Easy Pumpkin Bars Recipe

It's always a good idea to have seasonal recipes and ideas up your sleeve, whether you're going to devour them all by yourself or serve them to guests. In the fall, there's no doubt about it — pumpkin should make an appearance! Thanks to Kate Shungu, recipe developer and food blogger at Gift of Hospitality, here's a simple idea you're sure to enjoy. These easy pumpkin bars are delicious and effortless to whip up. With the help of a few clever tricks, Shungu makes sure that every step of this recipe is quick so that you can eat these pumpkin bars that much sooner.

Whether you decide to serve these bars with whipped cream at your next dinner party in lieu of cake or have them as a tasty snack on-the-go is entirely your choice. Regardless, you'll be satisfied enjoying these treats without having to spend ages in the kitchen. Shungu adds, "I love the fall flavor in these bars, and I especially enjoy them straight from the refrigerator!"

Gather the ingredients to prepare these easy pumpkin bars

These easy pumpkin bars only require a handful of ingredients to prepare. First of all, you'll need a box of cake mix, such as one by Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker. Shungu says, "I recommend using either yellow cake mix or white cake mix for this recipe," adding that "yellow makes the nicest color alongside the pumpkin filling." Since boxed cake mix contains extra ingredients, you're already a step ahead. 

Next, you'll need an egg — for best results Shungu, advises beating it before adding it in with the other ingredients. Butter provides moisture and richness to these pumpkin bars, and by melting it ahead of time, it combines smoothly with the other elements. As for the pumpkin component of the recipe, Shungu uses a can of pumpkin pie filling, which has the benefit of being sweetened and spiced. She remarks that, "Pumpkin fillings can vary widely in moisture content, so I recommend using a canned filling." Finally, an extra touch of powdered cinnamon enhances the seasoning and adds warm flavors to these bars.

Prepare the batter

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 F and greasing a 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. Next, pour 1 cup of the packaged cake mix into a medium-sized bowl, and set it aside. Then, add the remainder of the cake mix to another medium bowl. Add the beaten egg into the same bowl as well as ½ cup of melted better. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix the contents of the bowl until they are well combined.

Transfer the batter and the pumpkin pie filling into a pan

Now that the batter is prepared, you're going to transfer it to the greased baking dish, and spread it out evenly to cover the bottom surface. Then, scoop out the pumpkin pie filling from the can directly on top of the batter. With a spatula, spread it smoothly across until the batter is completely covered with pumpkin from one edge of the pan to the other.

Prepare the batter to top the bars

Now that the base of the bars is ready, it's time to make a tasty topping to crumble over the bars for some added texture. Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the reserved cup of cake mix, and whisk them together until they are combined. Then, pour ¼ cup of melted butter over the dry ingredients, and mix it in gently with a fork to create a dough. With your hands, sprinkle the dough evenly over the top of the pumpkin pie filling layer.

Bake the pumpkin bars until they are golden brown

At this point, the oven should have preheated to 350 F, so place the baking dish on an oven rack. Bake the bars for 40 to 45 minutes, keeping an eye on them as the time approaches an end. (You'll know they're ready when the top and edges start to become a golden brown color.) Once they've sufficiently browned, remove the baking dish from the oven, and transfer it to a suitable surface.

Let the pumpkin bars cool down before slicing and serving

It's best to let the bars cool down to room temperature before slicing into them so that they maintain their shape and don't fall apart in a gooey mess — not that it wouldn't be delicious! Once they've sufficiently cooled down, go right ahead and cut the bars into 12 pieces.

Shungu recommends serving this tasty treat topped with whipped cream, which sounds like the perfect match for these sweet and spiced pumpkin bars. She suggests to keep leftovers "stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for three to five days." Chances are, they won't last that long once you get a taste!

Easy Pumpkin Bars Recipe
5 from 18 ratings
These easy pumpkin bars are so delicious and effortless to whip up for a special occasion or just because this fall.
Prep Time
Cook Time
pan of pumpkin bars
Total time: 48 minutes
  • 1 (15.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix, divided
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) melted butter, divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease a 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of cake mix in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Pour the remaining cake mix into another medium-sized bowl. Add the beaten egg and ½ cup of melted butter, then mix to combine the ingredients.
  5. Transfer the batter into the greased pan, and spread the pumpkin pie filling on top.
  6. Whisk the cinnamon into the reserved cup of cake mix.
  7. Pour the remaining ¼ cup of melted butter on top of the cake mix, and stir gently with a fork until a dough-like consistency forms.
  8. Sprinkle the dough evenly over the top of the pumpkin pie filling.
  9. Bake the bars for 40 to 45 minutes, or until they are golden brown around the edges.
  10. Let the bars cool down before slicing and serving them with whipped cream.
Calories per Serving 291
Total Fat 13.2 g
Saturated Fat 8.0 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 43.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 42.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Total Sugars 22.4 g
Sodium 292.1 mg
Protein 2.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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