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. These lovely spiced bars with a thick, dreamy layer of frosting are the perfect treat for pumpkin lovers.

Two pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting and candy pumpkins on white dessert plates.

Why You Must Make

  • 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.
  • They’re a terrific fall treat, but you’ll get no complaints if you serve them any other time of year.
  • Cream.Cheese.Frosting!!! Who can resist??? It’s the perfect complement to this pumpkin dessert.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients for Pumpkin Bars:

Ingredients for pumpkin bars on a metal tray with labels.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients for cream cheese frosting on a metal tray with labels.
  • Pumpkin Puree – A 15 oz can is fine even though it’s not quite 2 cups. Make sure it’s pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling as the latter will have spices added and you want only pumpkin.
  • Eggs, Butter, Cream Cheese – Always have these ingredients at room temperature for easier incorporation. I use salted butter.
  • Spices – You will need cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves. If your spices have been sitting in the pantry for a decade, consider replacing them as over time the flavor and potency dwindle.
  • Powdered (Confectioners) Sugar – Always sift to remove small lumps. This will make for smoother frosting.

How to Make

Numbered process shot of pumpkin bar batter with wet ingredients and with dry ingredients in bowls.
  1. Cream together butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs and pumpkin, then the dry ingredients.
Pumpkin bars process shots 3 and 4 with batter in a bowl and spread in a sheet pan.
  1. Mix just until combined.
  2. Spread the batter in a jellyroll pan lined with nonstick foil.
Process shots 5 and 6 with baked pumpin bars and frosting and spatula on pumpkin bars.
  1. Bake as directed.
  2. Make cream cheese frosting and spread it over the bars.

Expert Tips

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 labels 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 Amazon link in the recipe card if you’d like to see an example.
  • PRO-Tip: Use a small 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 bars aren’t done. If the cake springs back, it can come out of the oven.
  • I found the cute little Wilton Pumpkins made of royal icing at Target. They appear to be sold out on Amazon and the Wilton website. Brach’s Pumpkins (affiliate link) work nicely, too.
Overhead view of 2 Killer Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting on square white plates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Pumpkin Pie Mix for Pumpkin Bars?

It all depends on the recipe. Since a can of pumpkin pie mix contains spices, it is not interchangeable with a can of 100% Pure Pumpkin. Make sure to read the label carefully as both these products are shelved together at the grocery store.

What Else Can I Make with Pumpkin Puree?

Pumpkin puree is great for making pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and even scones and cookies. Again, read the recipes carefully so you’re buying the correct product.

How Do You Store Pumpkin Bars?

Since they’re super moist and have cream cheese frosting, it’s best to keep them refrigerated in an airtight container. They will stay fresh for up to 5 days. They will also freeze well, if kept airtight, for up to 3 months.
To freeze, first set the bars on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. They place them in an airtight container, separating layers with a sheet of wax or parchment paper. To defrost, unstack, then place in the refrigerator, covered, overnight.

One pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting and 2 sugar pumpkins to garnish on a round white dessert plate.

You May Also Like:

When autumn rolls around, I turn to all things apple and pumpkin. This pumpkin bar recipe always makes the yearly cut.

Pumpkin bar on a square wite plate with a couple bamboo forks

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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

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

Ingredients

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

Icing:

  • 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*

Instructions

  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.

Notes

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:

Yield:

24

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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