Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars
Updated 3rd November 2023
These creamy pumpkin pie bars are made with a delicious pumpkin spiced filling and a press in short crust. They are way easier to make, but just as delicious as traditional pumpkin pie!There is no pie crust to roll out, just a simple press-in shortbread crust that according to my husband I the best crust ever! These dessert bars can be made with either fresh pumpkin purée or canned. If you like pumpkin pie you will love the convenience of these pumpkin pie bars. They have a luscious very creamy custard-like texture just like pie but can be cut into squares just like a brownie. They are perfect with a dollop of whip cream and here I served them decorated with some fall pie cutouts just for fun.
Pumpkin Bars Ingredients:
For the Crust
- FLOUR: All purpose flour is what this recipe calls for
- BUTTER: I use room temperature unsalted butter
- SUGAR: Brown sugar to sweeten the crust a little
- PECANS: This is an optional add in but everyone who tries these bars loves the fact that they are in the crust so I recommend adding them to the crust
- SALT: Just a pinch for flavor but feel free to add a pinch of cinnamon for a hint of spice in the crust
For the Filling
- PUMPKIN PUREE: The most important part of the recipe is the canned pumpkin filling. It gives the bars a luscious pumpkin flavor and creamy texture. It is not to be confused with the canned pumpkin pie filling or pumpkin pie mix which is already sweetened and spiced. Canned Pure Pumpkin Puree is what you need for this recipe.
- SUGAR: I use granulated sugar for the filling to sweeten it just enough.
- EGGS: Whisking two large eggs (room temperature) into the pumpkin mixture helps the silky custard set - making sure the eggs are room temperature helps incorporate them into the mixture more thoroughly
- SPICES: Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend adds a warm flavor to the whole dessert. What is in pumpkin pie spice blend and can I make this pie without the spice blend? Yes you absolutely can make this pie without the spice blend just blend your own pumpkin pie spice. You can use ¼-½ teaspoon each: ground allspice and ground ginger AND ¼ teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves. I also use ground cinnamon and a pinch of slat and pepper. Feel free to adjust spices to taste.
- HALF & HALF: Helps give the filling its creamy texture. Some recipes call for evaporated milk but I prefer half and half for a nice and rich filling and to ensure the filling sets properly.
- VANILLA EXTRACT: Pure vanilla extract is what I always use for that hint of signature vanilla flavour
- CORNSTARCH: This helps the filling set.
How to Make Pumpkin Pie Bars (full instructions in recipe below)
Pumpkin pie bars are so much easier to make than a traditional pie. No crust chilling. No crimping. Just a quick press into the pan and your crust will be ready to go. The crust is more similar to a shortbread crust, but the filling is just like the one you know and love. Here are the simple steps:
- MAKE CRUST: Use a mixer to blend the softened butter with the sugar then mix in the flour and salt until a crumbly mixture forms. Stir in the pecans if using. Transfer mixture into prepared pan and press firmly & evenly against bottom of pan.
- BAKE CRUST: Bake crust then remove pan from oven and allow to cool while you make the filling
- MAKE FILLING: Whisk all the dry ingredients then whisk in the rest of the ingredients until totally smooth and creamy.
- BAKE BARS: Pour filling over crust then carefully transfer to oven and bake until set with just a slight jiggle in the middle
- COOL BARS: Remove from oven when done and place on cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature before placing the bars in the fridge to chill and finish setting for 1-2 hours
- SLICE & ENJOY: Remove from fridge once fully set and slice and enjoy served with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon or apple pie spice.
The crust is made with a combination of flour, butter, brown sugar and pecans. When it comes to the flour I use the flour I always have stocked and the perfect one for all your fall baking needs. It’s Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All Purpose Flour. It’s unbleached, unbromated, enriched baking flour milled from the highest quality North American wheat. Bob’s Red Mill products are made with clean high quality ingredients yielding into wonderful baked goods that your whole family will love. I added some chopped pecans to the crust which add a wonderful nutty flavour and texture to the crust but that is totally an optional add in. If there is an allergy concern or you don’t have any on hand just leave them out and the crust will be just as good even without them.
Pumpkin Pie is a delicious fall treat, one of the easiest pies you can make and this version is made even easier. With a creamy pumpkin filling and crunchy crust, it’s the perfect balance for a seasonal dessert. The spicy pumpkin goodness of the traditional pie without the fuss of a pastry crust. Homemade always tastes better - and homemade doesn’t get any easier than these tasty pumpkin pie bars. Bake up a batch today to share with your family and friends.
Can you make pumpkin pie bars ahead of time?
Yes, since the bars need to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours they are perfect to make the day before you want to serve them. Storage & Freezing
- STORAGE: Store in the refrigerator by covering the cooled pumpkin pie bars with plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container for up to 3 days. They keep longer but the texture of the crust will soften as it absorbs moisture from the filling so it’s recommend to enjoy within first three days for freshest flavor and texture.
- FREEZING: These pumpkin pie bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just make sure they are completely cooled and I would not recommend putting the whipped cream on until ready to serve. Thaw in the fridge and when ready to eat, make the whipped cream.
If you like this recipe you will love these:
- Classic Pumpkin Pie With No Shrink Pie Crust
- Classic Pumpkin Scones
- Brown Butter Maple Pumpkin Pie
- Marbled Chocolate Pumpkin cheesecake tart
- Pecan Pie Bars
- Apple Pie Bars
I have partnered up with Bob’s Red Mill to bring you this fabulous recipe, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Olive & Mango.
For the Crust
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (not melted butter)
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All Purpose Flour
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup of chopped pecans *
For the Filling
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice *, increase to 2 teaspoons for stronger flavour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F and Line a 8x8 square brownie tin or baking dish/pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily release and remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
- Beat the butter and brown sugar until creamy in a large bowl using a mixer. Mix in the flour and salt and beat until combined, then stir in the pecans. The mixture will be very crumbly. (feel free to use a pastry cutter instead if needed)
- Scrape the mixture into prepared pan and press it into an even flat layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust until edges start to golden or approx 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack while making the filling
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, spices, cornstarch, salt and pepper until fully combined.
- Add pumpkin, eggs, half-and-half, and vanilla and whisk, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed, until combined.
- Pour the filling into the crust and smooth into even layer, then return to the oven and bake for another 35-45 minutes or until the filling is mostly set, but the very center still jiggles just a bit. (Bake time varies based on your oven, so check it frequently once you’re nearing the end of bake time.)
- Once done remove and place pan on a wire rack to cool to room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill completely (approx 2 hours).
- When ready to slice, use a knife to loosen the edges from pan. Lift bars out of pan carefully and slice.
- Bars are best served chilled. Top with whipped cream, sprinkles with pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon and chopped pecans, or leave as is. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- These are best served within 1 day of baking. The crust will soften in the days following baking (from the moisture in the filling).
- The pecans are an optional ingredient adding flavour and texture to the crust. Just omit if allergic.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: if you don’t have prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use ¼-½ teaspoon each: ground allspice and ground ginger AND ¼ teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves.
- Thsee bars can easily be made with a graham cracker crumbs for a graham cracker crust or ginger snap cracker base so feel free to use your favourite recipe in place of the short crust above