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 these 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
Best, but also completely easy pumpkin bars that will rock your world.
Sift together the dry ingredients. This helps make sure the bars are light and fluffy.
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
Beat together the wet ingredients in a large bowl (ideally with an electric mixer).
- Vegetable oil
- Pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
You’ll need a jelly roll* pan to make these bars into the correct thickness. This recipe has a lot of batter, and a smaller baking pan results in thicker bars with overcooked edges and uncooked centers. No one wants that.
If you don’t have a jelly roll pan , 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. 😉
The alternative, if you really don’t want or have the bigger pan, is to halve the recipe and use a half sheet pan. But who would want fewer pumpkin bars?
Once you have the right pan, spread the batter evenly across and bake. Once the bars are completely cooled, then…
Then comes the cream cheese frosting.
Whisk together the frosting ingredients:
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
The result is a luxuriously creamy frosting. Spread it across the cooled bars and get ready to devour your frosted pumpkin bars.
Bars that once you spread the icing on top almost turn into a. pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting. No matter what you call it, or which way you slice it, they are P.E.R.F.E.C.T.I.O.N.
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!
Love pumpkin spice? You’ll love these recipes, too!
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs room temperature
- 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 to 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 17x12 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.