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How to Make Perfect Pumpkin Bars

These cake-like perfect pumpkin bars, topped with fluffy cream cheese frosting are moist, flavorful, and sure to become a seasonal favorite.

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This recipe was originally shared in August, 2016. I have continued to make this recipe and it is often requested!

pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting on plate with fork

Is it too early for pumpkin? I love pumpkin season and all that it brings. It’s the season where you can’t help but notice all of the brilliant colored leaves and the woodsy scent of the crisp air. It is the season for plaid flannel, chunky sweaters, and watching football on the weekends. Yes, pumpkin season is here.

Why you’ll love these Pumpkin Bars?

Of all of the pumpkin foods out there, these perfect pumpkin bars are my family and friends’ favorite. Moist and flavorful cake with fluffy cream cheese frosting, these bars are a delicious fall treat.

  • These pumpkin bars are so easy to make.
  • They can be made ahead.
  • They are a tasty, seasonal treat.
view of eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce and measuring cups

Ingredients for Pumpkin Bars:

  • 4 eggs or 1 cup egg beaters
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
view of flour and dry ingredients

How to Make Pumpkin Bars

  • Prep: Before you begin making the bars, set out the cream cheese and butter so they are at room temperature when you are ready to make the frosting. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine dry ingredients and set aside
  • Combine sugar, pumpkin and wet ingredients.
  • Add dry ingredients and mix to make the cake batter.
  • Pour into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until center is completely cooked.
collage of four steps to making pumpkin bar batter

The mouthwatering aroma will begin to fill your home.

baking dish with baked pumpkin bars cooling on cooling rack

While the pumpkin bars are baking, make the cream cheese frosting.  It is so easy to make, with only four ingredients.

cream cheese frosting in bowl

Ingredients for cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 block of softened cream cheese
  • 1 stick of softened butter
  • 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla

With an electric mixer, combine the softened cream cheese, softened butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla.  Mix until it is light and fluffy.

Wait until the cake is completely cooled before frosting and cutting into bars. Try to be patient…it’s so worth the wait!

These perfect pumpkin bars taste like fall.

view of pumpkin bar on plate with fork, napkin and tea

Substitutions:

  • To make this recipe a bit healthier, you can substitute oil for applesauce. 1/2 cup oil is equal to 1/2 cup applesauce. 
  • You can also substitute whole eggs for egg substitute (Egg Beaters). 4 eggs would equal one cup of Egg Beaters.
  • Cream cheese can be substituted for Neufchatel cheese. Neufchatel cheese has a lower fat content.

Can you make Pumpkin Bars ahead of time?

Yes, you can make these pumpkin bars ahead of time. They can be frozen or kept covered in the refrigerator for up to three days. Then, mix the cream cheese frosting and frost before serving.

How to store Pumpkin Bars?

These pumpkin bars should be covered and refrigerated for up to three days. My son likes them even better the next day!

Can you freeze Pumpkin Bars?

Yes, you can freeze the cake-like bars, before frosting. Once the cake is completely cool, wrap securely in two layers of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil. You can store it in your freezer for up to three months.

More Dessert Recipes

Easy Baked Peaches with Brown Sugar Crumble

The Best Blueberry Muffin Cake

Fabulous Five Ingredient Raspberry Bars

How to Make Homemade Slow Cooker Applesauce

As pumpkin season approaches, I hope you give these flavorful, cake-like bars a try! I would love to connect with you on FacebookInstagramPinterest, or here on the blog! 

pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting on a plate with fork

Perfect Pumpkin Bars

These cake-like perfect pumpkin bars, topped with fluffy cream cheese frosting are moist, flavorful, and sure to become a seasonal favorite!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 24

Ingredients
  

Pumpkin Bar Ingredients

  • 4 eggs or 1 cup egg beaters
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 ` can pumpkin puree (15 ounce can)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 block cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla

Instructions
 

Instructions to Make the Pumpkin Bars

  • Before you begin making the bars, set out the cream cheese and butter so they will be room temperature when you are ready to make the frosting.
  • With an electric mixer, combine eggs or egg beaters, sugar, oil, applesauce, and pumpkin. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.
  • Next, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients to make a cake batter.
  • Pour the batter into a greased 9 by 13 inch rectangular baking dish.
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the center is completely cooked.
  • While the pumpkin bars are baking, make the cream cheese frosting.

Instructions for Making Cream Cheese Frosting

  • With an electric mixer, combine softened cream cheese, butter confectioner's sugar, and vanilla. Mix until it is light and fluffy.

Notes

Set out your eggs, butter, and cream cheese before beginning. These ingredients should be at room temperature.
Wait until the cake is completely cooled before frosting. Cut into 24 bars and enjoy!
Substitutions:
To make this recipe a bit healthier, you can substitute oil for applesauce. 1/2 cup oil is equal to 1/2 cup applesauce. 
You can also substitute whole eggs for egg substitute (Egg Beaters). 4 eggs would equal one cup of Egg Beaters.
Cream cheese can be substituted for Neufchatel cheese. Neufchatel cheese has a lower fat content.
Keyword baking, cake, dessert, fall baking, pumpkin, pumpkin bars, seasonal dessert

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32 Comments

  1. Sounds yummy. Pinning for future reference (because it is a little too early for pumpkin for me.) lol

    1. Thank you so much, Jennifer! I understand…I try to hold onto summer as long as possible! 🙂 I hope you give this recipe a try!

  2. Hi Lynne, lovely presentation and my mouth is watering. Thanks for this, Beth

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Beth! I hope you give this a try! Wishing you a great week ahead!

  3. These look super moist and delicious. I love anything pumpkin. year around its my favorite flavour. Pinning.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Leanna! I am so appreciative! 🙂 I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe. Best wishes for a great week!

    1. I hope you give this a try, Amber! It really is such a delicious recipe! Wishing you a great week ahead!

  4. This look so moist and delicious. I can’t wait to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing it with us at the Waste Not Wednesday link party. Keep coming back to inspire us.

  5. I always enjoy finding a new pumpkin recipe to try. Can’t wait to make these!

  6. Julie Briones says:

    This looks delicious! SO pinned! Love your yummy pumpkin bar recipe!

  7. This recipe looks so good! I love pumpkin desserts and I’m sure that this would be a hit at my house.

  8. Lynne I am so excited to try this recipe out for something different this fall. Thanks so much for sharing, pinning for later.

  9. Yum, this looks delicious and it is perfect for fall.
    Have a great day,
    Kippi

  10. These look so delicious! My family will eat just about anything with pumpkin in it, so I’d love to give this one a try:)

  11. Yum! These look so good, Lynne! I love cream cheese frosting, and the recipe looks very easy. Pinned!

  12. Yummmm! Perfect fall flavors! BTW, I have successfully frozen cupcakes with cream cheese frosting before – it thawed perfectly so I think it might be fine to freeze these frosted as well 🙂

    1. Ohhh! Thank you so much for sharing this, Janet! 🙂 I will definitely try to freeze them frosted and see how well it works. Hope you’re having a great week!

  13. Could you please tell me if you are using pumpkin puree or the pie filling, also sweetened or unsweetened applesauce. When I picked up the ingredients to make this, I wasn’t sure so I bought both! Which is okay as I love everything pumpkin flavoured.

    1. Hi Barb! Thanks so much for asking! You can use pumpkin puree and unsweetened applesauce. I will update the recipe. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family and I do! 🙂

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