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Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Soft and plush pumpkin bars with a classic cream cheese frosting. A great recipe for fall baking.
Course bars
Cuisine American
Diet Low Salt
Keyword canned pumpkin, cream cheese, stand mixer, thanksgiving dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 24 bars


Pumpkin Bars

  • 2 cups (284 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch cloves
  • 15 ounces (425 g) unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 g) neutral oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (226 g) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick | 113 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 cups (480 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


For the bars:

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 F [180C]. Grease a half sheet pan.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, canola oil, sugars, maple syrup, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir until completely combined, making sure to check for any flour pockets in the batter. Whisk the batter to get rid of any lumps; about 30 seconds.
  • Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan, using an offset spatula to smooth the top. Bake the bars until they are set and and wooden skewer or toothpick comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. 

For the frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the cream cheese, butter, and salt together on low speed until smooth, creamy, and combined, 2 to 3 minutes. 
  • Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.

To assemble:

  • Dollop the frosting over the bars and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly over the entire surface.* Bars will slice best if chilled; place the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour before slicing. Slice the bars and serve. Bars will keep for several days stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. 


** It’s easier to frost the bars cold. I make them them the day before serving, then chill them overnight in the refrigerator before frosting. When frosting the bars, dollop the frosting in thirds across the surface of the bars, then use an offset spatula to spread the frosting. I like to eat these bars cold; probably because they were always kept in a refrigerated bake case. You can serve them chilled or at room temperature.