Pumpkin Pie Bars – Just so Tasty

  • on 12 August 2020
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Pumpkin pie without the hassle! These easy pumpkin pie bars have a buttery crust and creamy pumpkin pie filling infused with cinnamon and brown sugar. Perfect for feeding a crowd. A slice of pumpkin pie bars with easy shortbread crust and whipped cream on top.

Why Make Pumpkin Pie Bars?

Pumpkin season is here, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it’s time for another pumpkin recipe. Only this time, we’re turning pumpkin pie into pumpkin pie bars. They have the classic pumpkin spice flavor and creamy texture that you love about pumpkin pie, but the base is a buttery, shortbread-esque cookie crust.

They’re easier than making pumpkin pie because you get to skip the entire process of making pie crust. Plus – they can feed way more people, take less time to bake, and have a higher ratio of buttery crust to pie filling. 

How to Make the Buttery, Shortbread Base

Instead of pie crust – we’re making a base that’s deliciously buttery. Somewhere in between shortbread and a sugar cookie. It’s made with:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (aka cornflour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (measure the butter first, then melt it)
  • 1 large egg

The ingredients get whisked together, then pressed into the bottom of a lined 9×13 inch pan. The crust gets baked on its own for 10 minutes first. This helps prevent a soggy crust.

Ingredients for making the shortbread base, and the base before it goes in the oven for making pumpkin pie bars.

Pro Tip: Line your pan with parchment paper so that there’s an overhang around the edges. Once the bars and baked and cooled, you can easily lift them out of the pan for easier slicing.

For the Pumpkin Pie Filling

The pumpkin pie filling is based on the easy Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe made by whisking together:

  • one 15 oz can pumpkin pie filling
  • one 15 oz can evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk). You could substitute the evaporated milk with 1 1/2 cups heavy cream. However, do not substitute the evaporated with regular milk.
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch – this helps bind the pie bars together and reduces the chances of the bars cracking
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or make your own – I’ve included the ingredients in the recipe notes below)
  • and 2 large eggs

You’ll notice that I use brown sugar instead of the traditional white sugar that’s typically used. I prefer using brown sugar because it adds a delicious caramel flavor.

The filling gets poured over the slightly baked cookie crust, then the pie bars go in the oven to bake.

Ingredients for making the pumpkin pie filling, and filling after it's whisked together.

Pro Tip: The bars will cook for about 45 minutes. After baking – they need to cool fully to room temperature, and then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Chilling the bars is key for the bars to set properly.

What about Pumpkin Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust?

If you’d prefer to make these pie bars with a graham cracker crust instead, for the base stir together:

  • 2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Then press the mixture into the bottom of the lined 9×13 inch pan. You will not need to prebake the crust if you’re using graham crumbs.

Make-Ahead Tips:

I typically make these the day before I plan to serve them, since the bars need to chill in the fridge before serving. They will last in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container. After the bars are fully cooled, they can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Then thaw overnight in the fridge.

A slice of pumpkin pie bars with a bite taken out to show the creamy texture.

For more easy, fall desserts be sure to try:

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Pumpkin pie without the hassle! These easy pumpkin pie bars have a buttery crust and creamy pumpkin pie filling infused with cinnamon and brown sugar. Perfect for feeding a crowd.

Prep Time20 mins

Cook Time50 mins

Cooling & Chilling5 hrs

Total Time6 hrs 10 mins

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Easy, Graham Cracker, Pie Bars, Pumpkin Pie Bars, Shortbread

Servings: 15 slices

Calories: 230kcal

Ingredients

Shortbread Base

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1 large egg whisked

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 1 15 oz can pure pumpkin
  • 1 15 oz can evaporated milk*
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice* or make your own – see recipe notes
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and position the oven rack in the middle of the oven.

  • LIne a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang around the edges.

Shortbread Base

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt.

  • Stir in the melted butter and egg.

  • Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

  • Bake for 10 minutes, and remove from the oven (keep the oven turned on).

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • In a large bowl whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and cornstarch to remove any lumps from the brown sugar.

  • Whisk in the pumpkin pie filling, evaporated milk and eggs until smooth.

  • Pour the filling over the base.

  • Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the middle no longer wobbles and an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with a few damp crumbs.

  • Remove from the oven and cool completely, then cover and place in the fridge for 4 hours to set.

Notes

15 oz can of evaporated milk can be substituted for 1 1/2 cups heavy cream. Do not substitute evaporated milk with milk. To make your own pumpkin pie spice, use 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. Storage & Make Ahead Tips: Store bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Bars can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container, then thaw in the fridge. Ensure bars are fully cooled before freezing. 

Nutrition

Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 61mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg


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