Recipe Review

I Tried Reese Witherspoon’s Favorite Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and They’re as Good as Promised

published Nov 18, 2023
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Reese Witherspoon's Pumpkin Cookies on parchment
Credit: Kiersten Hickman

In my opinion, fall is a time for three very specific things: reading spooky books, drinking frothy cups of coffee, and baking all the pumpkin-flavored baked goods. So you can only imagine how invested I was when Reese Witherspoon not only announced a spooky book for her October book club pick this year, but also her favorite recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies — with a cup of coffee in hand! It’s all of my fall dreams coming to life in one Instagram post. 

While Reese is known for having a few delightful recipes of her own — including her grandmother’s divine Southern sour cream cake — this recipe actually isn’t one she made up. In the caption of her Instagram post where she waxes about these cookies, she says that this recipe was developed by Chef Sandra. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but bake up a batch myself, and let me tell you — they are absolutely worth being patient for.

Credit: Kiersten Hickman

How to Make Reese Witherspoon’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl. Let the butter cool slightly while you gather the rest of your ingredients.

In another small bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice seasoning, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. 

In the bowl with the melted butter, whisk in 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Once incorporated, whisk in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 6 tablespoons fresh pumpkin purée (be sure to strain it first!) until combined.

Sprinkle the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients, then whisk until smooth. Once finished, fold in 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a reusable cover and place the cookie dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You could let it age even longer; according to Reese, the dough can stay prepped in the fridge for up to 3 days.

When it’s time to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet (you might need two, actually) with parchment paper. With clean hands, scoop 1 tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Place the cookie dough ball on the baking sheet and press down slightly. Be sure to give the cookies enough space — at least 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies in the oven for 11 to 12 minutes. They will look soft, but baked through. Let the cookies rest for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a cooling rack. Reese recommends letting them cool completely before devouring; she says they’re better that way!

Credit: Kiersten Hickman

My Honest Review

I’m a big fan of a soft, chewy cookie, so these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies get an A+ in my book. They’re soft and moist, but they don’t fall apart, and every bite feels like I’m eating a pumpkin muffin rather than a cookie. So technically, they can be considered breakfast with that cup of coffee in my head. (Win, win.)

These cookies also have a nice shape. Sometimes I feel like homemade cookies don’t get that perfect round, but these all have a uniform shape that make them worthy to post on Instagram. They’re also not flat; they’re nicely domed at the top and have that ideal crinkly edge. 

What’s more, I’m a big fan of how these cookies don’t taste overly sweet. Sure, there’s quite a bit of sugar in them, but you really get more of the sweeteners from the chocolate chips than the cookie itself. If you’re like me and you prefer a dessert that isn’t too cloying, you can always skip the chocolate chips and just make the pumpkin cookies without. Again, they’ll pair great with a cup of coffee. Or even a chai latte!

Credit: Kiersten Hickman

Three Tips for Making Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Don’t have fresh pumpkin? Use canned. Reese’s recipe technically calls for pumpkin purée that has been strained, which is typical if you decided to make fresh pumpkin purée from scratch. But like Reese in the video, we’re going to skip that laborious step and reach for our favorite canned pumpkin. No straining necessary!
  • The longer the dough ages, the better. It may sound strange, but ripening cookie dough (also known as “aging”) before baking it actually allows for an even chewier, tastier cookie. That’s because the fats within the cookie — in this case, it’s the butter — are chilled. When you bake the cookie with cold fat, it gives it a completely different texture. Plus, aging the dough gives the flour time to soak up the liquids in the cookie, giving it time to “hydrate” so your cookie isn’t dry and crumbly but soft and ooey-gooey. This recipe recommends waiting at least 30 minutes, but I gave the cookies 3 hours before baking. 
  • Store them up to a week: While I highly doubt you’ll have any leftovers if you serve these cookies at Thanksgiving, if you do have some left, the best thing is to store them at room temperature in an airtight container. The sooner you eat them the better, but you can keep them for up to a week. Don’t want your cookies to get hard? Store them with a slice of bread. Yes, really!