The Best Pumpkin Bars Recipe

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This Pumpkin Bars Recipe features soft, chewy, and perfectly flavored pumpkin bars topped with a thick layer of tangy-sweet cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Plus they’re quick and easy to prepare.

A stack of 3 pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting

Easy Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’ve been searching for the best pumpkin bars recipe – you know, one with just the RIGHT texture, not too cakey and not too dense….you’re in the right place!

Made from scratch with ingredients like pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and nutmeg then topped with my cinnamon cream cheese frosting, these are by FAR the best pumpkin bars I’ve ever made. (And trust me, I’ve tried many!)

The best part is that they take just a few minutes to prepare and the frosting comes together quickly too. Just be sure to allow plenty of time for the bars to cool before adding the frosting.

If you’re looking for pumpkin bars with a twist, I do have several other variations worth checking out too, like my pumpkin pie bars, pumpkin chocolate chip bars, and pumpkin cheesecake bars.

A hand holding a pumpkin bar with a bite missing

Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Bars Recipe

Don’t be surprised when this becomes one of your go-to fall recipes!

  • Perfect texture. These bars are soft, moist, and just the right combination of dense and cakey. Some bars tend to have such a cake-like texture that they fall apart but not these.
  • Quick and easy to prepare. The prep for both the bars and the frosting takes less than 20 minutes. The only time-consuming part is waiting for the bars to cool.
  • Luscious cinnamon frosting. Equally as lovely as the bars is the cinnamon cream cheese frosting. It’s rich, creamy, and the perfect combination of tangy, sweet, and cinnamon-y.
A spatula holding a pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting

What’s The Difference Between Pumpkin Bars and Pumpkin Cake?

Are pumpkin bars the same as pumpkin cake? In this case…no. While they do look similar to a cake before cutting and are both topped with cream cheese frosting, these pumpkin bars are not the same as cake. Think of them as a combination of a cake and a brownie texture-wise. Slightly cakey but more dense and chewy. You won’t need a fork to eat these!

Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

This pumpkin bars recipe is made primarily with pantry staples, plus pumpkin and a few spices. The cream cheese frosting requires just a few ingredients as well. See the recipe card below for measurements.

  • Flour
  • Spices – Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg add that classic spiced pumpkin flavor to these bars.
  • Baking soda – Helps the bars rise just a bit in the oven.
  • Salt – Balances out the sweetness.
  • Butter – I used unsalted since I prefer to control the level of salt. You’ll need some for the frosting as well.
  • Light brown sugar – Sweetens the bars while adding a hint of molasses flavor.
  • Egg – Gives the bars structure without adding a cake-y texture.
  • Vanilla extract – Used in both the bars and the frosting.
  • Pumpkin puree – Both canned puree and homemade pumpkin puree will work.
  • Cream cheese – The base of the frosting. Be sure it’s softened for easy mixing and no lumps.
  • Powdered sugar – Sweetens the frosting and creates a smooth, creamy texture.
  • Ground cinnamon – Adds the cinnamon flavor to the frosting. Feel free to reduce the amount for a lighter flavor.
  • Heavy whipping cream – Gives the frosting shape and structure.

Can I Add Nuts to These Bars?

Sure. Chopped walnuts and pecans can both be added to this pumpkin bar recipe. Just fold them into the batter before adding it to the pan.

How to Make Pumpkin Bars

This pumpkin bars recipe is straightforward and easy to make. While the bars come together quickly, they do need to cool before adding the frosting, so remember to leave time for that.

  • Make the batter. Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and pumpkin. Gradually add in the dry ingredients.
  • Bake. Transfer the batter to a baking pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool. Allow the pumpkin bars to cool completely before frosting.
  • Make the frosting. Cream all frosting ingredients together until combined and creamy.
  • Frost the pumpkin bars. Spread the frosting over the bars and add a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired. Cut and enjoy!
Overhead view of 4 pumpkin bars on a plate

Tips for Success

This pumpkin bar recipe is pretty straightforward to make but there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. As with most pumpkin desserts, be sure you’re using pure pumpkin puree and not the pre-spiced, pre-sweetened pumpkin pie filling.
  • Do not overmix the ingredients. Stir in the dry ingredients just until well combined. Overmixing can lead to dense, dry bars.
  • Use regular cream cheese frosting. If you’re not a huge fan of cinnamon, you can omit the cinnamon from the frosting and/or use a reduced amount.
  • Are these pumpkin bars cakey or chewy? These bars are more cake like than chewy but they are not completely cake like texture. It is denser than traditional pieces of cake.

Close up of 3 pumpkin bars on a plate

Serving Suggestions

You can enjoy these pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting at room temperature or chilled. One thing to note is that the cream cheese frosting will soften and melt so do not keep them out for too long.

If you’re not a huge fan of cream cheese, you can also serve these pumpkin bars with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or just enjoy them plain.

Proper Storage

  • Fridge. These pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are best stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Use parchment paper between layers to keep them from sticking. They’ll stay fresh for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer. You can also freeze these bars but it’s best to do so before frosting them. You can either wrap the entire pan of bars in plastic wrap or cut them first. Thaw at room temperature then frost as desired.

More Pumpkin Desserts

A stack of 3 pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting
5 from 1 vote

The Best Pumpkin Bars Recipe

This Pumpkin Bars Recipe features soft, chewy, and perfectly flavored pumpkin bars topped with a thick layer of tangy-sweet cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Plus they're quick and easy to prepare.
Servings: 16
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes


Pumpkin Bars Ingredients

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:


Pumpkin Bars Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper
  • Using a large bowl, whisk together until combined the flour, cinnamon ginger, nutmeg, baking soda and salt
  • Using a medium bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and pumpkin puree
  • Gradually beat in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients
  • Scoop the batter into the baking pan
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • Allow to cool completely

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Directions:

  • Using a standing mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, 1 tbsp ground cinnamon and heavy whipping cream until combined and creamy
  • Spread the frosting oven the bars
  • Sprinkle some cinnamon over the frosting
  • Cut and enjoy!

Last Step:

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Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 69mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 2733IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg


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