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The Best Pumpkin Cookie Recipe in Lancaster County

By: Alison | September 27, 2021

Topics: Lancaster Living


If there's one thing Lancaster knows, it's baked goods. And autumn-themed baked goods? Let's just say the competition for best-in-show is stiff.

That being said, I'm confident in this post's bold title. I’ve played with my share of pumpkin, and I can confidently say these glazed pumpkin cookies are the BEST I’ve ever tasted. And since our mission at McLennan is to "enrich life at home," sharing these very enriching cookies seems like the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of autumn.

I copied this recipe from my Mom, who got it from a long out-of-print cookbook (the kind that calls for a “goose egg of lard” and tells you to bake cakes in a “slow” oven). The magic is in the texture and the glaze. Mm-mm.

But please, don’t take my word for it—put them to the test! And when you do, let me know what you think.

Happy baking!

The Best Pumpkin Cookie Recipe in Lancaster County


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Light Brown Glaze

  • ¼ cup margarine or butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2+ tablespoons milk


  1. Heat oven to 375°. Mix sugar, pumpkin, shortening, and orange peel at medium speed until well blended. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Drop dough by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet (I use parchment paper). Bake until light brown, 8-10 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet; cool.
  3. For glaze, heat butter in saucepan over medium heat until delicate brown, stirring frequently. Wait for it to brown…the change takes a few minutes but happens suddenly, and it’s key to getting the glaze to harden just right. But don’t fret if this doesn’t go as planned…it’ll be delicious anyway!.
  4. Once butter has begun to brown, turn the burner to the lowest heat setting. Stir in the vanilla, milk, and half of the powdered sugar. Add remaining sugar and additional milk if necessary until smooth. (The recipe only calls for 1-2 tablespoons of milk, but I always use a good bit more to reach glaze consistency.)
  5. Spoon glaze over cookies. If glaze begins to thicken in the pot while spooning, return to low heat for a few minutes, then finish glazing cookies.
  6. Enjoy!

Written by Alison

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