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Pumpkin bars cut into squares, one with a bite taken.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Heather Smoke
These moist and dense pumpkin bars are a cross between pumpkin cake and pie, topped with rich cream cheese frosting.

All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet.

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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16


  • 9 inch baking pan
  • Electric Mixer (Stand or Hand-Held)



  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 ¼ cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • tsp ground nutmeg


  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 4 oz unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)



  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, and position a rack in the center of the oven. Spray a 9-inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugars, pumpkin, milk, egg and vanilla.
  • Separately, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 25 minutes, until a cake tester or sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool the bars completely before frosting.


  • With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter for 1 minute until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste and salt, and beat for 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
    Note: This is a softer frosting, much softer than what you'd use to frost a layer cake, and isn't meant to hold its shape well. If you like a thicker, sweeter frosting, add more powdered sugar.
  • Spread the frosting onto the cooled bars, cut into squares and serve.


Leftover pumpkin bars should be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Keyword Bars, Cream Cheese Frosting, Pumpkin, Vanilla Bean
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