This pumpkin bars recipe is tried and true in our family for over 15 years! The BEST tender and moist pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting!
Ben could eat these pumpkin bars all year round, but much to his dismay, the rule in our house is that pumpkin anything is reserved for the fall season. I like pumpkin recipes way too much to risk getting sick of them, so by limiting them to ONE season they remain a novelty -- a much anticipated taste!
Are you the same way? What seasonal recipes do you only break out during certain parts of the year or just for certain occasions?
I've been making this pumpkin bar recipe for years. These bars are thick and deliciously moist with a thin layer of rich cream cheese frosting. You can eat them with your fingers or bite in with a fork like cake. It will be hard to have just ONE!
Everything you need to make these pumpkin bars are probably already in your pantry, except maybe the can of pumpkin. If you're like me, you always have a can of pumpkin on hand -- but if you don't, hurry and go grab some as I hear there may be a shortage this year!
Gather these ingredients:
- Pumpkin puree (15 oz. can)
- Flour (2 cups)
- Sugar (1 ⅔ cups)
- Veggie oil (1 cup)
- Eggs (4 large)
- Ground cinnamon (2 teaspoons)
- Baking powder (2 teaspoons)
- Baking soda (1 teaspoon)
- Salt (1 teaspoon)
- Cream cheese (4 oz.)
- Unsalted butter (4 tablespoons)
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar (3 cups)
Click here for full recipe ingredients and instructions.
It is very simple to make this recipe from scratch, as it comes together much like cake batter. Although a little more dense, you could possibly get away with calling this pumpkin cake. Either way, the steps are very simple.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare 9x13 pan.
- Mix eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin in large bowl.
- Mix baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredient bowl and gently stir to combine.
- Pour batter into pan and evenly spread.
- Bake 25 minutes, or until done. Let cool.
- Once cooled, prepare cream cheese frosting. Spread over cooled pan.
- Cut into squares and serve!
Storing Pumpkin Bars
We find it best to store these covered in the fridge since cream cheese really shouldn't sit out more than 2 to 4 hours. Ben and I prefer eating these cold straight from the fridge! But, you can warm them for a few seconds in the microwave if preferred.
These will keep up to 1 week in the fridge, but they are so delicious they usually are eaten up before then.
Do not over mix the batter - Just like any batter, really, try to avoid over mixing and stir until the ingredients are JUST combined.
Soften the cream cheese - The cream cheese needs to be softened for the frosting recipe, so make sure to plan ahead and set it out from the fridge about 2 hours before you need it! If you forget, remove it from the package onto a microwave safe plate and warm it at 50% power for a few seconds on each side.
Cream cheese frosting - I like the recipe as written, but if you find the frosting too thick to spread, add a tablespoon of milk until it reaches your desired consistency. You can also add more or less of the powdered sugar.
Sifting the powdered sugar - It's not super necessary to sift the powdered sugar for the frosting, but I typically choose to so it's smoother. But if you're in a hurry or don't have a sifter or sieve, just dump the powdered sugar in!
Cool the bars before frosting - Please do not rush this step! Allow the bars to cool COMPLETELY before spreading on the frosting or it will be very difficult and the top layer of cake may come off and mix into your pretty white frosting.
More Pumpkin Recipes
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- Pumpkin Scones
- Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies
- Easy Pumpkin Pie
- The Best Pumpkin Muffins
This recipe was originally published September 2008 and updated September 2020 with new recipe tips and photos.
For the bars:
- 4 eggs
- 1 ⅔ cups sugar
- 1 cup veggie oil
- 15- ounce can pumpkin
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 4 ounces cream cheese , at room temperature
- ¼ cup butter , at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 to 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
For the bars:
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease a 13"x9" baking pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until combined.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
- Without over-mixing, gradually stir in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
- Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
For the cream cheese frosting:
- In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn the speed to low and stir in the sugar and vanilla. Continue to mix until reaches a smooth spreadable consistency. Add more or less sugar. (If frosting is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk until reaches desired consistency.)
- Spread frosting onto cooled cake in a thin even layer. Slice into squares and serve.
- Store covered in fridge for up to 1 week.
- Serve cold or at room temperature, or rewarm a few seconds in microwave.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only.