Leaves are changing, the air is crisper, sweaters come out — it’s time for my pumpkin pie bars recipe! All the delicious flavors you’d expect from pumpkin pie but in a cookie bar form. I particularly love this cookies recipe for the crunch and depth it takes from oatmeal cookies by using rolled oats as the base.
Calling this a pumpkin pie bars recipe is actually misleading — it should be pumpkin cookies pie crunchy streusel topping cookie bars, but that’s a bit extreme. Not that this dessert isn’t worthy of a mouthful name.
Just try it and you’ll understand!
There’s just something about cold weather that makes all pumpkin-flavored things taste so much better! And what better way to pass those cold nights than by trying new treats? I have plenty of reasons why my pumpkin pie bars recipe should be on your list!
- Less than an hour from start to finish
- Plenty of servings!
- Crunchy, gooey, warm — sensations galore!
- Easy clean-up
There are hundreds of pumpkin bars on the internet — why is mine the best? Pull up a chair, friend!
Oats: I’ve decided that anything containing oats is healthy. So go ahead and call this my healthy pumpkin pie bars recipe! In all seriousness, the addition of oats gives this treat a wonderfully hearty base. And be sure to use old fashioned rolled oats, not quick-cooking oats, which will break down much faster and not give you the structure you want.
Bourbon: Bourbon is one of my favorite lesser-used autumn flavorings! But I realize not everyone is as bourbon-crazy as I am. If you want to swap out a different flavor, try rum, brandy, or cognac; or go non-alcoholic with apple cider.
Spice: Was the store out of pumpkin pie spice? No worries! Cinnamon is the predominant flavoring in that spice mix, so feel free to use that as a substitute. Or you can always make your own spice arrangement with a mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom!
Cream Cheese: The cream cheese element adds a perfect cheesecake twist to these bars. Who doesn’t love cream cheese cookies? But if you forgot to let your cream cheese soften (I do this all. the. time.), you can get the same effect by quickly microwaving your cream cheese.
My pumpkin pie bars recipe fills up a heaping 9×13 inch pan — so prepare for leftovers!
I love portioning out these bars and gifting them to neighbors during the holidays. They brighten up everyone’s day!
If you do give these away, make sure to tell people that they will be fine at room temperature for up to four days, though I do recommend popping them in the fridge when you get a chance. These bars taste even better the next day, straight out of the fridge!
Can You Freeze This?
Yes! Treat my pumpkin pie bars recipe just as you would brownies. Store in an airtight container in your freezer for up to six months.
One thing to look out for though is that by storing these bars in either the fridge or the freezer, you will lose the streusel topping’s crunch. If you want to revive it a bit, you can always pop your bars in a toaster oven to crisp them up!
Make Ahead Tips
Baking treats are a bit difficult to make ahead since so much of the chemistry depends on the butter being at the perfect consistency and the cream cheese being just so.
If you must make some of it ahead, you can blend together the ingredients in Step 3, and store in an airtight container in your fridge for up to two days.
How Long Can You Keep This?
My pumpkin pie bars recipe will be just fine to sit out at room temperature during any holiday parties. I prefer the taste of them refrigerated, but that’s just me. Once you’re done partying, you can store these yummy treats in your fridge for up to four days.
The longer you store these, though, the soggier the base will get. I actually love the way the filling infuses with the oat crust, but that texture isn’t for everyone!
Want to make a whole delicious spread of cookie bars? Make sure to invite me to that party!
Can I Add Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter was made for cookie bars! Especially when combined with oats — my oatmeal chocolate chip bars and my peanut butter oatmeal bars are basically granola bars, which means you can eat them for breakfast! Go ahead, I won’t tell.
Want to up the ratio? Chocolate peanut butter bars are like little slices of everyone’s favorite chocolate and peanut butter candy. Yum!
Can I Add Coconut To This Recipe?
Coconut makes every cookie better! Coconut pecan cookies give the perfect blend of chewiness and crunch from the nuts. Coconut chocolate chip cookies combine two luscious flavors into one elevated treat.
But my lemon coconut bars — now those will set your tastebuds dancing! Lemon brightens up the coconut in a harmonious way.
Can I Use Lemon Instead?
Lemon bars are a classic for a reason! My lemon blueberry bars are like spring in a baking dish.
For a richer variation, lemon cheesecake bars bring together lemon’s perfect citrus bite with cream cheese’s tartness. But if you want something smoother, you can’t go wrong with my lemon white chocolate chip cookies. Lemon and white chocolate? Yes, please!
Can I Add Chocolate Chips?
Always! Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are quickly becoming an autumn classic as much as Christmas cookies are for December. And who could resist chocolate chip cheesecake bars at a party spread?
Or toss in some peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to your next gift basket and you’ll be getting thank you notes for months after!
Can I Add Cranberry?
Cranberry is a delicious connecting flavor, bridging autumn’s earthiness with winter’s richness. Oatmeal cranberry cookies give the berry a hearty base to stand up on while Cranberry orange cookies are a perfect dance of citrus and tart.
And who can forget the classic pairing of white chocolate cranberry cookies? There’s something irresistibly fancy about these!
Pumpkin Pie Bars
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup divided sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter cold
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats uncooked
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin solid packed
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons bourbon
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; grease foil.
- Mix flour, 1/4 granulated sugar, and brown sugar in medium bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats and nuts. Reserve 1 cup oat mixture; press remaining onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.
- Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla, bourbon, pumpkin, and spice with mixer until well blended. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture and a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips.
- Bake 25 minutes or until the center sets; cool 10 min. Use foil to transfer dessert from pan to wire rack; cool completely.
Still hungry? The desserts never end once autumn starts! And if you liked my pumpkin pie bars recipe, you’ll love these!
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies – Cookies! Frosting! Perfection!
- Banana Oatmeal Cookies – Breakfast in a dessert.
- Apple Pie Bars – The next logical step, obviously.
- Blackberry Pie Bars – Top with vanilla ice cream for an extra YUM!
- Orange Creamsicle Cookies – Summertime in a cookie.
I know you have a lot of choices when it comes to pumpkin desserts, so I am truly grateful that you chose to let my pumpkin pie bars recipe become part of your autumn baking schedule! It’s so delicious, isn’t it?
What was your favorite part? Let me know in the comments!
Source: Adapted From Kraft as seen on Joy The Baker