Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting have a moist, light, and fluffy pumpkin cake base, and it’s topped with a rich, decadent, creamy frosting for an exquisite, heavenly result.
This recipe was originally published October 8, 2015; the photos were updated in September 2019, but no changes were made the original recipe.
Where are my pumpkin spice, flannel, and fleece wearing, cool morning lovers at?! It’s definitely that time again – the time when it becomes acceptable to consume all things pumpkin.
By that, I mean eat pumpkin bars on repeat. Because you can. And because they’re going to rock your world. And all those around you, because they’re THAT GOOD.
When I first wrote this post, it was right around Hurricane Joaquin time. I learned what tropical storm rains mean, instead of the cooler nights that I was accustomed to.
Now that I’m back in the great Midwest, the tops of some trees are starting to turn bright orange and yellow, the days are a little bit cooler, and the routine of fall is settling back in.
By routine, I obviously mean starting to make pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting every weekend from here on out.
The most magnificent pumpkin bars. The best. The best ever. Ever.
They’re moist, light, fluffy, pumpkin-cinnamony perfection. And the icing!
Oh. My. Goodness.
Whatever you want to call it, it’s creamy, rich, and decadent. It’s sweet and indulgent. This pumpkin bar recipe is the only one you’ll ever need.
And guess what, I cannot take credit for these perfect bars. I know, whhhaaaat?! Well, I have permission to share.
My Mom’s Pumpkin Bar Legacy
They are famously my mother’s – the woman who taught me everything I know in the kitchen and gave me the curiosity and independence to veer off of recipes and follow my instinct (well, that goes for life in general, too).
Also, this recipe was originally posted on her birthday, so shout out to this amazing woman! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAMA! ♡
If you’ve had the pleasure of having my mom make you these perfect pumpkin bars, then you know what I’m talkin’ about. If not, then believe me when I say that people ask for these, beg for these. And now they’re HERE for YOU to try.
The melt-in-your-mouth, heavenly, luscious, perfect bars will soon be your favorite too.
How to Make The Best Pumpkin Bars
First things first, you’ll need a jelly roll* pan. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend investing in one.
Not only because you’ll be making these bars all the time, but the pan is also so handy to have around for roasting veggies.
This recipe makes a lot of bars, too, so it’s pretty essential to have a pan large enough so they all bake through.
The alternative is to halve the recipe and use a half sheet pan. But who would want fewer pumpkin bars?
Once you have the right pan, the rest is easy peasy! Mix up the wet ingredients, add the dry ingredients, and away you go. Really. That easy.
How to Store Pumpkin Bars
If they last long enough to store, that is.
For the first day or two, I store them on the counter, covered with foil.
It keeps the bars moist and the frosting soft. They don’t last much longer than the day or two, so I never need to worry.
However, you can absolutely store them – covered – in the fridge! I highly recommend you let them come to room temperature before serving, though, to be sure the bar/cake part is as soft and tender as it can be!
If your thing is a cold cake though, be my guest!
Can I freeze Pumpkin Bars?
This is a multi-part answer. Yes, you can freeze the bars. The cake part. Freeze away. Be sure you wrap it tight, and then let it thaw out when you’re ready to use.
I’d recommend not freezing the frosting, however. The texture can get a bit funky, and no one wants funky frosting. It’s easy enough to whip up when you’re ready to serve it.
Bonus? Thanksgiving desserts!
This is the perfect occasion to freeze the bars ahead of time, make the frosting the day before, and they’ll be ready to go on Thanksgiving Day.
And trust me, no one will be able to resist these Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting. Get ready to have everyone ask for the recipe!
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Light, fluffy, moist pumpkin bars (like cake!) topped with a rich, creamy, decadent cream cheese frosting. It’s an exquisite, heavenly dessert. They’ll disappear right before your eyes!
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 eggs
- 1 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin (not pie filling!)
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 12 Tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk
- 6 cups unsifted powdered sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Add mixed dried ingredients into pumpkin mixture, beating until fully combined.
- Spread batter in an ungreased 17×12 inch jelly roll pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes (adjust if your pan is a different size!), until the edges begin to brown slightly and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
- Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and cream in a mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing between each addition, until all cups are added and frosting is smooth. Spread evenly on cooled pumpkin bars.
If you prefer a less sweet frosting, reduce the amount of powdered sugar that is added (and then reduce the liquid a little to compensate or it will be too runny).
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: easy, fall, halloween, party, pumpkin, pot luck, thanksgiving