Fall is for Pumpkins
Fall is for pumpkins. And plaid, and flannels, fire pits and leaves falling.
And, fall is for eating everything pumpkin, too if you’re at our house.
Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year and I sincerely love that my family has embraced all of the fall foods like my favorite fall dessert ideas with pumpkin.
I am known for making my meal plans based on the upcoming weather, so we’ve got to get our fall food in while the weather is crisp and cool, and delightful outside.
The Size of the Pan Does Matter
This ridiculously easy pumpkin bar recipe with cream cheese frosting is made in a jelly roll sheet pan and that is the way to do it with bars like this.
Mostly because (I’m not kidding!) they’ll literally fly off the pan as soon as you get that frosting on the bars – these are literally that amazing!
I have this jelly roll half sheet cake pan that I use for my pumpkin bars and the kids know: when that pan is on the countertop, it’s pumpkin bar time!
You can of course use different pans for these sheet pan pumpkin bars, like an 8×8 pan, or you can even do this pumpkin bars recipe in 9×13 pan.
Just make sure that you have two pans if you’re planning on dividing the pumpkin bar batter up because this recipe will make a half sheet pan of bars that work out to be about an inch thick.
NOTE: You will think that there is not enough batter to make 1.5 inch pumpkin bars if you’re using the right size, and the right amount of pans.
Just keep an eye on the pumpkin bars, and once a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted in the middle of the pumpkin bars, they’re ready to come out of the oven.
The Magic of Cream Cheese Frosting for Pumpkin Bars
When it comes to pumpkin bars, there’s one thing we all can agree on: cream cheese frosting takes them to a whole new level.
There’s just something about that creamy, slightly tangy frosting that pairs beautifully with the warm, spiced flavor of pumpkin.
It’s a match made in dessert heaven.
Every bite feels like a cozy hug, with the cream cheese adding that extra bit of indulgence.
So, whether it’s a weekend bake or a special gathering, remember, a generous spread of cream cheese frosting on your pumpkin bars will always be a crowd-pleaser.
Timing is Everything with These Pumpkin Bars
If I have one piece of advice for these pumpkin bars … it’s don’t rush the cooling process!
And, for goodness sakes, don’t do pumpkin bars (no frosting), unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Just wait out the hour or so rest time that you’ll need to let the pumpkin bars cool down and then add your frosting.
“I tried the banana pumpkin bars for my kids, and they now refuse to eat any other version!” – Maria L.
Is There a Method to Making Sure My Pumpkin Bars Don’t Peel When I Put on the Frosting?
YES! There is a method to frosting for this jelly roll pan dessert bar pumpkin recipe!
Here it is: Be SO SO SO gentle.
And, my other tip?
Make the frosting when you’re ready to frost the pumpkin bars.
That way the frosting is ready to be spread on smoothly as it covers those delicious pumpkin bars.
Writing this all out is for sure going to make me have to make a batch of these tonight (ha!)
Make sure (absolutely sure) that your butter for the frosting is room temperature.
I also like to let my cream cheese sit on the countertop for awhile too… because if it’s too cold it will get chunky (eww!)
Mix your room temp butter, cream cheese and vanilla together until it’s as smooth and creamy as you can get it.
Add the powered sugar to the frosting mixing bowl.
If you want you can add half and then the other half.
Usually powered sugar is sold in two pound bags, so you’l need a half of a bag for this frosting.
Mix and mix and mix using a hand mixer, a food processor might work too.
You can use a stand mixer with a whipping attachment as well.
When I put the frosting onto the pumpkin bars in the sheet pan here is what I do:
I put large groups of the frosting on top of the pumpkin bars.
At this point they are cooled off, but the top of the bars will have a sticky-ish layer to them so you have to be so careful when you spread the frosting.
I do NOT let my spatula get too close to the pumpkin bars, my spatula hovers on top of the frosting and never lets that layer of cream cheese frosting get too thin in between the bars and the spatula.
My kids would be mortified if they read this and I would for sure get made fun of for my specific, specific best pumpkin bar frosting recipe directions (Ha!)
The Great Debate: Do Pumpkin Bars Need Refrigeration?
I feel like I have to preface this by saying: No one has died yet.
I do not refrigerate my sheet pan pumpkin dessert when it is finished.
We like them room temp, and, like I said, no one has died yet, so that’s good. (Phew!)
Now: I will admit that I have yet to know how long they’re good for on the countertop, as a pan of pumpkin bars has never lasted more than 48 hours here.
You do you – I understand the cream cheese and the butter in them could be problematic, but I can assure you I’ve been making this exact recipe for over 20 years and have yet to have anything happen.
Sound Off About Your Favorite Pumpkin Bar Tips
It’s your turn to let me know what your best pumpkin bar tips are!
What’s your secret twist to the classic pumpkin bar recipe?
Do you have a secret ingredient?
Any tips that are mind blowing that will make our lives easier when making a pumpkin bar recipe?
If so, you must share in the comments!
Also, if you end up making these easy pumpkin bars in a sheet pan, leave a picture in the comments, or shoot me an email.
I’d love to see yours how yours turned out!
What’s your Secret Twist to the Classic Pumpkin Bar Recipe?
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups sugar white granulated
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1 can pumpkin purée
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
Pumpkin Bar Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 package cream cheese room temp
- 4 oz. butter (1 stick) at room temp
- 1 lb powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Spray pan with cooking spray
- Mix all pumpkin bar ingredients together
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes in jelly roll pan
- Mix cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powered sugar in a large bowl
- Allow the pumpkin bars to cool, and once cooled top with frosting