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Pumpkin Bars

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These Pumpkin Bars have a gingersnap crust with creamy pumpkin filling topped with a crunchy crumble topping. This is truly the perfect fall recipe!

stack of pumpkin bars on brown board with parchment paper

These flavorful pumpkin bars will hit the spot when you’re craving pumpkin. They’re the perfect marriage of pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake. You could almost call them pumpkin cheesecake bars.

They also have the most glorious crumble topping that adds texture. Although the bars would fine without the topping, I highly recommend it.

All the pumpkin bar recipes I’ve seen are basically squares of cake with cream cheese frosting. Why not just call it pumpkin cake?!

I wanted my recipe to stand out from the rest and went with what I consider to be a true pumpkin bar.


Why this recipe works

  • The gingersnap crust is thick and sturdy enough to support the filling.
  • The filling is made with cream cheese to help thicken it while keeping it creamy.
  • The topping is optional but totally worth it! It adds a nice texture contrast.
pumpkin bars on parchment lined cutting board with a fork taking a bite out of one

The ingredients you need

To make the best pumpkin bars, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Gingersnap crumbs: This makes up the base of the bars. You can use graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs instead.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter works best and I prefer to use sweet cream butter for baking.
  • Sugar: Brown sugar and white sugar are used in the different components of the recipe.
  • Cream cheese: Look for full-fat brick-style cream cheese.
  • Eggs: Large eggs at room temperature.
  • Pumpkin: Look for canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. You can also make your own puree from fresh pumpkin.
  • Spices: Vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg give the bars classic fall flavor.
  • Flour & oats: You only need these for the topping, if you choose to use it.

How to make pumpkin bars

Make the crust: Mix gingersnap crumbs, sugar, and butter together until well combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9×9 pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes.

melted butter poured into bowl of gingersnap crumbs and sugar, bowl of those ingredients fully combined, and  combined ingredients being pressed into pan lined with parchment paper

Make the topping: Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter together until dry ingredients are well coated in butter. Set aside while you make the filling.

crumble topping in glass bowl

Make the filling: Beat cream cheese and brown sugar together until smooth. Beat in eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, and spices. Pour the filling over the baked crust.

creamed sugar and cream cheese in glass bowl, egg added to creamed mixture, and pumpkin bar filling being poured over baked crust

Bake: Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling and bake for 40-45 minutes. Allow the bars to cool to room temperature then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

topping sprinkled over unbaked pumpkin bars in pan

Cut into bars and serve!

pumpkin bars on brown board with parchment paper

Tips For Success

  • Use room temperature ingredients. Ingredients emulsify easier if they are all the same temperature. Set the cold ingredients out for about one hour before beginning.
  • Don’t overmix the filling once you add the eggs. Incorporating too much air into the eggs will cause the bars to crack during baking.
  • These bars are great without the topping. Serve them with sweetened whipped cream instead.

Freezing & Storing

Storing: Baked and cooled bars will keep for up to 4 days covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator.

To freeze: Baked and cooled bars will keep for up to 1 month wrapped tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and stored in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Watch how to make it

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pumpkin bars on brown board with parchment paper

Pumpkin Crumble Bars

Yield: 16 bars
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Thick, creamy pumpkin filling layered over a gingersnap crust and topped with a brown sugar crumble.

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 1 ⅔ cups (195 g) gingersnap crumbs
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (56 g) unsalted butter, melted

For the topping

  • ½ cup (65 g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (34 g) old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup (105 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling

  • 8 ounces (226 g) cream cheese, softened - Note 1
  • ½ cup (105 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 15 ounces (425 g) canned pumpkin puree - Note 2
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

Make the crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9×9-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all sides. Spray the paper lightly with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine the gingersnap crumbs, sugar, and butter. Mix well. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Make the topping

  1. Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir with a fork to combine.
  2. Drizzle melted butter over the mixture and toss with a fork until all dry ingredients are well coated with butter. Set aside while you make the filling.

Make the filling

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until creamy.
  2. Add one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in the vanilla, pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Continue to mix on medium-low speed until well combined and creamy.
  3. Spread the filling evenly over the warm crust. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling. 
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the filling is set and the crumb topping is golden brown. Cover loosely with foil if the bars begin to get too brown.
  5. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cover loosely and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Lift the parchment overhang to remove and cut into squares.

Notes

  1. Full-fat brick-style cream cheese works best. Allow it to come to room temperature before using.
  2. Look for pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.

Make ahead tip

  • Storing: Baked and cooled bars will keep for up to 4 days covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator.
  • To freeze: Baked and cooled bars will keep for up to 1 month wrapped tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and stored in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 299Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 182mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 20gProtein: 4g

* Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy by an online nutrition calculator and is not guaranteed to be accurate. Always seek advice from a nutritionist or medical professional.

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This recipe has been updated to make the bars easier to cut and hold shape. This was achieved by removing the Greek yogurt and pecans. You can make the original recipe by adding ½ cup (100 grams) Greek yogurt to the filling and substituting the oats for ⅓ cup (33 grams) pecans, chopped.

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