By Wendy Stoltz and Florina Dobre / Last Modified On May 25, 2023
These easy gluten-free pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are soft, sturdy, and loaded with your favorite pumpkin spice flavors. They're the perfect Fall dessert for potlucks, parties, and group gatherings. You're going to make this recipe all season long. Just one sheet pan, oozing with frosting, slice it up and watch it all disappear. It's such a hit!
If you love Fall as I do, try this tender gluten-free pumpkin cake or my flavorful paleo pumpkin bread. Explore options such as gluten-free pumpkin bars, gluten-free pumpkin pie, and gluten-free pumpkin muffins. I have countless delicious gluten-free pumpkin recipes available to satisfy your pumpkin cravings.
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GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN BARS RECIPE
Fall is all about potlucks, parties, and gatherings; these gluten-free pumpkin bars are a time saver. I often get asked multiple times to please bring the same dessert, as this is such a hit with its pumpkin flavor. I sometimes feel bad when the other desserts are only tried after mine.
If you want a staple dessert for Fall, this is the one pumpkin dessert recipe to have out!
WHY YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE THIS GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN BARS
Perfect for a crowd - For potlucks, parties, and gatherings, these Fall gluten-free pumpkin bars are perfect. It's the perfect handheld version of pumpkin cake.
Easy to make - With minimal ingredients, this dessert recipe comes together so easily you'll make it all season.
All your favorite Fall flavors - Who doesn't love pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavors wrapped into the perfect cake during Fall?
INGREDIENTS IN GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN BARS
FOR THE BARS:
Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend - You can use one of our gluten-free flour blends or your favorite all-purpose 1:1 style gluten-free flour. This gluten-free flour blend has xanthan gum in it already. If your blend does not have xantham gum, then add it in.
Baking powder - This will make your pumpkin bars rise beautifully. Not baking soda. Baking soda is also a leavening agent, but I prefer baking powder for this recipe.
Seasoning and spices - Add your Fall pumpkin pie spice and ground cinnamon flavors. Add some salt.
Canned Pumpkin puree - 15oz canned pumpkin puree. You can also use freshly pureed pumpkin, and it's 1:1.
Milk - You can use whole, unsweetened almond or coconut milk.
Vanilla extract - A good quality extract always adds a great taste.
Eggs - I use 3 large eggs.
Sugar - A combination of white sugar and brown sugar.
Oil - Use vegetable oil or coconut oil.
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
Butter - butter softened.
Cream cheese - cream cheese softened, or if dairy free, use vegan cashew cream cheese.
Powdered sugar - Also called confectioners' sugar or icing sugar,
Vanilla extract - A good quality extract always adds a great taste.
EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR THESE GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN BARS
Sheet cake pan - I like to use an 11x15-inch cake pan.
Handheld mixer - I like this hand mixer. Choose one that's got enough power and speed.
If you have any questions about making Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars, please comment, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN BARS
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF and grease an 11x15-inch cake pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
- Combine the pumpkin puree, milk, vanilla extract, eggs, sugar, and oil in a separate bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients mixture to the wet ingredients (pumpkin mixture) and mix well to combine.
- Pour the batter into the greased 11x15 inch cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool completely before frosting. TIP: This is an important step; you don't want the frosting to melt. To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the butter with the cream cheese until combined. You can use a stand or a hand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until all the sugar is well incorporated, and the frosting is smooth and creamy.
- Smooth the frosting over the cooled pumpkin bars.
- Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes before slicing and serving. TIP: To make the bars prettier, dust them with some ground cinnamon.
- Serve and enjoy.
TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE THESE EASY GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN BARS
Sheet cake pan - I like to use an 11x15-inch cake pan. You can also use a 10x15 inch or 9x13 inch, but the bars will be thicker.
Spray - Make sure to grease your sheet cake pan so your pumpkin bars don't stick. You can also use parchment paper.
Cooling - Always give the bars 30-60 minutes before frosting, or the frosting melts.
Additions - If you want to change it up a bit, add raisins or chocolate chips.
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DO I MAKE THESE GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN BARS DAIRY FREE?
Use unsweetened almond or coconut milk, then replace the cream cheese in the frosting with vegan cashew cream cheese.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PUMPKIN PIE FILLING (OR MIX) AND CANNED PUMPKIN PUREE?
So pumpkin pie filling or mix usually includes cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and sugar. Pumpkin puree is just pumpkin and salt added.
CAN I USE PUMPKIN PIE FILLING IN THIS GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN BAR RECIPE?
I would not suggest it as it will change the taste profile. Pumpkin pie filling is for pumpkin pies.
TIP FOR MEASURING GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR
Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level when working with or measuring flour. Do not scoop your measuring cup into the gluten-free flour. The best method really is to weigh the flour, but I don't have the ingredient weights for all my recipes yet.
HOW CAN I STORE GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN BARS?
Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
CAN I FREEZE GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN BARS?
Yes, you can freeze them. Allow them to cool, then individually wrap them in foil, plastic, or an airtight container. Do not frost them. They can be frozen for 2-3 months.
Can I Make Gluten-Free Pumpkin Squares Ahead Of Time?
Yes, you can make pumpkin bars ahead of time. Refrigerate them for up to 5 days, or freeze them and then defrost and ice them when ready to serve.
Can I Make These Pumpkin Bars Without Eggs?
You can make pumpkin bars without eggs. But unfortunately, I have not tried it with this recipe yet. If you do, please comment for others.
What Can I Serve With These GF Pumpkin Bars?
- Dusting of Cinnamon - Just before serving, dust the pumpkin bars with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. It adds a touch of warmth and enhances the fall flavors.
- Whipped Cream - Top each pumpkin bar slice with a dollop of whipped cream. You can use regular or dairy-free whipped cream as a vegan option.
- Drizzle of Caramel Sauce - Add a drizzle of caramel sauce over the pumpkin bars for extra sweetness and a delightful caramel flavor. It pairs exceptionally well with the pumpkin spice.
- Chopped Nuts - Sprinkle chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, on top of the cream cheese frosting. It adds crunch, texture, and a nutty flavor that complements the pumpkin.
- Fresh Berries - Serve the pumpkin bars with fresh berries like raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries. The tartness of the berries pairs nicely with the sweetness of the bars.
- Ice Cream - Warm up a slice of pumpkin bar and serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a seasonal flavor like cinnamon or caramel. The combination of warm and cold creates a delightful contrast.
- Dessert Sauce - Accompany the pumpkin bars with a drizzle of dessert sauce like chocolate sauce, butterscotch sauce, or even a berry coulis. It adds a decadent touch and additional flavor options.
How Can I Add More Flavor To These Pumpkin Bars?
- Add spices - While the recipe includes pumpkin pie spice and ground cinnamon, you can enhance the flavor by adding spices such as nutmeg, cloves, or allspice.
- Add citrus zest - Grate the zest of an orange or a lemon and add it to the batter. Citrus zest adds a bright, refreshing flavor that complements the pumpkin spice.
- Incorporate chopped nuts - Add a handful of chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts to the batter. They will provide a pleasant crunch and add a nutty flavor that pairs well with pumpkin.
- Include dried fruits - You can add a handful of dried cranberries, raisins, or chopped dates to the batter. They will add bursts of sweetness and a chewy texture.
- Experiment with extracts - In addition to vanilla extract, you can add other almond or maple extract to enhance the overall flavor profile.
- Use flavorful toppings - Besides the cream cheese frosting, you can experiment with other toppings to add more flavor. For example, sprinkle toasted coconut flakes, crushed nuts, or a drizzle of caramel sauce over the frosting.
Can I Make This Recipe In A Different Pan Size?
Yes, you can definitely make this recipe in a different pan size. Adjusting the pan size may affect the baking time and thickness of the bars, so it's important to make the necessary modifications. Gluten-free baking is different from gluten baking.
Pumpkin puree - I like to use Farmer's Market Foods Canned Organic Pumpkin Puree or Green Valley Organics Pumpkin.
Flour - You can use one of our gluten-free flour blends or your favorite all-purpose Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars
These easy gluten-free pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are so soft, sturdy, and loaded with your favorite pumpkin spice flavors. Perfect for Fall!
For the gluten-free pumpkin bars:
- 2 cups gluten-free flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
For the cream cheese frosting:
- ½ cup butter softened
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF and grease an 11x15 inch cake pan.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.
- In a separate bowl combine the pumpkin puree, milk, vanilla extract, eggs, sugars, and oil.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well to combine.
- Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool completely before frosting.
- To make the cream cheese frosting beat together the butter with the cream cheese until combined. You can use a stand or a hand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until all the sugar is well incorporated and the frosting is smooth and creamy.
- Smooth the frosting over the cooled pumpkin bars and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes before slicing and serving. To make the bars more pretty you can dust them with some ground cinnamon.
- Store any leftovers in an air-tight container and cover them tightly with plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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Green Valley Organics Pumpkin | Certified Organic | 100% Dickinson Variety | Sweet Earthy Delicious | Firm & Smooth | Vibrant Autumn Orange | American Grown & Made | 15 oz (Pack of 4)
Farmer's Market Foods Canned Organic Pumpkin Puree, 15 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, 22-ounce
Wilton Performance Pans Aluminum Medium Sheet Cake Pan, 11 x 15-Inch, Aluminum
Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Electric Hand Mixer with Whisk, Traditional Beaters, Snap-On Storage Case, White
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 682Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 429mgCarbohydrates: 82gFiber: 1gSugar: 58gProtein: 7g
This nutrition info is based on the exact ingredients and brands that I used a the time. It may not be 100% accurate. Please check your ingredients nutrition labels.
I don't have an 11 X 15 pan. I looked for equivalences online .... will a 9 x 13 work with adjusted baking time?
Yes it will, like you said just adjust the time so they cook through.
Made this today with my granddaughter. It is certainly easy, though I prefer grams for accuracy. We followed the recipe exactly and, while the texture is very good, I think I would double the pumpkin pie spice. It didn’t have much flavor-couldn’t smell or taste the spices.
So lovely to hear you baking with your granddaughter, how special! Spicing is always a tricky one as it comes down to personal preference.
Can I use coconut sugar instead of brown and white sugar?
You can in a ratio of 1:1, I have not tried it, however. You made need to adjust the baking time and I am not sure if it will impact the other ingredients. Let us know how it goes.
what makes these "bars" vs. slices of cake? I think of a bar as something denser, with more layers or components and richer. I added chocolate chunks and walnuts, and doubled the spice. In the oven now....we'll see how it turns out.
Hi B.F, Let us know how it turns out.