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