisture from the butter.
  • The milk solids in the butter get caramelised, which adds these gorgeous caramel-like, slightly nutty notes to the cookies.

So, browning the butter is really a win-win situation: you add a boatload of flavour to the cookies AND you remove the moisture. Plus, browning the butter will make your whole kitchen smell absolutely spectacular.

In addition to all of this, we’ll also keep the amount of pumpkin puree relatively low. There’s more than enough to give a gorgeous pumpkin flavour, but not so much that it introduces too much moisture back into the cookie dough. It’s all a balance – and we’re definitely getting it right in this recipe.

I mean, just look at this fudgy (and decidedly NOT cakey) cookie perfection!!

hands holing a brown butter pumpkin chocolate chip cookie that's been broken in half.

Making the pumpkin chocolate chip cookie dough

Browning the butter is honestly the most difficult part of this recipe and even that is incredibly straightforward. Once you’ve browned the butter, you need to let it cool until at least lukewarm before you make the cookie dough.

To make the pumpkin chocolate chip cookie dough:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the lukewarm brown butter, light brown sugar and caster/superfine or granulated sugar until combined (no need to cream or aerate the butter-sugar mixture at this stage). The mixture will look like wet sand.
  2. Add the pumpkin puree and the vanilla, and whisk well until the mixture is pale and slightly fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients: gluten free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and the spices (ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg).
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix well (with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula) until you get a smooth, fairly soft cookie dough with no flour clumps.

Add-ins: pecans and dark chocolate

Once you have the cookie dough ready, it’s time for all the yummy add-ins!

Because I really wanted these cookies to taste like fall, I added a small mountain of chopped pecans. While I usually like to use toasted pecans in my baking, I actually didn’t toast them this time – keeping them as they are (without toasting) keeps them nicely mellow and buttery. This way, they mesh really well with all the other ingredients in the cookie dough without overwhelming any of the other flavours present.

The other add-in is, of course, the chocolate. I used a 54.5% chocolate with subtle nutty notes for this recipe (it’s this one from Callebaut and I simply adore it), but you can use any dark chocolate in the 50-70% cocoa solids range. (I prefer to use actual couverture chocolate in my chocolate chip cookies – either chopped or in the form of callets or wafters – rather than chocolate chips, because it melts slightly into the cookies and gives an overall better result. But feel free to use whatever form of chocolate you like best, just make sure it’s of a good quality.)

And you could add other things to these cookies as well – like butterscotch chips or pretzels! Feel free to get creative, and just have fun with it.

Overhead view of brown butter pumpkin chocolate chip cookies on a sheet of brown parchment paper.

No need to chill the cookie dough!

The great thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to chill the cookie dough – you can bake the cookies straight away.

While many chocolate chip cookies require chilling to prevent them from spreading into sad little puddles in the oven, these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies don’t have that issue. Instead, they will spread perfectly (just enough, not too much) during baking, to give the most stunning and the most delicious result.

So, after you’ve prepared the cookie dough and stirred in the add-ins, scoop out the individual cookie dough portions (I recommend using a 3-tablespoon ice cream or cookie scoop for this) onto a large lined baking sheet. Don’t crowd the cookies, as they will spread during baking – I recommend a maximum of 6 cookies per baking sheet (or 8, if your baking sheet is particularly large).

I like to top the cookie dough balls with a few extra pecan pieces and chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (depending on what you’re using) just before baking, to make sure that they’re extra pretty as they come out of the oven.

Baking the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

Oven temperature & baking time

You need to bake the cookies at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 12-14 minutes, until the edges are golden brown but the centres are still a bit underbaked. This will ensure a perfectly fudgy-gooey centre that will become chewier as the cookies cool and then as they sit at room temperature for a few days.

Note that the oven temperature above refers to a conventional/non-fan oven. If you’re using a convection/fan oven, reduce this temperature by 25ºF (20ºC). This is a general rule of thumb that holds true for most recipes.

Correcting the shape to get perfectly round cookies

To get perfectly round cookies, use a round cookie cutter, slightly larger than the diameter of the cookies and, while the cookies are still hot immediately out of the oven, use it to gently nudge the sides of the cookies towards the centre, until you get a perfectly round shape.

Note: don’t cut the cookies – just scoot or nudge them into shape!!

It’s really an incredibly easy step and you can skip it if you don’t care about the exact shape of your cookies (after all, they will be delicious either way) but it does make them look even prettier.

This method can be used with any cookies that are fairly soft and malleable when they come out of the oven. I’ve used it with my Ultimate Gluten Free Chocolate Chip CookiesBlack Forest Flourless Brownie CookiesVegan Brownie CookiesStrawberry Chocolate Chip CookiesDouble Chocolate Chip Cookies and many others! And it works perfectly every time.

hands holing a brown butter pumpkin chocolate chip cookie.

And there you have it: this is everything you need to know about these truly incredible brown butter pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I’m not exaggerating when I say that these are some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever tasted.

And honestly, that’s hardly a surprise. When you combine the deliciousness that is brown butter with pumpkin puree, a generous dose of warming fall spices, pecans AND chocolate, and it’s all delivered in the form of a fudgy, gooey cookie… well, it really can’t be anything other than outrageously delicious.

I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

Happy baking!

Signature of the author, Kat.

A stack of brown butter pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that have been broken in half.

More amazing pumpkin desserts

If you’re looking for more incredibly delicious pumpkin desserts, you’re definitely in the right place!

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Brown Butter Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free & Egg Free)

These are THE BEST pumpkin chocolate chip cookies you’ll ever make. They’re deliciously fudgy (and decidedly NOT cakey!) and combine all the best flavours: brown butter, pumpkin spice, pecans and chocolate. They’re also incredibly quick and easy to make: you don’t need any special equipment (no stand or hand mixer) and you can bake these straight away – no chilling required. 
Print Rate
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook/Bake Time 12 mins
Total Time 57 mins
Servings 12 cookies

Ingredients

  • 140 g (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 120 g (½ cup + 1½ tbsp) light brown soft sugar
  • 70 g (¼ cup + 1½ tbsp) caster/superfine or granulated sugar
  • 80 g (⅓ cup) canned pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 220 g (1¾ cups + 1 tbsp) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour that doesn't have any xanthan gum added. You can also mix your own gluten free flour blend using this recipe. Note that for this homemade blend, 1 cup = 150g, so ideally use a digital food scale for best results.)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum (Omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum.)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 120 g (1 cup) pecan halves, roughly chopped, plus extra for adding on top of the cookies just before baking
  • 70 g (2½ oz) dark chocolate (50-70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped or in the form of callets/wafers, plus extra for adding on top of the cookies just before baking (I used this one from Callebaut.)

Instructions

Browning the butter:

  • Add the unsalted butter to a saucepan (preferably one with a light-coloured interior that allows you to see the butter changing colour) and cook it over medium-high heat with frequent stirring for 6-8 minutes in total.
    The butter will first melt and then start bubbling and foaming.
    Finally, it will turn amber and smell nutty. You should see specks of a deep brown/amber colour on the bottom of the saucepan (those are the caramelised milk solids).
    Remove from heat, pour the browned butter into a large bowl, and allow it to cool until lukewarm.

Making the cookie dough:

  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line two large baking sheets with parchment/baking paper.
    Tip: You will bake the cookies in two batches, so you can line two baking sheets if you have them on hand. Otherwise, just re-use the same baking sheet, but make sure to cool it completely before you place the next batch of unbaked cookies onto it.
  • Add the light brown sugar and caster/superfine or granulated sugar to the lukewarm brown butter and, using a large balloon whisk, mix them together until combined. You don't need to cream the mixture or incorporate any air into it at this stage. The mixture will look like wet sand at this point.
  • Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla, and whisk for a few minutes until the mixture has lightened in colour and is slightly fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well, using either a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula, until you get a smooth and soft cookie dough with no patches of unmixed flour.
    Tip: The cookie dough will be fairly soft and slightly sticky at this point – that's perfectly okay and as it should be.
  • Add in the chopped pecans and chocolate, and mix well until evenly distributed.

Scooping & baking the cookies:

  • Use a 3-tablespoon ice cream or cookie scoop to portion out individual balls of cookie dough and place them on the lined baking sheets. You should get 12 cookies in total, 6 per baking sheet. Make sure to leave plenty of space between the cookies (about 2 inches/5 cm), as they will spread out during baking.
    Tip: If your baking sheet is particularly large, you should be able to fit 8 cookies onto it to bake at once.
  • Before they go into the oven, you can add a few extra pieces of pecans and chocolate on top of each cookie dough ball. This make the baked cookies extra pretty and tempting.
  • Bake the cookies, one baking sheet at a time, at 350ºF (180ºC) for 12-14 minutes or until they're golden brown around the edges but the centres still look slightly underbaked.
    Tip 1: Taking the cookies out of the oven when the centres look underbaked ensures that they'll have a wonderfully fudgy-gooey texture.
    Tip 2: If you prefer crisper cookies, bake them for a few minutes longer, until their centres are fully baked through.
  • Immediately out of the oven, you can correct the shape of the cookies into a more evenly round one. To do this, use a round cookie cutter slightly larger than the cookie diameter to nudge the cookies into shape.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Storage:

  • The brown butter pumpkin chocolate chip cookies keep well in a closed container at room temperature for about 1 week. Note that the cookies will get a bit softer and chewier with time.
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