Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other pumpkin recipes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Pumpkin Bars Recipe

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Pumpkin bars are the essence of fall baking. Rich pumpkin flavor packed into a moist bar creates a soft and lush treat. Topped with a smooth cream cheese frosting, these bars are perfect for any autumn gathering.

Why I love this recipe.

Pumpkin bars were one of the first recipes I learned to bake. Soft and melt-in-your-mouth delicious, they’re the epitome of fall for me and bring back so many warm memories of my mom pulling these out of her oven and then later me. Honestly, they’re super easy to make and always a huge hit. If you want to dress them up, have them pre-cut and place individual portions on plates to serve as a dessert. You could even gild the lily with a little seasonal cinnamon ice cream on top. This recipe is updated from the original I used to use so that it uses an entire can of pumpkin. There is no reason to have a small amount wasting away in the refrigerator. The extra pumpkin and eggs leave these moist and if I’m honest, impossible to stop eating.

White plate with square of pumpkin bar with fork taking a piece from the cake.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Pumpkin is what makes these bars moist and flavorful. Store-purchased canned pumpkin works best and gives the correct texture. If you using homemade, make sure to blend and drain it prior to using.
  • Neutral oil is any oil that has no flavor. Avocado, safflower, grapeseed, and vegetable oil work.
  • Brown sugar is used along with white granulated to add more flavor and moisture.
  • Cream cheese creates the iconic frosting that works so well with pumpkin bars. Use full-fat cream cheese to make sure it sets up correctly.
White marble surface filled with all ingredients needed to make pumpkin bars including eggs, pumpkin, sugar, cream cheese, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Create the batter. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Add the canned pumpkin, neutral oil, white granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk the ingredients together until combined. Add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk together gently until combined.
  1. Bake the bars. Use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly in a greased 10×14 baking pan. Place in a 350°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Once baked, check with a skewer inserted in the middle to ensure it comes out completely clean. Let the bars cool completely before frosting.
  1. Create the frosting. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer until smooth. Add in the vanilla extract and sift in the powdered sugar. Mix together and spread over the bars.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • Don’t overmix the batter when adding in the dry ingredients. The flour begins to produce gluten, and if it gets overmixed, the bars will become tough.
  • Use a skewer to test if the pumpkin bars are finished baking. Stick it near the center of the pan and remove it. If it comes out sticky with batter residue, then it requires more baking. If it is relatively clean, then the bars are finished baking.
  • Push additional lumps of the powdered sugar through the sifter to add to the frosting. If there are lumps that are too difficult to push through, don’t add to the frosting.
Pumpkin bar turned on its side to show interior texture of the bar with cream cheese frosting on top.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Can nuts or other special textural items be added to this recipe?

Yes, toasted pecans or walnuts can be sprinkled on top once frosted. The nuts can be added to the batter, but the texture is better if they are on the frosting.

Can homemade pumpkin purée be used?

Technically, homemade can be used, but all homemade purées vary in texture and water content. The recipe may change if using homemade.

How long does this recipe keep after being prepared?

The bars should be stored in an airtight container once baked. They will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.

Squares of pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting on top resting on round white plate.

Watch how to make this recipe.

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

Squares of pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting all over the top sitting on round white plate.

Pumpkin Bars

4.78 from 9 votes
With a sweet cream cheese frosting, these pumpkin bars are a perfect treat during the fall. Spongy, light, and full of pumpkin flavor!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 18 bars

Ingredients

For the bars

  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin purée
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup neutral oil
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

For the frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar sifted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10×14 (jelly roll size) pan and set aside.
  • Crack eggs into a large bowl and beat. Add the pumpkin, neutral oil, white granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract, whisking to incorporate.
    1 15-oz can pumpkin purée, 3 large eggs, 1 cup neutral oil, 1 cup white granulated sugar, ½ cup light brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Mix in the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Whisk together until completely incorporated.
    2 cups all-purpose flour, ½ tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pour into the greased pan and bake in the preheated 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting, beat the room temperature butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
    4 tbsp unsalted butter, 8 oz cream cheese
  • Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, adjusting the sugar to achieve the desired frosting consistency. Frost the cooled bars with the frosting.
    ½ tsp vanilla extract, 2 cups powdered sugar

Notes

Don’t overmix the batter when adding in the dry ingredients. The flour begins to produce gluten, and if it gets overmixed, the bars will become tough.
Use a skewer to test if the pumpkin bars are finished baking. Stick it near the center of the pan and remove it. If it comes out sticky with batter residue, then it requires more baking. If it is relatively clean, then the bars are finished baking.
Push additional lumps of the powdered sugar through the sifter to add to the frosting. If there are lumps that are too difficult to push through, don’t add to the frosting.

Nutrition

Serving: 1barCalories: 363kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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4.78 from 9 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just made these pumpkin bars with the cream cheese frosting. They are so moist, delicious and so easy to make ! Will be making them many more times !

  2. 5 stars
    These are DELICIOUS!! The house smells so good, they’re easy, and perfect for fall days…thanks for another wonderful recipe, Kaleb!

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Kaleb, Really enjoy watching your videos, and love the recipes. Made these pumpkin bars for Halloween, and my family really enjoyed them, will make again, and again.

  4. 3 stars
    I love Kaleb’s website/recipes!! He is SO organized with everything. I watch his videos as I make his recipes just because I enjoy hearing him even though I have the recipe in front of me. :). I did not love this recipe. I thought it had too much oil – I used avocado oil, which did not taste good in this recipe. It is a healthier oil and I have used it in other recipes without a problem. I may try it again and reduce the amount of oil. Can anyone tell me what kind they used?

  5. 5 stars
    So glad to find this recipe! The family raves…”Better than pumpkin pie!” The perfect finish to our Thanksgiving meal!