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!

Pumpkin bars served on small white plates with whipped cream.

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. Pumpkin pie bars take Thanksgiving nostalgia to new heights! I’ve enjoyed these every Thanksgiving since before I can remember. Not only are these my favorite Thanksgiving treat, they’re pretty much my favorite dessert ever! And they’re so easy too!

My family agrees, these 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 these easy pumpkin bars.
  • Feeds a crowd. This recipe is baked in a 9×13-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!

Ingredients needed

This pumpkin bars recipe is made up of 3 main components: the crust, the filling and the crumb topping. All of the necessary ingredients are simple and ones you most likely already have in your kitchen. Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Crust layer. Since the crust is made using a yellow boxed cake mix, you won’t need, flour, salt, baking soda, or baking powder. Just add 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Mix the pumpkin layer. Now, in a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the pumpkin mixture. Pour filling over crust and spread out evenly.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Sprinkling crumble topping over pumpkin filling.

Expert tips

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 puree. 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 or sprinkle of powdered sugar would also be a delicious option. On the other hand, these are not the type of pumpkin cake bars that you would want to frost.

Frequently asked questions

Should you refrigerate pumpkin bars?

For these particular bars, yes, they need to be stored in an airtight container or a pan covered in plastic wrap in the fridge. They will keep fresh for about four days. They are actually best served straight out of the fridge! I have not tried freezing the bars and I don’t think the texture would hold up.

How do you spice up canned pumpkin?

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.

How do you know when pumpkin bars are done?

The top will be set. If it still looks wet, they are not done. They will be set on the edge. A cake tester inserted in the middle of the bars will come out clean or with a few crumbs.

Serving suggestions

Pumpkin bars are great served 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. My family prefers to enjoy this dessert cold.

Baking up pumpkin pie bars is the easiest way to serve pumpkin pie to a crowd, as it fills a 9×13-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!

Storage recommendations

  • Storing leftovers. Classic pumpkin bars keep really well in the refrigerator. Store them in an airtight container or covered pan in the fridge. They will keep fresh for about 4 to 5 days.
  • To freeze. We have not tried freezing the bars and I don’t think the texture would hold up.
Pumpkin bars topped with whipped cream served on white plates.

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. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

Pumpkin bars served on small white plates with whipped cream.
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Pumpkin Bars

Buttery Pumpkin Bars are my favorite Thanksgiving dessert. Think you love pumpkin pie? Wait till you try my grandma's recipe for the most incredible pumpkin dessert!
Author: Kim



  • 1 box yellow cake mix, (1 cup reserved)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted


  • 1 (1 lb. 14 ozs.) can Libby's pumpkin pie mix*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk, (any milk works)


  • 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.


I use Pillsbury brand yellow cake mix.
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”.
Serving: 1bar, Calories: 250kcal, Carbohydrates: 28.4g, Protein: 2.4g, Fat: 8.2g, Saturated Fat: 2.6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 27.8mg, Sodium: 307.9mg, Potassium: 0.8mg, Fiber: 1.1g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 3765IU, Calcium: 68mg, Iron: 0.9mg

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