Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Like pumpkin pie, but so much easier! Made with a graham cracker and toasty pecan crust, these easy creamy pumpkin bars are irresistible! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

From August – November, pumpkin spice takes over store shelves. I kid you not, I spotted pumpkin spice shampoo the other week. I know I’m crazy and even crazier from postpartum hormones but pumpkin spice… SHAMPOO?! Am I the only one who thinks that’s weird? I guess I just don’t want my hair smelling like pumpkin pie.

That being said, I prefer my pumpkin spice in basic form. Treats like pumpkin cake and pumpkin bread. Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin roll, and… pumpkin bars!!

Like pumpkin pie, but so much easier! Made with a graham cracker and toasty pecan crust, these easy creamy pumpkin bars are irresistible! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Specifically with a toasted pecan/graham cracker crust and a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top. And by dollop I mean… an actual mountain. I restrained from my usual (and obnoxious) amount of whipped cream in these photos. Didn’t want you to think I’m crazy or anything.

Oh wait.

Pumpkin Bars Vs Pumpkin Pie

Let’s hop right into these easy pumpkin pie bars. They taste like pumpkin pie, but let me try to convince you that they’re *even better* than pumpkin pie.

  • Pumpkin pie bars are handheld so they’re perfect for gatherings, parties, etc. When forks and plates aren’t always convenient!
  • None of the fuss of traditional pie crust.
  • Wait time is cut in half. They cool down a lot quicker than pie!
  • 1 pan makes 18-24 bars, so you’ll feed more hungry tummies.
  • 4 ingredient toasty pecan graham cracker crust. Enough said.

There’s two parts: the crust and the filling. Both come together in minutes. Let’s start with that crust…

Toasted pecan graham cracker crust for pumpkin pie bars on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Toasted pecan graham cracker crust for pumpkin pie bars on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This crust is made with pecans, graham crackers, a little sugar, and melted butter. You’ll process the nuts + grahams together to break down the nuts, then add the sugar + butter to combine. A food processor makes all this a breeze. Press tightly into a 9×13 pan, then pre-bake for about 8 minutes. Under direct heat, the pecans take on an incredible toasty flavor. I guarantee you’ll only want pumpkin pie with this crust from now on. That’s a bold statement!!

You can pour the filling right into the pre-baked crust. No need to wait for it to cool down. The filling comes together in minutes and is similar to the filling in my great pumpkin pie recipe. It’s sweetened with brown sugar for superior flavor and thickened with heavy cream and a touch of cornstarch. Eggs help the filling set and the rest of the filling ingredients are for flavor… spices, vanilla, pumpkin!

How to make pumpkin pie bars on sallysbakingaddiction.com

My Pumpkin Pie Secret Ingredient

If you’ve tried my pumpkin pie, you’re familiar with my 1 secret ingredient: black pepper. It’s bizarre, but totally works. I got this tip from the genius kitchen crew over at King Arthur Flour. And I’m forever grateful!! A pinch of black pepper turns your pumpkin pie (or, in this case, pumpkin pie bars) into the BEST pumpkin pie… bars. And no one will know it’s there! They’ll all go nuts for the deeply spiced flavor. And that spiced flavor, my friends, comes from black pepper.

Trust me.

Like pumpkin pie, but so much easier! Made with a graham cracker and toasty pecan crust, these easy creamy pumpkin bars are irresistible! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Like pumpkin pie, but so much easier! Made with a graham cracker and toasty pecan crust, these easy creamy pumpkin bars are irresistible! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

When it comes to pumpkin, keep it simple. And maybe keep it out of the shower?!

Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 9 (135g) full-sheet graham crackers (or 1 and 1/4 cups crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup (62g) chopped pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin (about 2 cups total; 450g)*
  • 1 cup (200g) light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • optional for topping: whipped cream and chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
  2. Make the crust: Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers and pecans together into crumbs. A few larger pieces of nuts is OK! Add the sugar and melted butter and pulse until combined. Press tightly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9x13 baking pan. Pre-bake crust for 8 minutes. Leave oven on.
  3. Make the filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or simply using a whisk) beat/whisk all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth. Pour into warm crust.
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly. Remove from the oven, set on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely. Once cool, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. Remove chilled bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares. Bars are best served chilled.
  5. Top with whipped cream and chopped pecans, if desired. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Make ahead tip: Cooled pumpkin pie bars can be frozen up to 3 months. The filling can be made, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before pouring into crust and baking. Bars pie freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

*I prefer canned pumpkin, not fresh pumpkin puree in this recipe. I like to use Libby's brand. Fresh will work in a pinch, but they're tastier and more firm with canned. Do not use pumpkin pie filling.

*Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon each: ground allspice and ground ginger AND 1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Food Processor | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | 9×13 Baking Pan | Libby’s Pure Pumpkin

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Like pumpkin pie, but so much easier! Made with a graham cracker and toasty pecan crust, these easy creamy pumpkin bars are irresistible! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

70 comments

  1. I love pumpkin pie, but I love simple, no-fuss recipes even more. I can’t wait to try this recipe with fresh pumpkin!

  2. I just noticed your directions don’t include preparing the 9×13 pan. Is the parchment paper mostly for ease of removing the bars?? Thank you for your help and these look delicious. I made your pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving last year and it got rave reviews!!!! 

  3. These are so perfect for parties or gatherings.  I always feel like cakes and pies are really difficult to serve at large gatherings because then need to be sliced.  And I never want to wait for the host to do that, I want dessert!  lol.  And totally agree, pumpkin shampoo is a bit much!

  4. I’m already obsessed with The Great Pumpkin Pie and the slab pumpkin pie…but I love the graham cracker crust idea since the longest part of making a pie is the crust. I’ll probably have to make a batch of bars this weekend…darn!

  5. Hi Sally. This recipe looks great and the photographs are gorgeous! I think you missed adding your recipe note about the pumpkin. Just thought I’d let you know! 🙂

  6. If using graham cracker crumbs, how many cups would be required? 
    The recipe looks delicious. I have a few boxes of crumbs on hand. Thanks.

  7. Don’t judge but… Can you use pumpkin filling for these? And just omit the spices?

  8. Looks delicious! I can’t wait to make this. One question: how would you suggest preparing the pecan and graham cracker crust if you don’t have a food processor?
    Would simply beating them with a rolling pin inside a plastic bag work?
    Thanks for all your great recipes, Sally!

    • Do you have a blender? That would be your best option. A rolling pin/bag works too– just a little more difficult to really grind up into crumbs!

      • Here’s a creative method of making the crumbs:

        In the 1960s, my mother used to make cheesecake with a graham cracker crust for my dad’s birthday.She did not have a food processor or blender, but she came up with her own inspired way of making crumbs — she put them inside at least two bread bags and then placed them behind the rear tire of my dad’s car. As he backed out of the garage to go to work, he ran over them with both the rear and front tires and my mother had perfectly ground graham cracker crumbs! 

      • Haha – too funny!

  9. Can this be made ahead and frozen after baking ?

  10. I look forward to trying this recipe! I am not a big fan of using pumpkin pie spice mix because it can be so different depending on the combination of spices. So what spices and amounts do you recommend in place of the 1 1/2 tsp in his recipe? Thanks! 

    • Hi Laura! Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon each: ground allspice and ground ginger AND 1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves.

  11. These look amazing! Can’t wait to try them 

  12. I was just thinking about our menu for Thanksgiving. Of course I started with dessert 🙂
    I was thinking of making an apple crisp, since it’s my dad’s fave, and then I wanted a pumpkin pie, but with a crowd? I didn’t want to do pie. Here you come through with these bars! I am definitely making these ahead of time and will have them ready to go for turkey day. One question, I don’t have a food processor. Is it necessary to process the crust? Or can I go at it the old fashioned way?

    • But you can’t go wrong with apple crisp either 🙂

      About the crust– do you have a blender? That would be your best option. A rolling pin/bag works too– just a little more difficult to really grind up into crumbs!

  13. What can you substitute for the heavy cream? I am trying to watch the calories, but want the recipe to taste delicious. Thanks

    • I don’t recommend any subs for heavy cream– it’s a must for these bars. Half-and-half or milk wouldn’t set up the bars.

  14. Yum! My teen is into baking lately, but not interested in pie crust (yet). She’s made pumpkin tarts using your sugar cookie as the crust (soooo good!!), but this sounds like something she’d enjoy. Thanks for another inspiring recipe.

  15. I was thinking of making these for Friendsgiving, but one friend has a nut allergy. Would an extra 1/2 cup of cracker crumbs work in place of the pecans?

  16. Perfect for a party! Would the crust work without the nuts? We have a few nut allergies around here! Thanks, Sally! (And what a bundle of cute squishiness that little lady is…congratulations!!)

  17. I don’t go much for pumpkin, but I love your addition of black pepper.  I have a slight addiction to black pepper (ask my kids who watch me grind it into all cooking liberally!) and I even have a recipe for pepper cake, which has a real depth but doesn’t necessarily taste like pepper.  I’ve given it to people without telling them the “secret” ingredient, including my BF who claims not to like pepper that much, and they all loved it!  Pepper rules…

  18. I’m a lover of pumpkin pie, but not the crust! This is the perfect solution! I’m going to make this over the weekend!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  19. Wow!!! I never would have thought of adding black pepper to a pumpkin pie! I can’t wait to try it out (and see what all my test subjects think )!

  20. Could you use your pumpkin pie filling instead of this filling?

  21. These were so much fun to make! They taste divine! Thank you for another great recipe – so much easier to make than a pie 🙂

  22. Totally making this for thanksgiving! Thank you, Sally!

  23. I just tried these, they turned out great!
    At home we love pumpkin pie but these are easier to make.
    I will make them again!
    Thanks Sally

  24. Baking is my therapy as well & I baked this tonight. Just finished a still slightly warm piece & it was delicious! I love the texture & flavor of this crust with the creamy dreamy pumpkin pie filling. Cinch to make & came out beautifully, thanks Sally! Your baby girl is precious

  25. Hi Sally!
    Do you think Biscoff cookies would work in the crust, instead of the graham crackers?
    Can’t wait to make this 🙂

  26. Yammi! Recipe. I love Pumpkin So it’s the perfect for me. I will try this at my lovely kitchen! Thank you So Much, Sally Waiting for More Gorgeous Recpeie

  27. Hi Sally!

    These bars look fabulous!  I’m a Canadian living in the Netherlands and sometimes (often) they don’t have all the ingredients I’m used to in Canada needed for baking, such as canned pumpkin, yes, it’s a drama. So I have always had to make my own purée here.  I know that it’s prefered to use the can version for these bars, but do you think the texture would be too runny with homemade pumpkin purée?  I sooooo want to make these!
    Thanks you in advance!

    • If you make your own puree and it is very runny you can always blot some of the moisture out with paper towels (similar to the way I make pumpkin cookies). Let me know how they turn out!

  28. Trying to think of a substitute for heavy cream…would fat free condensed milk work?

  29. Would it work if I halve the recipe and make it in an 8×8 pan? Thank you!

  30. How do you think the addition of chocolate chips would be?

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