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Moist and tender, warmly spiced pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are the ultimate fall dessert! They’re loaded with pumpkin spice flavor, slathered in a creamy homemade icing, and ready for the oven with just 15 minutes of prep. Whether you serve the squares at a Halloween party, on a Thanksgiving buffet, or as a simple snack with a warm mug of cider, this easy pumpkin bars recipe is truly the best!

Hands holding a sheet pan of pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting.

Easy Pumpkin Bar Recipe

‘Tis the season for a tray of easy pumpkin bars slathered in cream cheese frosting! They’re the perfect sweet ending to finish your next Sunday supper, to enjoy for an afternoon snack with a friend and a cozy cup of tea, or to make your Thanksgiving feast feel extra special.

Best of all, this made-from-scratch recipe takes advantage of simple kitchen staples for an old-fashioned, seasonal dessert that comes together with just 15 minutes of prep! Get out and enjoy the fall leaves, pick some apples, or go for a crisp, cool hike. You won’t be stuck in the kitchen tending to a complicated dessert!

Process shot showing how to make pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting.

Pan Size

These old-fashioned pumpkin bars bake in a 10×15-inch jelly roll panThis is the pan that I use. It’s the same pan that we use for Texas Sheet Cake, and honestly, these “bars” taste a lot like a pumpkin sheet cake! If you prefer to use a different size pan (such as a larger rimmed sheet pan or a smaller 9×13 pan), see my notes below.

Whisking together dry ingredients in a white bowl.

Ingredients

This is just an overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to make a pan of easy pumpkin bars from scratch. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Eggs: give the bars structure.
  • Granulated sugar: for just the right amount of sweetness.
  • Vegetable oil: keep the bars incredibly moist.
  • Pumpkin puree: make sure to grab a can of pure pumpkin puree, rather than a similar-looking can of pumpkin pie filling.
  • All-purpose flour: the base of the bars.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: leavening agents that help the bars rise.
  • Salt: enhances the other flavors in the dish and balances the sweetness in the batter.
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger: all of the warm fall spices that give the bars that classic “pumpkin spice” flavor.
  • Vanilla extract: for extra flavor in both the bars and the frosting.
  • Cream cheese: use a full-fat block-style cream cheese (not a low-fat variety or a spreadable tub variety).
  • Butter: salted butter is my preference to balance the sweetness in the frosting.
  • Powdered sugar: sift this ingredient to avoid any lumps in the frosting.
Pouring pumpkin bars batter into a sheet pan.

How to Make Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

These pumpkin dessert bars come together quickly and easily with just a handful of pantry staples. Don’t forget to make them in advance, though — they need plenty of time to cool before you can spread that cream cheese icing on top!

  1. Mix the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until smooth.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Spread the batter in a greased or parchment-lined jelly roll pan.
  5. Bake in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely.
  7. Mix together the cream cheese frosting.
  8. Spread the frosting on the cool bars, then dust with cinnamon.
  9. Slice and serve!
Spreading cream cheese frosting on top of pumpkin bars.
Dusting top of pumpkin bars with cinnamon.

Serving Suggestions

The pumpkin spice bars are delicious at room temperature, or even straight out of the refrigerator! They’re perfect on their own with a cup of coffee or tea, a mug of cocoa, or even some warm mulled cider — but they’re even more decadent when paired with a scoop of ice cream. Try serving the bars with vanilla ice cream, cinnamon ice cream, pumpkin ice cream, or butter pecan ice cream for a real treat!

Hands holding a tray of pumpkin spice bars with cream cheese frosting and a dusting of cinnamon.

Make Ahead

These bars just seem to get better as they sit, so they’re a nice option to prepare in advance. I recommend making the bars one day ahead of when you plan to serve them.

Side shot of homemade pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting.

How to Store Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Keep the bars covered in the refrigerator. Bring them to room temperature for about 30-60 minutes before serving for the best taste and texture. If you’re in a real rush, you can eat them straight from the fridge!

The bars are best when enjoyed within 1-2 days of baking, but you can safely store the leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Can you freeze pumpkin bars?

Yes! Sealed in an airtight container, frosted pumpkin bars will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Hands holding a plate with a square of pumpkin bars on it.

Recipe Variations

  • Sheet Pan Pumpkin Bars: instead of a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan, you can bake the bars on a larger 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheet. The bars will be a bit thinner, so they will likely require a slightly shorter baking time. Start checking them at the 15-minute mark.
  • Pumpkin Bars Recipe in 9×13 Pan: instead of a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan, you can bake the bars in a smaller 9×13-inch baking pan. They will be slightly thicker, so they may require a couple of extra minutes in the oven.
  • No Frosting: of course, you can skip the cream cheese frosting if you like — the bars will still be delicious! Dust the tops with a little bit of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream for presentation.
  • Pumpkin Bars with Nuts: add a cup of chopped walnuts or pecans directly to the batter. Alternatively, garnish the top of the frosted bars with toasted, chopped nuts.
  • Raisins, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips would all be tasty additions to the flavorful batter.
Hands holding easy pumpkin bars on a wooden cutting board.

Tips for the Best Pumpkin Bars Recipe

  • I prefer a can of Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin, but you can substitute with 1 cup of fresh homemade pumpkin puree.
  • Make sure that you use a can of 100% pure pumpkin puree, which is different from canned pumpkin pie filling. The pure pumpkin puree is unsweetened and doesn’t include any spices or other seasonings.
  • Use full-fat block-style cream cheese for the frosting. The cream cheese frosting will be thin and runny if you substitute with low fat cream cheese or cream cheese spread from a tub.
  • Sift the powdered sugar to avoid any lumps in your frosting.
Close up side shot of a pan of pumpkin dessert bars.

More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes to Try

Hands holding a sheet pan of pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Cooling Time 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings 24 squares
Calories 286 kcal
Moist and tender, warmly spiced pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are the ultimate fall dessert!

Ingredients
  

FOR THE BARS:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • ¼ cup salted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan or line with parchment (see the notes below for a different size pan). Set aside.

PREPARE THE BARS:

  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until smooth and completely combined; set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk (or sift) together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger.
  • Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture; mix until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  • Spread batter in prepared pan.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

PREPARE FROSTING:

  • In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla extract; beat until fluffy and smooth. Spread on cooled bars. Dust with extra cinnamon, if desired.

Notes

  • Sheet Pan Pumpkin Bars: instead of a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan, you can bake the bars on a larger 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheet. The bars will be a bit thinner, so they will likely require a slightly shorter baking time. Start checking them at the 15-minute mark, and leave them in the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Pumpkin Bars Recipe in 9×13 Pan: instead of a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan, you can bake the bars in a smaller 9×13-inch baking pan. They will be slightly thicker, so they may require a couple of extra minutes in the oven.
  • No Frosting: of course, you can skip the cream cheese frosting if you like — the bars will still be delicious! You might like to dust the tops with a little bit of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream for presentation, but that’s also optional.
  • Pumpkin Bars with Nuts: add a cup of chopped walnuts or pecans directly to the batter for some extra crunch, or garnish the top of the frosted bars with toasted nuts.
  • Raisins, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips would all be tasty additions to the flavorful batter.
  • I prefer a can of Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin, but you can substitute with 1 cup of fresh homemade pumpkin puree.
  • Make sure that you use a can of 100% pure pumpkin puree, which is different from canned pumpkin pie filling. The pure pumpkin puree is unsweetened and doesn’t include any spices or other seasonings.
  • Use full-fat block-style cream cheese for the frosting. The cream cheese frosting will be thin and runny if you substitute with low fat cream cheese or cream cheese spread from a tub.
  • Sift the powdered sugar to avoid any lumps in your frosting.

Nutrition

Serving: 1barCalories: 286kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 3gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 202mgPotassium: 91mgFiber: 1gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 2984IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: pumpkin bars, pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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  1. 5 stars
    Hi Blair! I wanted to let you know that I made these pumpkin bars for the hospital where my sister works, and they were a huge hit. I followed the recipe exactly, using a 9 x 13 pan, so it was more like pumpkin cake. My sister texted me during her shift to let me know that people in the department loved it. One of the doctors requested another cake just like it (and she noted he’d had 5 pieces already!). This will be on my list of “keeper” recipes!

    1. Yay! That makes me so happy to hear, Colleen. Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note. I’m so glad that the deserving hospital staff could enjoy a fall treat! 🙂