Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

5 stars average

These pumpkin bars are made with pumpkin puree and fall spices, then topped with cream cheese frosting. Easy to make and the perfect dessert for fall!

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes

Serving pumpkin cream cheese bars scaled

These pumpkin bars are made with pumpkin puree and fall spices, then topped with cream cheese frosting. Easy to make and the perfect dessert for fall!

Serving perfect pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting.

Today’s dessert is perfect for fall and a great use of extra pumpkin you might have sitting around: Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting. The secret to these moist and flavorful pumpkin bars is a rich and creamy frosting that is swirled in the batter before baking. Another secret ingredient is shredded carrots! Not only do they add extra vitamins and nutrients, but the shredded carrots keep the batter super light and moist. The end result is a pumpkin bar scented with warm fall spices and dotted with delicious cream cheese.


  • Pastry flour: I like to use whole wheat pastry flour for the added fiber and health benefits, but as this is a treat, you can get away with using any flour you have. Use almond flour and these become gluten-free!
  • Warm spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves are the typical spices you would find in pumpkin pie spice, giving these bars a signature fall flavor.
  • Baking soda & baking powder: Gives the batter the lift it needs so the pumpkin bars can rise.
  • Sea salt: Salt is essential in baking for balancing out flavors, as well as helping to enhance the natural sweetness of ingredients.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the pumpkin bars and helps to make the frosting.
  • Brown sugar: Also sweetens the batter, but gives a bit of a deeper flavor because of the molasses.
  • Coconut oil: My favorite replacement for vegetable oil in baking, it adds moisture to the batter.
  • Eggs & egg whites: Adds moisture as well as helps to bind the bars once baked.
  • Pure pumpkin: Not to be mistaken with pumpkin pie filling, pure pumpkin adds great flavor as well as benefits like vitamin C.
  • Carrot: Blends and mostly hides in the batter, but adds texture and you’ll still get the nutritional benefits!
  • Cream cheese: Already pretty creamy and somewhat sweet, it whips into a delicious frosting like topping for the pumpkin bars.
  • Skim milk: Helps to thin the frosting to a spreadable consistency.

How to Make Perfect Pumpkin bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pouring pumpkin batter scaled

Start your pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting by mixing all of your dry ingredients in one bowl and your wet ingredients in another. Then you’ll slowly stir your flour mixture to the wet ingredients until fully incorporated. I’ll usually just use a hand mixer.

Spreading pumpkin mixture scaled

Then take your pumpkin mixture and spread it evenly in a prepared baking dish.

Adding cream cheese to pumpkin batter scaled

Then in a small bowl, whisk the cream cheese, sugar, and milk until smooth and combined. Using a spoon, dollop some of the cream cheese frosting evenly across the pumpkin mixture.

Spreading cream cheese into pumpkin scaled

Using a knife, make cutting motions across the top of the cream cheese and pumpkin mixture to create a swirled design. Then toss in the oven at 350 for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Perfect pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting.

Let your pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting cool before cutting and serving, and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Could I add chocolate chips to these?

If you’re a fan of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies or muffins, adding chocoalte chips to these pumpkin bars would also be tasty!

Do pumpkin bars need to be refrigerated?

Keep them in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge, or a couple days at room temperature.

What is the difference between pumpkin pie mix and pumpkin puree?

Canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree is usually just that: pure pumpkin (and maybe a little bit of salt). Pumpkin pie filling usually also has the pumpkin spice and sugar in addition to the puree.

pumpking bars with cream cheese scaled

More Pumpkin Recipes

Eat It, Like It, Share It!

Did you try this recipe and like it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your dish.

Liz enjoying pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting.

One of my favorite fall desserts, my pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting will quickly become your favorite, too. What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe?

No fork required.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars Recipe

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

5 stars average
These pumpkin bars are made with pumpkin puree and fall spices, then topped with cream cheese frosting. Easy to make and the perfect dessert for fall!
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 30 minutes
TOTAL: 40 minutes
Servings: 48 Bars


Cream Cheese Topping:

  • 4 ounces light cream cheese
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan with non-stick butter spray.
  • In a small bowl, wisk together flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  • In a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter substitute with an electric mixer on high until crumbly.
  • With mixer on medium, slowly add eggs one at a time.
  • Continue mixing and add pumpkin and carrots.
  • Add flour mixture to the wet mixture until well combined.
  • Pour into jelly roll pan.
  • In a small bowl, wisk together cream cheese, sugar and milk until smooth.
  • Drop teaspoon-fulls of topping over pumpkin batter and swirl and cut mixture into batter with a butter knife.
  • Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan completely on wire rack before cutting into squares.


Modified from Fit Sugar


Serving: 1pieceCalories: 71kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 1gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 90mgPotassium: 71mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1652IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 19mgIron: 1mg

13 thoughts on “Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. I just finished making this recipe,baked it 9×13 because I I don’t have a jelly roll pan. Can the finished bar be frozen? Also it’s tanking longer to bake in my pan because it’s thicker. Smells devine

  2. I substituted the flour for coconut flour (sifted) the sugar for swerve and the sugar in the frosting for swerve confectionery sugar. Added some vanilla extract to the frosting. Left out carrots.

  3. This pumpkin bar recipe knocked my socks off. I usually make the same pumpkin bread every year but I wanted to try something different with pumpkin. It is moist and has great flavor from all the spices and the cream cheese was perfect and didn’t over power the pumpkin. The hubby loved it. I gave him a fork with his piece and he said I don’t need a fork.

  4. I found this recipe on Pinterest and thought I was all set to make it, but I didn’t purchase whole wheat pastry flour, but regular whole wheat flour. I couldn’t find the pastry flour at my store. I am new to cooking in a more healthy manner. Will my flour make it too dense and not even worth trying?

    1. Regular whole wheat flour is fine but I definitely suggest trying whole wheat pastry flour if you’re in to healthy baking! It makes pancakes, muffins, breads, cookies, etc. much lighter but still has plenty of protein and fiber. Good luck let me know!

      1. I did end up going half and half. My two-year-old had a blast dumping in ingredients for me! I used a metal 9×13 pan because I didn’t have a jelly roll pan so it was more like cake, but was so moist and delicious! I also used pumpkin my husband had cooked from fresh and had been in the freezer since last fall. It thawed wonderfully and worked very well. I will keep looking for the pastry flour. Thank you!!

        1. Oh I’m so impressed you used fresh pumpkin!! So glad you enjoyed it – we will be making this again soon!!! BTW a jelly roll pan is just a fancy term for a baking sheet or cookie pan with sides. :)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your feedback is important to us. Rate what you thought of this.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.