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Best Easy Pumpkin Bars Recipe (Pumpkin Spice Bars)

If you’re looking for a pumpkin dessert recipe that epitomizes the flavors of fall and the holidays, Pumpkin Bars (Pumpkin Spice Bars) are going to be your new not-as-guilty pleasure.

Pumpkin Bar on a white dessert plate with a fork.
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I first shared this recipe on my old Busy-at-Home blog in September 2011. I was anxious to share the recipe with all of you and was going to use what I had to create a new post. But, I discovered that my photography skills have evolved slightly over 12 years of blogging. lol. This is what I had.

old-pumpkin-bar-image

So, I made a new batch and tweaked the recipe a bit ’cause that’s what bakers do. And I shot some new photos for you.

Pumpkin Bar on a white dessert plate with a fork. Fork is lifting a bite toward the reader.

These tender, wonderfully spiced pumpkin bars are moist and fragrant and topped with cream cheese frosting. Like those famous potato chips, you won’t want to eat just one.

No matter how many times I make them, we’re head-over-heels for all the pumpkin dessert recipes of Fall. We even love these scrumptious gluten-free pumpkin muffins. They taste like eating pumpkin pie with your hands!) But we’re especially fond of this recipe for pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting.

When serving pumpkin spice bars at our recent family birthday party, I was reminded that you all need to know about this easy and delectable dessert. And my kids need to be able to find it quickly for their own baking. (My blog has become each of their recipe boxes.) lol

You only need five or ten minutes to mix up the batter for Pumpkin Spice Bars and to get them in the oven. Then just bake, cool and frost them. It’s so easy!

My Pumpkin Bars formula is one of THOSE recipes. ☺ You’re gonna want to splash some flour on your face and clothes to make it look like you slaved away in the kitchen. lol No one has to know how simple this scrumptious Fall dessert is to make.

You’re gonna be a baking star!

White Whole Wheat Flour

Montana Gold White Whole Wheat Flour in a bag.

White whole wheat flour is NOT the same as all-purpose, bleached or unbleached.  It IS whole wheat flour but milled from a lighter-colored variety of wheat, white spring wheat. The whole wheat flour you may be more familiar with is winter red wheat. 

Products made with white whole wheat flour bake up lighter in color and also in texture than ones baked with traditional red whole wheat. Red whole wheat flour is more coarse than the finer textured white whole wheat flour.

White whole wheat flour has the same nutritional value as red whole wheat flour. It is high in fiber and protein, which helps balance those carbs, unlike all-purpose flour. It’s loaded with dozens of vitamins and minerals that are just gone after the processing of all-purpose flour.

As a baking alternative, white whole wheat flour is one of my favorite ways to make our baked goods a little more healthy while still tasting absolutely delightful. And it’s become very “mainstream”, so it’s easier to find now in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.

At Walmart, I usually buy the Prairie Gold brand of white whole wheat flour. It works beautifully. My all-time favorite is the King Arthur Flour brand [affiliate link] but at my Walmart, they don’t carry it anymore.

Pumpkin Bar on a white dessert plate with a fork.

Pumpkin Bars and

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

Pumpkin Bars are not “health” food by any stretch of the imagination, but my version is a more healthy pumpkin bar than other options, just by using the white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour. It’s likely the only ingredient you may not already have in your pantry.

Pumpkin Bar Ingredients

Ingredients for Pumpkin Bars: white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, canned pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, eggs and melted butter.
  • Melted Butter
  • Granulated Sugar – I get asked about my sugar a lot. I use less refined granulated sugar. It’s still plain old granulated sugar, just not white in color. The brand I use is Zulka Morena and I get it right off the shelf at Walmart.
  • Canned Pumpkin Puree – It’s important to check your can and be sure you’re buying pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Puree is just cooked pumpkin that has been pureed. It’s one ingredient. Pumpkin pie filling is a combination of many ingredients ready to dump in a pie shell and make a pie.
  • Eggs
  • White Whole Wheat Flour – I have not tried this recipe with all-purpose flour. I assume that it could work, but I cannot tell you for certain.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice – Buy ready-made or make your own, as you prefer. I had a jar in the pantry so that’s what I used.
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting: Cream cheese, Butter, Vanilla Extract and Powdered Sugar.
  • Cream Cheese, softened
  • Butter, softened
  • Vanilla Extract (I use homemade Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract. Whatever you choose, please be sure it is pure vanilla and not imitation.) P.S. If you’ve never seen how easy and how much more affordable it is to make your own vanilla extract at home, you have to check out my easy Homemade Vanilla Extract recipe.
  • Powdered Sugar (Confectioner’s Sugar)

FAQs

Can I make Pumpkin Bars Ahead?

Absolutely. I prefer to serve these cold, so I tend to store them in the fridge anyway. But you can make these ahead and keep them in the fridge for up to four days.

Pumpkin Bar on a white dessert plate with a fork.
Can I Freeze Pumpkin Bars?

Yes! They freeze beautifully. I don’t like to put my baking pans in the freezer, but if I know I will be freezing them, I will bake pumpkin bars and cream cheese frosting in disposable foil pans. Then, when they are cool and the frosting has set, I cover them with foil and freeze them for up to four months. It’s fabulous to be able to grab a pumpkin dessert out of the freezer for unexpected company or events.

Can I Make These Refined Sugar Free?

I haven’t finished all my recipe testing for that option yet. My gut is telling me yes, the bars can definitely be made refined sugar-free. But, I haven’t worked it out quite yet. I’m getting ready to test the results with Monk Fruit 1-to-1 sweetener. As soon as I know for sure, I will update this post.

What to Serve with Pumpkin Bars

As a dessert, these easy, delicious Pumpkin Bars are the perfect end to almost any meal. You certainly can’t beat them as the crowning finish of these favorite meals.

Pumpkin Bars and Cream Cheese Frosting also receive great accolades after a meal of:

Soup and salad couldn’t be finished off in grander style than with my Pumpkin Spice Bars recipe. Try them after any of these delicious and comforting soup options.

Ham and Beans recipe in a white bowl.
Pumpkin Bar on a white dessert plate with a fork.

How to Make Pumpkin Bars

  1. Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  3. Measure out the white whole wheat flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon into a small bowl and mix to evenly combine them. Set the dry ingredients aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the melted butter, eggs, sugar and pumpkin until thoroughly combined. (Be sure the butter is cool enough not to cook your eggs. If it still seems too hot, mix the eggs, pumpkin and sugar first. Then, add the melted butter.)
  5. Add the dry ingredients to your mixing bowl and stir just until all flour is thoroughly combined with the wet ingredients. No flour should be showing, but you also don’t want to overbeat the mixture.
  6. Spread the thick batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center to test for doneness. The toothpick will come out clean or with just 2 or 3 moist crumbs attached.
  7. Cool the bars completely before frosting.
  8. To make the cream cheese frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, homemade vanilla extract and powdered sugar until your frosting is smooth and creamy.
  9. Spread the frosting over the cooled bars.
  10. Store your pumpkin bars in the fridge until ready to serve.
Uncut Pumpkin Bars frosted in the pan.
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Pumpkin Bar (pumpkin spice bar) on a white dessert plate with a fork.

Best Easy Pumpkin Bars Recipe (Pumpkin Spice Bars)


  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 bars 1x

Description

This pumpkin bars recipe is an easy, 30-minute pumpkin dessert.   The scrumptious bars are craveably moist, tender and perfectly spiced.  Easy to toss together and bake in 30 minutes.  Easy cream cheese frosting is a perfect finish for this delicious Fall dessert.


Ingredients

Units Scale

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (half a stick) butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons homemade vanilla extract (or your favorite)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  3. Measure out the white whole wheat flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon into a small bowl and mix to evenly combine them. Set the dry ingredients aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the melted butter, eggs, sugar and pumpkin until thoroughly combined. (Be sure the butter is cool enough not to cook your eggs. If it still seems too hot, mix the eggs, pumpkin and sugar first. Then, add the melted butter.)
  5. Add the dry ingredients to your mixing bowl and stir just until all flour is thoroughly combined with the wet ingredients. No flour should be showing, but you also don’t want to overbeat the mixture.
  6. Spread the thick batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center to test for doneness. The toothpick will come out clean or with just 2 or 3 moist crumbs attached.
  7. Cool the bars completely before frosting.
  8. To make the cream cheese frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, homemade vanilla extract and powdered sugar until your frosting is smooth and creamy.  (Start with 2 cups of powdered sugar and add more a Tablespoon at a time, if needed, to reach your desired consistency.)
  9. Spread the frosting over the cooled bars.
  10. Store your pumpkin bars in the fridge until ready to serve.

Notes

After the frosting has set, the pan of pumpkin bars can be wrapped in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil and frozen for up to 4 months.

Refrigerated pumpkin bars will stay fresh and delicious in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
glenda embree

About Glenda

I believe cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated and that YOU can do it. My simple recipes, tutorials, and cooking tips will help you get weeknight dinners on the table with less stress. Forget takeout or the drive-thru. Let me show you how to make homemade easy. Read more...

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