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My Pumpkin Pie Bars are filled with a creamy pumpkin pie filling and warm spices and have the most deliciously buttery shortbread crust.
They make the perfect compliment for your next autumnal feast or gathering and will be loved by all family and friends.
The true holiday magic starts with a deliciously sweet, cookie-like crust that has more butter than traditional pie crust does. My pumpkin pie bars have a shortbread crust but it’s a little different than the traditional shortbread crust. It has a buttery soft crumb that will literally melt in your mouth!
Making the filling for this recipe is really easy and the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves fill every bite with their nutty warmth. Along with these great flavors, I like using evaporated milk over sweetened condensed milk to get a fluffier filling minus the extra sugar that comes with condensed milk.
Over all, I think my favorite part of this recipe is that you don’t need a rolling pin for the crust. Simply dump the crust into the 8 x 8 pan, and press it into a single layer into the bottom of the pan. Bake it to a golden brown, and then pour in the creamy, pumpkin pie filling. You will love my “no-rolling-required” recipe so much that traditional pumpkin pie will become a thing of the past. When you are ready to add them to your Fall table, just top off my Pumpkin Pie Bars with a dollop of whipped cream!
Why this recipe works
- First off, they are so easy to make!
- You get more individual servings by making bars compared to a pie. Plus with this recipe, you can make the bars as big or small as you need.
- Great for holiday entertaining especially if you have several different desserts that you want to taste.
- No rolling pins required.
- You could use a fork but, it’s also an easy hand-held dessert!
For the ingredient measurements and entire recipe, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the blog post where the recipe card is located.
- Pumpkin: be sure to use 100% pumpkin puree, and not pumpkin pie filling
- Butter: my shortbread crust uses softened butter, so be sure to let it come to room temperature prior to baking.
- Cake flour: If you’ve made any of my cookies before, you know I love baking with cake flour. For this recipe in the shortbread crust, the cake flour makes the crust light, tender and buttery. All purpose flour or pastry flour are also fine to use.
- Eggs: large eggs.
- Evaporated milk: using evaporated milk, instead of cows milk, gives the pumpkin pie bars a more rich and creamy texture. It’s actually more convenient to use compared to cows milk since it has a longer shelf life.
- Spices: I love using cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves for the ultimate pumpkin-y pie flavor.
- Cornstarch: using a bit of cornstarch for the pumpkin pie filling helps to create a smooth thickness and set up the bars. It’s one of my favorite things to add to set your pumpkin pie apart from the rest!
Step by Step Directions
For the full recipe instructions, scroll down to the bottom of the blog post to the recipe card.
- Make the crust and press into an 8×8 inch pan. Bake until golden and cool.
- Prepare the pumpkin pie filling and refirergate until shortbread crust has cooled.
- Pour the filling on top of the crust and bake.
- Cool at room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.
- Cut into bars, serve with whipped cream and enjoy!
Expert Tips and Variations
- If you notice liquid on the top of your Pumpkin Pie Bars while they are still baking they have been in the oven too long. Over baking causes the proteins in the custard to toughen and the liquid will squeeze out of the custard and sit on top of the bars.
- To get ready for the holiday baking season, make sure your spices are fresh. I like to buy all of my spices at once so that that all have the same freshness, and same expiration date which is typically a to 2 year expiration date. To keep your spices fresh, tightly seal each container, and then store in a room temperature, dry drawer, cupboard, or pantry.
- Don’t over bake. The center should jiggle just a bit when you remove the bars from the oven.
- If you don’t have evaporated milk, use 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream in its place.
How long does it take to cool the Pumpkin Pie Bars before placing in the refrigerator?
I find that it takes about 2 hours for the bars to be cool to the touch.
How long do the bars last?
I like to wrap them loosely or place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Can I freeze the Pumpkin Pie Bars?
Yes you can. Just make sure that the bars are at room temperature before placing in an airtight container. You can freeze them for up to 3 months. When you are ready to remove the bars from the freezer, place the bars in the refrigerator overnight, and add whipped cream to the individual bars right before serving.
When should I cut the Pumpkin Pie Bars?
I like to make sure they have been completely chilled before slicing them into bars. Plan on keeping them in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight before slicing.
Before You Begin! If you make this, please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.
For the crust
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups cake flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
For the filling
- 1, 15 oz. can 100% pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1, 12 oz. can evaporated milk
- whipped cream for serving
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 8×8 inch light colored aluminized steel baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer is fine too.1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Add yolk and vanilla. Mix to combine. Then add the flour and salt and mix just until combined into a shaggy crumbly dough, careful not to over beat. Mixture will look crumbly, but should be able to come together when pressed in between your fingertips.1 large egg yolk, room temperature, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 1/4 cups cake flour, spooned and leveled, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- Press into the bottom of prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for ~18-20 minutes until the edges are a light golden brown. Set aside to cool. Note: The dough is a bit soft/sticky so to make it easier you can place a piece of wax paper over the dough and use the palms of your hands to smooth the surface and then discard the wax paper or you can use a little flour on your hands/ sprinkle on the dough if any of it is sticking.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pumpkin pie filling. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and spices. Pour in the evaporated milk and whisk again until combined. Chill in the fridge until the crust is done and has cooled. (The crust doesn't need to be completely cooled but just enough that it's not super hot).1, 15 oz. can 100% pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling), 2 large eggs, room temperature, 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed, 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, 1, 12 oz. can evaporated milk
- Pour the pumpkin pie filling over the cooled crust.
- Increase the oven temperature to 425°F. And bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature back down to 350°F and continue to bake for ~50-53 minutes or until the filling is set.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely at room temperature. Then cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Slice into bars and serve with whipped cream.whipped cream for serving
- Storage: I like to wrap them loosely or place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is automatically calculated. It should only be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Kroll’s Korner can’t make any guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Photos by Ella from Alpine Ella.