Pumpkin Bars are super moist and spiced dessert bars topped with a generous layer of velvety smooth cream cheese frosting. They are the BEST pumpkin bars you’ll ever try and are actually a bit unique. Every bite is rich in flavor, offering a subtle depth of taste that might be unlike anything you’ve ever tried! They would be perfect for gatherings, as a dessert, a snack with a cup of coffee, or enjoyed on a cozy night by the fire. If you love all things pumpkin, you will also love my Pumpkin Crisp with double the crisp!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Pure Pumpkin: Look for Pure Pumpkin (formerly known as pumpkin puree), not pumpkin pie filling for this recipe. Pure pumpkin is cooked pumpkin blended or mashed into a smooth texture. There should be no seasoning, spice, flavoring, or sugar added. We are adding our own seasoning and sweetness to the bars.
Orange Juice: Orange juice is a functional ingredient in the bars. It contributes to the taste by complementing the warm and earthy notes of the pumpkin and spices. It also adds moisture, keeping the bars nice and tender!
Spices: The spices added to the bars (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves) combine to create a warm and flavorful blend. They enhance the taste of the bars, giving them the classic pumpkin spice flavor.
Frosting: The cream cheese frosting is the icing on these bars, literally! It has a soft and smooth texture with a tanginess that is perfect on top of the pumpkin bars.
Can I Add Nuts To The Bars?
Yes, you can absolutely add nuts to the pumpkin bars if you’d like to give them some added texture and flavor. Chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, work particularly well in pumpkin bars. Finely chop the nuts and fold them (about 1/2 cup to a cup) into the batter. For even more nutty flavor, toast the nuts for a few minutes before adding them.
Can I Make The Bars Ahead Of Time?
The bars are super easy and quick to whip up, but you could certainly make the cream cheese frosting in advance. Once mixed, store the frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last up to 4-5 days. When you’re ready to use the frosting, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for a short period to soften. You may need to give it a quick stir to restore its smooth texture.
How To Store Pumpkin Bars
Since these bars have cream cheese frosting, they should be stored in the refrigerator. Keep them in an airtight container or covered; they will last up to 4-5 days. If you choose not to frost the bars, they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.
Can I Freeze Pumpkin Bars?
Sure! But, if freezing pumpkin bars, do so without the frosting. (You can always add that when ready to serve the bars.) First, let the bars cool completely. Next, wrap the bars tightly in several layers of plastic wrap. This will prevent freezer burn and keep the bars fresh. Place in a freezer-safe container or bag. Squeeze out any excess air from the bag before sealing it to minimize the risk of freezer burn. Don’t forget to label the container or bag with the freezing date so you can keep track of how long it has been in the freezer. The bars can be kept in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, let the bars thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin
- 1 ⅔ cups (333 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (163.5 g) vegetable oil
- ¼ cup (62 g) orange juice
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups (500 g) confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10 X 15-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
- To a large bowl, add the pumpkin, sugar, oil, orange juice, eggs, and vanilla. Stir until well blended.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture to the pumpkin mixture, stirring until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it out evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the bars are set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs, but not wet batter.
- Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla for 1-2 minutes on medium speed.
- Add confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, until the frosting is light and creamy.
- Spread the frosting on top of the cooled bars.
- Cut and serve. Enjoy!
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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:
I shared this with my sons' football team and they gave it a resounding 100/10! I happen to agree. These pumpkin bars are delish!
Pumpkin Spice and everything nice describes these bars. I absolutely LOVED them! Each bite was full of the spices you would expect in a pumpkin dessert. And then, that cream cheese frosting…my mouth is watering again…
I LOVE pumpkin bars and I always am for more spice! These are amazing with the cream cheese frosting. Must try!
Absolutely delightful. With every bite, the spices really shine through! The cream cheese frosting adds another layer of deliciousness! This is a recipe that you, your guests, and family will love!
These are the perfect pumpkin bars! They're moist, light, and absolutely delicious, especially with that cream cheese frosting!