These pumpkin bars are light and fluffy cake bars made with pumpkin puree and spices, then topped with a layer of cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. A fall favorite dessert that’s perfect for feeding a crowd!
Fall is finally here, and with it comes every pumpkin treat imaginable! I’m sharing a classic today with these lightly spiced pumpkin bars. This is essentially a pumpkin sheet cake topped with the most delicious cream cheese frosting.
How do you make pumpkin bars?
This is a one bowl recipe of pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, flour and eggs. Don’t be tempted to use pumpkin pie filling here, it’s not the same thing as pumpkin puree and you will not get good results.
This recipe calls for a jelly roll sized pan which is 10″x 15″. You can try to make this recipe in a 9″ x 13″ pan, but the bars will be thicker and take longer to cook. I prefer the thinner bars so that you end up with the perfect cake to frosting ratio.
How do you make cream cheese frosting?
This cream cheese frosting is made with cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. You can make your cream cheese frosting as thick or as thin as you’d like. Simply add more powdered sugar to make the frosting thicker, or add milk, a teaspoon at a time, to thin out the frosting.
Tips for pumpkin bars
- Use an offset spatula to make sure both your pumpkin bar batter and frosting are spread in even layers.
- Top your pumpkin bars with festive fall sprinkles or candy pumpkins to dress them up!
- Pumpkin bars keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep your bars loosely covered, and it’s best to cut them just before serving.
- You can reduce the fat content of these bars by using 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup oil instead of the full cup of oil that the recipe calls for. Just be aware the texture may be a little different in the end product.
- To make these pumpkin bars even more decadent, add a cup of miniature chocolate chips to the batter before you bake it.
I make these pumpkin bars all through the fall months. They’re great for class parties, as an afternoon snack, or for a Thanksgiving dessert to feed a crowd. They’re a fall tradition in my house!
More fall desserts
For the bars
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 15 ounce can pumpkin puree do not use pumpkin pie filling
- cooking spray
For the frosting
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- sprinkles for decoration optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 10”x15” pan with parchment paper, then coat the pan with cooking spray.
- Place the flour, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add the vanilla extract, eggs, vegetable oil and pumpkin puree to the bowl. Stir until just combined.
- Spread the batter evenly into the pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool completely in the pan.
- Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and mix until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time and mix on low speed until combined. Add the vanilla extract and mix for 30 seconds.
- If the frosting is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Spread the frosting evenly over the pumpkin bars. Top with sprinkles. Cut into squares and serve, or store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat.