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Killer Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting on a white ceramic plate with a candy pumpkin garnish

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are a dessert that will have folks lining up for the recipe! This is the BEST pumpkin bar recipe you’ll ever encounter!

When autumn rolls around, these seasonal pumpkin squares are always on my baking list. The lovely spiced bars with a thick, dreamy layer of frosting are the perfect treat for pumpkin lovers.

Killer Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting on a white ceramic plate with a candy pumpkin garnish

Best Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve made these moist, fall-spiced pumpkin bars for numerous occasions. Nicknamed “Killer Pumpkin Bars” by some of my online foodie friends, you will agree there are the best pumpkin bars once you taste your first bite.

My kids adore pumpkin bread (don’t ask about the hubby as he only eats his pumpkin in pie), so it was no stretch to surmise that these Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting would be a home run. And adding a nice layer of cream cheese frosting never hurt any dessert, at least in my book.

Killer Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting on square white plates with a cup of tea


Tips for Making the BEST Pumpkin Bars

My friends have told me that this is the best pumpkin bar recipe in the world. My family loves them and so will yours!! Here are a few tips for making these bars.

  • PRO-Tip: Use a can of pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix. The latter has sugar and spices added and you want plain pumpkin. You’ll be adding your own spices. Read the label carefully.
  • These bars are baked in a 10 x 15-inch jellyroll pan which is not the same as a 9 x 13-inch cake pan. Check the affiliate link below to see the details.
  • PRO-Tip: Use an offset spatula to smooth out the batter, then later to smooth out the frosting. It’s one of my most used kitchen tools!
  • These easy Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are more of a cake-like consistency than a cookie bar, so check for doneness like you would a cake.
  • PRO-Tip: Insert a toothpick into the middle of these pumpkin squares to check to see if they’re done. If it comes out clean, your cake is done. If there is batter on the toothpick, more baking time is needed. Check more than one spot to ensure the center is fully baked.
  • Alternatively, tap your index finger lightly on the surface of the cake. If it leaves an indentation, the bake isn’t done. If the cake springs back, it can come out of the oven.

Things you may need for this recipe:

More Pumpkin Recipes

When autumn rolls around, I turn to all things apple and pumpkin. This pumpkin bar recipe always makes the yearly cut. My Pumpkin Roll is also a family favorite.

A loaf of Pumpkin Zucchini Bread is ideal for the seasonal transition and this marvelous  Pumpkin Crumb Cake can be eaten for breakfast AND for dessert! Plus I’m loving the look of these Pumpkin Crinkle Cookies. I’d love to keep a batch in my freezer for those emergency cravings. 

*P.S. I found the cute little Wilton pumpkins made of royal icing at Target.

The Halloween Project Week One Pu:mpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake-like pumpkin bars topped with a decadent cream cheese frosting!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 24 bars


For bars:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin (one 15 ounce can)
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps
  • Candy pumpkins, optional, to garnish*


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly grease a 15 x 10 inch (jelly roll) pan.
  2. Stir flour, baking soda, spices and salt together and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat till smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix till well combined. Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or till cake springs back when lightly touched in the middle or toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
  5. Cool completely and frost. Garnish with candy pumpkins if desired.
  6. To make icing: beat all ingredients together till smooth.


These freeze beautifully.
You can make a half batch in an 8 x 8-inch pan, but start checking for doneness at the 20-minute mark.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 bar

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 289Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 246mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 1gSugar: 36gProtein: 3g


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84 comments on “Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. ohhh.. your pumpkin bars look delicious! I love how you decorated them!

  2. Pumpkin week! How fun! I love your pumpkin bars with the cream cheese frosting. Perfect combination and with the cute candy pumpkin on top… surely irresistible!!!

  3. They look perfect Liz! Lovin’ your cute little pumpkin decorations too:@)

  4. These pumpkin bars look so cute and moist.. yummy!

  5. Liz!!! I love these pumpkin bars!! Darn it, how did I miss pumpkin week?!!! will visit all the fabulous links above!! love this!

  6. Oh heavens! These bars!!! WOW!!! I was reading your post and wondering why I had started drooling – and now I know – THESE bars!!!! WOW!!!

  7. Those are gorgeous!! They look SO delicious! Yumm!

  8. Cream cheese frosting makes everything better, even my fingers 😉 these look fantastic!

  9. These bars look fabulous, and I bet they taste as good as they look. I love the little pumpkin decorations too! I found some cute ones at Walmart that I will be using soon. Thanks for joining this week. Can’t wait to see your other recipes!

  10. Those little pumpkins you found are adorable and your bars sound luscious.

  11. you really can’t go wrong with pumpkin and cream cheese! I’d love to try these out this pumpkin season… and throughout the year!

  12. Yayyy for pumpkin week {except I think it should at least get an entire month :}
    Your pumpkin bars look killer!

  13. Adorable!! I was wondering where you got the mini pumpkin decorations. Thanks for including that. Always love your recipes, Liz. Thanks for sharing with #PumpkinWeek.

  14. Oh wow loving these pumpkin bars, I am sure they carry their killer name well (perfect for halloween too). Looking forward to the other pumpkin recipes.

  15. That frosting looks so perfect atop your pumpkin bars!

  16. Your pumpkin bars look divine, love that layer of cream cheese frosting!

  17. Love these and the cute pumpkins on top, amazing!

  18. Liz – absolutely stunningly amazingly beautiful bars; wish I had one of those for dessert tonight 🙂

  19. I love cream cheese frosting on anything. Pumpkin cake must be luscious! Pinned

  20. Very pretty, Liz! Love the white and orange contrast. I like that it is moist!

    Gourmet Getaways

  21. Hi Liz, love these pumpkin bars, cream cheese frosting is the best!

  22. They look like absolute perfection! And how cute are those pumpkins on top?

  23. I saw these on facebook or instagram and instantly fell in love.

  24. These look AMAZING!!!! I can’t wait to try them out… Those little pumpkins on the top are too cute. Now sure I will be able to get them in Australia though… I will have to do a google search. Thanks for sharing! Liz x

  25. Oh my goodness, the frosting looks absolutely perfect! I love this!

  26. For me, every week can be a pumpkin week as I am crazy for them! These bars look heavenly with that thick layer of cream cheese frosting, Liz.

  27. Wow! I was just reeling over the pumpkin bars and cream cheese frosting which are truly dazzling….And then you mention pumpkin scones….Same time, same Skinny channel, right?

  28. Pumpkin week?! Count me in–I’ll feast with my eyes all day, every day! Love this share and can’t wait for the rest of your treats, Liz!

  29. These are so pretty and they look so good for this time of year. Absolutely gorgeous. I love the perfect cream cheese frosting xx

  30. Super delicious bars!!
    I love also your presentation.

  31. Liz, these pumpkin bars look so moist and delicious! I know they’d be a hit with my family! I’m adding them to my to do list! Thanks so much for sharing! Love the nickname 🙂

  32. Yay for pumpkin week! Can’t wait to see everything. These bars look amazing! Love the cream cheese frosting!

  33. These bars look amazing! Your pictures are gorgeous. My kids love all things pumpkin, so I know they will love this!

  34. Oh my gosh! I love pumpkin bars! I could just devour this!

  35. This recipe looks delicious. I love how perfect each square is, and a perfect amount of frosting Too. Love pumpkin recipes like yours, so addicting! Yum, Hugs, Terra

  36. These are such a cute pumpkin bars…I love how you decorated them!

  37. Your husband is seriously missing out. I am certain these would leave pumpkin pie in their dust 🙂

  38. You’re singin’ my pumpkin tune! Next year, please be sure to invite me to the pumpkin party 🙂

  39. These pumpkin bars look so wonderful 😀
    Delicious and soft and crumby, I need a bite!

    Choc Chip Uru

  40. Lizzy,
    I love cream cheese frosting and pumpkin bread, so these are right up my alley.

  41. I’ve only made one pumpkin treat so far and I think I’m due for another one. Thank you ma’am!

  42. Can’t wait to try this recipe! It looks delicious… thanks for sharing my recipe for the cookies.

  43. One of my all time fave. bars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YUMMMMMM xx

  44. I totally understand why these are known as killer bars wow I so want one right now! They look beautiful 😀

  45. Oh these are so pretty, Lizzy! I must try these 😀 😀 😀


  46. These are the perfect dessert to get back into all things pumpkin! Love how easy they are to make!

  47. This has me in the mood for fall! And that is my favorite season!

  48. I love pumpkin bars! Gotta give this recipe a try!

  49. You had me at pumpkin and cream cheese frosting! love these!

  50. What a pretty cake and a great video perfect fall cake!

  51. Liz – they look perfect and sound absolutely delicious. I love that it uses 2 Cups of pumpkin!
    We love pumpkin anything over here. Thanks for sharing all those yummy pumpkin recipes!

  52. Oh the cream cheese frosting made these killer just as you promised!! 

  53. These bars are so pretty and I’m sure they are just as tasty! I a, looking forward to that first bite!

  54. You are right, cream cheese frosting never hurt any dessert and your pumpkin bars decorated so cute have to be great.

  55. Ah! It is pumpkin time again. Just had my first pumpkin latte of the season last week. This is such a classic and delicious recipe, Liz!

  56. So cute with those little pumpkins on top. Loving those fall spices and the smell when this bakes!

  57. I’m relatively new to the world of pumpkin desserts; I hadn’t been using pumpkin in desserts until 5 years ago or so. These bars look and sound delicious, Liz! And that cream cheese icing makes it even better!

  58. These bars look fantastic and yummy. Thanks for sharing.

  59. This is JUST the kind of seasonal dessert that makes me happy fall is here.

  60. These turn out perfect, so delicious!

  61. I made these for a potluck and everyone raved about them. Thanks for great recipe

  62. They look perfect, love pumpkin bars, and that frosting!

  63. These look fabulous

  64. These are perfectly spiced, and I love the pumpkin flavor!

  65. That cream cheese frosting is perfect on these bars – love pumpkin bars!

  66. So cute! I love fall desserts!

  67. Such a great way to celebrate Fall! My family loved it!

  68. those bars are calling — no, screaming! — my name!
    I also have to agree with you that the little offset spatula is one of my most-used kitchen utensils. I use it to butter the toast, to spread peanut butter or mustard on the sandwiches, to smooth the batter in baked goods, to spread icing…it has so many uses!

  69. I made these for a party tonight and they are divine!

  70. Oh my gosh these are SOOOOO good!  You knocked these out of the park, Liz!!  I made them cold for a fundraiser, which I never normally do.  As soon as I cut into them I knew this recipe was a winner!  So very moist with beautiful flavor!  I did not have allspice but used all of the other spices in the recipe.  
    So many people asked, ‘What’s in the frosting?!”  I had looked at several pumpkin bar recipes, and I think the extra butter AND the extra tablespoon of vanilla in your recipe puts it over the top!! Another difference between your recipe and some others is your use of butter vs. oil in the ‘cake.’
    Really delicious— thank you so much! 

    • Hi, Monica,

      Thank you so much for your kind review! This is a must make fall recipe at our house. I’m so glad these were a hit at your fundraiser! That made my day 🙂

  71. I have to tell you, I’ve made so many pumpkin bars and these are by far the BEST!

  72. Hi, I was wondering is the frosting is pipeable? I’ve tried making another recipe for pumpkin bars, and the frosting on that recipe was a little too runny. I’m going to try your recipe for thanksgiving & I wanted to pipe on the icing instead of spreading so that my picky family can either have frosting or easily take it off if they don’t want any. 

  73. These bars look devine and the little pumpkins on top are so cute!

  74. i really like the way you use the ingredients thats how you make a perfect recipe deifinitely going to make this for my family this weekend thanks 🙂

  75. Looks fabulous and I especially love those cute little candy pumpkins.

  76. I am always so jealous about how perfect your squares look, you are really an artist! This is a nice deviation from the traditional pumpkin pie and l just love the cream cheese frosting.

  77. This looks amazing, Liz, and – as always – so perfectly even and beautifully styled.

    • Can I use a different pan in place of a jelly roll pan? Maybe a glass cake pan?

      • Yes, that should work OK. You will need to bake them longer, though, as they will be thicker. Make sure the center is done before pulling them out of the oven. Decreasing the oven temp by 25 degrees will also help to make sure the sides don’t get overcooked before the middle is done…not sure if that’s really necessary with this pan size change, though. I haven’t tried this recipe in a smaller pan, but these are my recommendations! I hope you enjoy!!

  78. Unbelievable, frosting look flavorful. Pumpkin is good to our body and eyesight. I am sure my kid will love it. Are any ingredients can substitute to cream cheese? Can I add blue berries or strawberry?

    • Hi, Christina,

      You could probably use mascarpone cheese instead of the cream cheese. I’ve never tried adding other fruit to the filling mixture as I’m not sure how much I’d enjoy the combination of berries and pumpkin. But if you think that sounds tasty, why not give it a try. You could add the berries to half the filling batter to test it out. Hope your child loves this as much as my children!

  79. Perfect, Liz! Love that cream cheese frosting! Love those little pumpkins on top! Wish I had a helping now! Thanks!

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