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Filled with smooth, creamy pumpkin spice frosting, these Pumpkin Frosted Cookie Cups are packed with rich pumpkin flavor. The classic chocolate chip cookie base comes together with the warm autumn spices in the frosting to make two dozen little cups of comfort.
These cookie cups offer an addictive flavor profile that hits all the right notes. The pumpkin frosting is creamy and sweet, but there’s plenty of warmth from the pumpkin spice blend and nuttiness from the browned butter to balance it out. The earthy taste of the pumpkin really shines through, and the rich chocolate from the cookie cups ties everything together.
Since they’re small and easy to pack together, these cookie cups are the perfect option for picnics, potlucks or bake sales. Plus, the cookie base is sturdier than cake batter, and its shape holds the frosting perfectly. Because of this, these cookie cups are neater than traditional cupcakes, too!
What You’ll Need
Using premade cookie dough really saves on time and effort, and the cookies come out just as good! You can find the exact amounts for all the ingredients in the recipe card.
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups: I go with gluten-free, but any kind of batter works. I love using store-bought cookie batter because it’s so easy, but you can also make your own! If you can’t find GF in the store, just use my recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups.
- Unsalted Butter: Let it warm to room temperature.
- Brown Sugar: I use dark brown because it pairs so well with the browned butter.
- Pumpkin Puree: You can use store-bought, but make sure you don’t grab pumpkin pie filling by mistake.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend
- Powdered Sugar
With less than 10 minutes of active prep time, whipping up these cookie cups is a cinch! Most of the time that goes into them is spent in the oven or cooling on the rack.
Prep Your Materials: Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin (or 2 tins with 12 cups) with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake: Divide the cookie dough between the 24 cups, putting about 1 tablespoon in each. Bake the cookie cups for 12-14 minutes, or until they turn golden brown and crisp around the edges.
Cool: Let the cookie cups cool in the pan for several minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prep the Butter: Meanwhile, slowly melt one stick (1/2 cup) butter in a pan over medium-low heat, then cook it slowly until the butter turns a dark golden brown and starts to smell nutty. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the butter to room temperature. Place the remaining softened 1/2 stick of butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat it until it turns creamy.
Mix the Frosting Base: Slowly beat in the browned butter, then add the brown sugar, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, beating until everything has combined.
Add the Powdered Sugar: Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat the mixture until it turns thick and fluffy, adding additional milk or powdered sugar until it hits the desired consistency.
Assemble and Serve: When the cookie cups are cooled, pipe on the browned butter pumpkin spice frosting and serve them.
Tips for Success
These cookie cups have never given me any trouble. Follow these quick tips so your baking experience goes just as smoothly!
- Use Your Favorite Cookie Dough: Store-bought gluten-free cookie cups are just so easy. Feel free to substitute them for another store-bought cookie dough, or make your own. Just be aware that, if you use another cookie dough, you may have to adjust the amount of dough, baking time and temperature.
- Mix Your Own Pumpkin Spice: You can whip up your own pumpkin pie spice at home! Just whisk together 3 tablespoons of ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons each of ground ginger and nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon each of ground allspice and cloves.
- Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree: Canned pumpkin puree works great for this recipe, but avoid pumpkin pie filling, which is much too thick. You can also make your own puree by cutting a pumpkin in half, scooping out the seeds and pulp, and baking the two halves at 350°F until they’re fork-tender (around 45 minutes). Peel off the skin, break up the meat of the pumpkin, and blend it or put it into a food processor on the puree setting. Add water or strain the puree as needed.
Two iconic flavors come together in these cookie cups, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with them. Here are a few simple ideas to help you put your own spin on this recipe.
- Use a Different Cookie Base: Chocolate chip cookies are a classic that goes so well with the pumpkin flavor in these cookie cups, but it’s not the only option. Triple chocolate cookies add a deep richness to balance the sweetness of the frosting. White chocolate macadamia nut cookies also work well, since the nuttiness and the pumpkin flavor complement each other perfectly.
- Change the Spice Blend: If you decide to make your pumpkin pie seasoning blend from scratch, it’s super easy to change the amounts of each ingredient. You can take out any of the spices, or load your frosting up with even more of them!
- Switch Up the Frosting: You can make small changes to the frosting, like adding cocoa powder or folding in toasted nuts, or you can go with a different frosting flavor altogether. Chocolate frosting and peanut butter frosting also taste great with chocolate chip cookies!
- Add a Filling: To add even more flavor, you can use a spoon to hollow out each cookie cup and fill them up with whatever you want! You can fill them with whipped cream, caramel or your favorite nut butter. Just make sure not to dig too deep, or the filling might end up spilling out. You can also scoop out some of the dough and add a Rolo or a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup to the center before baking them.
How to Store Extras
You can keep these cookie cups at room temperature for up to 4 days. Just make sure to close them up securely in an airtight container. The frosting should be stored separately in the fridge, where it will last up to 10 days. If your cookie cups start to dry out, add half a slice of bread to the container. The cookies will absorb the bread’s moisture and taste fresh longer.
Can I Freeze These?
The cookie part of these cookie cups stays fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. The pumpkin buttercream will freeze for up to 1 month. Keep them sealed separately in airtight containers, and let them thaw in the fridge overnight before assembling and serving them.
Shop the Recipe
MINI CUPCAKE MOLDS: I like to use silicone cupcake pans for cookie cups because the gluten free cookies just pop out more easily.
PIPING BAGS: Truly the easiest way to decorate is to pipe on that pumpkin frosting.
STAR TIP: A simple swirl can make a novice look like a decorating master.
CAKE STAND: A simple cake plate makes these little treats look totally elegant.
- half a batch of Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups or 1 package of regular or gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough (You will need about 1½ cups or enough for about 24 cookies)
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter divided, 1/2 stick at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 pound box powdered sugar
- Additional powdered sugar or milk if necessary to adjust consistency
- Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a mini muffin tin (with 24 cups) with nonstick cooking spray.
- Divide cookie dough between the 24 cups, about 1 Tablespoon in each.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
- Cool in pan for several minutes before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, slowly melt one stick (1/2 cup) butter in a pan over medium-low heat, then cook slowly until butter is dark golden brown and smells nutty. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Place remaining softened 1/2 stick of butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until creamy.
- Slowly beat in the browned butter, then add the brown sugar, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice, beating until combined.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until thick and fluffy, adding additional milk or powdered sugar to achieve the desired consistency.
- When the cookie cupcakes are cooled, pipe on or frost with the Browned Butter Pumpkin Spice Frosting.
- To Store: Keep cookie cups at room temperature up to 4 days in an airtight container. Store frosting separately in the fridge up to 10 days.
- To Freeze: Freeze the cookie cups for up to 3 months and the buttercream up to 1 month in separate containers. Let them thaw overnight before assembling and serving.