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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 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 make 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.

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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!

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 24 bars 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Bar Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

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.

 

More Pumpkin Recipes

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

Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

77 comments on “Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. 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!

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

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

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

  5. 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!

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

  7. 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!

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

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

  10. These turn out perfect, so delicious!

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

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

  13. These look fabulous

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

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

  16. So cute! I love fall desserts!

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

  18. 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!

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

  20. 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 🙂

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

  22. 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. 

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

  24. 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 🙂

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

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