Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

These moist and soft Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are the perfect way to welcome fall! I was so excited when I found canned pumpkin puree at the grocery store! It was the third store that I had gone to and they finally had it. The lady at the checkout probably thought I was insane because I bought four large cans of it. That’s alright because now I am all set to make my favorite pumpkin recipes. :) One of my all time favorite pumpkin recipes to make are pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. I am not sure why they are called pumpkin bars because it looks more like pumpkin cake before you cut it. I love anything pumpkin, so naturally this recipe is one of my favorites. I grew up in central Ohio and every year we would go to the Circleville Pumpkin Show. It was one of my favorite things about fall. We would make our way around the giant pumpkins over 1,600 pounds, 14 feet wide pumpkin pies, parades, marching bands and of course every pumpkin food you could think of!

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

These moist and soft Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are the perfect way to welcome fall!

Yield: 48 small bars or 24 larger bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


For the Pumpkin Bars:
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin on medium speed until light and fluffy.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
Hand mix the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just combined. Do not overmix. Spread the batter into the prepared 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Source: adapted from Paula Deen



84 Responses to “Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. #
    Kristen — September 24, 2010 @ 7:54 am

    Oh, my – I adore anything pumpkin! Y-U-M. And I just heard about the Circleville Pumpkin Show for the first time not three days ago! A friend that lives in TN now was excited to go home to Ohio for a visit just for that…well, and to see her family. =)

  2. #
    joudie's Mood Food — September 24, 2010 @ 8:42 am

    I have to agree with Kristen. I adore pumpkin too. This looks soo moorish. Yumm! I am going to make this for the weekend as it is a special occassion. Very beautifully presented. Lovely. YUMM!

  3. #
    jana@cherryteacakes.com — September 24, 2010 @ 10:10 am

    i’m such a party pooper. pumpkin makes me ill! but my friends love it, and i bet with enough cream cheese frosting this would be perfect for the pumpkin themed party coming up!

  4. #
    torviewtoronto — September 24, 2010 @ 11:01 am

    soft delicious dessert lovely presentation

  5. #
    Shirley — September 24, 2010 @ 11:35 am

    Mmmm… I love making this every fall! And I think it’s insane the first 2 stores didn’t carry canned pumpkin.

  6. #
    May Ling Wu — September 24, 2010 @ 11:53 am

    What a beautiful picture! Looks soo good!

  7. #
    Angie's Recipes — September 24, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

    O….mamamiya…look at that layer of cheese frosting! Looks so sexy!!!

  8. #
    nesrine — September 24, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

    Look really yummy and so perfectly done!!sure making them this weekend :))

    • Christina replied: — September 26th, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

      They are fabulous! I hope you enjoy them..let me know how they turn out! :)

  9. #
    Jennifer @ Maple n Cornbread — September 24, 2010 @ 2:34 pm

    Oh my, these look soooo yummy! I love all things pumpkin and the cream cheese frosting totally takes these bars over the top!

  10. #
    ktcurrid — September 24, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

    Holy crap, these look good. I was going to save myself for some pumpkin cupcakes, but I might have to make these!

  11. #
    Michelle (Jelly Shot Test Kitchen) — September 24, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

    Ooooh – these look fantastic. I have never understood what all the fuss about carrot cake was, when one could just as easily have pumpkin!!!! And the cream cheese frosting? Sweet Mercy! Cheers, Michelle

  12. #
    Kathryn — September 24, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

    Oh my gosh, I love pumpkin ANYTHING! I’ll have to try that recipe ASAP!

  13. #
    Penny Wolf — September 24, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

    I also live in central Ohio and love the pumpkin show! Many people may not know that there was a shortage of canned pumpkin last year due to a blight or some such
    that the suppliers experienced. Stores wanted to carry pumpkin but there wasn’t any.
    I guess the upside to this is that the cans this year are fresh.

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  15. #
    Baking Serendipity — September 25, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

    I am ready for pumpkin anything! These bars are the perfect way to usher in fall :)

  16. #
    marla {family fresh cooking} — September 26, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

    Congrats for scoring some pumpkin! Your bars look amazing-especially with that decadent cream cheese frosting.

  17. #
    Taylor — September 26, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

    Oh my those look so moist and delicious! And that cream cheese frosting…heaven!

  18. #
    theamerarabwife — September 27, 2010 @ 10:24 am

    I love pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting…so perfect. I really need to make these soon! But I only have access to fresh pumpkin, though; any idea how many cups of cooked, pureed pumpkin it takes to equal a 15-ounce can?

    • Christina replied: — September 30th, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

      Fresh pumpkin will work wonderfully in this recipe. I have a food scale so I measured out 15 ounces and found it to be 1 3/4 cups. Hope this helps! Let me know how they turn out! :)

  19. #
    Marilyn — October 4, 2010 @ 9:16 am

    Hi, I made these over the weekend but the center of the pan would not cook, I left them in longer just to see if I could get it to firm up but the entire center stayed too moist. I had even bought new baking powder and soda to have all the ingredents fresh. Help — what did I do wrong? We could eat all around the outer part of the pan for about two inches, what came out right was delicious!!!!!!

    • Christina replied: — October 4th, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

      I am so sorry to hear that the pumpkin bars were not cooked all the way through. :( I bought an oven thermometer that I use all the time because my oven runs about 10-15 degrees cooler than what it says it should be. That could be the problem. I have noticed over the years that your cooking pans really do make a difference too. I use the Calphalon Classic Bakeware 9-by-13-Inch Rectangular Nonstick Bake Pan and love it. I would try the oven thermometer, quality baking pans, and of course checking with a tooth pick before removing from the oven. Try them out again-they really are worth the effort-and let me know how they turn out! :)

  20. #
    Ashleigh Beechy — October 5, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

    I just searched foodgawker for a new pumpkin bar recipe and found your recipe! I grew up in Circleville and LOVE the Pumpkin Show! It’s just around the corner. :) I am making these tonight! Thanks!

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  23. #
    Susan Greenawalt — December 6, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

    These were great. The bars were more like a cake in the 9 x 13 pan but were delicious. The frosting was the best cream cheese frosting I have ever made. We had friends over for dessert and they all loved it, some went back for seconds.

    • Christina replied: — December 6th, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

      Yea! I am so happy that everyone enjoyed them! I noticed that they were basically a “pumpkin cake” instead of a bar when I made them too. Whatever you call them, they are delicious. I have made them several times this fall…we can’t get enough of them! Thank you so much for letting me know that you enjoyed them! :)

      • suzanne bancroft replied: — September 17th, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

        Ladies, I make these in my rectangle stoneware pan from pampered chef. While the recipe still tastes cake like, it is a wonderful ratio of cake to frosting. Absolutely addicting!

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  25. #
    Kori — December 31, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

    There’s nothing better than pumpkin…and these look moist and amazing! I’m glad I saw this now!

  26. #
    Pei-Lin — May 14, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

    Hey, Christina! Thank you so much for sharing this pumpkin bar recipe! I’d tried it and love it! Mine have just been posted up on on my blog.

    I cut down on the sugar, though, and I flavored the frosting with Mapleine, because that’s what my American “mom” does with the frosting for her pumpkin bars. Thanks for bringing back memories of my days in the U.S.

  27. #
    Created by Christi — June 18, 2011 @ 12:49 am

    Thanks for posting these! I tried them out too, though I adapted my recipe quite a bit mostly to make them lower fat and more spiced. They turned out really well, and my dad said they were the best pumpkin bars he’d ever had. I just posted mine on my blog and linked to your post.

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  31. #
    Cindy — September 24, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

    I wanted to make them on a cookie sheet! Do i need to double the recipe?

    • Christina replied: — October 3rd, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

      If you were wanting to make the bars on a jelly roll pan or rimmed cookie sheet you would not need to double the recipe. Just watch the baking time as it will likely be shorter than what I have listed. Let me know how it turns out for you! :)

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  33. #
    Megan — October 22, 2011 @ 11:28 am

    I just went to the Circleville Pumpkin Festival last night AND made your pumpkin bars to boot :) They are so good. I added a little cinnamon to the frosting. Thanks so much for sharing. Go Bucks!!

    • Christina replied: — November 1st, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

      I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed the pumpkin bars! I hope you had fun at the pumpkin show…I always loved going! :)

  34. #
    Riena — October 29, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

    Hi christina,

    I made this today. My mom love it. its very soft and tasty.
    I look upon ur recipe index then decided i m so subscribe to ur blog.
    Hugs from Indonesia.

    • Christina replied: — November 1st, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

      These pumpkin bars are one of my favorites! I am so glad that you and your mom enjoyed them! Thanks so much for letting me know how they turned out for you! :)

  35. #
    bunniemagyk — November 11, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

    Could these be prepared in disposable foil pans that are sprayed really well with cooking spray? I need to make some for my sons daycare and don’t want to risk a glass pan getting broken with a bunch of tots running around. Also, do these come out more like cake or an actual bar (I am comparing to a lemon bar in my mind)? I have only ever made pumpkin pies not bars so this will be my first attempt … maybe I’ll make a pan before the final product is needed.

    • Christina replied: — November 21st, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

      I don’t see why you couldn’t make them in disposable cake pans. The final product is very much cake-like. These are definitely one of my favorite fall recipes. If you give them a try I would love to know how they turn out for you! :)

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  37. #
    trin kitchen — November 21, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

    Can I use libby easy pumpkin mix instead of canned pumpkin?

    • Christina replied: — November 21st, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

      I have not tried using the canned pumpkin pie mix. I use the Libby’s pure pumpkin puree. The pumpkin pie mix contains spices and sugar already in the mix. That being said, I am sure that it would work if you adjust the sugar and spices. If you end of giving them a try I would love to know how they turn out for you! :)

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  39. #
    Sandra Curry — December 17, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

    I have had this exact recipe for almost 40 years. I use a jelly roll pan 10×15 and bake for 20 min. They turn out perfect every time and the cream cheese frosting is the perfect compliment to the bars.

    • Christina replied: — December 22nd, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing your tip. I will have to try baking these in a jelly roll next time! :)

  40. #
    Kathy Cicciarelli — December 20, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

    Hi Christina,
    Can these be made ahead of time and frozen WITH the frosting? Or just freeze the bars and frost when ready to use.

    • Christina replied: — December 22nd, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

      Because the texture and consistency of frostings can change drastically in the freezer, I would freeze the bars unfrosted. Once thawed, they can be topped or decorated as desired. Let me know how they turn out for you! :)

      • Kathy Cicciarelli replied: — December 24th, 2011 @ 1:05 am

        Because of a lack of time, I took a chance and froze them with the frosting. Once thawed at room temp, they were just fine. Thanks.

  41. #
    Gail Langevin — May 20, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

    I can’t wait to make this because I have pumpkin in my freezer and it is fresh and cook from a pie pumpkin. Let you know how it comes out.

  42. #
    Teh Megan — August 16, 2012 @ 8:29 am

    I actually found your recipe a year ago and tried it (I just forgot to leave a review, oops) and since its almost fall, it’s time to break out the delicious pumpkin “cake” again. It was such a HUGE hit when I made it last year! People were requesting me make it again a week later.
    I wrote a review on my blog: http://canidecideanotherday.blogspot.com/2011/10/making-fall-happen.html

    • Christina replied: — August 17th, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

      Yea! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed them! They are definitely one of my favorite fall desserts! :)

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  45. #
    Kathy B — September 7, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

    Hi.. I am just trying your Pumpkin Bar Reciepe…They are in the oven now…We love pumkin anything at my house…so I thought I would give these a try today…and with all the great reviews…. I could not resist!! Thanks :)

  46. #
    Amanda — September 7, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

    Hi Sweet Pea,

    I am in the mood for pumpkin bars and found your site today. Can’t wait to try your recipe.

    Also, I was born and raised in Peoria, IL.


  47. #
    Hotly Spiced — September 17, 2012 @ 2:50 am

    These look divine. I would love to try these but I’m not sure we can buy cans of pumpkin puree here in Australia. I’ve never seen them but I’ll look out for them in specialty stores.

  48. #
    Pam Webber — September 17, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

    This is awesome..I love pumpkin.. Hay I hope you go to the Morton Pumpkin Fest. Hope it reminds you of home, when you were growing up.. I went as a child growing up in Pekin. Anyway I love pumpkin and it’s a awesome way to start the Fall Season.. If you have any more please don’t forget me..

  49. #
    shelly malicote — September 25, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    I made these the other day and all I can say is AMAZING! The best dessert I have possibly ever made. Plus, my house smelled spectacular! These will be a regular in my house this fall, thank you so much! :) God bless!

    • Christina replied: — September 27th, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

      Yay! These are one of my favorite fall recipes! Sooo happy to hear that you enjoyed the pumpkin bars Shelly! :)

  50. #
    Kat — October 4, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

    This is a great recipe! I made these pumpkin bars tonight for a bake sale at my workplace tomorrow. The cream cheese frosting came out FANTASTIC! I wrote a review on your recipe on my blog so be sure to check it out :) http://playreadeat.wordpress.com/. Thanks again for posting such an awesome recipe! I am going to start making these every Fall.

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