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!
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 pumpkin muffins + 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 healthier fall recipe, just like my healthy pumpkin oatmeal cookies
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. You could absolutely use homemade pumpkin pie spice here. See recipe Note.
- 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 any of these recipes to make with leftover pumpkin puree.
- 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.
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.
- Preheat the oven and line your pan with parchment.
- Mix the dry ingredients together and the wet ingredients together separately, then combine it all. Do not overmix.
- Cut the bars into squares.
- Store at room temperature for a few days or up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
More Favorite Pumpkin Recipes
- Pumpkin Cake & Pumpkin Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
- Pumpkin Donuts
Lightened Up Pumpkin Spice Bars
- 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 ginger
- 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 (dairy or nondairy)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted (or melted coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 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.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt 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.
- Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely and then cut into 12 squares.
- Cover and store leftover bars for up to 3 days at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: These bars freeze wonderfully– freeze them for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.
- Spices: You can replace the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves with store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice. You could also replace just the nutmeg, ginger, and cloves with pumpkin pie spice and leave the cinnamon in the recipe.
Keywords: healthy pumpkin spice bars, light pumpkin spice bars
Reader Comments & Reviews
Can I use white whole wheat flour?
Hi Jeanne, yes, give it a try!
I didn’t have any pumpkin but I did have an acorn squash, so I roasted it , and puréed it and used it instead of pumpkin. It was yummy! I even saved the seeds to roast later with a little olive oil and garlic salt, yumminess all aroaund!
Hello, do you have the nutrition information available for this recipe?
Hi Jennifer! We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076
Delicious! Easy to make, great taste, awesome food to bake with a toddler! We added some chocolate chips to the top because why not! Will definitely make again.
Hello! I was wondering if I would be able to substitute canola oil or margarine for the melted butter? Thanks!
Hi Grace! You can use melted coconut oil instead of butter if desired. Let us know if you give them a try!
So good and so easy. Great crumb and cohesion and let’s talk about flavor!
Made them today and they turned out really good! Not much butter and sugar but so soft and moist. Simple ingredients and good flavor!
Could I substitute almond flour or oat flour for the whole wheat?! Thank you!
I don’t recommend it. Here are all of my gluten free recipes if you are interested.
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?
Hi Allie! Buckwheat flour is too heavy for these bars.
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!
Just wondering if these are freezable? and if so do how long? Thank in advance
Hi Natasha! Yes, they freeze wonderfully. Quite tasty thawed, too! See my make ahead tip in the recipe.
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!!!
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 🙂