Who needs candy on Halloween when you have pumpkin whoopie pies? Deceptively easy to make because the secret is to use canned pumpkin; you probably already have the other ingredients. Make it a Halloween tradition by getting your little goblins involved with the baking and assembly process. They might just ditch some of their candy for a homemade treat that they had a hand in making.

Canned vs. fresh pumpkin: It’s tempting to buy a jack-o-lantern this time of year and wrestle the pumpkin out of it. But the reality is, that’s not the right pumpkin for baking, as it’s tough and stringy. A better option is a sugar pumpkin, a smaller and a closer cousin to butternut squash. But hacking into a real pumpkin is not necessary at all for baking. Canned pumpkin is available year ‘round; it’s inexpensive and pre-measured. Best of all, it has one ingredient: pumpkin.

Secret ingredient: Just one carrot, shredded on a box grater adds texture, natural orange color and an extra veggie punch, which is always a bonus on Halloween.

Pumpkin pie spice: This combo spice of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves is the “magic dust” that turns bland pumpkin into the pie flavor we all know and love. Despite the name, it also works well in apple pie, orange cranberry bread and cider. It’s a great spice staple to keep in your pantry.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Pumpkin whoopie pies are deceptively easy to make because the secret is to use canned pumpkin; you probably already have the other ingredients.

Pumpkin whoopie pies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Yield: About 18 whoopie pies


  • 1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 15 ounce can 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 1-tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Cakes: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. With motor running, add eggs, one at a time until fully mixed. Add pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla and continue to mix. Then mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until just combined.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small ice cream scoop (or a tablespoon), measure 9 scoops of batter on each baking sheet, spaced evenly. Bake 10-12 minutes until puffed and golden. Cool on wire wracks, then repeat with remaining batter.
  3. Frosting: In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the butter, cream cheese, confectioners sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt until fluffy. Spread on half of the cooled cakes and top with the other half making whoopie pies.