Made with a graham cracker and toasty pecan crust, these creamy pumpkin pie bars are irresistible. Like pumpkin pie, but so much easier!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
- Pumpkin Spice Truffles
- Apple Blondies
- Mini Pumpkin Pies
- Pumpkin Spice Toffee
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars
- Brown Butter Pecan Pie Bars
When it comes to pumpkin, keep it simple!Print
Like pumpkin pie, but so much easier! Made with a graham cracker and toasty pecan crust, these easy creamy pumpkin bars are irresistible.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Top with whipped cream and chopped pecans, if desired. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.