Healthy Pumpkin Cookies (with added protein)
These Healthy Pumpkin Cookies (with added protein) are perfectly soft with just the right amount of pumpkin and spice! This cookie recipe is incredibly easy to make and at just 65 calories per cookie you can’t go wrong – even if you ate two or three in one sitting!
Super easy, so yummy and filling and they don’t even taste “healthy”. Thanks so much!!— Jules
Have you jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon, yet, this year? I know, I look forward to pumpkin recipes all year long. Once September hits, it’s all I can do to not make every recipe a pumpkin recipe. Ha! Especially when it comes to delicious dessert and snacks. There’s something so comforting about having a soft pumpkin-spiced cookie on a chilly fall day, alongside my cup of coffee or tea.
Mmmmmm, oh my word and these are so good. The kids really love them too, and I find myself always wanting more. Fortunately, these healthy pumpkin cookies are super easy to make and guilt-free, so they are going to be happening often in our house. Let’s bake!
There’s a good chance you have everything you need for this easy recipe. You will have some yummy healthy pumpkin oatmeal cookies in no time! Here’s the lineup:
- Oats. For these cookies, we’re using oat flour. You can buy it or easily make it yourself! I’ve included instructions on how to do so below in the FAQ section.
- Protein powder. I like Tone It Up or PEScience protein best, but feel free to use what you have on hand. Or you can just use additional oat flour!
- Sweetener. You can, of course, use regular sugar here. I like to use Swerve sugar replacement or Stevia Extract Baking Blend because they taste and bake just like regular sugar without any calories.
- Cozy spices. This recipe calls for pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. This spice combination is what gives these cookies that classic pumpkin pie flavor.
- Salt. Really brings out the pumpkin flavor!
- Baking powder and baking soda. To help these rise a bit.
- Unsweetened applesauce. Applesauce adds some sweetness and moisture to the cookies and also acts as a binder.
- Canned pumpkin. Use 100% pure canned pumpkin puree for these cookies. Don’t grab pumpkin pie filling by mistake, which has added spices and sugar.
- Egg white. Adds a boost of protein while helping to hold these cookies together.
- Optional mix-ins. Chocolate chips are optional, but I highly recommend adding them. Who else loves a pumpkin/chocolate chip combo? I also really love throwing some chopped pecans and craisins in the mix!
Pro tip: Need a recipe for using up the rest of the can of pumpkin puree? Try my delicious pumpkin bread recipe! You won’t regret it!
How to make this recipe
This healthy pumpkin cookie recipe is easy and fast! Just 1 bowl, simple methods, and 20 minutes start to finish (cooking and all). And they just so happen to be soooo moist, tender, perfectly sweet and spicy… without butter, sugar, or oil. Here’s the process, but for the full, printable recipe, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Prep time. Go ahead and grab all of the ingredients and required tools. Preheat the oven and either spray or line baking pans with parchment paper.
- Dry ingredients. Whisk the oat flour, protein powder (if using), sweetener, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Wet ingredients. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the applesauce, pumpkin and egg white. Stir the mixture until it becomes a thick batter.
- Scoop dough. Spoon out about 2 tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie and place on prepared baking sheet. These cookies don’t spread, so press them down gently. Press some chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies.
- Bake. Place the cookie sheet pan into the oven and bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes and until set. Once cooked, cool on a wire cooling rack and enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
You can easily make your own oat flour by simply adding 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats to a blender or food processor and blending or pulsing until the oats resemble flour. This is a really simple and inexpensive option. Be sure to measure out 1 cup of your oat flour after making it! 1 cup of rolled oats equals about 3/4 cup oat flour, so you’ll need a bit more rolled oats for a full cup of oat flour.
If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can use 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon each nutmeg and allspice. If you’re really short on spices, simply sub the pumpkin pie spice with more cinnamon. Just know that your cookies won’t have that warm spice flavor, but they will still be delicious!
Traditional pumpkin cookies are made with refined sugar, refined flour and plenty of butter, but these healthy pumpkin cookies have no butter and are sweetened with either a sugar-free sweetener or coconut sugar and applesauce. They bake up soft, tender and are so flavorful that no one will be able to tell that they’re dairy free and gluten free!
Tips for recipe success
Here are some of my top baking tips to make sure your healthy pumpkin cookies come out perfect:
- Follow the recipe. Other than replacing the sweetener with sugar, I have not tried other swaps. For best results use oat flour instead of another type of flour.
- Mixing batter. When stirring the wet ingredients with the dry, the batter will seem overly dry at first. Keep mixing and pressing your spoon into the batter. It will reach a batter-like consistency.
- Adding chocolate chips. To keep the pumpkin cookies low in calories and “healthier”, this recipe calls for only adding around 4-5 chocolate chips onto the tops of the cookies before baking. However, if you’d like to enjoy more chocolate in your chocolate chip pumpkin cookies, feel free to mix in about 1/2 to 2/3 cup chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips.
- Storing cookies. Unlike most cookie recipes, these pumpkin cookies do not store well beyond a day at room temperature. Because of the canned pumpkin and how moist these cookies are, they tend to get sticky when kept at room temperature for very long. It’s best to store the cookies in the refrigerator after the first day.
Customize these cookies
These soft pumpkin cookies are naturally gluten-free (make sure your oats are certified GF), kid-friendly and totally customizable. Here’s a few ideas for making them your own:
- Chocolate chips. A must in my opinion! You can use mini or regular baking chips. You can also experiment with semi-sweet, milk, or dark chocolate chips.
- Nuts. We love adding chopped pecans or walnuts for extra texture and crunch.
- Dried fruit. Raisins, craisins or any other dried fruit give these cookies a nice added sweetness.
- Shredded coconut. If you’re a coconut fan, adding in some unsweetened shredded coconut would be a fun and tasty option.
- Glaze. Make a simple glaze to drizzle over the top of the cookies. Mix 1/4 cup powdered sugar with 1 to 2 teaspoons milk, until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies.
I can’t wait for you guys to try these cookies. And I also can’t wait to whip them up again! They’re:
Soft and chewy
Made with wholesome ingredients
& filled with fall flavor!
They pair wonderfully with a steamy cup o’ joe, make an excellent 4pm snack, and are perfectly acceptable to squeeze in right before midnight. Not speaking from experience or anything… 😉
More Pumpkin Recipes To Try:
Looking for more pumpkin recipes? You’ll LOVE these other favs!
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Healthy Pumpkin Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats or 1 cup oat flour
- 1/4 cup protein powder or additional 1/4 cup oat flour
- 3/4 cup sweetener that measures like sugar (coconut sugar, regular or brown sugar work too!)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or additional cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 large egg white
- chocolate chips for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Set aside. If using rolled oats, use a food processor or blender to grind them to a flour-like consistency. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
- Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir together wet ingredients. Then stir the entire mixture together. It will seem very dry at first, keep stirring. Use your spoon to press the wet pumpkin mixture into the dry flour. It will become batter-like eventually.
- Scoop 1/8 cup (or 2 tablespoons) of dough onto baking sheet per cookie. Dough is very sticky – it helps to dampen your fingers and use them to flatten them out slightly, as they don't spread much. Press 4-5 chocolate chips into each cookie before baking, and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until set. Enjoy!