These pumpkin bars are decadent, soft and tender. Frosted with fluffy cream cheese frosting, they take you straight to all those feel good fall moments in just one bite. Easy to make, you'll come back to this dessert over and over.
We love this pumpkin bars recipe from Paula Deen, which this recipe is based off of and you can find here. While we love the original recipe, while we were recipe testing we found the flavor and texture to be a little better with less oil. We also loved the addition of vanilla! We've also expanded the directions and added some variations and ideas to play with, which you can find below. These are easy to make and such a yummy dessert, we make them all fall and winter!
This was inspired by our Maple Blondies which are also soft and tender. They would be perfect if paired with Pumpkin Donut Muffins, our Banana Pumpkin Muffins and our Pumpkin Snickerdoodles for for any fall entertaining.
- eggs - large
- sugar - regular granulated sugar
- oil - this recipe calls for vegetable or canola oil, but you can also use avocado. While we tested this recipe, we also tried it with olive oil and found that it just didn't work. The texture and flavor were not ideal.
- pumpkin - plain canned pumpkin puree, not to be confused with canned pumpkin pie flling!
- flour - regular all-purpose flour, bleached or unbleached
- baking powder
- cinnamon - my favorite is the Kirkland organic from Costco
- salt - regular table salt
- baking soda
- cream cheese - we HIGHLY recommend using PHILADELPHIA cream cheese for the best and smoothest results
- butter - regular butter, can be substituted for plant based butter, if desired
- powdered sugar
- vanilla - we always recommend pure vanilla for best results, but you can use imitation in a pinch
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make These Easy Pumpkin Bars
1. Start by preheating the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13 baking pan. Using a bowl and hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat together the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin on medium speed about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat another 30 seconds.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda) together in a medium sized bowl and whisk together until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until well combined. The batter should be smooth.
3. Pour batter into your greased 9x13 pan and spread evenly. Bake for 28-30 minutes until the top is matte. Insert a toothpick into the center to test for doneness. The toothpick should come out clean. Let cool completely (at least 90 minutes) before frosting.
4. Beat butter on high for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread across cooled pumpkin bars and enjoy!
We love switching things up when we're in the kitchen. Try any of these variations for something a little different
- Pumpkin Spice Bars - for a more intense fall flavor and that pumpkin spice we love, omit the cinnamon and use 1 Tablespoon pumpkin spice.
- Chai- keep the cinnamon and add 1 ½ teaspoons cardamom and ½ teaspoon nutmeg.
- Pecan - add 1 ½ cups chopped pecans for that wonderful pecan texture and taste added.
Learn From Us
I froze my leftover pumpkin bars and they were so yummy to eat after letting them thaw for just a couple of minutes. I accidentally left them all out on the counter and the cream cheese frosting weeped into the bars making them slightly soggy. Make sure to eat them while still cold if you freeze them!
How to Store Pumpkin Bars
These store great in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
These can be frozen! They taste delicious partially thawed/ slightly frozen. Cut into desired size pieces prior to freezing. Thaw for 10 minutes or so before eating. Don't let these thaw to room temperature or they will start to weep and become quite messy.
The butter for the frosting should only be slightly softened. If it's too soft and warm it'll collapse later into a soggy mess. Get the butter out around a half hour before you're ready to use it. It should still feel cold, but leave an imprint when you press on it with your finger.
For the pumpkin bar:
- 4 eggs
- 1 ⅔ cups sugar
- ⅞ cup vegetable oil
- 15 ounce can pumpkin
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the Frosting:
- 8 ounce cream cheese softened
- ½ cup butter softened/slightly cold (see note)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Pumpkin Bars:
- Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease a 9x13 baking pan.
- Using a large mixing bowl and hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, pumpkin and vanilla on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix an additional 30 seconds. See photos above for texture.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the flour, baking, powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda with a whisk.
- Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until well combined. The batter should be smooth. Check photos above for texture and consistency.
- Spread in the 9x13 pan and bake for 28-30 minutes, until the top is matte. Insert a toothpick into the middle to test for doneness. It should come out clean.
For the frosting:
- Beat the butter on high for 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until light and smooth.
- Spread frosting on cooled pumpkin bars.
- Enjoy and let us know how you liked them!
Pumpkin bars need to be refrigerated if they have cream cheese frosting on top. You can refrigerate just the cream cheese frosting, and store the pumpkin bars at room temperature to be frosted later, if desired.
Yes! Pumpkin bars freeze very well. We recommend you don't thaw them all the way to room temperature or they will begin to weep. They are best enjoyed partially frozen.
Yes! Canned pumpkin and pumpkin puree are the same thing! Be careful while you are selecting your pumpkin puree to not accidentally grab "pumpkin pie filling" which is not the same, but comes in a similar looking can.
Butter makes them a little more dense. Oil makes the bars lighter and fluffier and a better texture.
They are made of oil, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin spice, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. They are also topped with a decadent and fluffy cream cheese frosting.