This Pumpkin Bars recipe is the ultimate autumn dessert for sharing. It is easy to make and tastes even BETTER than pumpkin pie!
There is a local gift shop that has a cafe with some of the best desserts and one of them is pumpkin bars. After enjoying them at the cafe for several years, I decided to make my own recipe so that I can have them whenever I want.
These pumpkin bars feature a graham cracker crust and a substantial layer of homemade whipped cream for frosting! Everyone will be asking you for the recipe.
Where is the pumpkin bars recipe? In this post, I will share step-by-step photos for how to make the recipe, as well as answer FAQs about the recipe and share a short video showing the recipe in motion. But you can go directly to the recipe by scrolling down to the bottom of the post.
What’s the easiest way to make graham cracker crumbs?
The easiest way is to buy ready-made graham cracker crumbs! But other than that, use whatever you have available. I usually make the crumbs in my food processor. Another easy way is to crush the graham crackers in a gallon-sized ziptop bag with a rolling pin.
How many graham crackers do I need to make a crust?
This recipe calls for 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs for a 9×13 inch pan. One sleeve of graham crackers typically has 9 full sheets of crackers in it and makes about 1 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs. So you’ll need about 15 graham cracker sheets to make 2 cups of crumbs.
Why beat the cream cheese separately?
This recipe starts out with two blocks of softened cream cheese that need to be beaten until smooth and creamy. Beating the cream cheese separately allows other ingredients, especially liquids, to combine smoothly with the cream cheese.
When you try to combine cream cheese and a liquid ingredient without beating the cream cheese first, the cream cheese will form little clumps that are almost impossible to beat out.
To make it easier for the eggs to incorporate, beat them slightly before adding them to the bowl.
What is the difference between pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling?
Both pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling have pumpkin in them but they are not interchangeable. Pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin contains 100% pumpkin and can be used in countless recipes including this pumpkin bars recipe.
On the other hand, pumpkin pie filling or pumpkin pie mix has additional ingredients including water, sugar, and spices. It is specifically made to make pumpkin pies.
How can I make gluten-free pumpkin bars?
The main things that contain gluten in this recipe are the graham crackers in the crust and the flour used in the batter. To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free graham crackers and gluten-free flour. In addition, be sure to check that your other ingredients are gluten-free.
Can I make these pumpkin bars in other size pans?
Yes, you could make them in other pans but you’ll have to adjust the baking time depending on the size of the pan. To make mini-sized bars in a muffin pan as I did in this recipe, it will only take 20-25 minutes to bake them.
Another option is to use small baking molds as I did in this recipe to make individual servings in disposable wrappers. The baking time would be similar to the muffin pan, possible a little longer.
If you use two 9-inch square pans, the crust and the pumpkin layer will be thinner. Using two 8-inch square pans is closer in size to one 9×13 inch pan.
What frosting should I put on my pumpkin bars?
I love these pumpkin bars with homemade whipped cream! You can find my whipped cream recipe here. In addition to the whipped cream, I sprinkled ground cinnamon over the top for added flavor and color.
Other great options would be cream cheese frosting, buttercream frosting, whipped topping (aka cool whip), or you could even enjoy them without frosting.
Can I make these bars ahead of time?
Yes, these pumpkin bars can be made ahead of time and are perfect for bringing to holiday dinners, parties, and potlucks. Bake the bars, allow them to cool, frost the bars and then cover and store them in the fridge.
Can I freeze pumpkin bars?
Yes, pumpkin bars will hold up in the freezer. First place the bars in the freezer uncovered to allow the whipped cream to harden. Then, wrap tightly with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil.
How can I make these healthier?
To make these pumpkin bars a bit healthier, try using low fat graham crackers, a sugar alternative, and a butter alternative in the crust. For the pumpkin layer, use Neufchatel low-fat cream cheese and a sugar alternative. And for the frosting, you can use light cool whip.
Want more pumpkin recipes? Try these next:
This Pumpkins Cake recipe is so easy to make with a cake mix, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice! Top with cream cheese frosting for the ultimate treat.
Maple Glazed Pumpkin Coffee Cake with a walnut streusel topping is the MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH amazing! Enjoy a warm slice of pumpkin coffee cake with a cup of coffee.
Try this Caramel Pumpkin Cake Roll from Crazy For Crust that is filled with caramel ganache and cream cheese whipped cream!
With this Pumpkin Mug Cake recipe, you are only 60 seconds away from a warm, delicious cake for one.
Pumpkin Magic Custard Cake is like pumpkin pie without the crust. It has a custard layer topped with cake. Try it for Thanksgiving dinner!
Natalie Duimstra says
I just made this recipe tonight. I let them cool to room Temperature after cooking and when I cut slices the pumpkin was kind of runny I’m curious if you have any thoughts of why it didn’t set? Maybe it will be better tomorrow after it cools in the fridge?
I don’t think mine was runny. Maybe it needed to bake longer? Hopefully it will set up more in the fridge.
Best pumpkin dessert out there!! Have had several times and can’t wait to have it again)
Mmm! These look delicious! I’m gonna have to try this for my family. I just wish I could spread the calories consumed at the holidays out the whole year!
I totally agree! There’s just so much good food during the holidays!