Easy Pumpkin Bars

4.9 from 37 votes

This pumpkin bars recipe is a perfect one to make for fall, especially when you're entertaining a crowd. They're moist, tender with a light pumpkin-y flavor

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If you’re looking for an easy no-fail pumpkin recipe for a crowd this fall, you should try these classic pumpkin bars. These are light and fluffy with have a cake-like texture and a sweet and subtle pumpkin taste that everyone will love! We are also really digging No-Bake Pumpkin Balls and Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes this fall.

Close up of two plates with the bars and forks on plates

I’m on a pumpkin roll here and really wanted to give you all more pumpkin desserts for the fall season. The Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread has been a hit at our house. This recipe is very similar to that in its simplicity, low effort level and irresistible taste – perfect for beginning bakers, which is what I’ve been for the last 12 years!

What are pumpkin bars?

These popular fall treats are basically like a soft and moist cake made in a long baking pan to create bars. They are more airy and light compared to traditional bars, and are often confused with pumpkin cake. It’s pretty much a pumpkin sheet cake.

You can make your own icing for the pumpkin bars recipe, use store bought icing, or just add a dollop of coconut cream on top like I did. A lot of my friends and family remove the icing on cakes and bars to consume less fat and sugar. So, I opt for making these bars without the icing, and serving some cream on the side.

How to make pumpkin bars

This pumpkin bars recipe involves your standard dry bowl and wet bowl, and then mixing everything together.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in one bowl. Beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and applesauce in another large bowl. Then bring it all together, mixing just enough so there are no more flour streaks, without over-mixing the batter.

Process shots for mixing the dry ingredients, mixing the wet ingredients and putting everything together

Then transfer it to a large 9×13 baking pan. You don’t need to grease the pan and you don’t even need to use parchment paper. The moisture of these pumpkin bars from the applesauce just makes these peel right off the pan.

Prepared batter in large baking pan before baking

Bake the pan in the preheated oven until the batter is completely set. You can insert a toothpick in the middle to make sure it comes out dry. But you can tell when the color darkens and the edges start to pull away from the pan.

Pumpkin bars after coming out of the oven

Tips for making pumpkin bars

  • Use pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling. The cans sit right next to each other on shelves, so it’s easy to mistake them for each other. But you want to make sure the only ingredient is pumpkin puree since you’ll be adding the sugar and spices to make the pumpkin bars.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter. A few lumps in the batter are definitely OK! In fact, over-mixing the batter can actually make the batter tough. To avoid over-mixing, make sure the dry ingredients and wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed separately before combining. Then combine using a wooden or silicone spatula, not a mixer.
  • Use a 15×10 baking pan for thinner bars. There’s no customary size for these pumpkin bars so you can use what you have on hand. But the 15×10 and 9×13 sizes are the most common.
  • Customize the recipe by adding nuts or chocolate chips. If you’re adding either one, do so after the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together and fold them in gently. You can use ½ cup of either one or a mix of both. You can also just sprinkle chopped nuts or chocolate chips on top of the whipped cream or frosting, if you’re using.
Pumpkin bar recipe after being cut in baking pan and slices served

Frequently asked questions

Do pumpkin bars need to be refrigerated?

Because they contain eggs in the recipe, I would highly recommend refrigerating these pumpkin bars after baking and cooling. They stay fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge.

How do you store pumpkin bars?

The best way to store pumpkin bars is in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also just leave them in the baking dish and cover them tightly with tin foil.

Can you freeze pumpkin bars?

Yes, these freeze great! Cool the pumpkin bars completely. Then tightly wrap the entire pan or the bars in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the wrapped pan or slices in a freezer-friendly storage bag or airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature.

Two white plates with pieces of pumpkin bars on them and forks

This easy pumpkin bars recipe is great for fall and wonderful to serve a large crowd of people. They’re easy to make and can be customized to add different icings, frosting or whipped cream. Make them for parties, snacking or even Thanksgiving dessert. Everyone will love them!

For more pumpkin recipes:

For more bars recipes

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Pumpkin Bars recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

Pumpkin Bars

This pumpkin bars recipe is a perfect one to make for fall, especially when you're entertaining a crowd. They're moist, tender with a light pumpkin-y flavor
4.9 from 37 votes
Servings 24 bars
Course Dessert
Calories 98
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 2/3 cup cane sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can 15 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup applesauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Whisk flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and applesauce in another large bowl.
  • Gradually pour the dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into an ungreased 9×13 baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.

Notes

Recipe: Adapted from Paula Deen with modifications to make it healthier like swapping the vegetable oil for applesauce.
Storage: Store the remaining pumpkin bars in an airtight container. They will last up to 5 days in the fridge.
Freezing Instructions: Cool the pumpkin bars completely. Then tightly wrap the entire pan or the bars in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Then place the wrapped pan or slices in a freezer-friendly storage bag or airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • You can substitute whole wheat flour for the all purpose flour, but the texture will not be as moist.
  • To make this gluten-free, use an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix, but again the texture will not be as moist. Do not substitute only almond flour or only coconut flour though
  • You can substitute the sugar for coconut sugar.
  • I swapped the oil entirely for applesauce. But you can use canola oil, vegetable oil or coconut oil instead or swap half the amount.
  • You can substitute homemade pumpkin puree but I think the taste is better with canned pumpkin.
Nutritional Data: The information below is an automated estimate and could vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used.

Nutrition

Calories: 98kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 83mg, Potassium: 71mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 43IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 1mg

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Pumpkin bar recipe after being cut in baking pan and slices served

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Comments

  1. I followed the directions exactly and they ended up not being cooked, like, at all. I didn’t know until they had cooled and I went to cut them and they were all goopy and runny. I would add at least 10 minutes to cook time.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that. In this case, I’d have baked until set (which can be done by poking a toothpick into the center to check if it fully cooked through).

  2. So easy and good! We love something like this in the morning with our first cup of coffee and a nice little treat in the afternoon too. I can’t keep my husband away from the goodies.

  3. Hi wondering if you thought they would still be delicious using oat flour instead of all purpose. I would like them to be GF but I also want my kids to enjoy them. 😉

    1. Unfortunately, it won’t work with oat flour since it’s gluten free. However if you buy a 1:1 GF flour mix, then that should work! Try Bob’s Red Mill!

  4. Hi there! I’m dying to make these but wondering if I can substitute the sugar for maple syrup? If so, any idea what the conversion would be? Thanks so much!

    1. Sure, I think that should work. Normally the substitution would be 3/4 cup maple syrup for every one cup of granulated sugar. Try to keep the brown sugar in there if you can. If you have to substitute both sugars, then reduce the applesauce to 1/2 cup so it’s not too liquidy. I haven’t tried this before, but would love to hear about your experience if you do! It should work just fine.

  5. Easy recipe and great result! Very fluffy and spongy ?
    Perfect for breakfast or for a snack with a cup of tea! Delicious