These easy pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are effortless- simply bake, slice, and serve these cute pumpkin squares for an indulgent fall treat. These pumpkin spice bars are irresistibly moist and delicious!
The Best Pumpkin Bars
As we all know that when it comes to baking, there’s a time and place for every type of dessert. I can honestly say that I pretty much love them all (unfortunately for me, anyway). However, I think that deciding what to make next, or what to bring to a gathering or serve to friends and family is part of the fun and excitement of baking. It’s nice to have a solid repertoire of recipes that are good for different occasions!
With that said, these pumpkin spice bars are perfect for serving to guests and transporting to parties. They are moist and tender, but sturdy enough to be cut into a bar shape so they are served a bit easier than a traditional cake. People can quite literally grab and go- so much less messy than a cake but still decadent and delicious!
I like to give a lot of details in my posts for readers that have questions or need additional guidance! If you’d like to head straight to the printable recipe, simply click “jump to recipe” at the top of this post.
Ingredients in These Pumpkin Squares
- Flour – All purpose flour and no need to sift.
- Leavening Agents – Baking Powder and Baking Soda make this cake rise to perfection.
- Salt – This pantry staple brings out all of the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Spices – A blend of cinnamon and allspice give these pumpkin bars the best fall flavor. Don’t have allspice? It’s so easy to make your own allspice blend with this recipe! If you don’t have any allspice or pumpkin pie spice on hand, don’t fret, just combine equal parts cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg… or omit entirely.
- White Sugar – Sugar adds the perfect touch of sweetness.
- Vanilla – I use vanilla extract in just about everything and it adds just a touch of flavor that makes this cake out of this world good!
- Applesauce – The secret to making these pumpkin squares so moist is in the sauce – applesauce! It adds moisture, acidity and a hint of fresh fruit flavor that makes these bars so delicious!
- Vegetable Oil – Okay, we can’t give applesauce all the credit. Vegetable oil also adds to the tender crumb and moist texture of these pumpkin bars.
- Pumpkin Puree – Canned pumpkin puree is cooked and mashed squash. Don’t be confused with pumpkin pie filling that is already sweetened and spiced!
- Eggs – The eggs in this cake act as a binder, and they also create more moisture and the perfect spongy texture.
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- Butter – Salted or unsalted, it’s your choice! I always use salted.
- Cream Cheese – Full fat for best results. Learn how to soften cream cheese – so easy!
- Vanilla – It’s the ultimate fragrant addition to your baking- don’t use imitation vanilla.
- Powdered Sugar – This is a must-have ingredient for your frosting because of the incredibly fine texture. No other sugar will do!
Fun Variations for Pumpkin Spice Bars
- These pumpkin spice bars are delicious just as they are, but if you wish, you can fold chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, walnuts or pecans into the batter.
- Decorate it with your favorite fall nuts or Candied Nuts.
- Spice it up – add 1 Tablespoon pumpkin spice to the cream cheese frosting.
- Not into that savory cream cheese flavor? Top these pumpkin spice bars with Salted Caramel Frosting. Just add a touch of heavy cream or heavy milk for a fluffier texture, or top with my homemade whipped cream.
How to Make Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, mix wet ingredients.
- Mix dry ingredients together, separately in a large bowl.
- Gradually fold dry into wet until just combined. Careful not to overmix.
- Pour into a prepared baking pan. (suggested size is 21 inches by 15 inches)
- Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.
- Make fluffy cream cheese frosting.
- Allow bars to cool completely, frost and serve!
You can make these pumpkin squares in any large jelly roll pan, but I love this one! It’s 21 inches by 15 inches, referred to as a three-quarter sheet pan.
Baking Tips for Pumpkin Bars
HOW TO STORE PUMPKIN BARS:
Due to the cream cheese frosting, these bars are best served immediately or refrigerated. Cover your pumpkin spice bars using plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate up to five days.
PREPARING YOUR BAKING DISH:
I am obsessed with this baking spray! It’s a game changer. No need to spray and flour. Cakes come out clean every time!
Need help with the conversions while baking? Check out my Essential Measurement Conversion Chart.
BAKING WITH FRESH PUMPKIN:
You can make these pumpkin squares with fresh pumpkin, however I prefer using canned pumpkin puree. A general rule of thumb to replace canned pumpkin with fresh pumpkin is one can pumpkin puree to two cups fresh pumpkin.
Be sure to use canned pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie filling! You’ll end up with overly spiced pumpkin bars!
More Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love
If you love everything pumpkin, be sure to start with my ultimate pumpkin baking guide. You’ll find tips, tricks and incredible recipes all revolving around the classic fall favorite- PUMPKIN! Check out a few more fun pumpkin ideas right here, too.
- Best Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pumpkin Muffin Recipe
- Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
- Pumpkin Pound Cake
- Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cookies
- Pumpkin Bundt Cake
If you try this recipe for pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, please come back to share using my five star rating in the comments below! Not only do I appreciate it, but I know readers do, too. For more easy recipes and simple living ideas, subscribe to my newsletter!
Pumpkin Bars Printable Recipe:
Easy Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 c butter softened
- 16 oz cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 2 c powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 21x15" jelly roll pan.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or mixer, combine sugar, oil, applesauce, vanilla and pumpkin.
- Beat eggs in one at a time.
- Gradually beat in flour mixture.
- Pour batter into jelly roll pan. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat butter and cream cheese in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes)..
- Add vanilla.
- Gradually add powdered sugar on low until incorporated.
- Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
- Spread onto cooled pumpkin bars.