How to Decorate Pumpkin Cookies

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It’s that time of year again when pies and cookies and cakes begin to fill up our tables as we spend time with loved ones and give thanks for all that we have. If you want something colorful and festive and delicious, then keep reading because I show you how to decorate pumpkin cookies in a step-by-step tutorial.

And by the way, these look really cute with our turkey cookies, so jump over and check out that tutorial as well!

How to Make Pumpkin Cookies:

First, we start with our cut-out sugar cookie recipe that is just absolutely perfect for decorating sugar cookies. They are so delicious and the cookies don’t spread much when baking, making it easier to decorate. I always top my cookies with American buttercream because it tastes much better than royal icing. Royal icing or flooding icing is made with egg whites or meringue powder and dries really hard. It makes it easier to stack or bag cookies without a mess, but in my opinion it tastes horrible.

You will need a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter. Take the completely cooled sugar cookies (I like to freeze or refrigerate mine before decorating) and line them up on a cookie tray or cooling rack. Get your buttercreams ready. You will need orange, darker orange and a little bit of green. AmeriColor gel food coloring works best to get the super vibrant colors without needing to add a lot of food coloring.

The orange will be spread on the cookies with a small offset spatula so that can be left in the bowl. The darker orange will be piped around the border to give the pumpkins texture. Place the dark orange buttercream into a piping bag with a small round piping tip. I use Wilton #5 tip. Place the green buttercream into a piping bag with a small round tip like the Wilton #3.

If you’re right handed, pick up a cookie with your left hand and let it rest lightly in your hand, gently bracing the edges with your fingertips. Try not to let your fingertips go past the top of the cookie or you’ll hit it with the spatula.

Now, scoop a large scoop of buttercream onto the back of the offset spatula with your right hand and spread it onto the cookie. Don’t be afraid to start with more buttercream than you need. It’s easier to scrape it off than it is to add it later. Spread the buttercream across the entire surface of the cookie with the back of the spatula, letting the buttercream go a little past the edges (trust me!).

Clean off your spatula by scraping it on the edge of the bowl. Hold your spatula straight up and down, perpendicular to the cookie. Now gently scrape the spatula across the edge of the cookie, moving toward you. This will give you a straight edge of buttercream. Clean off the spatula again and continue working around the cookie until all of the edges are clean. Now, smooth out the top of the cookie with the back of the spatula. You want to leave about 1/8″ of buttercream so you don’t scrape it down to the cookie.

Set aside and repeat this process with all of the cookies. Grab the piping bag with the dark orange and pipe a line around the edge of the pumpkin, skipping the stem at the top. Now, starting at the top center of your line, pipe a line to the bottom of the cookie, in a right arc. Then do it again in a left arc. It’s like the shape of an eyeball. Now, moving halfway between the edge and the line you just created, pipe another arc, parallel to the first arc. Repeat that on the left side.

The last step is to create the stem. Take the bag with the green buttercream and pipe a squiggly line going up and down from the left of the stem to the right of the stem. I like to make some curly ques from the stem as well. 😉

Happy Decorating!


How to Decorate Pumpkin Cookies

Recipe by Amanda Innes-ShareefCourse: DessertDifficulty: Medium


  • Unsalted Butter 226g
    (1 cup)

  • Cream Cheese 3 oz.

  • Sugar 465g
    (2 cups)

  • Egg Yolks 2

  • Almond Extract 1 tsp

  • All Purpose Flour 420g
    (2 3/4 cups)

  • Salt 1/2 tsp


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is creamy.
  • Add the sugar and beat on medium-high speed for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the yolks and the almond extract and beat for another minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
  • Add the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed until the dough has formed. Now turn the mixer on high speed and mix for 10-20 seconds.
  • Roll out and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes (see tips above for chilling).
  • Cut out pumpkins using a pumpkin cutter and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet in a preheated oven at 350° for 10-14 minutes, depending on the thickness of the dough.
  • Cool completely before decorating.


  • I like to refrigerate or freeze my cookies before decorating. This makes the cookies more solid and I find them easier to decorate when cold.