These delicious Pumpkin Bars are my favorite Thanksgiving dessert. If you think you love pumpkin pie, just wait until you try my grandma’s recipe for the most incredible pumpkin dessert. There are three layers of deliciousness that start with a buttery yellow cake crust, second is a filling of sweet pumpkin pie filling, top it off with a yellow cake crumble and a spoonful of whipped cream for the best fall treat!
These pumpkin bars are a must! I made them for the teachers at my school and everyone loved them so much! Will be making again for Thanksgiving!— Danielle
I’m one of those people that enjoys pumpkin things all year round, not just in the fall. Once the leaves start turning, I literally can’t stop dreaming about all things pumpkin! And these pumpkin bars are at the top of that list! They satisfy every pumpkin spice craving, and also every butter and cake craving I’ve ever had in my life. It takes Thanksgiving nostalgia to new heights. Not only are these my favorite Thanksgiving treat, they’re pretty much my favorite dessert ever! And they’re so easy too!
In my opinion, these easy pumpkin bars are so much more flavorful than your traditional pumpkin pie. They’ve got the perfect blend of sweetness and spice, and that yellow cake mix crust and streusel on top is just so irresistible!
What you’ll love about this recipe
- So delicious. With delicious, comforting pumpkin spice flavor, this is a crowd favorite and the perfect cake for fall!
- Simple ingredients. A yellow cake mix, pumpkin pie mix and several other pantry staple ingredients combine to make super tasty pumpkin pie bars.
- Feeds a crowd. This recipe is baked in a 9 x 13-inch pan to make a total of 20 bars, so this is an awesome treat to serve at a party or holiday gathering.
- Spiced crumble topping. I love taking cakes like this over the top with an easy streusel topping! This one does not disappoint since it really enhances the overall texture and taste of the entire dessert bar!
Whenever I say this is “the best” Thanksgiving dessert, I really mean it! I promise it’s even tastier and more scrumptious than your traditional pumpkin pie. Here’s everything you’ll need to make it:
- Crust layer. You won’t need any flour, the crust is made using a yellow boxed cake mix, an egg and melted butter. It turns out buttery and delicious!
- Pumpkin filling. A combination of pumpkin pie mix, eggs and milk make up the perfectly sweet and spiced filling layer.
- Streusel topping. To make the crumble topping, we mix some of the cake mix with sugar, cinnamon and butter. It really takes this dessert to the next level!
How to make this recipe
Nothing complicated about this recipe. You won’t even need an electric mixer! It’s easy and straightforward! Here’s the simple process:
For full, printable instructions, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Make the crust. In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the crust. Use a large spoon to spread the crust batter into the bottom of a baking pan or press it evenly with your fingers.
Mix the pumpkin layer. Now, in a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the pumpkin mixture. Pour filling over crust and spread out evenly.
Make the crumble topping. Stir together the topping using the reserved yellow cake mix, ground cinnamon, sugar, and softened butter until it’s crumbly. Sprinkle it over the pumpkin layer. Bake the layered pumpkin dessert for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean.
Chill and enjoy. Once the squares have cooled for about 20 minutes, you’ll want to refrigerate them. I like to serve them chilled with a topping of Reddi-wip or Cool Whip.
Tips for recipe success
This is really very easy to make, but here are some tips to make sure it’s perfect every time!
- Be sure to use canned pumpkin pie mix, NOT pumpkin purée. For this recipe, we want all the extra pumpkin pie spices and sugar that pie filling contains.
- Want to try a different cake mix? This recipe calls for yellow cake mix, but spice cake mix is also a great option.
- Optional additions. This dessert would be yummy with toasted chopped pecans or really any nuts sprinkled over the top. You could even sprinkle on flaked coconut for a different flavor variation.
- Topping ideas. Don’t forget the Reddi-wip or Cool Whip! The whipped topping takes these bars to the next level. A scoop of vanilla ice cream would also be a delicious option.
Frequently asked questions
For these particular bars, yes, they need to be stored in an airtight container or covered pan in the fridge. They will keep fresh for about four days. I have not tried freezing the bars and I don’t think the texture would hold up.
For this recipe, there’s no need to spice up plain pumpkin puree. This recipe uses the sweetened, spiced can of canned pumpkin pie filling. It contains ingredients like pureed pumpkin, plus added spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves; sugar; and other additives. You’ll find it near the pumpkin puree in the baking aisle.
These will stay fresh for about 4 to 5 days. For best results, store the pumpkin bars in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
These bars can be served warm, cold or at room temperature. To get neat slices, you’ll want to chill it before cutting. Otherwise just use a big serving spoon and scoop it onto plates. You can reheat cold slices of cake for 20 seconds in the microwave if you like to eat it warm. I personally prefer this dessert cold.
Baking up pumpkin pie bars is the easiest way to serve pumpkin pie to a crowd, as it fills a 9 x 13-inch pan and makes 20 bars! A scrumptious yellow cake layer as the crust, topped with a rich layer of pumpkin pie, and finally a yummy sprinkling of more yellow cake streusel for the perfect fall dessert! Trust me when you make this, it will be gobbled up so quickly! Everyone loves these pumpkin bars!
More favorite pumpkin recipes
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
FOR THE CRUST
- 1 box yellow cake mix, (1 cup reserved)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE FILLING
- 1 (1 lb. 14 ozs.) can Libby's pumpkin pie mix*
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup milk, (any milk works)
FOR THE TOPPING
- 1 cup reserved cake mix
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- Rheddi-wip, Cool Whip or vanilla ice cream, optional for serving
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. and spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
- Combine the ingredients for the crust; in a medium mixing bowl. Use a large spoon to spread the crust into the bottom of the baking pan or press it evenly with your fingers.
- Combine the ingredients for the filling; in a medium mixing bowl. Pour filling over crust and spread out evenly.
- Combine the ingredients for the topping; in a small mixing bowl and sprinkle evenly over filling. Bake dessert at 350ºF for 45 to 50 mins.
- Allow dessert to cool for about 20 minutes and then store in the fridge (at least 3-4 hours) before serving. Bars will be tasty at room temperature, but are best served cold with some type of whipped topping.
Choose a gluten-free boxed cake mix to make this dessert gluten free.
To make this dairy free, use a vegan butter, such as Earth Balance. Also, use a non dairy milk, such as almond milk.
*Pumpkin pie mix is not the same as canned pumpkin purée. Be sure to read the label and make sure your can is listed as “pumpkin pie mix”.
Did you make this recipe?
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These were incredible!! My new favorite pumpkin bar recipe. The cake layer mixed with the pumpkin filling was perfect and then the topping… yum!
These pumpkin bars were absolutely irresistible. I seriously could not stay out of the pan. Will definitely be making again for Thanksgiving!
These are my new favorite autumn dessert! I loved these and will definitely be making them again soon!
These were amazing!! Everyone in my family gobbled them up! We topped them with Cool Whip and it was the perfect pumpkin dessert!
These are amazing! Made them just like the recipe says and they came out perfect!
These were such a delicious sweet treat. I followed your recipe exactly and used almond milk. They were a total hit with the family.
OMG… these bars were so perfect! They were not only easy, but had the best pumpkin flavor and I loved all of the layers, especially that streusel topping!
I never tried making pumpkin bars before but these turned out so delicious! I love how easy this recipe is ♥
I made your recipe for a gathering yesterday and everyone kept asking for the recipe. It was totally a hit!
Can this recipe be made vegan?
I’ve successfully made it gluten-free and dairy-free, but never vegan. You could totally try an egg substitute like flax eggs, but I hate to say that it will definitely work, since I haven’t actually tried it. Please let me know if you give it a go!
These pumpkin bars are a must! I made them for the teachers at my school and everyone loved them so much! Will be making again for Thanksgiving!