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Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Classic Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are just what you need this fall season! Perfectly spiced and easy to make, you’ll be making them again and again.


main image for Pinterest of pumpkin bars with cream cheese bars


I’ve been making this easy pumpkin bars recipe for YEARS! And still every year I’m so excited when it’s time to eat it.

Soft, moist cake, fluffy cream cheese frosting, and all of it a taste of Autumn in every single bite. Mmm.

I love these pumpkin bars because they are pumpkin without being PUMPKIN. Perfectly spiced, they never fail to disappoint.

I also love pumpkin cream cheese bars because they easily feed a crowd. This makes an entire casserole dish worth of bars!

Plus this recipe for pumpkin bars makes the whole house smell divine. No candle can compare to the smell of real baking pumpkin.


ingredients for pumpkin bars in a bowl, unmixed


What are Pumpkin Bars?

Pumpkin bars are a classic holiday staple. Almost like a brownie, but softer, like a pumpkin cake.

They may even be compared to pumpkin pie bars? There’s no perfect way to describe them, but you’ll love them just the same.

They are light and fluffy and often served for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or really just all holiday season long.

Pumpkin bars can be served alone but they are often served with a rich, creamy frosting, like cream cheese frosting.


pumpkin bar batter


What Ingredients are in Pumpkin Bars?

These are some of the best pumpkin bars with a rich cream cheese frosting! Here’s what you’ll need:

For The Pumpkin Bar Batter:

  • Pumpkin Puree: A simple can of pumpkin puree works, though if you have fresh pumpkin puree you can use that too.
  • Oil: I use vegetable oil. If you substitute, try another mild flavored oil like olive oil.
  • Eggs: To help hold the bars together.
  • Sugar: regular white sugar pairs well with the pumpkin and cinnamon flavors.
  • Cinnamon: A classic pairing with pumpkin, you won’t regret putting cinnamon in these.
  • Salt: A dash of salt pulls it all together.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: You need both to get the right lift and texture.
  • Flour: All purpose flour creates the main bulk and substance.
  • Walnuts: Optional but I love them! Can also use another kind of chopped nut in its place.

For the Decadent Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Cream Cheese: Let the cream cheese come to room temperature for ease of mixing.
  • Butter: The butter will also blend better if it is room temperature.
  • Vanilla: A classic.
  • Confectioners Sugar: Also known as powdered sugar you need this to sweeten the frosting.


baked pumpkin bars, unfrosted


How to Make Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Cake Bars are the perfect fall dessert and sure to become a favorite recipe!

A full step-by-step recipe is below. Here’s the basics of how to make them:

  1. Mix Wet Ingredients: Use an electric mixer or hand mixer to save your arm the work.
  2. Add Dry Ingredients: Be careful when adding the flour to add a little at a time so it doesn’t splatter.
  3. Bake: The pumpkin cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Frost: Be sure to frost AFTER the cake has cooled completely.

Pro Tips:

  • Use all of the cream cheese mixture. It seems like a lot but you want it all.
  • Use a cooking spray and/or parchment paper to keep the bars from sticking.
  • Use a low speed on the mixer.


frosted pumpkin bars


Are Pumpkin Bars Healthy?

Delicious pumpkin bars are a treat. They fall under the dessert category for sure.

Especially once you put that cream cheese frosting on! They are much more like a cake than a vegetable at that point!

Most recipes you use pumpkin for are desserts though! We love our pumpkin desserts at this time of year!


side view of cut bar on a plate


Can You Freeze Pumpkin Bars?

Good news! You can definitely freeze these soft pumpkin bars! Here’s how.

  1. Let them cool completely. They must be room temperature when they go in the freezer.
  2. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Write “pumpkin bars” and the date on the aluminum foil so you remember what they are.
  4. When you’re ready to thaw, pull them out and thaw in the fridge or on the counter.
  5. Frost before serving.


top side view of slice of bars on a plate


Can You Make Pumpkin Bars Ahead of Time?

Yes! Pumpkin bars keep well for serving the next day.

Make the bars and store them in the fridge overnight. Then pull them out before your party so they can warm slightly.

You can choose to frost them the day before or right before serving.

I prefer to frost them right before serving because then I don’t have to worry about the frosting getting smashed when I wrap them.


cut bars on counter with one flipped on side


How to Store Pumpkin Bars

Store any leftover pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting in the fridge.

Always store them in an airtight container to prevent spoiling.

You can also wrap the entire pan if you have a lot you need to store.

How Long Do Pumpkin Bars Last?

Whatever your upcoming holiday function, these tender pumpkin bars are sure to be a huge hit. Here’s how to keep them fresh:

  1. On the Counter: The pumpkin bars can safely be left on the counter for up to 24 hours.
  2. In the Fridge: Refrigerated, pumpkin bars will last for 5-7 days.
  3. Frozen: Store frozen pumpkin bars for up to 2 months before consuming.


fork sticking out of bar on a plate


Can Dogs Have Pumpkin Bars?

No. Dogs shouldn’t eat fluffy pumpkin bars.

The amount of sugar, dairy, flour, and other ingredients can be really hard on a dog’s stomach.

However, you can choose to give the dog some straight canned pumpkin during the cooking process.

Without any extra ingredients, pumpkin can actually be a healthy and beneficial treat.

While many fall recipes taste great and can safely be enjoyed by humans, most are not safe for dogs.

If you’re looking for the perfect dessert to give to your dog this holiday season, check out the animal food stores!

They often have fun treats made just for dogs and sometimes they even have that fun pumpkin spice flavor!


bite removed from bar on a plate


Should Pumpkin Bars Be Refrigerated?

Pumpkin bars do not need to be refrigerated before being served, and they taste best at room temperature.

However, if you are planning on storing them longer than 24 hours, they should definitely go in the fridge or freezer.

The cream cheese frosting can go bad quite quickly, as well as the other ingredients in the pumpkin bars.


fork full of bar with frosting


More Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love…

  • Pumpkin Dip with Ginger Snaps
  • Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Casserole
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Snickerdoodles
  • Pumpkin Bread Rolls
  • Pumpkin Pie French Toast
  • Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cake Mix

Easy Dessert Bars You’ll Love…

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are the perfect treat for the fall season! Easy, delicious, and filling, they are an absolute crowd favorite!


Yield: 16 bars

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

fork sticking out of bar on a plate

Classic Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are just what you need this fall season! Perfectly spiced and easy to make, you’ll be making them again and again.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Inactive Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • BARS:
  • ----------------
  • 1 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • ----------------
  • ----------------
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Grease a 9x13 pan with spray oil and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl combine pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, eggs & sugar. Mix well.
  4. Add cinnamon, salt, baking soda & baking powder. Mix well.
  5. Add flour in 1/2 cup at a time. Mix well.
  6. Mix in walnuts if using.
  7. Pour batter into prepared 9x13 pan.
  8. Bake for 22 - 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
  9. Let bars cool completely before frosting.
  10. When bars are completely cool, make frosting.
  11. In a bowl combine cream cheese and butter. Mix until smooth and silky.
  12. Add vanilla and mix again.
  13. Add confectioners sugar 1/2 cup at a time mixing well after each addition, until all sugar has been added.
  14. Spread ALL of cream cheese mixture onto cake.
  15. Cut and enjoy.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 313Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 325mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 3g
Originally Published: September 22, 2015

Photos and Text Updated October 31, 2022



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