Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin-Spiced Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Get this wonderful gluten free vegan cookie recipe as well as learn how to bake vegan and gluten free. Containing no actual pumpkin, these gluten free vegan pumpkin spiced cookies are loaded with pumpkin spices. This way, you can achieve a much better cookie texture and still have all of the wonderful flavors. Pureed pumpkin makes cookies soft, much like cake. So, omit the puree altogether and go for supreme flavor and texture.

Cookie Texture

These cookies come out of the oven soft. However, after a few minutes of cooling, they will taste chewy with a crunchy, chewy bottom. Once completely cool, these gluten free pumpkin spice cookies become crunchy. If you prefer crunchy cookies, scoop them out using a measuring tablespoon.


I spent the better part of last year developing several gluten free vegan recipes for a manufacturer, a few of which were cookies. I learned a lot. Combining gluten free and vegan can be difficult in this field, as the main things manufacturers look for is a long shelf life. Luckily, when I create recipes for this site, shelf life is not an issue.

Converting an Existing Gluten Free Recipe to Vegan

Today, to ensure that I didn’t duplicate any of the recipes that I made for my client, I began with my Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, which contains a little almond flour. I created this recipe long before I developed my Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour Blend. Meanwhile, the chocolate chip cookie recipe is firm, not soft or particularly crunchy. I replaced the butter with equal amounts of palm oil and added¬†some water. The water replaces the water missing from the butter and eggs I would normally use. I needed extra water today so that I could break down the turbinado sugar (larger crystals compared to organic vegan sugar/evaporated cane juice).

Baking With Organic Sugar

One of the¬†issues most people have that are new to vegan baking is the use of organic sugar. Organic sugar consists of hard, larger crystals compared to white granulated sugar. If you use turbinado¬†sugar, which is a¬†good substitute for¬†brown sugar, the crystals are even larger. In today’s recipe, I used turbinado sugar. It takes much more water to break down those crystals as well as a lengthened mixing time. I used much more water than I would have if I had used organic sugar. Because of the additional water, I had to add an additional 1/4 cup rice flour to absorb it all. In turn, I increased the pumpkin spices and vanilla accordingly.

The Use of Oil vs. Butter

Remember one thing, butter contains water which breaks down sugar. You cannot break down sugar with any type of oil, including palm oil. Therefore, you will always need to add water or an ingredient that contains water such as vinegar, lemon juice, etc. Oils always create a crisper cookie compared to butter. The dairy in butter creates softer baked goods.

Butter also provides flavor. Without butter, be sure to add additional spices, vanilla, and/or salt.

Egg Substitute

Another issue in vegan baking is the lack of egg. In cookies, a little extra baking soda and some apple cider vinegar work as a wonderful substitute for eggs. The original recipe called for 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. So, I increased the baking soda to 1 teaspoon and added 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar.

How Baking Soda Effects Baked Goods

In cookies, baking soda is used to make crisper, crunchier, and lighter cookies. Baking soda also raises batters and dough and also contains much sodium. So, you may need to reduce the salt in your recipe if you increase it. I reduced the salt by 1/4 teaspoon in this recipe.

Baking Temperature

While the original recipe baked at 375¬ļF, I recall that 350¬ļF worked the best when using palm oil. However, a shorter baking time at 375¬ļF would probably have made a crunchier cookie. Higher temperatures also causes dough to rise high and quickly, which results in more air holes in the dough, resulting in lighter, airier cookies.


As you can see from the above, there are a number of things to keep in mind in converting gluten free recipes to vegan, and vice versa. You can  evenuse the above tips in traditional vegan baking as well.

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin-Spiced Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 26 minutes

Total Time: 56 minutes

Yield: Makes 28 (3-inch) cookies

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin-Spiced Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

A chewy cookie packed with plenty of pumpkin spices with a crunchy bottom. It's so flavorful and moist that you'd never expect them to be vegan!


    For the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 recipe Dariy Free Vegan Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup¬†vegan buttery spread (Earth Balance) or palm oil, softened
  • 2 cups vegan organic powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free vegan vanilla extract
  • 1 -1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • For the Vegan Cookies:
  • 2 cups white or brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (or tapioca flour)
  • 4 teaspoons vegan vanilla powder (Cook's)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum for corn-free)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1 cup palm oil, at room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 water
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups gluten free vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


    To Make the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. Make the cream cheese at least one hour in advance. Refrigerate and then add to a small food processor. (See cream cheese recipe for alternative mixing methods.) Add the buttery spread, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Puree until creamy.
  2. To Make the Pumpkin-Spiced Cookies:
  3. Preheat the oven to 350¬įF. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together rice flour, potato starch, cornstarch, vanilla powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift into another bowl. Whisk in the almond flour; set aside.
  5. In the bowl of your mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the palm oil, sugar, and water until most of the sugar dissolves and the mixture is creamy.
  6. Add the flour mixture a little at a time and beat thoroughly after each addition and until incorporated. Continue to mix until smooth.
  7. If using nuts or chocolate chips, fold them in using the paddle attachment or a silicone baking spatula.
  8. Using a spring-action scooper (holding 1-3/4 tablespoon of dough), drop mounds of dough onto a baking sheet. (Alternatively, use a measuring tablespoon and flip the dough out into the palm of your hand and then transfer to the baking sheet.) Flatten to about 2 to 2-1/4-inches wide and space the cookies about 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake larger cookies for 13 - 15 minutes or until the bottom edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. Bake tablespoon-sized cookies for 10 minutes.
  10. Allow cookies to cool 4 minutes on the pan. Remove from cookie sheet, and place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough. Once the cookies are completely cool, frost with cream cheese frosting. Dust the top of each frosted cookie with nutmeg or cinnamon, if desired.


Palm Oil: I buy my palm oil from eBay. I get 2 gallons for $45.95 plus free shipping. Just search for, "Palm Oil - 2 Gallons". I've had some in my pantry left over from a client for a year and it's still good.

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