Homemade pumpkin streusel bars are a fun and delicious alternative to pumpkin pie. With a gingersnap crust, creamy pumpkin filling, and brown sugar streusel topping, these are simply irresistible!
With the start of fall we welcome cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and warm autumn spices. To celebrate the season and all of its spiced glory, let’s make pumpkin streusel bars. They’ve got big pumpkin flavor and 3 decadent layers—like pumpkin pie bars or pumpkin bars all dressed up.
You’ll love the crunchy gingersnap crust, creamy pumpkin/cream cheese filling, and brown sugar cinnamon streusel topping. Don’t forget the vanilla icing!
These Pumpkin Streusel Bars Are:
- The epitome of dessert bars
- Perfectly pumpkin spiced and you can absolutely use a homemade pumpkin pie spice blend
- A texture lover’s dream
- Drizzled with vanilla icing
- Simple to make and serve
- Easier than baking an entire pie or cheesecake
Overview: How to Make Pumpkin Streusel Bars
Here’s a quick overview of the process—scroll down for the full recipe.
- Make the gingersnap crust. It’s a pretty thick layer so be sure to pre-bake it before adding the filling. I also love using a gingersnap cookie crust in my pumpkin swirl cheesecake. For an alternative, try the graham cracker crust included in my lemon blueberry cheesecake bars recipe—it yields the perfect amount of crust for today’s bars.
- Make the pumpkin filling. Spiced pumpkin pie meets creamy, thick cheesecake. I like to add cream cheese to this layer not only to get that cheesecake taste, but to give the center some structure. You’ll appreciate how creamy the filling is– the perfect contrast to the crunchy crust and crumbly streusel topping. (By the way, here are recipes to make with leftover pumpkin puree!)
- Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust.
- Make the streusel topping. It’s actually the same topping we use for apple pie bars! Sprinkle this evenly over the filling.
- Bake. The bars are done when the edges are lightly browned and the center is set.
- Chill the bars.
- Cut into squares. To serve, you can drizzle with vanilla icing or top with whipped cream.
A drizzle of sweet vanilla icing is totally optional and definitely encouraged. 🙂 I like to prepare the icing just before cutting the bars into squares, then drizzle onto each before serving. You can also use whipped cream instead.
Pumpkin Streusel Bars
- Prep Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Total Time: 5 hours, 15 minutes
- Yield: 12-16 bars
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Instead of pumpkin pie this season, try my pumpkin streusel bars. With a gingersnap crust and brown sugar streusel topping, everyone will want seconds.
- 1 and 1/4 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (see note)
- 2 Tablespoons (23g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted
- 8 ounces (225g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/4 cups (285g) pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
- 1/3 cup (80g) plain Greek yogurt, regular yogurt, or sour cream*
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon EACH ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground ginger*
- 1/2 cup (43g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
- 1/3 cup (70g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- optional: vanilla icing or whipped cream for topping
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
- Make the crust: Mix the cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter together in a medium bowl until combined. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. The crust will be thick. Bake the crust for 10 minutes as you prepare the filling.
- Turn oven up to 350°F (177°C).
- Make the filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a large bowl on high speed until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute. On low speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. On medium speed, beat the vanilla, pumpkin, yogurt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger in. Continue beating until everything is combined and creamy. Pour the filing into the warm crust. Set aside.
- Make the streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over filling.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the bars with aluminum foil around the 30 minute mark. The foil prevents the top from getting too brown. The bars are done when the edges are lightly browned and the center is set—this could be slightly before or after the 40 minute mark.
- Allow to cool in the pan set on a wire rack at room temperature for 1 hour. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 3 additional hours or overnight. Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I usually cut them into 16 smaller bars, but you can cut them into 12 larger bars.
- Drizzle bars with icing or top with whipped cream if desired.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The bars stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Then, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving and glazing.
- Gingersnap Crust: Use crunchy gingersnap cookies and grind them in a food processor into a fine crumb. I prefer Nabisco or Trader Joe’s brand.
- For a Graham Cracker Crust: A graham cracker crust would be just as tasty as the gingersnap. Use the graham cracker crust from my lemon blueberry cheesecake bars (it makes the perfect amount of crust!).
- Yogurt: For the yogurt/sour cream—I always use low fat for these bars; full fat would be just fine. Try to avoid fat free for this recipe.
- Spices: Instead of these spices, you can use 1 teaspoon store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice. You will still add the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon that is also in this recipe.
- Double Batch: You can easily double this recipe to feed a crowd! Double the ingredients, pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes in a 9×13 pan, and bake the bars at 325°F (163°C) for roughly 55 minutes, give or take. Keep your eye on them after 45 minutes.
- Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook Spiced Pumpkin Bars.
Keywords: pumpkin streusel bars
Reader Comments & Reviews
This is one of my favorite desserts ever. I make it in pie form for every thanksgiving and my friends constantly request I make this!!! I also sometimes double the filling when making in bigger dish.
Hmmm, this was not great. Followed the recipe but I think the baking time is off. It took over an hour and it was still not set and mushy when cutting into. The crust base also soaked in some of the filling, despite prebaking for as long as the recipe said. Overall, not happy with this one.