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Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

If you like cheesecake and pumpkin spice, you’ll love these rich Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars! A simple cookie crust is topped with decadent pumpkin cheesecake and a warm, buttery streusel topping in this holiday-friendly dessert recipe.

Pumpkin bars drizzled with cream cheese topping.

Crave-Worthy Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

As you guys may have guessed right now, I have an ongoing love affair with cheesecake (pretty sure my obsession with Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake, Red Velvet Cheesecake, and Pumpkin Cheesecake Crescent Rolls gave it away).

Well, this new recipe might be one of my very favorite cheesecake riffs, ever! It’s easier to make than a traditional cheesecake (like, much easier) and features some of my favorite things. Hello, cookie crust. Welcome, streusel topping! Love ya, pumpkin spice! And did I say it makes a whole brownie pan’s worth? Perfect for feeding a crowd… or having plenty of leftovers all week long. Wink wink.

So get thee to thy local grocery store and make sure you’ve got all the ingredients, because this is a dessert you really have to try. You’ll love serving it up for Thanksgiving, a Halloween dessert night, or just to celebrate Fall. Happy baking!

Close-up shot of a pumpkin cheesecake bar, with one corner broken off and resting on a fork.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

These bars have three components, and each one is a mouthwatering masterpiece! Here’s what you’ll need for the rich cookie crust, smooth pumpkin cheesecake center, and buttery streusel topping.

From top: Graham cracker crumbs, butter, and brown sugar in separate dishes.

For the Cookie Crust

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs: I like to use a combination of oat grahams and regular grahams, but you could use just one or the other if you prefer.
  • Butter: Unsalted is best. It should be chilled for this recipe, not melted.
  • Milk: Just a few tablespoons to get the consistency right.
From top: Spices, sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, and cream cheese.

For the Cheesecake Filling

  • Cream Cheese: At room temperature.
  • Sugar: Plain granulated sugar is fine, or you can use raw sugar if you’d rather.
  • Eggs: Use large, whole eggs, preferably at room temperature.
  • Pumpkin Puree: Make sure you use pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Spices: A combination of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and nutmeg gives the cheesecake plenty of flavor.
  • Salt
From top: Cinnamon, butter, rolled oats, flour, brown sugar.

For the Streusel Topping

  • Brown Sugar: Dark or light brown is fine – dark brown will have a slightly stronger molasses taste.
  • Flour and Oats: To get a crumbly texture, use a combination of all-purpose flour and rolled (not steel cut) oats.
  • Butter: Again, use unsalted butter if possible, chilled.
  • Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor.
  • Cinnamon: Or pumpkin pie spice.
  • Optional Topping: If you want to add one more little touch, try adding a drizzle of caramel sauce or cream cheese topping (see below for recipe).
Overhead shot of stacked pumpkin bars.

Are Canned Pumpkin and Pumpkin Puree the Same Thing?

This recipe and lots of others call for pumpkin puree, and yes, canned pumpkin is the same thing – as long as you get the right can. Watch out for cans labeled “pumpkin pie filling,” which include sugar, dairy, and other things. When in doubt, check the ingredients section of the label. It should just have one ingredient: pumpkin!

Is Pumpkin Puree the Same as Pumpkin Pie Filling?

NO. These are different things. Pumpkin puree is just plain pumpkin vs. canned pumpkin pie filling, which has spices in it. For this recipe you want to stick with plain pumpkin puree.

An overhead shot of pumpkin bars in a baking pan. One of the bars has been turned diagonally, to show the texture of the layers.

How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Let’s talk about the baking method for this recipe. If you’ve ever made a layered dessert, this will be very familiar. I think it’s a good recipe to make with kids – they love measuring ingredients, dumping them into the mixing bowl, and pressing the crust into place.

  • Get the Oven and Baking Pan Ready. First off, preheat your oven to 350°F. Then set out a 9×13 baking dish or brownie pan, and line it with parchment. I like to leave a bit of parchment overhanging each end, so that it’s easier to remove the bars from the pan after they’re baked. 
  • Make the Cookie Crust. Next, combine the graham cracker crumbs and chilled butter in a bowl. Mash and mix together, until you’ve got a stiff, dough-like batter. Add the milk, and stir that in until the mixture has softened and is well-blended. Press it into the bottom of your parchment-lined pan.
  • Make the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling. Next, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. You can do this in a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer. (You could even use a whisk and do it by hand, but it’s an arm workout!) Once the mixture is smooth and creamy, beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the pumpkin and spices. Mix well, and pour over the cookie crust.
  • Par-Bake the Bars and Make the Streusel. Place the baking pan in the oven, and let the bars bake for 15 minutes while you make the streusel. Combine your brown sugar, flour, oats, butter, vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix until you have a crumbly, buttery, well-blended streusel. I find it easiest to use my hands for this, but a wooden spoon or a fork will work too.
  • Top the Bars with Streusel and Finish Baking. Take the partially-baked bars out of the oven, and evenly crumble the streusel all over the top. Return them to the oven and let them bake for another 35 – 40 minutes.
  • Chill. Take the pan out of the oven, and let the pumpkin cheesecake bars cool to room temperature. This may take some time. Once they’ve cooled to room temperature, cover and place in the fridge for several hours to chill and set.
  • Enjoy! Once the pumpkin cheesecake bars and fully chilled and set, cut them into large squares with a sharp knife, and serve (with cream cheese or caramel drizzle, if you like!).
Baked pumpkin cheesecake bars.

Recipe Notes

What else should you know about making pumpkin cheesecake bars? Glad you asked – this recipe has a few footnotes I’m including here. Keep these in mind, and happy baking!

  • Plan Ahead: Keep in mind that there are two reasons to plan ahead for this recipe. One reason is that several ingredients have to be brought to room temperature before you get started, and the other is that you have to chill the baked bars for several hours to firm them up. If you feel like a time-crunch might get in the way, you can make them a day or two in advance.
  • Topping Optional: Pumpkin cheesecake bars are wonderful with just streusel, but a drizzle of caramel or cream cheese topping adds an extra touch of indulgence. You can use drizzles or glazes purchased from the store, or make your own.
  • Cream Cheese Topping Instructions: If you’d like to use cream cheese drizzle, it’s easy to make at home, and doesn’t require any cooking. Just blend 2 tablespoons of cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and ⅓ cup milk with a whisk or hand mixer until creamy. Done!
A pumpkin cheesecake bar on a small white dessert plate, with a fork.

Substitutions and Variations

Need to make some changes? No problem! Here are a few common ingredient swaps and additions to make your bars even more perfect.

  • Pumpkin Puree: Lots of people are making their own pumpkin puree these days, which makes sense – it’s very easy! All you have to do is cut a small “pie” pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, and roast for about 45 minutes at 350°F. Once the pumpkin is tender, remove the peels and process the flesh in a food processor, food mill, etc. If your pumpkin puree is watery, I recommend straining it for a while through a cheesecloth. Use this in place of the canned pumpkin, if you prefer.
  • Spice Options: If you like, play with the spice mixture here to make it your own, or just simplify things and use a pumpkin spice or apple pie spice blend from the store.
  • Add Chopped Nuts: Need more crunch? This recipe would be wonderful with chopped nuts sprinkled over the top. You can use chopped pecans, walnuts, or other nuts in place of (or in addition to) the crumble topping, if you like.
  • Add Baking Chips: Another easy topping idea would be your favorite baking chips. White chocolate, butterscotch, Heath bits, or just plain old semisweet chocolate chips are all great ideas.
A pumpkin cheesecake square on a plate, with one bite broken off and resting on a fork.

How to Store Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

  • These bars do need to be refrigerated, because of the dairy ingredients. Cover them well or move them to an airtight container, and use them within three days.
A pumpkin cheesecake bar topped with a cream cheese drizzle.

Can I Freeze These for Another Time?

  • Yes, you can freeze these bars for up to one month. I recommend cutting them, and wrapping each one carefully in a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil.
  • From there, pop them in a freezer bag or container for convenience, and mark with the date.
Close-up shot of a pumpkin cheesecake bar, with one corner broken off and resting on a fork.
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars prepared with a cookie crust, a decadent pumpkin cheesecake filling, and a buttery streusel topping.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Chill Time6 hrs
Total Time7 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy pumpkin bars, pumpkin cream cheese bars, pumpkin desserts
Servings: 12
Calories: 467kcal

Ingredients

For the Cookie Crust

For the Cheesecake Filling

For the Streusel Topping

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • cream cheese topping or caramel topping, for drizzling, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on each end to make removing the baked bars easier. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter. Mix to make a thick dough, and then add the milk. The mixture will become softer and stickier. Spread it out in the prepared baking pan, pressing it evenly into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
  • Whisk the pumpkin puree and spices into the cream cheese mixture. Pour over the crust, and bake for 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, prepare the streusel. In a clean mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, all-purpose flour, rolled oats, chilled butter, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix by hand or with a wooden spoon to make the streusel mixture.
  • When the 15 minutes are up, take the pumpkin bars out of the oven and crumble the streusel all over the top of the bars. Return the bars to the oven, and bake for another 35 – 40 minutes, until the streusel is golden-brown.
  • Take the bars out of the oven, and let them cool to room temperature. Then place the pan in the refrigerator to chill for several hours.
  • Once chilled, cut the pumpkin bars into large squares, using a sharp knife.
  • Optional: Drizzle the bars with cream cheese topping or caramel topping before serving.

Notes

Note: Cream cheese topping can be made by mixing 2 tablespoons of cream cheese, ⅓ cup milk, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix until smooth and then drizzle over the bars.

Nutrition

Calories: 467kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 6213IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2mg

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14 Comments

  • Erik
    Sep 19, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    5 stars
    Okay, the topping on this is amazing!

    Reply
  • Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert
    Sep 20, 2022 at 1:59 am

    Looks totally irresistible! Everyone would definitely love this!

    Reply
  • Allyson Zea
    Sep 20, 2022 at 8:19 am

    5 stars
    My kids loved helping me with these! Thanks for the recipe!!!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Sep 20, 2022 at 12:17 pm

      That’s wonderful! I’m very happy you and your kids enjoyed these! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Juliane
    Sep 20, 2022 at 9:27 am

    5 stars
    Such a wonderful cheesecake bar! Can’t wait to make this again for mom!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Sep 20, 2022 at 12:17 pm

      That’s great! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Sandra
    Sep 20, 2022 at 10:52 am

    5 stars
    Made these and they were gone in seconds! They’re so good! Just have to make a big batch next time!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Sep 20, 2022 at 12:16 pm

      That’s great to hear! I’m very glad everyone enjoyed them! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Tisha
    Sep 20, 2022 at 2:49 pm

    5 stars
    YUMMY! I love pumpkin and mixing it with cheesecake is divine!!

    Reply
  • Catalina
    Sep 21, 2022 at 1:51 am

    5 stars
    These pumpkin bars look amazing! It’s a must make treat for my family!

    Reply

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