Paula Deen's Pumpkin Bars are so soft and moist with sweet pumpkin, warm fall spices, and the most perfectly fluffy cream cheese frosting. Perfect for fall and holiday baking!
Have you tried Paula Deen's pumpkin bar recipe? We did and they're outrageously delicious!
Soft, moist, and tender with warm pumpkin flavors and the most luscious cream cheese frosting ever.
They're super easy to make and the perfect recipe for pumpkin season.
Almost perfect, anyway. I just have two (tiny) things to mention ...
First: It's really cake. The texture is light and tender and it rises as high as cake. If you make these expecting a firm pumpkin cookie bar-type dessert, just know you're gonna get cake instead. And a darned good one, at that!
Second: The only spice in her recipe is cinnamon. So I added pumpkin pie spice to the cake -- I mean bars -- and frosting to give it the full-on fall flavor I love in pumpkin desserts.
Nitpicks aside, these are incredibly delicious pumpkin bars and a new fall favorite.
Five stars. 10/10. Definitely recommend.
Looking for more classic Paula Deen recipe ideas? Try these next!
- Paula Deen Corn Casserole
- Paula Deen Sweet Potato Casserole
- Paula Deen's Southern Green Bean Casserole
Why You're Going to Love This Recipe
- Ultimate pumpkin dessert, perfect for fall baking or your Thanksgiving dessert table
- Rich pumpkin with tangy cream cheese = best combination ever!
- Easy fall recipe with simple ingredients
Canned pumpkin puree. Make sure you don't accidentally grab pumpkin pie filling by accident. The cans look pretty similar, but the pumpkin pie filling cans are larger.
All-purpose flour. Spoon and level the flour in a measuring cup. If you scoop it right out of the bag, it compacts and you end up adding more, which can make the cake dry and dense.
Baking powder. If it's been a while since you've used your baking powder, test to make sure it's fresh. Stir ½ teaspoon baking powder into a bowl with 3 tablespoons of warm water. If it fizzes, it's fresh.
Baking soda. Test your baking soda for freshness by mixing ½ teaspoon baking soda with 3 tablespoons vinegar. If it bubbles, it's still good.
Pumpkin pie spice. Paula Deen's pumpkin bar recipe doesn't call for pumpkin spice, so I added it. I put it in the frosting, too. If you don't have any, get my easy recipe to make your own pumpkin pie spice here.
Cream cheese. Soften the cream cheese at room temperature so it will blend easily into the frosting.
Butter. Use softened butter for easy mixing and smooth cream cheese frosting.
Powdered sugar. Sift or whisk the confectioner's sugar to remove any clumps.
Toppings. For an extra bit of texture and flavor, I added chopped walnuts and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Toasted coconut or a dusting of cinnamon would also be delicious.
How to Make Paula Deen's Pumpkin Bars
1. Prep the oven and pan.
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Make the pumpkin bar batter.
In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with an electric mixer on medium speed until the pumpkin mixture is smooth and creamy.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda.
On low speed, mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients in 3 intervals, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix until completely combined.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Place the pan on a wire baking rack and cool completely.
4. Make the frosting.
Beat one package cream cheese and ½ cup butter until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and pumpkin pie spice and mix on low speed until combined. Mix in the vanilla.
Frost the cooled pumpkin bars with the cream cheese frosting.
5. Serve and enjoy!
Paula Deen's pumpkin bars are perfect just the way they are.
For a little extra texture and flavor, sprinkle the top of the bars with chopped walnuts, a dusting of cinnamon, or a drizzle of caramel sauce.
To make pumpkin bars exactly the way Paula Deen does, click this link for her recipe.
Store leftover pumpkin bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Bake the bars, cool completely, and cover tightly. Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
Make the frosting and serve.
Freeze frosted bars tightly wrapped for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
- Softened cream cheese and butter helps make the frosting smooth and creamy.
- Sifting or whisking the flour breaks up lumps and aerates the flour so it mixes easily with the wet ingredients
- Cool the bars completely before frosting.
- The cream cheese frosting is soft and perfectly gloopy. For firmer frosting, add more confectioners' sugar until it reaches your desired consistency.
Yes, you can freeze pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, however, it's best to freeze them without the frosting and add it after thawing. Tightly wrap the cooled, unfrosted bars in plastic wrap and foil. Thaw them in the refrigerator or at room temperature and add the cream cheese frosting before serving.
Unfrosted pumpkin bars can be stored at room temperature. Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated.
Yes! Of course, cream cheese frosting is a classic choice for pumpkin bars, but you could also top them with lemon glaze, brown butter frosting, or a simple dollop of brown sugar cinnamon whipped cream. Or try this white chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Stuff I Use
If your 9 x 13 pan has seen better days, this Wilton nonstick baking pan with a lid is a solid choice.
More Easy Pumpkin Recipes
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Paula Deen Pumpkin Bars
- 4 eggs
- 1 ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 15 ounces canned pumpkin
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- caramel sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
- In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 intervals, mixing on low and scraping down the sides, until smooth and completely combined.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on a wire baking rack and cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and pumpkin pie spice and mix on low speed until combined. Mix in the vanilla. Spread cream cheese frosting onto the cooled pumpkin bars.
- Sprinkle the top of the bars with chopped walnuts and serve with a drizzle of caramel sauce, optional.