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!

Easy Pumpkin Spice Bars - lightened up with less sugar and fat. sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Easy Pumpkin Spice Bars - lightened up with less sugar and fat. sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Bars - lightened up with less sugar and fat. sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!

Easy Pumpkin Spice Bars - lightened up with less sugar and fat. sallysbakingaddiction.com

More Favorite Pumpkin Recipes

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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

Description

Enjoy these easy lightened up pumpkin spice bars.


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350Ā°F (177Ā°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.

Notes

  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

Enjoy these lightened-up pumpkin spice bars this holiday season! Grab the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

72 Comments

  1. I totally feel ya on the muffin top! That’s my favorite part too. They look great!

  2. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says:

    These bars look super tempting, Sally! Love the muffin top!

  3. Angelina Mitchum says:

    Those Pumpkin Bars look so yummy. Ya have me in the mood to make mine. Not sure how fattening mine are, but when ur eating them……who really cares at that point. It won me 1st place in a baking contest. Yay! 1 box of spice cake mix & 1 can of pumpkin. And powdered sugar odusted on top. Easy enough I guess.

  4. Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl says:

    With the week of heavy eating I have before me, I could totally use a lightened up treat like this. And you know what? My husband doesn’t like pumpkin pie, though he is “okay” with pumpkin bread/bars/muffins. But what is up with guys not liking pumpkin? That’s just wrong–especially since I love it SO MUCH. šŸ™‚ These bars look great, Sally!

  5. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef says:

    these sound good! i love anything pumpkin. delish šŸ™‚

  6. The Witch's Kitchen says:

    Oh man do these look good! Will definately have to give these a try.

  7. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel says:

    Ohhhh yes please! I could definitely use some lighter fare before my preparation for food coma on Thursday night! And these look just delicious, Sal. I love that you’re the queen of making healthy desserts!

  8. I still have SO much puree frozen from Halloween pumpkins left, this definitely seems like a delicious way to get rid of some of it! I’ll certainly be making these tonight Sally šŸ™‚

  9. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says:

    Love ’em Sally! Lightened up is awesomesauce. Especially when I’m the only one eating it!

  10. Averie @ Averie Cooks says:

    The muffin top part looks great – that ooey gooey part that I instantly go for! The part that I scope to see which exact bar in the pan has the most, that’s the one I’m having!

    Crazy Kevin doesn’t even like pumpkin! I bet he’ll come around one of these years, though!

    And small batches, yes, indeed. A food blogger’s best friend, for sure!

  11. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says:

    Bring on the skinny recipes! Especially of the pumpkin variety!

  12. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious says:

    I’m all for lightened up desserts too because once Thanksgiving comes, I will be gaining at least 10 lb! I totally need to get my hands on some lighter butter so I can make this ASAP!

  13. I too am a cinnamon freak! It was cinnamon toast this morning for breakfast as I waited for cake to cool šŸ™‚ The pumpkin bars look amazing…I feel in the spirit of Thanksgiving even though I’m from the UK šŸ™‚

  14. Becky @ Olives n Wine says:

    Thank you for sharing a healthy dessert recipe! I think we could all use a little health this time of year šŸ™‚ I think I’ll make these for the guys’ Sunday football extravaganza this afternoon – Thanks!

  15. Erin @ Texanerin Baking says:

    I love it when you post healthier recipes. šŸ™‚ These look delightful and there’s so much pumpkin in there compared to flour that they must have the best texture. And the gooey muffin top… that’s always a good thing!

  16. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes says:

    I love how pumpkin can replace oil/fat in recipes and still taste amazing! And…I can’t imagine anyone NOT liking pumpkin. These look so good…

  17. Erin | The Law Student's Wife says:

    Since I’m eating THREE full-on Thanksgiving dinners this year, these bars are exactly what I need! You had me at muffin top (never thought I’d put those words together, lol). I can totally picture these as the base of a vanilla caramel sundae or in the morning with coffee. Thanks for this light and versatile recipe Sally!

  18. Melissa @ Fit 'N' Well Mommy says:

    You pumpkin spice bars look so good! I also love your pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal bars. They would make for a great snack; I think I might make them today!

    By the way, I just found your blog and I’m practically drooling over all of your recipes. I can’t wait to follow it!

  19. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life says:

    He doesn’t like pumpkin? Well, I guess all the more yumminess for you to enjoy. Yay for a small pan of lightened up bars. And I love all the cinnamon goodness in these…I like to be able to really taste my cinnamon and spices, especially in pumpkin goodies!!! With a week of nonstop eating ahead of me, I need some of these bars to help balance out the fat.

  20. Lisa {Sweet 2 Eat Baking} says:

    Sally these look and sound amazing! You’re living proof that you can skinnyfy (skinify?) a recipe and still have it turn out and taste out of this world. I heard you can replace butter with yogurt, not sure whether that’s true or not.

  21. amy @ fearless homemaker says:

    Keep the lightened-up recipes coming! Between all the sweets + heavy meals we eat around the holidays, I need all the lightening up I can get. And these bars look absolutely wonderful – i’ll take two with my evening tea, please! =)

  22. These were wonderful!!! Even my husband who is not a pumpkin fan LOVED these šŸ™‚ I ran out of whole-wheat flour so I substituted homemade oat flour which provided a nice texture as there were still small bits of oat. Thanks again – this will be a staple in my home!

  23. Sally!! I’m Chilean but I’m here in Miami for the holidays and I just couldn’t resist the urges of trying and baking something with pumpkin puree!! I made 1,5 recipe and used a baking dish (which I have no idea the size of) that was a bit smaller than a 9×13!! I used a granulated sweetener and used 1 and 1/3 cups of it. Out of this world, thanks a lot!!

    1. I’m so glad you made these bars, Catalina! They are a favorite recipe of mine for sure. I need to make them again and maybe I’ll increase the amount to make a larger batch in my 11×7 baking pan. šŸ™‚ Thanks Catalina!

  24. So I made a double batch of this yesterday but only added a half stick of butter on accident. It was still amazing though!!!! šŸ™‚

  25. Any tips for determine the calories in this or other recipes? I absolutely love punpkin and am super excited to try these. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sarah – feel free to look up the calories online if you can find an online calculator. Thanks!

  26. Sally,

    Can you use all AP flour? Is there something that can be a substitute for the butter? Can pumpkin pie spice be used instead of the 3 spices listed? If so, how much would you recommend using?

    Thanks!!

    1. Could these also be made into muffins with the above recipe?

      1. Hi Ellen! Yes, they certainly could. I’m not sure of the baking time, but keep an eye on them at the 15 minute mark.

  27. Sally, I’ve recently become a HUGE fan of yours when I stumbled upon your website via pinterest. My almost 2 year old twin girls and I love your skinny muffins. šŸ™‚ I try to steer away from light butter because of the extra junk it has in it, so when you recommend doing a combo of apple sauce and regular butter would you do 2 tbspns (1/4 stick) of regular butter and then 2 tbspns of applesauce? It’s coming up on my pumpkin baking season soon, so I wanted to check! Thanks!

    1. Hi Melody! That’s a great question. I recommend exactly what you stated – 2 Tbsp reg butter + 2 Tbsp applesauce. I hope you love these lightened-up autumn treats!

      And I am so glad you and your daughters love my skinny muffin recipes. I’m working on a new one to post soon!

  28. My whole family loved these! They’re the most indulgent lightened up recipe I’ve yet to come by. Thanks!

  29. Funny how you say it will stay fresh for a week in an airtight container. It lasted less than 24 hours AND tonight is the 2nd time in 48 hours that I’ve made it. Easy and delicious Fall treat!

  30. Hey! I saw these and thought they would be a great alternative to the pumpkin bars I normally make which are SO not good or you! I just made these and I had them in the oven for 30+mins and so I took them out but they are very “mushy” still… could I have undercooked them or is that the muffin top like texture you are talking about?.. Thanks!

    1. Did you change anything about this recipe? Anything at all? I would check your oven temperature. Do you own an oven thermometer? I fear your oven temperature may be off if these are taking longer than 30 minutes to cook through.

      1. Yeah I am thinking its my oven, tried another recipe and the same thing happened! Not cool! I guess I will stick to making raw desserts for now until I can get it fixed! but I did change a few things, I used applesauce instead of butter and honey instead of brown sugar..

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