Homemade pumpkin bars are a favorite fall treat of ours because they come together with pantry staples and the most luscious cream cheese frosting.
Fall is here! Time to cue all things pumpkin, including these oh-so-delicious pumpkin bars. We love this recipe because the texture is super decadent, it uses a full can of pumpkin, and they’re topped with our go-to cream cheese frosting.
Simply combine all of the ingredients and bake for 25 minutes. Then, whip up a simple homemade cream cheese frosting and top the bars with them before serving.
What You Need for Pumpkin Bars
For the Bars
- Granulated sugar
- Light brown sugar
- Pumpkin puree
- Whole milk
- All-purpose flour
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Ground cinnamon
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
for the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Whole milk
Top Tips for Perfect Pumpkin Bars
Refrain from making substitutions for the bars: these pumpkin bars are PERFECTION, so we don’t recommend subbing for another flour, sweetener or milk.
Don’t skip the cream cheese frosting: this cream cheese frosting truly is the icing on the cake of these bars. It’s a little tang and a little sweet — yum!
Soften the cream cheese: We can’t stress this enough! You want to make sure your cream cheese is softened so that it can fully incorporate into your cream cheese frosting without any lumps.
How to soften cream cheese
Looking for a quick method to soften cream cheese? Check out our post – How to Soften Cream Cheese – 4 Ways! Here you’ll learn 4 unique (and quick!) methods to soften cream cheese to the perfect amount for baking and cooking.
Pumpkin Bars Variations
Add chocolate chips: if you love pumpkin + chocolate, feel free to add 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Make a loaf: instead of baking on a baking sheet, turn these bars into a loaf. You’ll need to bake them for a bit longer, so watch the time.
Make muffins: you can also turn these bars into muffins. Simply transfer them into a muffin tin and bake for 20-23 minutes.
This cream cheese frosting is delicious and beautiful on its own, but if you’re looking to really jazz up these pumpkin bars, you go right ahead and sprinkle any of the following on top of your frosted bars:
- Dusting of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
- Chopped nuts
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
- Candy corn
Because these pumpkin bars are frosted with a cream cheese frosting, it will keep best in the fridge. If your sheet pan has a cover, great! If not, top with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place in the fridge to store. Enjoy for up to 3 days.
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and prepare a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan with baking spray.
- Place the butter, sugar, and brown sugar into a bowl and mix on medium for 2 minutes using a hand mixer. Next, add the eggs and mix to combine.
- Then, add in the pumpkin puree and the milk and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula mix the wet and dry ingredients together.
- Transfer the batter into the baking pan and bake for 25 minutes.
- Allow the bars 3-4 hours of cooling time before they are frosted
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Place the cream cheese and butter into a medium-sized bowl and whip together using a hand mixer. About 2 minutes.
- Next, add the powdered sugar and vanilla and blend for another 1-2 minutes.
- Finally, add in 1 tablespoon of milk. If the frosting is too thick, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Frost the pumpkin bars and then slice and serve.
Tips & Notes
- Refrain from making substitutions for the bars: these pumpkin bars are PERFECTION, so we don’t recommend subbing for another flour, sweetener or milk.
- Don’t skip the cream cheese frosting: this cream cheese frosting truly is the icing on the cake of these bars. It’s a little tang and a little sweet — yum!
- Soften the cream cheese: We can’t stress this enough! You want to make sure your cream cheese is softened so that it can fully incorporate into your cream cheese frosting without any lumps.