These Pumpkin Pie Bars are way easier, but just as delicious as traditional pumpkin pie! No pie crust to roll out, a simple press-in shortbread crust topped with a creamy pumpkin filling.
Happy November, friends! Just like that we shift our sights to the next holiday, which is the biggest and best food holiday of them all – Thanksgiving! Who is ready for Sweet Potato Casserole, Cranberry Sauce and Pecan Pie Bars?!
Today I’m bringing you a pumpkin pie recipe that is perfect for the busy holiday season. Pumpkin Pie is one of the easiest pies you can make and this version is made even easier, because we don’t have to make pie crust! A simple brown sugar shortbread gets pressed into the bottom of the pan, topped with a creamy pumpkin filling, and voilà – Pumpkin Pie Bars!
Top them with whipped cream or an optional pecan praline topping and watch them get devoured.
How To Make Pumpkin Pie Bars:
Step 1: Shortbread crust:
- Beat butter, brown sugar, flour, and salt until crumbly.
- Press the dough into the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 pan.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes while you assemble the filling.
Step 2: Pumpkin filling:
- Whisk sugar and spices.
- Whisk in eggs, pumpkin, half-and-half, and vanilla.
- Pour the filling into the crust and return to the oven.
Tips for Making the Best Pumpkin Pie Bars:
- Bake the pie until the outer edges are set and the very center is still a little bit jiggly. It will firm up as it cools.
- Be sure to chill the pie bars completely before serving. Cool to room temperature (on a wire rack), then place in the refrigerator until chilled.
- I give the option of baking these bars in an 8×8 or 9×9 square pan. The thickness of the bars will vary quite a bit based on pan size (see photo below). The crust and filling is noticeably thicker with the bars baked in an 8×8 pan. See photo below.
- These are best served within 1 day of baking. The crust will soften in the days following baking (from the moisture in the filling).
- Choose your favorite topping! Whipped cream is the best topping for pumpkin pie, and if you really want to take these over the top you can also add my pecan praline sauce or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
If you’re looking for more PUMPKIN RECIPES, give these a try:
- Pumpkin pie and cheesecake combie in these Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars!
- These Pumpkin Bars are similar to cake and they’re topped with the BEST frosting!
- Pumpkin Carrot Cake!
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- These Pumpkin Muffins are a reader favorite!
- Prefer a traditional pumpkin pie? This is Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Pie is my favorite.
- Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal – A great way to start the day.
Pumpkin Pie Bars
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, increase to 2t for stronger flavor
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pecan topping (optional):
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with foil, leaving overhang on at least two sides so that the bars can be easily removed. Lightly grease the foil (I mist it with nonstick spray).
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar until creamy and well combined. Add flour and salt and beat until combined, it will be very crumbly.
- Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and press it into a flat layer on the bottom of the pan (I use a measuring cup to press it in). Bake the crust for 10 minutes. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.
- Whisk sugar, spices and salt until combined. Add pumpkin, eggs, egg yolk, half-and-half, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Pour the filling into the crust, then return to the oven.
- The bars should bake until the filling is mostly set, but the very center still jiggles just a bit. If using an 8x8 pan, this will take between 45-55 minutes, if using a 9x9 pan, it will be 25-35 minutes. Bake time will vary based on your oven, so check it frequently once you’re nearing the end of bake time.
- Place the pan on a wire rack to cool to room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill completely.
Pecan topping (optional):
- In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, whisking frequently. Keep it on the heat and add the half and half, whisking constantly. Continue whisking and simmer (don't boil) for one additional minute. Off the heat, fold in the chopped pecans. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature. It will thicken up a bit and become the perfect consistency for pouring over the pie.
Recipe updated November 2019.