Pumpkin Bars with cake mix are soft and chewy with layers of gooey pumpkin-spiced sweetened condensed milk, pecans, cranberries, white and dark chocolate chips, and flaky coconut. Delicious fall dessert that starts with a handy box of cake mix!
And this simple recipe for pumpkin bars with cake mix.
Just like magic bars, these cake mix pumpkin spice bars are all about the layers. The soft, pumpkin-spiced cake layer is topped with gooey pumpkin filling, layered with dried cranberries, pecans, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, and sweetened coconut, then baked until the coconut is perfectly toasted.
These easy pumpkin bars are thick, soft, gooey, and full of pumpkin spice flavor.
Why You're Going to Love This Recipe
- Easy pumpkin cake bars with simple ingredients
- Great way to use up the rest of a can of pumpkin
- Perfect fall dessert with all the warm and cozy flavors of pumpkin season
- Decadent pumpkin dessert bars with layers and layers of delicious things!
Please refer to the recipe card for the full list and quantity of ingredients.
Box of yellow cake mix. I made these delicious pumpkin bars with yellow cake mix. You can also use white cake mix, spice cake mix, or carrot cake mix -- just skip the pumpkin spice for carrot or spice cake mix. Don't follow the directions on the boxed cake mix.
Sweetened condensed milk. Sweetened condensed milk makes all the layers in these pumpkin bars with cake mix adhere together in the most delicious way.
Canned pumpkin. One cup of fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree mixed with sweetened condensed milk and pumpkin spice creates a gooey layer for these pumpkin bars. Make sure you don't grab pumpkin pie filling by accident -- the cans look similar.
Pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin pie spice adds warm fall flavor to the cake mix and the pumpkin filling. You can use store-bought or make your own with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. You can get my easy homemade pumpkin pie spice recipe here. To make a small batch of pumpkin spice for this recipe, stir together 2 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon cloves, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg.
Toppings. Pecans, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, and coconut add sweet, nutty flavor and chewy, creamy, crunchy textures. You can use any kind of nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips you like.
How to Make Pumpkin Bars with Cake Mix: Step-by-Step Instructions
Before you get started: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray.
Step 1: In a large bowl, stir together the dry cake mix and 3 teaspoons of pumpkin spice. Add the softened butter and egg. Mix with an electric mixer on medium-low to medium speed until it forms a soft dough.
Step 2: Use wet fingers or a silicone spatula to evenly press the dough into the prepared pan.
Step 3: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin puree, and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the cake layer.
Step 4: Add the toppings in this order: pecans, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, and coconut.
Step 5: With a fork, gently press the coconut layer down into the sweetened condensed milk. This will help adhere all the layers together.
Step 6: Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean, and the coconut is dark golden brown and toasted.
Cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes. Cut into small squares.
Pumpkin bars with cake mix are equally good warm, at room temperature, or cold.
- Use store-bought pumpkin spice or make your own with spices you might already have with this homemade pumpkin spice recipe.
- Wet your fingertips to make pressing the cake mixture into the pan super easy.
- Gently press the coconut into the sweetened condensed milk layer to adhere the layers together.
If you have less than a full can of pumpkin leftover, you can refrigerate it for up to a week, freeze it for up to a year, or use it to flavor your oatmeal, pancakes, maple syrup, pumpkin lattes, chili (yes), smoothies, cakes, cookies, muffins, or even your favorite hummus recipe.
It's easy to make your own pumpkin pie spice with a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Here's my recipe for pumpkin pie spice that I use all the time.
Canned pumpkin, which is also called pumpkin puree, is made from cooked and pureed pumpkin or a blend of pumpkin and squash. of squash. Pumpkin pie filling includes cooked pumpkin or squash and has sweeteners and spices added as a time-saver for making pumpkin pie.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also freeze these bars in a freezer-safe container or ziptop freezer bag.
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Pumpkin Bars with Cake Mix
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 egg
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
- 1 cup pecan pieces
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup white chocolate chips
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, stir the yellow cake mix and 3 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice together. Add the softened butter and egg and mix with an electric mixer until it comes together into a stiff dough, almost like cookie dough.
- Using wet fingers or a silicone spatula, evenly press the dough into the pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup of pumpkin puree, and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice together until smooth.
- Pour the pumpkin sweetened condensed milk mixture over the cake layer.
- Add the layers of nuts, chocolate chips, cranberries, and coconut in this order: pecans, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, and coconut.
- Use a fork to lightly press the coconut layer down into the sweetened condensed milk. This will help the toppings adhere together during baking.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the coconut is dark golden brown, the center is firm. It takes exactly 40 minutes in my oven, but yours may be different so start checking it a bit early.
- Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. They are exceptional when warm — and still gooey and delicious when cool.
Storage & Freezing
- Store pumpkin bars with cake mix in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also freeze these bars in a freezer-safe container or ziptop freezer bag.