Oh, how I love these delicious Pumpkin Bars! And I’m sure you will too – after all, what’s not to love? This dense and spicy pumpkin cake tastes like a blondie and Pumpkin Spice Latte combined. With a swirl of fluffy cream cheese frosting, this recipe will have your tastebuds swooning.
Easy Homemade Pumpkin Bars
As Fall gets under way, a pumpkin-y, cinnamon-y treat just feels right, doesn’t it? And these super-easy pumpkin bars totally fit the bill, whether you just want to serve a special after-school snack, or you need a sweet note to end a special evening.
Everything about this recipe is simple, but the result is so incredible! All you’ll need to bake up these moist and dense pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are a few pantry staples and a little bit of time.
- Flour: I use all-purpose flour; gluten-free and other flours can be substituted, but the texture and flavor may vary.
- Sugar: You can substitute maple syrup, honey, or the correct amount of your preferred sweetener, but the texture and flavor may vary.
- Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Salt
- Cinnamon, Cloves, and Nutmeg
- Eggs: You will need 4 large eggs, lightly beaten.
- Canned Pumpkin: Make sure you use canned pumpkin puree, not canned pumpkin pie filling mix. Homemade pumpkin puree may also be used.
- Vegetable Oil: You will need a cup of oil; I use vegetable oil, but you can substitute your preferred light-tasting oil (olive and avocado oils are not recommended, as they tend to have strong, noticeable flavors). Melted butter can also be substituted, as can applesauce or mashed banana, but the texture and flavor may vary.
- Vanilla: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
How to Make Pumpkin Bars
- Combine the Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cloves and nutmeg. Whisk until well combined.
- Add the Wet Ingredients: Using a spoon, stir the eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla into the flour mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Pour into a buttered 15×10 inch baking dish, spreading the batter evenly.
- Bake, Cool, and Frost: Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for two hours on a rack before frosting.
- Make Frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Then beat in the powdered sugar, a little at a time until you’ve reached desired consistency and sweetness.
- Add frosting, cut into bars, and Enjoy!
Tips for Success & Serving Suggestions
- Watch Your Substitutions: Like many blondie/bar type recipes, this one can be tweaked in a number of ways, but don’t try making too many substitutions at once or the recipe may not have the correct taste and texture.
- Cool It: As delicious as the bar itself is warm, if you want to frost the bars, be sure to cool them thoroughly! The cream cheese frosting is very delicate and may melt if the bars are warmer than room temperature.
- Chocolate, Anyone? Shaved or melted chocolate goes well with both cream cheese and pumpkin, so consider a delicate chocolate garnish to add some fanciness to this recipe. Chopped pecans are also welcome.
- What goes with pumpkin bars? I love a good Iced Mocha Coffee or a hot cup of tea with these.
How to Store Homemade Pumpkin Bars
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, placed and covered in airtight containers, for 4 to 5 days. It is hard to imagine they won’t be gobbled up the same day though!
For the Bars
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree, (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Frosting
- 1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick (1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 to 6 cups powdered sugar
To Make Bars:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Lightly butter a 9×13 or 15×10 inch baking dish. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cloves, and nutmeg; whisk until well combined.
- Using a spoon, stir in the eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla until thoroughly incorporated.
- Pour batter into previously prepared baking dish; spread evenly.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack; cool in pan for 2 hours.
- Spread prepared cream cheese frosting on top. Recipe to follow.
- Cut into bars and serve.
- Cover leftovers and keep refrigerated for 5 days.
To Make Frosting:
- While the pumpkin bars cool, combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl; using an electric mixer set on medium, beat until light and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar, little by little, and beat until incorporated. Start with 4 cups, and if consistency is too thin, add more sugar until you’ve reached desired consistency and sweetness.