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Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting is the perfect fall dessert. These bars are filled with pumpkin flavor galore, a hint of cinnamon and a creamy, fluffy frosting.
My family's most favorite fall dessert are these dessert bars. Chad asks for them every holiday and special occasion. I made them for Chad's opening hunting weekend trip with his brothers, a long time ago, and now they are requested every year (along with my egg bake)! I almost always make them for every family get together. If you like pumpkin then these bars are for you! They are simple, have the best fluffiest frosting and will make the whole family drool!
This post was originally posted on 7/03/2014 and updated on 9/09/2020.
What is Needed to Make the Best Pumpkin Bars and Cream Cheese Frosting
- Canned 100% Pumpkin Puree - Make sure it is pumpkin puree and nut pumpkin pie mix
- Canola Oil or Coconut Oil
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- Cream Cheese
- Pure Vanilla Extract
- Powdered Sugar
Pumpkin Puree vs. Pumpkin Pie Mix
Pureed Pumpkin is pure pumpkin with no added ingredients whereas Pumpkin Pie Mix is already mixed with a sweetener and spices.
Which oil works best for Pumpkin Bars?
I usually use canola oil, but have used coconut oil too. Both of them work well. You can also use vegetable oil. If you use coconut oil, make sure it is melted and don't worry it doesn't make the pumpkin bars taste like coconut.
Do I have to use Whole Wheat Flour?
How to Make Easy Pumpkin Bars and Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
These dessert bars are really simple to make. You can make them in a stand mixer or just with a bowl and whisk.
Step 1: Combine the Wet Ingredients
Step 2: Add the Dry Ingredients
Step 3: Pour Batter into Pan
Pour the batter into a greased 15x10 baking sheet and spread it out evenly.
Step 4: Bake the Bars
Bake the pumpkin bars in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes and until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean. Let bars cool completely before frosting.
Step 5: Make the Frosting
In a stand mixer or with a hand beater, cream together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add in vanilla extract and 1 cup of the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in the remaining powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with the milk until everything is combined. Turn up the speed and beat the frosting for 1-2 minutes until airy and fluffy. Evenly spread the frosting over cooled bars, slice and serve!
How to Store Pumpkins Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting?
The frosting has cream cheese so it can spoil, so the bars should be kept in the refrigerator when not being served. With that, nobody wants to eat a hard, dried out pumpkin bar with stiff frosting which can happen in the fridge. I usually store my leftover bars in the freezer and take out 2-3 hours before I need them. The freezer will preserve the freshness of the bars and not dry them out.
Can I make Pumpkin Bars ahead of time?
Of Course! You have a few options with this recipe. You can make the bars 2-3 months or weeks in advance and store them in the freezer. Take them out 2-3 hours before serving them. You also can cover the bars in plastic wrap, very tightly, or store them in an air tight container in the fridge for no more than 3 days. After 3 days the bars really start to dry out, no matter how tightly covered they are. Take the bars out a hour before serving to take the chill off.
How to Freeze Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting?
These bars freeze so well and when they thaw you wouldn't even know they were frozen, they are that good! To freeze them, slice them into pieces and place in a freezer safe air tight container. If you want to freeze them in a zip top bag or stack the bars in a container, first you will need to flash freeze them on a sheet pan. Once frozen, you can place in a freezer safe zip top bag, or wrap them individually and then place in zip top bags, or stack them in a freezer safe container between parchment or wax paper. The bars will last 3 months in the freezer.
Need more pumpkin recipes? Fall desserts? Here are some recipes you might like to try!
- Pumpkin Bundt Cake
- Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins
- Easy Pumpkin Bread
- Frosted Pumpkin Drop Cookies
- Pumpkin Donuts with Cinnamon Maple Glaze
- Very Berry Apple Crisp
- Apple Crisp
- Apple Pie Muffins
- Sugar Cookie Bars
- Apple Fritter Loaf
Make these Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting and fall in love! Share them with your family and let me know how much you and your family love them in the comments below! Pictures encouraged on Instagram with the hashtag #heathershomemadekitchen You can also follow me on Social Media to see what other crazy things my family and I are doing! If you like what you see, please share with your friends and family!
Don’t forget to pin the recipe for later!
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 15x11 baking sheet.
- In a stand mixer or with a mixing bowl and whisk, beat together pumpkin, eggs and oil until smooth and fluffy.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix until just until combined.
- Evenly spread into greased sheet pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool then frost.
For the Frosting
- In stand mixer or with hand beater, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.
- Add 1 cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
- Add remaining powdered sugar a cup at a time, alternating with the milk, beating well until all is combined.
- Once all is combined, increase speed and beat for 1-2 minutes until frosting is airy and fluffy.
- Frost bars, slice, serve and enjoy!