Lightened Up Pumpkin Spice Bars

These lightened up pumpkin spice bars are mega moist, perfectly spiced, and simple to prepare. You won’t be able to stop at just one!

stack of pumpkin spice bars

While incredibly delicious and perfect for the season, classic pumpkin bars are typically made with a heavy dose of oil and sugar– not exactly your wholesome snack of choice. Today, we’re putting a healthy spin on one of my favorite fall recipes and I’m excited to share these lightened up pumpkin bars with you. You’ll love the gooey, sticky, and sweet tops– each bite tastes like a muffin top + pumpkin pie combined!

These Lightened Up Pumpkin Spice Bars Are

  • Super soft and moist
  • Packed with pumpkin
  • Perfectly spiced
  • Made with a combination of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour
  • Even better on day 2
  • Easy to make and serve
  • A nourishing fall recipe, just like my healthy pumpkin oatmeal cookies

pumpkin spice bars on a silpat baking mat

Ingredients You Need

  • Flours: A combination of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour gives us the best of both worlds– whole wheat wholesomeness and a light texture from all-purpose flour. If using solely whole wheat flour, the bars will be extremely dense and heavy.
  • Spices: For cozy fall flavors, we use cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda: Both help the bars rise.
  • Salt: Salt adds flavor.
  • Eggs: 2 eggs add structure and bind everything together.
  • Brown Sugar: A little sugar adds sweetness. Instead of brown sugar you can use coconut sugar.
  • Pumpkin: Can’t have pumpkin bars without pumpkin! Plus, pumpkin keeps these bars moist and tender. Use fresh or canned pumpkin puree– and use any leftover in my pumpkin recipes.
  • Milk: Milk adds moisture. Use your favorite dairy or non-dairy milk.
  • Butter: A half stick of butter adds flavor and structure. You can use melted coconut oil instead.
  • Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla extract adds flavor. Try homemade vanilla extract.

pumpkin spice bars

Overview: How to Make Lightened Up Pumpkin Spice Bars

Today’s recipe makes a small 8×8 pan of 12 moderately sized squares. You can easily double this recipe if you’re baking for a crowd.

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Whisk the wet ingredients together.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together. Do not overmix.
  4. Bake.
  5. Cut the bars into squares.
  6. Enjoy!

pumpkin spice bars

More Favorite Pumpkin Recipes

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stack of pumpkin spice bars

Lightened Up Pumpkin Spice Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 bars
  • Category: Bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Enjoy these easy lightened up pumpkin spice bars.


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/4 cup milk (or almond or soy milk)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted (or melted coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients until fully combined. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, and pumpkin together until combined. Add the milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until *just* combined. Do not overmix.
  3. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely and cut into 12 squares. Bars remain fresh for up to one week stored chilled in an airtight container.


  1. Freezing Instructions: These bars freeze wonderfully– freeze them for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.

Keywords: healthy pumpkin spice bars, light pumpkin spice bars


Comments are closed.

  1. I just finished baking these and they are unbelievably delicious! The only thing is that the few pieces in the middle were still slightly uncooked, but even that way they are so tasty! This is one of the most moist, tender, scrumptious cakes I have ever made. Thank you!!

    1. Happy these bars are a hit, Oz! Maybe a little more time in the oven next time you try them. And cover loosely with aluminum foil so they bake evenly.

  2. Hey! Yesterday i made these bars and they are so good; they taste just like pumpkin pie! The only change i did was used all applesauce instead of the butter,they came out a little thicker but still amazing.

  3. This recipe is such a keeper, you absolutely cannot tell that these bars are “lightened up!” I used 1 cup all-purpose flour as it was all I had on hand, as well as almond milk and melted coconut oil in place of the butter and it turned out amazing- fluffy, soft, cinnamon-y pumpkin deliciousness! From reading the other comments at least I know I’m not the only one to make a pan of these disappear on my own in 2 days 🙂

  4. Hi Sally , I don’t have pumpkin purée in where I live how can I made it at home?
    Thanks for sharing great recipes

  5. It blows my mind that these made with healthier ingredients still have more calories than a sugary pumpkin cheesecake cookie. I calculated 97 calories for these (had to use regular butter-didn’t have anything else) and pumpkin cookies from the store with cheesecake pieces only have 80? Did I calculate something wrong?

    1. Baked goods from the store are usually pumped full of preservatives so while they may be lower calorie, you’re better off making your own bars from scratch! I calculated these at about 110 calories a bar, for 12. Not bad for dessert at all!

    2. Look, trying not to be rude, but really here. Eat your dessert & be happy about it. Does it really matter that they had 15 extra calories then the store bought crap?

  6. So… Funny story about these bars. I made them yesterday afternoon with the last of my pumpkin, and when I reached into my spice cabinet to grab cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves, I had grabbed Chili powder instead of cloves. I didn’t realize it until I had the measuring spoon in the little container and nearly added it to the batter! A couple drops actually did get into the batter… That would’ve a disaster! So glad I realized my mistake though because after that incident I followed these bars to the letter and was super happy with them! I think this will be my go-to recipe for using up extra pumpkin 🙂

    1. Hahahahaha – if you did add it, they would’ve been these interesting spicy/sweet pumpkin flavored bars. Maybe that would be good? Happy you caught yourself though!

  7. I made these last night. They were very good! I had a can of pumpkin left over and I needed to use it for something before the pumpkin went bad. These pumpkin bars were the ticket! 🙂 Even my fiancee who is a sugar addict liked them. Well done.

  8. I made these yesterday! I substituted the eggs for flax eggs, all the butter for applesauce, and the all purpose flour for oat flour. I added a little extra baking powder because of the oat flour and flax eggs and doubled up on the nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla. I also frosted them with your Greek yogurt frosting (excluding the peanut butter) and lightly dusted the tops with cinnamon. They were aesthetically pleasing and really, really delicious. Thank you!

  9. hi Sally, I’m making these today and I have two questions. Could I use all whole wheat but only 3/4 cup? Also I would like to add some dried cranberries, how much should I add? Thank you!!

    1. hi Sofia, sorry I’m just getting to you now. Sundays are usually my day off. I do not recommend reducing the flour, but using all whole wheat would be fine if you need to. I would say 2/3 – 3/4 cup dried cranberries would be great.

  10. Chloe Logan says:

    Sally I absolutely loved these bars, and all of my co workers did too! I used all whole wheat flour because thats all that I had and they turned out great 🙂 I also added on your recipe for streusel topping and it paired perfectly! I work in a restaurant and the head chef tried them and asked me for the recipe. Your lightened up treats are always a hit! Thanks so much for all of the handwork you put into all of your recipes. I can’t wait to see what you cook up for this years St. Patty’s day!

    1. So glad these were such a huge hit, Chloe! Thanks so much for reporting back.

  11. Can you believe that I have never heard of pumpkin bars before??!! These look so delicious.. I will definitely try them! Btw, I went to Books-a-Million yesterday to look at the cook books… I found your book and freaked out! I bought it and am so excited to try the recipes!

  12. Hi! 
    I’ve been a follower for a few years and have always admired your writing style and recipes. Fall is just around the corner and I can’t wait to try these out this season 🙂

  13. Oh my goodness. AMAZING!!! These won’t last long… Next time I think a sprinkle of chocolate chips on top before baking may be delicious too. I love your recipes!!!

  14. Just made these and they are delicious! I wonder how long they will last 🙂

  15. Hi Sally! Could this recipe be made in a bread pan as apposed to an 8×8?

  16. Hi Sally, 

    Just wondering if these are freezable? and if so do how long? Thank in advance


    1. Hi Natasha! Yes, they freeze wonderfully. Quite tasty thawed, too! See my make ahead tip in the recipe.

  17. Hi Sally,

    Can I use all All-purpose flour instead of half whole wheat flour?



    1. Hi Christy! Yes, you can use all-purpose flour instead. Same amount.

  18. I was eager to try these pumpkin bars because I had the exact same amount of pumpkin puree left over from last week’s Thanksgiving baking. I didn’t change anything in the recipe except that used regular butter which is what I had at hand. It took just over 30 minutes for them to cook through. The ones in the picture here look much denser than what I got. My bars rose a lot in the oven and are much more of a cake than what I would call a bar. The top is very sticky, as well. The taste is delicious, I served them for dessert with whipped cream and the family enjoyed them. So for me, I got a pumpkin “snacking cake” rather than pumpkin bars.

  19. Hello! I know sugar is sugar but I usually try to sub granulated or brown sugar with honey and/or maple syrup. Is that possible with these? If so, would I use less than the required sugar amount or reduce the other liquids by a tablespoon or two? Or, should I just not make the sub? Thank you and hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Kristen! I haven’t tested any of those substitutions, just the recipe you see here with varying flour, pumpkin, and brown sugar amounts. It’s likely best to substitute with an unrefined dry sugar such as coconut sugar.

  20. Oh boy it smells wonderful in here! I hope you don’t mind me playing with your recipe! I made two separate pans. One had all the same dry ingredients. The other had allspice in place of the cloves. Both had all applesauce instead of butter. One had maple and honey, one had maple and coconut nectar. I also added a handful or so of golden raisins to both. They are cooling on the sill now while I wait for the snow to start, get lunch ready, and plot getting my Christmas decorating done. All this thanks to my sis baking these and hers being fabulous! Thanks for a beautiful recipe!!

    1. A quick note that the bars were DELICIOUS, even with my subsitution! Wishing you an early happy Christmas!!

  21. I made these today – wonderful recipe! I made exactly as written with the addition of roasted pecans and chocolate chips. I will make it again!

  22. Hi Sally, love your recipes! Do you think one could use buckwheat flour in place of the whole wheat flour? Or would that make it taste too earthy?

    1. Hi Allie! Buckwheat flour is too heavy for these bars.

  23. Gauri Vasudevan says:

    Could I substitute almond flour or oat flour for the whole wheat?! Thank you!

    1. I don’t recommend it. Here are all of my gluten free recipes if you are interested.

  24. Made them today and they turned out really good! Not much butter and sugar but so soft and moist. Simple ingredients and good flavor!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally