Pumpkin zucchini cookies are soft, cakey cookies frosted with a simple cinnamon icing. These lightly spiced cookies are perfect for fall, and holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving!
These pumpkin zucchini cookies are tender, cakey, and incredibly soft. Topped with a sweet cinnamon frosting, these zucchini spice cookies are the perfect baking recipe for fall.
Because we're adding pumpkin and zucchini to our cookies (which add plenty of fiber and stability), we don't need any eggs today. These eggless cookies also don't require any chilling time in the refrigerator, so your cookies are ready in no time!
Serve pumpkin zucchini cookies at your next Halloween party, fall picnic, tailgating party, or as a Thanksgiving dessert. Give our pumpkin zucchini bread a try for even more comforting fall flavors.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Unsalted butter - Unsalted butter and salt can be substituted with salted butter.
- Granulated sugar - We're using all granulated sugar in this recipe today, which adds sweetness and moisture to your cookies.
- Pumpkin puree - Pumpkin puree, pure pumpkin, or 100% pumpkin is needed for this recipe. Pumpkin pie filling is not an adequate substitute because it's pumpkin puree that's already been seasoned and sweetened. Since we're adding sugar and spices of our own, this would make your cookies too sweet and overly spiced.
- Vanilla extract - Adds depth of flavor to your cookies.
- All-purpose flour - Adds structure and stability to your cookies. I haven't tested this recipe with other types of flour, so I can't say how it would turn out. Baking is an exact science, so I wouldn't recommend substituting with other types of flour.
- Spices - Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger add cozy fall flavor to your pumpkin cookies. These can be substituted with pumpkin pie spice if you have it on hand.
- Leavening - You'll need both baking soda and baking powder to get the proper rise in this cookie recipe. One cannot be substituted with the other.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of your cookies.
- Zucchini - You'll need about 1 cup of finely shredded zucchini (measured including the liquid) for this recipe. This equals about 135 grams before squeezing the liquid out, and about 70 grams after squeezing the liquid out. I recommend using finely shredded zucchini because it melts easily into your dough while baking.
- Unsalted butter - Can be substituted with salted butter.
- Milk - Helps thin the frosting slightly. Any type of milk works here - cow's milk, almond, milk, oat milk, etc.
- Confectioner's sugar - Also known as powdered sugar or icing sugar. Melts easily into the other ingredients, creating a smooth texture. I don't recommend using anything other than confectioner's sugar for this frosting.
- Vanilla extract - Adds depth of flavor to your frosting.
- Cinnamon - Adds a hint of cinnamon flavor. Can be doubled for a stronger cinnamon flavor.
Can you taste the zucchini?
Zucchini has a mild, neutral flavor that can't be detected in baked goods. The tiny green flecks throughout the dough is the only sign of zucchini you'll notice.
Make sure you're using zucchini, not other green vegetables (like cucumber) that do have a strong flavor.
Not sure which one you have on hand? Check out my post - Zucchini vs cucumber - what's the difference?
Should I peel my zucchini?
No, there's no need to peel your zucchini before grating it for baked goods. The zucchini bakes right into your cookie dough, so the only thing you'll notice are tiny flecks of green.
The skin of the zucchini contains nutrients like fiber and Vitamin A, so you'd be missing out on these things by peeling the skin off. Not to mention peeling your zucchini takes extra prep time.
I'd only suggest peeling your zucchini if you're using a very large zucchini with hard, rough skin. Small to medium zucchini work best in baked goods because they have a softer skin that melts right into the cookie dough when baked.
Cookie tips and tricks
- Squeeze as much liquid as you can from your shredded zucchini. Excess liquid added to the dough results in a dense, soggy cookie.
- I highly recommend using a cookie scoop to portion your dough (here's the one we use: OXO medium cookie scoop). This dough is fairly sticky and can't be rolled by hand.
- If you don't have a cookie scoop, use two metal spoons and carefully portion out about 1.5 tablespoons of dough into small rounds on your cookie sheet. However your dough is shaped on the baking sheet is how it will look when baked. If you'd like perfectly round cookies, take care to shape your dough into rounded mounds.
- Use a kitchen scale, if you have one. I highly recommend measuring your ingredients by weight for best accuracy (to see measurements by weight, click 'Metric' in the recipe card'). The most common mistake I see in baking is the improper measuring of dry ingredients, like flour. If you're scooping flour with the measuring cup, you may be adding up to 25% extra flour to your recipe without realizing it. Extra flour will make your cookies dry, crumbly, and dense.
- Allow your cookies to dry completely after frosting. This frosting will crust on top and stay soft inside.
Pumpkin cookie storage
Your pumpkin zucchini cookies will keep for up to five days at room temperature in a tightly sealed container.
Frosted cookies, unfrosted cookies, and cookie dough can all be frozen for up to three months in a tightly sealed, freezer safe container. To bring cookies to room temperature, place on the countertop for an hour. To thaw dough, transfer to the refrigerator to allow to thaw overnight.
Pumpkin Zucchini Cookies
Pumpkin zucchini cookies
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (297 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (170 g) pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ¾ cups (330 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup (135 g) finely grated zucchini, measure before squeezing liquid out
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 ½ cups (170 g) confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add butter and granulated sugar. With a hand mixer (or stand mixer) beat until creamed and fluffy. Add pumpkin puree and mix until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Slowly add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined.
- After measuring zucchini, wrap in a few layers of paper towel or a kitchen towel, then squeeze firmly over the kitchen sink to remove excess moisture. Do not skip this step, excess moisture will make your cookies soggy and dense.
- Add shredded zucchini to dough and stir to incorporate.
- Using a medium cookie scoop (or using two spoons), portion cookie dough about 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 12-16 minutes, or until cookies pop back when gently pressed in on top (if an indent is left, your cookies need more time. Cookies will look set across the top and lightly browned around the edges.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, prepare frosting. In a bowl, add butter, milk, confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Using a hand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk frosting ingredients until light and fluffy.
- Using a knife or spoon, gently spread a thin layer of frosting over each cookie. Allow to dry completely (about 2 to 3 hours) before storing.
- Measure 1 cup (135 grams) of finely grated zucchini, then squeeze liquid out (about 70 grams) before adding to the dough.
- Frosting will crust if allowed to dry completely.
- Baked cookies will keep for up to 5 days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. Cookies (and dough) can be frozen for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container.