For the bars:
- 1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (7.5 ounces) pumpkin puree
For the frosting:
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk, plus more if needed
To make the bars:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 8 by 8-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and pumpkin. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light, fluffy, and smooth. Add in the cinnamon and salt. On low speed, gradually add in the powdered sugar until incorporated. Add in the vanilla and milk and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat until very light and fluffy. If the frosting becomes too runny, add more powdered sugar. If the frosting is too thick, add more milk. Spread the frosting evenly all over the pumpkin bars.
Cut into squares before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
I made these for Thanksgiving. They were a huge hit! The only thing I changed was in the frosting, I used pumpkin pie spice.
These are amazing what is so special is even though they look thick and heavy, they are light and fluffy and delicious!!
So glad you enjoyed these, Molly!! 🙂
Hands down our family’s fave fall treat! We make it once a week from October through December! And a few times in between when we’re missing fall too much! Thank you!!
Yay! So glad to hear that, Jess!
This recipe was a hit in our house! Thanks so much. Already can’t wait to make it again. Easy and fun to make for fall season, moist, and everyone loved it! My frosting had a sugary grit to it from the brown sugar even after beating it, is that how it’s supposed to be? Might even try a cream cheese frosting next time I make it! Thanks again!!
Yay! So glad these bars were a hit, Nina!!
OMG Tessa! These are amazing! The spice flavours are perfect, the bars are dense and moist and THAT ICING!! I see this is one of your older recipes but it’s definitely a keeper and will be on repeat in my kitchen. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!
These are awesome! I added 1/2 teaspoon of cloves too!
Is it common that these did not pour out of the bowl but rather I had to spread them?
Hi Mimi! Yes, this is a pretty thick batter – but I hope you found it as delicious as we do!! Let us know what you thought of these bars 🙂
Planning on making these and am wondering do you use any cooking spray over the foil or parchment paper? Can’t wait to update on the recipe itself!
Hi Heidi! Feel free to spay your parchment, but we haven’t had any trouble with these bars sticking to un-sprayed parchment 🙂 Let us know what you think once you’ve given this recipe a try!! Happy baking 🙂
These were AMAZING! The frosting consistency was perfect, the best I’ve ever made. Printing this one off to put in the family cookbook. Thank you!
Can you add chocolate chips to this recipe? I want to try and make without the frosting so was wondering if semi-sweet chips could do the trick similar to the choc chip pumpkin blondies! Thank you!
Hi Melissa! We haven’t tried that, but it should work okay! I’d try one to two cups of chocolate chips to start and see how that goes 🙂
These were wonderful! I doubled the recipe, they were moist and the brown sugar in the frosting made them super special!
Awesome! Pinned and added to my baking collection. Easy to make, moist, wonderful flavor, and really fun frosting!
Hi Kelli! So excited to hear that!! Thanks so much for the comment 🙂
I used fresh pumpkin pureee and it turned out well and had a brighter orange color.
Perfection! This is a great twist on a pumpkin bread! A little more dense, very moist, FULL of fresh flavor! The Brown Sugar frosting is DIVINE and it’s the first time I’ve successfully made a frosting – my tip? Do not rush it! Let your butter sit out (I let mine out for an hour) so it can be soft enough to make your end result light and fluffy! I whipped my butter/brown sugar for 6 or 7 minutes, took my time adding the powdered sugar, and then let it get really extra whippy at the end. It was more frosting than we like so I didn’t use it all but for those who like extra frosting, this recipe provides for that. ENJOY! (We devoured it before any pics could be taken for evidence!)
So happy you loved this recipe!
Wow! This was amazingly good. Dense and delicious. That frosting… Yummmy!
What adjustments would need to be made to bake these in a 9×13 cake pan? Or a 1/2 sheet pan?
Hi Karin! You would double the recipe completely to bake in a 9×13 pan and add a few minutes onto the baking time 🙂 We haven’t tried a 1/2 sheet pan with this recipe, but the common rule is to make 1.5x the amount. Doubling will result in an overflowed pan! Here’s a great article by King Arthur Baking that may help you in the future! CLICK HERE
I doubled the recipe and I’m glad I did because these are awesome!!! I found them to be easy to make. The frosting is SO GOOD!! Everybody loved them! Another perfect recipe. Thank you!!
Loved this recipe!! The bars were perfectly moist and spiced and the icing was so fluffy and the perfect sweetness to complement the bars 🙂 Definitely recommend as this was also so easy to make!
Yay! So glad you loved this recipe, thanks so much for letting us know!
Everyone loved these bars but, when I made the brown sugar frosting it was crunchy. I looked online for suggestions about how to fix it and none of them worked, so I re-made the frosting but sifted the brown sugar before combining it with the butter, and made sure not to under beat it because of what happened the first time I made it. (I keep the brown sugar in a canning jar canister with a tightly sealed lid, so it wasn’t hard or dried out) Even after sifting there was still a little crunch to it, so I threw it out again and just made a buttercream. But I really would like to make that brown sugar frosting, what did I do wrong? Ultimately the bars were a HUGE hit, but I was disappointed about the whole frosting thing. (And, call me crazy but, I’m going to try buying a fresh box of brown sugar and remaking it a third time because I REALLY want to make that frosting work! Haha!) Thanks for the recipe and any tips you may be able to send my way.
Hi Sil! This brown sugar frosting is just not as smooth by its nature as a powdered sugar frosting. We think of it as being a bit like cookie dough! You could try using a different brand of sugar or even a different buttercream if you don’t care for the texture of brown sugar. Here’s a link to our Best Ever Buttercream recipe — vanilla, cinnamon, or even maple buttercream would be absolutely delicious with these bars. I hope that helps!
If the brown sugar is too gritty for your likes, I would just make a cream cheese frosting instead!
Delicious, made for neighbors party and everyone loved them
Can these bars be made with almond flour vs all purpose flour. The sound and look awesome
Hi Linda! We haven’t tried that, we don’t use almond flour in our recipes. Good luck!
Hi Emily! Thank you for a wonderful recipe! It was just the right spicy mix and the lighter frosting really complemented the moist pumpkin bars. Everyone loved it!!!
Aw yay!! So happy to hear that, thanks so much for sharing! 🙂
Amazing recipe! The pumpkin bars are a hit with my family. Easy recipe to whip up for everyone to enjoy. HTH knocked this one out of the park.
Hooray!! So happy to hear they were such a hit!! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂
Hi, I have been dying to make these bars! I have a fresh jar of McCormick pumpkin spice. How can I substitute that for the spices you have listed? Thank you so much!
We haven’t tried that, so I can’t say for sure! Your best bet is to substitute in an equal amount of pumpkin spice for the individual spices, then add more to taste. Keep in mind that the end result won’t taste quite the same though as pumpkin pie spice is only about half cinnamon. Please let us know how it goes if you give it a try!
Hi- my friend made these bars and gave me the recipe so can’t wait to bake them this weekend – they were heavenly!
One question – for the frosting – do I sift the powdered sugar before measuring? Or just sift it after measuring?
Hi Eve! Excited for you to enjoy them! You will measure the powdered sugar, then sift. Just for future reference, anything listed after a comma for an ingredient will be done after measuring the ingredient. So if the ingredient is listed instead as “1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar”, then you would sift prior to measuring. I hope that makes sense!
THESE BARS ARE AMAZING! I ran out of milk for the frosting so I used an extra 1/2 tsp of vanilla. I also added 1/4th of pumpkin pie spice to the dry ingredient mixture. What an amazing dessert I’m in heaven ! My husband doesn’t like pumpkin anything and is licking his fingers from these! Thank you so much such a great recipe !
So great to hear, Abigail! Happy to hear it was such a hit with your husband, thanks so much for sharing!
The frosting was amazing. The bars were dry and very dense. I baked them for less time than suggested too. I would make this frosting again in a minute, but not the bars.
I’m so sorry to hear you had issues with this recipe, Jeannine! It sounds like too much flour may have been added to the recipe, do you use a digital scale to measure your ingredients?
Very rarely do I find a recipe on Pinterest that I’d never make again but this is one of them. The taste of the bars is bland with not enough spice or pumpkin flavor. The icing was grainy and my brown sugar was fresh and mixed in well. A friend who tasted one asked, “Are these pumpkin?” That pretty much says it all.
This was delicious and easy. A big hit with my office crowd when I forced myself to share!
haha love it! So happy they were enjoyed, hopefully you saved a few for yourself at home! 😉
Excellent bars. My family loved them with two members stating, “These are one of the best things you’ve ever made!” My very picky 15 year old that has some health issues and definite struggles with appetite, loved them. It was a unique and wonderful experience to have him actually eat and like something. This recipe is a keeper!
So happy to hear that, wonderful!! I’ll be sure to pass this along to Tessa, glad everyone loved them 🙂
OMG!!! This was such a HUGE HIT with my family and friends. It was the first pumpkin recipe I made of the season…bringing in that Fall weather! And man, it totally didn’t disappoint; nor did it last long! I doubled the pumpkin bar recipe, but not the frosting; and it was still a perfect balance of all the flavors. I ate these both at room temperature after baking, as well as cold after being stored in the fridge. They are yummy both ways, but I believe they are their BEST at room temperature!
Wonderful to hear!! So happy you loved this recipe, Jennifer, and that it was a hit with your family and friends! Thanks for the rave review 🙂
These bars are delicious pumpkin-y heaven. The frosting is really good, though I didn’t have good luck with the frosting. Probably user error.
I ended up using just half a can of pumpkin and it worked just fine. So one can of pumpkin can make these twice – and you’ll want to make it twice so that works well.
This is such a wonderful recipe for fall, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! What happened with your frosting? Hopefully I can help perfect it for the next time you make this recipe 🙂
This recipe is delicious! Cake was super moist yet also just dense enough to stay together like a bar. Delicious pumpkin flavor and not too spicy. My only issue was that my brown sugar frosting had a crunchy texture most especially on the first day of making it. It was very evident on the first bite. But by the second day the crunchy texture wasn’t immediately evident and the “crunchiness” seemed to have settled a bit but was still there. Is this normal for brown sugar frosting? Or could it mean I needed to mix the brown sugar and butter longer?
Hi Suzanne! It sounds like you needed to mix the brown sugar and butter longer, especially since you said as the cake sat, the crunchiness started to “disappear”. Was your brown sugar dried out at all? That could also have been the issue. How long did you beat the butter and brown sugar for?
These came out perfect and super easy! Really good recipe!
So happy you loved them, thanks for letting us know!
Tessa, can this be doubled in a 9×13 pan?
Hi Carol! Yes, it can! Enjoy your pumpkin bars 🙂
Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?
Hi Vanessa! In the directions of this recipe, it states how to store these bars as well as how long they last 🙂 Hope that helps!
This looks so good! Do you use this frosting in any other recipes?
Hi Suzanne, thank you! We don’t currently use this frosting with other recipes, but you can easily do so! This may have to be a recipe we revisit in the future-that frosting is divine! Excited for you to try it 🙂