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These Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies are the definition of the perfect fall dessert! Soft pumpkin spice cookies stuffed with a creamy cheesecake filling to make the best decadent treat. All you need is 12 simple ingredients!
Table of Contents
Cheesecake stuffed cookies have been trending over the last couple of years, and we wanted to put our vegan spin on it. With a few simple swaps and a bit of recipe testing, we’ve nailed a vegan version of the popular cookie idea that no one would guess is vegan. These delicious pumpkin cookies are equally decadent and creamy as the original – you might want to make a double batch because they will disappear fast!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Vegan butter: When baking, we recommend using vegan butter sticks over buttery spreads. They are typically higher in fat and lower in water, which helps prevent the cookies from overspreading. We typically use Country Crock Plant Butter or Earth Balance Butter and highly recommend both brands.
- Sugar: A combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar. Granulated sugar helps create crispy edges whereas brown sugar adds additional moisture and helps the cookies remain soft and chewy. Brown sugar also adds a molasses, caramel-like flavor that enhances the pumpkin flavor.
- Pumpkin purée: Pure pumpkin purée is best. You won’t want to use pumpkin pie filling as this canned product contains added sugars and is meant to be used as the pumpkin filling in a pie crust.
- Flour: We have only tested these cookies using classic all-purpose flour. If you’d like to test a gluten-free version on your own, we would recommend using a gluten-free flour blend such as Bob’s Red Mll 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. Note that we are unsure if this would work well, but it is likely your best bet.
- Spices: You’ll need a simple blend of ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. These warming, aromatic spices enhance the pumpkin spice flavors and make these cookies the perfect fall treat! If you prefer to use a pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice blend, replace these spices with 1 tablespoon of a spice blend.
- Leavening agents: These fluffy pumpkin cookies use both baking soda and baking powder to help the cookies brown and be as light and fluffy as possible.
- Vegan cream cheese: We recommend the brands Tofutti’s and Kite Hill Cream Cheese. Tofutti’s is a great option if you’d like to make these cookies nut-free.
Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe instructions and ingredient measurements.
- Mixing bowls
- Parchment paper
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer
- Rubber spatula
- Baking sheet
- Wire cooling rack
How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies
Dry the Pumpkin purée
Pumpkins are naturally water-heavy winter squashes and contain a good amount of excess water content.
In order to make these chewy pumpkin cookies the right texture, you’ll need to dry the pumpkin purée before measuring and using it in the cookie batter.
To dry your pumpkin purée, scoop the pumpkin purée onto a paper towel (or a few paper towels!). Wrap the towel around the pumpkin purée and ring it out over the sink to remove the excess moisture. Continue the process until you have 1/2 cup of thick pumpkin puree.
Prepare the cream cheese filling
In a medium bowl, add the vegan cream cheese and granulated sugar. Mix until completely smooth, then dollop 2 teaspoon-sized scoops of the mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or plate. This mixture should make 20 scoops of cream cheese. Place the baking sheet or plate into the freezer and freeze until completely solid, about 1 hour.
Make the Cookie Dough
- Cream the butter and sugar. In a large mixing bowl, add the vegan butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. With an electric mixer or stand mixer, cream together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the pumpkin purée and vanilla. In the same bowl, add the pumpkin purée and vanilla extract and beat together for another minute, or until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients. Next, add the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix together with a spatula until just combined.
- Chill the cookie dough for at least 1 hour. Cover and place the pumpkin cookie dough into the refrigerator and chill for at least 1-2 hours, or overnight.
- Fill the cookies. Once the dough is sufficiently chilled, scoop the cookie dough into 20 even-sized balls. Take a ball of dough and place it in the palm of your hand. Flatten it out, then place a frozen cheesecake ball in the center. Mold the cookie dough around it and roll the ball in your hand a few times to make sure the cream cheese is entirely encased. Place the cookie dough ball on the baking sheet and continue until you’ve formed 6 cookie dough balls.
- Bake. Bake the pumpkin cheesecake cookies (just 6 cookies at a time) for 13-15 minutes, or until golden on the edges. Transfer the baked cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat the process with the remaining batter until all of the cookies are baked.
- Serve. Allow the cookies to cool slightly, then enjoy slightly warm or room temperature. Enjoy!
These pumpkin cheesecake cookies are delicious on they’re own, but can be made even more decadent with the right topping! Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
- Roll the cookies in pumpkin spice sugar. If you’ve made our Strawberry Sugar Cookies or Ube Sugar Cookies and love that crunchy sugar outside, coat the outside of your pumpkin cookies in a simple pumpkin spice sugar (mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice).
- Drizzle with homemade maple glaze. To make, combine all of the glaze ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk together until smooth. Then, once the cookies are cool, drizzle the glaze over top, as desired.
- Roll the cookies in crushed graham cracker crumbs. If your favorite part of a NY Style Cheesecake is the graham cracker crust, you can lightly roll your pumpkin cheesecake cookies in crushed vegan graham crackers before baking.
The best way to prevent these cookies from over-spreading is sufficiently chilling both the cream cheese filling and the cookie dough. If the dough is too warm, it will over-spread, and the cream cheese filling is much more likely to spill out. For this reason, it is best to keep the cookie dough and filling in the refrigerator between baking batches.
Yes! Both the cheesecake balls and the cookie dough can be made 1-2 days in advance and refrigerated/frozen until ready to bake.
Absolutely. If you prefer to make these pumpkin cookies without the cheesecake filling, they will bake well without the filling.
If you do not have access to canned pumpkin purée or your store is simply out, you can make your own Homemade Pumpkin Purée, or replace the purée with a can of Butternut Squash purée or Sweet Potato purée.
Since these cookies are filled with cream cheese, it is best to store leftover pumpkin cheesecake cookies in the refrigerator. Before storing them, let the cookies cool completely, then cover and seal them in an airtight container.
When stored properly these cookies will keep for up to 5 days.