These best, quick and easy pumpkin bars recipe with cream cheese frosting, homemade with simple ingredients. These cookie bars are soft and moist but still firm.
Today's recipe and these Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars (No Corn Syrup) are going on my Thanksgiving dessert menu. While these are baking, your house will be filled with the most incredible spiced aroma that's to die for. Imagine all the flavors of Pumpkin Pie but in a small square slice.
Table of contents
Key ingredients for best spiced pumpkin cookie bars
- Flour- Use all-purpose flour that you likely already have in your pantry.
- Granulated sugar- This is your typical white sugar or table sugar, commonly used in many baking recipes.
- Brown sugar- With the added flavor of molasses, this is a distinct sugar that adds great flavor to desserts.
- Pumpkin pie spice- This is what truly gives them a wonderful Fall flavor and aroma. Omitting it would not have the same impact. Don't skimp on this ingredient.
- Baking soda- Known for many practical uses, it can also aid in the rising of baked goods.
- Baking powder- An essential leavening agent for this dessert.
- Eggs- These should be large and preferably at room temperature.
- Pumpkin puree- Not to be mistaken for pumpkin pie filling.
- Oil- You can use vegetable or canola oil for best results.
- Vanilla extract- Brings in a classic flavor that compliments all the other ingredients.
- Cream cheese frosting- Although optional, it is highly recommended to take this recipe over the top.
Omit frosting- You can even enjoy these as is without frosting. They still taste really good but honestly, I like them with it.
To enhance the spiced flavor further- Spread some Crockpot Pumpkin Butter on top instead of the frosting.
Stir in some chocolate chips- About ½ cup is sufficient. You can try milk chocolate, semisweet, white or even butterscotch flavors. They will end up tasting very similar to my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and I know how much you all love those.
If you are fond of coconut- Try this German Chocolate Coconut Pecan Frosting instead. It adds a lovely chewy texture too.
Use homemade pumpkin puree- If you like. Just make sure it's thick. If it's too thin, it will also end up thinning out the batter.
Frosting substitute- You can top them off with thick Caramel Sauce, which would make them very ooey gooey. If you are short on time, just melt some store-bought soft caramel candies in the microwave and pour that on top. Another option is to drizzle some warm Dulce de Leche on top.
Cheesecake bars- You can swirl a cheesecake layer on top of the batter, prior to baking. The baking time will be a little longer though.
How to make easy pumpkin bars recipe from scratch?
- Mix together- Flour, sugars, spice, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Add in- Eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, and vanilla extract.
- Pour- The batter into pan.
- Bake- Until an inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely- Then frost the top.
- Cut- Into squares and enjoy!
Tips and techniques
Cool bars completely before icing- Because otherwise the frosting will melt and make a mess.
Don't use pumpkin pie filling- You must use pumpkin puree. Both are very different and can affect the texture dramatically.
Don't replace sugars- Both, granulated and brown sugar, are required for this recipe. Don't replace one with the other.
Don't replace all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour- Because that makes very dense bars.
Don't replace oil with butter- Because that makes these bars very heavy and dense.
Don't make these with a spice cake mix- Normally, I am a big fan of doctored cake mix recipes, as you can tell by these Easy Pumpkin Donuts and this Easy Pumpkin Cake, but this time I didn't like it and preferred this "made from scratch" recipe.
Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature- So that they blend together smoothly and evenly.
Place them in the fridge- To cool them quicker and then frost them.
For precise square shapes- Use a ruler to make measurements and mark with a toothpick. Then, use a sharp knife to make the final cuts.
It's about 2 cups of pumpkin puree.
Yes. Use Bob's gluten free 1 to 1 flour blend. It works very well.
Allow them to cool fully. Then, use a ruler to mark the size you want. Use a sharp serrated knife to make cuts. Be sure to wipe it clean it with a damp towel after each cut to prevent messy crumbs.
No. Pie filling is made with additional ingredients like milk, spices, eggs, butter e.t.c. which will affect the flavor and texture. Pumpkin puree is simply steamed and pureed pumpkin with no additional ingredients.
- Room Temperature- Keep out no more than 1 day, because the cream cheese topping will go bad.
- Fridge- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezer- Keep unfrosted bars in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw, then frost, if desired.
More Pumpkin Desserts
- Pumpkin Cheesecake (With Gingersnap Crust)
- Pumpkin Fudge (Microwave)
- Pumpkin Truffles (Cheesecake)
- Easy Pumpkin Cookies (With Cake Mix)
Easy Pumpkin Bars (With Cream Cheese Frosting)
- Add eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, vanilla extract and mix until just combined. Don't over-mix!
- Pour the the batter in a 10 x 15 pan (lined with parchment paper) and spread it with a spatula evenly.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Let it cool down completely.
- Spread frosting on top.
- Cut into square pieces and enjoy.
- Do not use pumpkin pie filling. It is different than pumpkin puree which is what is supposed to be used in this recipe.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Make sure the bars cool completely before icing them or else frosting will melt.
- Read additional tips and variations above.