Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

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

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

I’m a pumpkin purist. I prefer my pumpkin spice in basic form. Treats like pumpkin cake, pumpkin bars, pumpkin bread, pumpkin roll, and… pumpkin pie bars!! Specifically with a toasted pecan/graham cracker crust and a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top. These bars are smooth, pumpkin-spiced, and simply divine. They’re easy to make and easier to eat.

Before we get started, let’s clarify. These are not pumpkin bars– pumpkin bars are the bar version of pumpkin cake. Today’s pumpkin pie bars are the bar version of pumpkin pie. The more you know!

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

Pumpkin Pie Bars vs Pumpkin Pie

These easy pumpkin pie bars taste like pumpkin pie, but let me try to convince you that they’re *even better* than pumpkin pie. (If that’s even possible!)

  • Pumpkin pie bars are handheld so they’re perfect for gatherings, parties, etc– anytime forks and plates aren’t really convenient! (Same goes with mini pumpkin pies. I love handheld treats.)
  • None of the fuss of traditional pie crust.
  • Wait time is cut in half because 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.

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

There are two components to pumpkin pie bars– the crust and the filling. Both come together in a matter of minutes with basic baking ingredients.

Upgraded Graham Cracker Crust

This isn’t your typical graham cracker crust. Today’s pumpkin pie bars feature a delicious from-scratch crust made with pecans, graham crackers, a little sugar, and melted butter. Process the nuts + graham crackers 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 inch pan, then pre-bake for a few 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!

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

Pumpkin Pie Bars Filling

The filling comes together quickly 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!

Pour the filling right into the pre-baked crust. No need to wait for it to cool.

How to make pumpkin pie bars on sallysbakingaddiction.com

My Pumpkin Pie Bars 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

More Fall Grab-and-Go Treats

If you’re looking for few other convenient fall desserts, I’ve got you covered. These are some of my very favorite treats to bring to football parties, girls’ nights, friendsgiving, and to any other fall events where simplicity is crucial:

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!

Print
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stack of pumpkin pie bars

Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 18-24 bars
  • Category: Bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 9×13 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 9×13 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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Pumpkin: 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.
  3. Pumpkin Pie Spice: 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.
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

182 Comments

  1. I made this today for a senior class tomorrow at my church. Hopefully it will be a hit!!
    Thank you Sally for this delicious pumpkin pie (I had a little piece before I took it to the senior class).

  2. I’m obsessed with your recipes you are my go to- I love your lemon bars and the shortbread crust with them, do you think I could use that crust and skip the pre-bake step on it? Just throw it in for the amount it takes to cook the pumpkin? Sorry to deviate but if there’s a way for me to do shortbread I gotta try it

    1. Hi Meghan! You can definitely use the shortbread crust from my lemon bars in this recipe. Don’t skip pre-baking. Both this recipe and the lemon bars require it. Pre-bake the shortbread crust for about 15 minutes (at 350°F (177°C)).

  3. Hi, can you substitute the heavy cream for something else?

    Thanks
    Linda

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Linda, We 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. We haven’t tested them with a non-dairy alternative but you can try full fat (the kind in a can) coconut milk (of course the flavor would be different).

      1. I actually made them with a can coconut milk and they were yummy!! They took the full 50 minutes to bake. When I used heavy cream they took exactly 40 🙂

  4. Excellent! I could see myself choosing this over traditional pumpkin pie. I used homemade purée and it turned out great (I set mine in a colander weighted down overnight to get out excess moisture). I also used walnuts instead of pecans. Sooo delicious.

  5. Hi Sally!

    Wow these were fantastic! I shared a few with my parents and my mom (who is quite an accomplished cook/baker) said they were one of the best desserts she has ever had. She thought your “secret ingredient” was so interesting- at which point I remembered that I had actually omitted the pepper because my husband really dislikes it. I admit I didn’t read the full recipe narrative! But boy they were still amazing. Now I need to try the pepper too, though I can’t imagine them being any better! That pecan-graham crust is to die for!!

  6. Hi Sally.
    This recipe is terribly good. In Europe we don’t have canned pumpkin puree. So I used fresh pumpkin and reduced my puree over low heat to remove as much moisture as possible and the bite in the crust is delicious.
    I received a lot of compliments

  7. Hi Sally,
    I just wanted to ask, do we have to use the pecans in the graham cracker crust? Just thought I’d ask because I’m not sure if it’s just for flavor or if it’s needed to stabilize the crust.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Violet, You can definitely leave the nuts out of the crust. You will want to use one extra graham cracker (so about 10 full sheets). Enjoy!

  8. Gluten free here and your recipes work like a charm when I substitute 1:1 GF flour for regular flour. However, I have yet to find a good GF graham cracker. Is there another cookie you would recommend to try instead so I can find a GF substitute. Thanks!!

  9. Hi Sally – I love your recipes so much and usually have success, even when having to make gluten free subsitutions, but for this recipe my pumpkin filling was totally a liquid and has now been in the over for over an hour and it is still jiggly. What went wrong? I followed the recipe to the letter but the only thing I had to change was using organic canned pumpkin from Farmers Market brand.

    1. Hi Anna, are you using a smaller pan by chance? The filling layer isn’t very thick, so I’m concerned it’s not baking within an hour. Shouldn’t be the brand of pumpkin you’re using.

      1. I used a 9×13! I think it was the pumpkin I was using, I made pumpkin pancakes the next day with Libby brand and noticed a huge difference in the consistency – Libbys is much denser than the brand I had. I look forward to trying the recipe again with Libby’s! Thank you so much for responding.

  10. Hey Sally!

    Question: Would you recommend a metal or glass pan for these, or does it make any difference?

    I noticed in the photo, it looked like a metal pan, and pan to me = metal.
    But I clicked on the “special tools” link and it was glass, Pyrex.
    So which is preferred? My guess would be metal, but I have glass already.

    Thanks and Happy T-Day!

    1. Hi David, either works– a metal or glass pan/dish.

  11. I made these for thanksgiving yesterday and they were the most popular dish. I have a friend who hates all things pumpkin and even she tried them because everyone else was raving. These are now the only pumpkin thing on the planet that she likes. 🙂 I ended up doubling the recipe so cooking took a lot longer and they were a lot thicker but they were great. Super creamy and tasty. This was my first attempt at any pumpkin related food so thanks!

  12. This recipe was fantastic! I followed it exactly. I don’t see nutrition information but suspect it is very high in calories. Worth every one!!

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