Decorated Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

It’s that time of year when all we can think about is falling leaves, cozy sweaters, hot cocoa, and decorated pumpkin sugar cookies! These cutout sugar cookies are super soft, tender, and delicious, and the creamy buttercream is beyond amazing (wait until you try the flavor combo).

This recipe combines two of my very best recipes (one of which I use for teaching cookie classes). Learn more below.

How to Decorate Pumpkin Sugar Cookies | Best Buttercream for Halloween Pumpkin Cookies | Best Halloween Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

decorated pumpkin buttercream cookies recipe

While there are a lot of amazing Halloween royal icing cookies out there, I chose to use my amazing buttercream for two reasons.

One, it’s super easy and quick. You don’t have to wait for the layers of icing to dry before adding more. Instead, you can pipe the frosting quickly and save a lot of time.

Second, not everyone likes royal icing, which can be more difficult to master. The consistency of my easy buttercream frosting is light and creamy, and the flavor is out of this world good.

How to Decorate Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

To decorate pumpkin sugar cookies, you’ll need the following items:

  • A good pumpkin cookie cutter to cut the sugar cookies. I prefer metal over plastic as it gives the cookies cleaner edges.
  • Three piping bags, three couplers, and a #21-star tip. You can use three star tips, but you can also wash the same one after using each buttercream color. It’s really up to you.
  • You’ll also want this amazing lazy Susan. I use this for all of my cookies whether they are buttercream or royal icing. It makes the decorating process a breeze, and you won’t accidentally smudge the frosting.

After making and baking the pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies, make the buttercream frosting and color it.

For the cookies shown here, I used Americolor orange and Wilton teal gel colors. The white/cream frosting is the natural color of the buttercream, so no coloring is needed.

You can add sprinkles as well, but it’s completely optional. Although – sprinkles are fun for kids, so do what works best for you!

For the first buttercream design, I created a continuous curved line swirling up and down to make the pumpkin “ridges.” If you feel unsure of how to do the design, I always recommend practicing on a plate or on parchment paper first.

buttercream pumpkin cut out sugar cookie with white frosting and sprinkles

For the second design, I pipe a basic shell design. Pipe a shell design by placing the tip at a 45-degree angle on the cookie, apply pressure to the bag to make the frosting come out so that it builds a mound of frosting, and then quickly pull the tip away. You will repeat this for every shell.

pumpkin shaped sugar cookies with Orange and teal frosting

And for the third design, I used the same shell design but offset each one from left to right. I didn’t get a close-up picture of this third design. But you can still see it in the full sheet pan pictures of the cookies.

So there you have it – Three frosted Halloween cookie designs that take no time at all!

The Best Buttercream for Halloween Pumpkin Cookies

One of the things that makes this buttercream so good is adding just a small amount of cream cheese. You can’t taste it, but it enhances the overall flavor.

The second thing that makes this frosting so amazing is the flavoring. You can stick with traditional vanilla if you would like, which is always a good option, but I prefer this flavoring.

But for these cookies, I used a combination of vanilla, almond emulsion, and butter emulsion. It’s actually the same flavoring I use for royal icing, and people in my cookie classes go crazy over it!

The third and final thing that makes this the best buttercream frosting is the texture. It’s never grainy, it’s very smooth, and it’s light and creamy. Are you hungry yet?

pumpkin cut out sugar cookies with piped buttercream frosting different decorating techniques

When it comes to Halloween cut-out sugar cookies (or any cutout sugar cookies for that matter), I don’t mess around. You don’t need a recipe for shapeless cookies that spread during baking.

Instead, you need a Halloween cut-out sugar cookie that holds its shape, is soft and tend, and isn’t dry on the inside. And I happen to have the perfect recipe for you!

Tested and tried by many, this recipe is the only cut out cookie recipe I’ll ever recommend to my community.

Halloween pumpkin cutout sugar cookies decorated with buttercream frosting
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Decorated Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

pumpkin cut out sugar cookie with white frosting and sprinkles on a brown baking tray

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  • Author: Camille
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Chill Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 11 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 36 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Creaming
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Halloween Cut Out Sugar Cookies

  • 226 g unsalted butter, cool (60 F)
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 360 g all-purpose flour

For the Buttercream Frosting

  • 226 g unsalted butter, cold (1 cup)
  • 60 g cream cheese, softened (2 oz)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp butter emulsion
  • 1/4 tsp almond emulsion (or extract)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 480 g powdered sugar
  • 1530 ml heavy cream
  • Food coloring
  • Piping Bags, Couplers, and #21 Star Tip
  • #16 Star Tip for pumpkin stems (optional)

Instructions

To Make the Pumpkin Cut Out Sugar Cookies

  1. Remove the butter from the refrigerator and leave out until the butter is just slightly soft but still cool. Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Add the whole egg and mix on low, then add egg yolk and vanilla and mix on low speed until blended in.
  3. Add flour and salt; mix on low/medium-low speed until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. Do not over-mix the dough. If there are any ingredients stuck to the paddle, scrape them off and mix for a few seconds until just mixed.
  4. Cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit a rimmed half-sheet baking pan. Put one piece of parchment paper on your counter, place the dough in the center, and then top it with the other sheet of parchment.
  5. Roll dough out to **1/4 inch thick. Place the rolled dough on your baking sheet and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour. The dough can be frozen at this point if you do not want to use it right away.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F; remove dough from the fridge, uncover, and gently lift dough away from parchment paper on each side so it is not stuck to the paper. Cut out desired shapes and move cookies to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate cut out cookie dough for 10 minutes.
  7. Bake for 9 – 11 minutes, but do not brown the cookies. They will still be light in color when they are finished. Let cookies cool completely before icing.
  8. Decorated pumpkin sugar cookies can be stored for up to a week (decorated or undecorated).

To Make the Buttercream

  1. Cream butter on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until smooth. It will take longer because the butter is cold. Add the cream cheese and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla and emulsions and mix. Add salt and half of the powdered sugar and mix on a low speed to start. Increase speed to medium as powdered sugar absorbs into the butter.
  3. Add remaining powdered sugar and 15 ml heavy cream (you can also use milk if you don’t have cream). Mix on low, and then increase the speed to medium for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Turn the speed down to low (speed 2), and mix for 1-2 more minutes to get rid of *extra air and bubbles.
  4. As a note, the amount of heavy cream you need depends on how stiff or soft you want the frosting. If you want a thinner buttercream, add up to 60 ml of heavy cream total.
  5. Add food coloring if desired, and use it to decorate the pumpkin sugar cookies. ***Buttercream frosting does not need to be refrigerated if you are frosting the cookies right away. Refrigerate if not using the same day.
  6. The frosting can be stored in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for up to two months. Re-mix cold frosting for a few minutes so the consistency is correct again.

Notes

This is a Baker Street Society original recipe.

**As a side note, I do not refrigerate my cookies once they are frosted. I have never had an issue with leaving the buttercream at room temperature, even with the addition of the cream cheese. But whether or not you refrigerate the cookies is completely up to you.

halloween pumpkin buttercream cookies
Pumpkin Shaped Sugar Cookies with buttercream (uses different decorating techniques)

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