Gluten-Free, Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Ali Segersten Oct 18, 2009 46 comments

Since it is squash season, I thought I would begin to share the plethora of winter squash recipes I have floating around my kitchen on scraps of paper. Today's recipe is a cookie, a gluten-free, high fiber oatmeal pumpkin cookie. Paired with a mug of hot mulled cider, it creates a lovely fall snack. Crunchy on the outside and soft in the center.

Last week I wanted to create a true whole foods cookie with no starch or gums and I did it! The only problem was that the cookies disappeared before I had a chance to take a photo. I made them again yesterday with my 4-year old daughter and got a photo before they disappeared again.
Yes, they are that good.
The main flour in this recipe is oat flour made from freshly ground rolled gluten-free oats. I have not found an oat flour, gluten-free or not, that was not rancid. You can easily grind rolled oats in a food processor or Vitamix, I use the latter. Just make sure to grind them until a fine flour forms. My favorite brand of gluten-free oats comes from Their oats always taste very fresh and work well in baking. I also like this brand which can be purchased through Azure Standard if you have an account with them. 
The cookies in these photos are made with pureed butternut squash because that is what I had in my fridge. You can also make them using canned pumpkin. Fresh pumpkin or squash puree contains more moisture than canned so you may need to add a few extra tablespoons of oat flour to the batter to compensate. The dough should be the consistency of traditional chocolate chip drop cookies.


About the Author

Ali Segersten

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. She is a Functional Nutritionist, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Alissa is the founder and owner of Nourishing Meals®.

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Please, how many eggs does the 1/4 cup flaxseeds replace in this recipe? I am in the middle of making it and realized that my flaxseeds went rancid but I have eggs and am not completely vegan so I don't mind using them, but I have no idea how many I should use and I need the cookies for company this afternoon. Please help!

Hi there!
I'm new to gluten-free cooking. I'm wondering if I can substitute the Teff flour that I have for the oat flour in these Pumpkin Oatmeal cookies?

Do you know if these would freeze well? Apologies if I missed it somewhere.

These cookies were great! I used persimmon pulp instead of pumpkin (I consider the two interchangeable in all recipes, and we have a glut of persimmon) and increased the flour to 3.5 C. Thank you for all the yummy recipes!

These cookies are AMAZING!! My vegetarian/gluten free neighbor made some for me (vegan) for a Christmas gift. I love them and asked her for the recipe. I was so surprised they were gluten free, as well as vegan. I am going to buy the ingredients tomorrow!

Sound wonderful! I bought sugar pumpkin. It tastes insanely good with a little sea salt. I bought fresh rolled oats and ground them in my Vitamix. But my question is, have you made these with all oat flour? My daughter has colitis and I think grinding all the oats would make it easier to digest than the whole grain. Any thoughts?


Wondering if you could use almond flour in place of the oat flour and honey for the sugar?

So where do u get coconut oil and these different flours????

These cookies are wonderful!! I did substitute 1 cup maple syrup for the sugar, and reduced the oil to 3/4 cup...they came out good! Thanks for sharing!!

These were truly delicious! The spices were well-balanced, assertive but not overwhelming. I accidentally halved (!) the fat (used 4 oz. of coconut oil by weight,) left out the flax seeds and reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup, with no other additions/ adjustments. The cookies stayed rounded rather than spreading out, and they were moist and tender. I would make them exactly this way again. These are now on my regular recipe rotation list for sure!

ArmyReserveWife - Gosh I am just not sure if that would work. Sugar absorbs moisture during baking and yogurt would add moisture. If you experiment I would suggest trying a half batch in case it doesn't work.

Jen Olson - Again, you could experiment but I don't think these cookies can handle any more moisture. If you were able to eat eggs you might be able to replace the sugar with a little syrup and using eggs would help hold it all together. Thanks for the comment, I am glad you are enjoying the recipes! :)

Ali, I found your blog a few weeks ago and quickly bought your book. My whole family LOVES the nutritious and delicious recipes we've tried so far! My kids are gluten, egg, and dairy free, and it is such a blessing to have so many great recipes we can use. I have a question about this one - can I replace the sugar with a syrup? Maple, agave, or brown rice syrup? I don't have any of the sugars listed on hand, and would like to avoid using white sugar. Thanks!

I was wondering if you replace the sugar with stevia could you use greek yogurt as filler?

these cookies are some of the best I have ever made! And that's saying something, because I'm not even gf! I made these for a friend and I'm hoping there's enough left over to send her!

I glazed a few with some vegan cream cheese frosting too....delish!

Katie, if you read the whole post you'll see that I link to our favorite brand of gluten-free rolled oats. I use those make my own oat flour by grinding them in my Vita-Mix (all of this is described in detail in the post). Rolled oats sourced from certified gluten-free growers and manufacturers are indeed gluten-free. Some folks with celiac disease still do have trouble with oats but that deals with another protein, avenin.

Oatmeal is not gluten-free at all. Therefore these cookies are not.

These cookies are not gluten-free! Oatmeal contains gluten, you have to get gluten-free rolled oats. Oat flour also contains gluten.

These cookies are amazing! I made this recipe with a bunch of tweaks and they turned out beautifully. My housemates and my clay class classmates all devoured them. I made the following adjustments to the recipe: used canned pumpkin, 2.5 cups oat flour, 4 tsp cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp ginger, added 1/2 tsp xanthan gum so they'd stay sturdy longer (I had to make them a day ahead), used 1 cup brown rice syrup + 50 drops stevia in place of sugar, and threw in a couple handfuls of dried currants and Enjoy Life chocolate chips. They didn't spread, so I just pressed them down lightly with a fork to flatten and baked about 14 minutes. They turned out beautifully, and are still soft and chewy on day two. Amazing! thanks for sharing, my housemates want me to make more as soon as possible. xoxo Kim |

Family thyme - You'll have to play with the recipe, I created this recipe using oat flour and have not tried it with what flour or any other flour so I really don't know. Start with less flour and then add more after you mix it to get it to the consistency of drop cookie dough. Enjoy! :)

Substitution Question:
We don't necessarily eat GF but I do follow your blog and just made some pumpkin puree! I'd love to make these cookies, but would be using regular wheat flour - would I still use the same 3 cups as you would with the oat flour or will it mess with the consistency?

I use a coffe bean grinder to turn my gluten free oats into oat flour!

These are really good, well done!

Just made these cookies today and they are delicious!!! Oat flour took seconds to make in my food processor. I added raisins to half of the batch and to my surprise, I like them better without. The raisins seemed to burn a little.

I was curious about the nutritional value so I figured it out. I used organic sucanat as the sweetener, so the nutrutional values reflect that.

1 Cookie: 142 cal, 8 g fat, 17 g carbs 1.5 g fiber, 1.5 g protien

I have recently found that I am allergic to more things than I care to admit. Sadly, cane sugar is among the many on the list. I have found that baking is so difficult when I cannot have eggs, gluten, soy, dairy AND sugar. I was curious... among the list of agave, maple, and coconut sugar, what your thoughts were on Zsweet, which is the Erythritol and Stevia sweetner? Because of all my food allergies I have bloating and digestive issues, which in the research I've found may be a problem with Zsweet. Any thoughts?

We made these tonight and they were AWESOME!! I did grind up my own GF oats for the oat flour and used canned pumpkin. My husband and 3 kids thought they were delicious! We WILL be making these again!! :) Thanks so much for the recipe!

Gaylene - Oh wonderful, glad your son loved them! :)

Catherine - Yes, I think raisins would be great added to this recipe. :) Enjoy!

Hi Ali, I made these cookies yesterday and they are fantastic. I have never cooked with coconut oil before. Question - Do you think these cookies would be good with raisins added? Or would that ruin the pumpkin flavor? Thank you, Catherine in Florida

Excellent. These are a big hit for my son who is allergic to eggs. After eating these he exclaimed "Mom, the things you make without eggs are way better than the things you make with eggs!"

MaryClare - Hmmm, did you use oat flour that was already ground or did you grind your own oat flour from rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind)? I made this recipe 4 different ways before posting it. One of the ways I tried it was with gluten-free oat flour that I had just bought. It was a new brand and I thought I would give it a try. The end result was an awful tasting cookie that was dry and yucky tasting. The oat flour was rancid. Your experience sounds so similar to mine that I can bet this was the issue. I don't think it was the pumpkin. Fresh baked pumpkin has much more moisture than canned pumpkin so this would have the opposite effect on moisture. However, all pumpkins can vary in flavor; canned pumpkin can sometimes then have a deeper flavor. Sorry they didn't turn out for you! :)

Deb - Well it looks like these worked well using canned pumpkin and the full 3 cups of flour. Thanks for sharing your detailed feedback. I appreciate that as do many others reading this I am sure!

-Ali :)

I was craving cookies tonight and decided to make the pumpkin cookies. They were super easy, even with grinding my own flour from oats. I did use canned pumpkin as I don't have much luck with fresh pumpkin - I often find them to be less consistent in flavor and sometimes too much moisture. I was surprised that one of the bloggers said her cookies did not taste great, I followed the recipe exactly, did not change quantities and they were excellent. I had my husband test them too - he is generally not a fan of gluten free, although will always try whatever I make (he is an excellent cook). I asked him what he thought as he was taking his 4th cookie - he said they were "awesome" and a "great combination of spices." I also added mini chocolate chips to the last 2 trays - and of course they were great with chocolate too. So for anyone wanting a moist really flavorful cookie - definitely try these. To the blogger who had these not turn out - I would check all of your ingredients for freshness, maybe use canned organic pumpkin instead and try them again - they are well worth it!

Re: Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal cookies ~ I just made these cookies and they were awful! Dry, tasteless, and just plain bad. Needless to say, I won't be making this recipe again. I did make them from actual pumpkin puree from a pumpkin I had cooked for a pie, so wonder if that could have made a difference. However, I think they would have been tastier, as a result, not to mention more moist. My pie turned out wonderfully well and was a hit. Sadly, the cookies were not. This recipe needs some tweaking...

Katie - Hmmm, I would try using 2.5 cups of oat flour instead of 3 if you are using canned pumpkin. I bet this would work. Please report back if you give it a try. Glad they were still good!

Hi Ali- I made these cookies, although I really liked them then did not spread like the picture of yours. I did not have fresh pumpkin, so used canned, is that why they did not spread? I still enjoyed them though. Thought they would work as a snack on a long bike ride.

Andrea - Thanks, glad the neighborhood kids enjoyed them! :)

Barbara - I wonder if it was the combo of the oats and flax that was so filling? I agree with you on that one. I think you could try decreasing the sugar now that you know what the dough should be like. You may need to add a little extra oat flour, not sure though. Let me know if you try it out, I'd love to hear what happens. Thanks! :)

Thanks for a great recipe! We love them! The spices are perfect. I ate three of these cookies at 10am and wasn't hungry until 7pm! I had no idea that oat flour would fill me up like that. I was wondering what you thought of decreasing the sugar to 1 cup only. Would it change the consistency of the cookie?


Ali, I made these and fed them to my family and some neighborhood kids and they LOVED them. Great recipe! I am going to make them for my friend's yoga studio opening party...thanks! Hi to Tom....

Dot - Thanks so much for the great feedback. So glad you all enjoyed them! :)

cook4seasons - Your pumpkin cooking class sounds like fun. You know, if you need any more recipes to test involving pumpkin please email me...I have a ton! :)

This recipe is perfect for the extra pumpkin I have on hand. I've been recipe testing for a class I'm teaching on 'baking with pumpkin' at our Whole Foods this week and needed some new inspiration - thanks!

Ali, these pumpkin cookies were a HIT! As you know, my husband is not found of most recipes w/brown rice flour so I thought he might like these. Well.....
not only did he stand by the stove and eat them fresh out of the oven, he took what was left of the entire batch to work with him! thank you so much for sharing this delicious, easy recipe that is perfect for autumn!

Shirley - Do you have your heat cranked or what? :) I usually keep the house at about 66 to 68 but of course if I am cooking, then my kitchen is a bit warmer. As long as the coconut oil scoops easily with a spoon you should be fine. :)

Lauren - I tried bob's but have found that the gluten free oats taste much fresher, cook up nicely, and bake up beautifully in gf treats. Happy Baking! :)

Amy - Mmm, roasted pumpkin sounds great. Tis' the season for baking with pumpkin! Enjoy your coconut oil!

Lydia - I actually did test these w/ eggs last week. Replace the 1/4 cup ground flax w/2 large eggs and increase the oat flour by about 1/2 cup. I found that they were softer than the cookies made with flax but still tasty. Hope this helps. :)

Lauren - I understand that not everyone who is celiac can tolerate oats. Tom can't eat them either. Happy pumpkin baking! :)

T - Thanks, glad to hear you and your boyfriend are enjoying the yummy desserts from our book. :)

These cookies look so tasty! Thank you for sharing so many wonderful recipes. My boyfriend has a sweet tooth, so it's been a nice challenge trying to get him to eat "healthy" desserts. Luckily, he's liked every single dessert recipe I've made from the whole life nutrition cookbook, so thank you! :-)

Oats don't always agree with me (I do get the certified GF variety), but these look amazing Ali! I'm loving anything with pumpkin, and I might have to whip up a batch of these =D.

Hi Ali, we have been loving all of your recipes. I have a substitution question now. I can't do flax seeds, do you know if I could sub in an egg or two to the recipe? Thanks for your fantastic blog! Lydia

I just got some virgin coconut oil and didn't think about using it in cookies. That's a great idea. I love all of the other great pumpkin recipes you shared, too.

I've also been using Bob's Red Mill - I've seen Gluten Free Oats brand but haven't tried them. It would be fun to compare and see which I like best.

I have been using pumpkin in everything. I love it just roasted - and even pumpkin puree right out of the can.

I will be making these!! Perfect Fall/Thanksgiving treat!! Thanks for the link for the oats, I've been using Bob's Redmill GF Oats. They seem like the best I have tried so far, I am going to check out that site though!!

Those cookies look wonderful, Ali. :-) A lot of folks have recommended that brand of gluten-free oats. They sure have an easy name to remember. ;-) Now, mid-60s ... my house is never that cold. Hmmm.

So glad you had such a neat experience at the Wordstock Festival. Will have to check out Isa's cookbooks--thanks!


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