Easy Pumpkin Bars

4.99 from 362 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

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

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
Want to save this recipe?
Just type your email below and I’ll send it to you. And as a bonus you’ll get delicious new recipes from me!

These pumpkin bars with no frosting have been my go-to cinnamon-y dessert for years now. Making them is as simple as mixing wet and dry ingredients, and into the oven they go. Also, the pumpkin bars bake up quickly—so you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen. Perfect for when you want something satisfying without a lot of fuss!

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.

Why you’ll love these brown sugar pumpkin bars

  • No Frosting Needed: While you can certainly frost them, these bars stand out with their flavor alone. They don’t need any additional toppings or frostings.
  • Versatile Serving Options: These bars work great as a breakfast snack, midday pick-me-up, or evening dessert. Their balanced sweetness and rich texture fit any time of the day.
  • Simple Tools: All you really need are two large bowls, a baking pan, and a whisk to bring this recipe together. No stand mixer or fancy gadgets are required! That’s why this is one of my favorite easy pumpkin desserts.

Ingredients to make Easy Pumpkin Bars

  • All-purpose flour: The foundation for the bars. Make sure it’s fresh for the best results. For a healthier option, you can substitute with whole wheat flour, but it might change the texture a bit.
  • Cinnamon: Adds that classic warmth and fall flavor to the bars. You could also toss in a pinch of nutmeg or cloves if you like a little more spice depth.
  • Baking powder & baking soda: These ensure your brown sugar pumpkin bars rise nicely and get that light, cake-like texture.
  • Salt: It enhances the flavors of the other ingredients and balances the sweetness. 
  • Eggs: Acts as a binder for the bars. Make sure they’re at room temperature for even mixing.
  • Cane sugar & dark brown sugar: These sweeten the bars without going overboard. Remember, the applesauce and pumpkin also add sweetness. You can try using coconut sugar or maple syrup as a replacement, but keep in mind that this might alter the texture and sweetness level.
  • Pumpkin puree: The main ingredient! Ensure you’re using pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. I use store-bought, but homemade pumpkin puree works wonders too!
  • Unsweetened applesauce: This adds moisture and natural sweetness. Store-bought works great, but if you have the time, homemade applesauce can elevate the flavor.

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.
  • Add nuts. Give your easy pumpkin bars a crunchy twist by adding in walnuts, pecans, or even almonds. They not only provide a texture contrast but also add a layer of nutty flavor that complements the pumpkin nicely.
  • Fold in chocolate chips. If you want something a bit more indulgent, stir in some semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips before baking.
  • Use coconut sugar. It’s a more natural alternative to cane and brown sugars. Plus, it has a subtle caramel taste.
  • Swap applesauce for oil. If you’re out of applesauce or just don’t like it, you can replace it with an equal amount of canola oil, vegetable oil or coconut oil.

How to store & reheat these Easy Pumpkin Bars

Storing these pumpkin bars is simple. Just place them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge. You can also just leave them in the baking dish and cover them tightly with tin foil. This helps them stay moist and fresh. 

Reheating is easy, too. If you’re looking to warm them up a bit, just put a bar in the microwave for about 20 seconds. You can also reheat them in an oven at 350°F for about 5 minutes if you prefer.

How long will these Easy Pumpkin Bars last in the fridge?

When stored properly in the fridge, your pumpkin bars will stay fresh for up to 5 days. Remember, the fresher they are, the better they’ll taste.

Can i freeze these brown sugar pumpkin bars?

If you’re looking to keep them longer, these bars freeze well. Once completely cooled, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then store in a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, just thaw them at room temperature or pop them in the microwave for a quick reheating.

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

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between these pumpkin bars and pumpkin cake?

While both have similar ingredients and flavors, the main difference lies in the texture and serving style. Pumpkin bars are denser and typically cut into squares or rectangles, making them perfect for a grab-and-go snack. Pumpkin cakes, on the other hand, are fluffier and usually served as a dessert with frosting or icing.

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.

Can I make this recipe vegan?

Yes! You can swap out the eggs for flax or chia seed ‘eggs’. Combine 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia seeds with 2.5 tablespoons of water for each egg. Let it sit for a few minutes to gel up, and it’s ready to use. As for the sugars, make sure they’re vegan-friendly, as some sugars are processed with animal-derived products.

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! So, if you’re aiming for a laid-back dessert that hits the right notes without being overly sweet, this one’s for you!

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!

order MY book

The Feel Good Foodie Cookbook is now available everywhere books are sold!

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
5 from 362 votes
Servings 24 bars
Course Dessert
Calories 98
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Email This Recipe
Enter your email and I’ll send this directly to you. Plus you’ll get new recipes from me every week!

Ingredients
  

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.

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

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Dessert
4.99 from 362 votes (343 ratings without comment)

Rate and comment

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. PepperAnn says:

    This recipe is fantastic & versatile. I baked the batter in 2 loaf pans for 40 minutes at 350 and I’m telling you it’s the most tender pumpkin bread you’ve ever eaten. I tipped it with heath bar bits once before baking and sort of swirled the bits around on top. That was a hit. Another time I put a sprinkle of Chinese 5 spice in as I love that spice in baked goods and that was a hit too. Another time I added chocolate chips. Thank you for this recipe – it’s seriously a game changer for avoiding underdone, not-baked-in-the-inside pumpkin bread!

    1. Yumna says:

      So happy you enjoyed it!

  2. Emily says:

    The recipe itself was fine, although I added a few tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice just to give it some more flavor. Without it, they would have turned out quite bland.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thank you for the feedback!

  3. Rebecca Carder says:

    I’m wanting to try your recipe I hear that yours is the best

    1. Yumna says:

      Aww thank you, I hope you enjoy them!

  4. Dhanya says:

    Hi Yumna,

    Can u give me instructions for making the pumpkin puree at home? How do u cook it before pureeing?

    Thanks in advance. Looking forward to trying it.

    1. June says:

      Pumpkin puree is really easy. I just cut a small pie pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds, then place the halves cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with foil and then parchment paper (for no stick) then roast in an oven at 420ish (you can go a little hotter, just watch it a little more) and then I leave it for 20 to 30 minutes and then poke it. If it’s soft and squishy, it’s probably done, if not, roast for another 10, then 5 if needed. Then just scoop the puree out.

      1. Yumna says:

        Thanks for sharing this tip!

  5. Sandra W. says:

    Followed the recipe with these exceptions. I made fresh applesauce and added 1 cup of nuts to the batter. Baked in mini loaf pans, 4”x2”x1 1/2”, for 30 minutes. Recipe made 12 loaves. Froze them and put them in gift bags for breakfast for guests who were staying in a local hotel after my granddaughter’s wedding. They were delicious.

    1. Yumna says:

      What a wonderful idea, thanks for sharing!

  6. Thelma says:

    Just made this yummy treat, and I can’t wait to share with my neighbours! They turned out more like pumpkin cake than a bar, but that is fine by me! I added chopped pecans and I made a maple cinnamon cream cheese glaze for the top. Tasty!!

  7. Thelma says:

    Just made this yummy treat, and I can’t wait to share with my neighbours! They turned out more like pumpkin cake than a bar, but that is fine by me!
    I made a maple cinnamon cream cheese glaze for the top. Tasty!!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      That topping sounds so good!

  8. Allison says:

    These look delicious! I’d love to add some rolled oats for texture – do you think it would work to swap 1/2 a cup of flour for some oats?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      I would do a 2:1 ratio if you’re swapping some oats for flour, so maybe swap 1/4 flour for 1/2 oats since oats are less absorbent than flour. However, I’ve never tried this before. Let me know if you try it an how it works out!

  9. Salma says:

    I love pumpkin baked goods. These bars were so delicious and super easy to make. Mmmm 😋

  10. Jen K says:

    These are delicious!!!! So moist, flavorful and simple to make. Definitely a family hit, and we will be making these again soon.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much! I am glad to hear that!

  11. Stephanie says:

    Loved making this bars (with my two year old daughter!). They were super flavorful, moist, easy and definitely fail-proof. We added chocolate chips and both my kids loved them! I also cooked in a 9″ x 9″ baking dish (we didn’t have 9″ x 13″) which added about 15 minutes to the bake time for the center to cook through. They were delicious, thank you so much! We will definitely will be making them again!!!!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      I am so happy to hear it! Yay!! Chocolate chips are always a yummy addition. You’re so welcome!

  12. Susan Ventura says:

    These pumpkin bars are delightful. So moist and flavorful.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much! Exactly what I was going for!

  13. Mary says:

    Can I use pumpkin pie purée instead of regular pumpkin purée??

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      I recommend sticking to 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.

  14. Lauren says:

    So moist and delicious! Really easy to pull together last minute. This is going to be a go to in our house year round. I have already been asked to make this recipe again.

    I used an organic store brand pumpkin purée instead of the name brand and had to bake them 15 minutes longer. Different brands of pumpkin require a different bake time in my experience. Use the toothpick test! You will not be disappointed by this recipe.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you! I love that so much.

    2. Mahshid says:

      Can you use sugar instead of applesauce? how much?

      1. Yumna Jawad says:

        I swapped the oil entirely for applesauce. So instead of applesauce, you can use canola oil, vegetable oil or coconut oil instead or swap half the amount.

  15. Dana says:

    So easy to make and turned out perfectly….they were a big hit!!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      That’s great to hear! Yay!!

  16. Susi says:

    What brand do you use for cane sugar?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Just one from my local grocery store, but you can use any!

  17. Shar says:

    These bars were like a cake. Very moist with a great pumpkin taste. I put cream cheese frosting on them and a candy pumpkin on top of the each piece. I highly recommend this recipe for a crowd.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      That sounds like a delicious way to enjoy it!

  18. Katie F says:

    So delicious! I used coconut sugar instead of the cane sugar (kept the brown sugar as is), and these were gone in no time. Thank you!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you! Glad it still worked out that way, and you enjoyed!

  19. Debbie Davenport says:

    How many eggs are in the recipe?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      4 eggs room temperature

  20. Jenny says:

    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. Yumna J. says:

      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).

      1. Cathy says:

        I had the same experience. I did the toothpick test but when I cut them they looked uncooked.

        1. Yumna Jawad says:

          The toothpick test should work! But make sure to allow the bread to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.

  21. Marlene says:

    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.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      That sounds wonderful! I’m so glad you both enjoyed it!

  22. Ashlee Gentile says:

    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. Yumna Jawad says:

      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!

  23. Cck says:

    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. Yumna Jawad says:

      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.

  24. Michele says:

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

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      So glad to hear that you enjoyed it! Thank you!!

  25. Lina says:

    Delicious!!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Yay! Glad you liked it!

  26. Anna says:

    Hi! how much gram are 1 can 15 ounces pumpkin purée?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      It’s 450grams of pumpkin puree.

  27. Amy says:

    Would love to try this one!! Yum