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Stack of pumpkin bars on parchment paper.
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5 from 1 vote

Pumpkin Bars

These Pumpkin Bars are similar to a soft spiced pumpkin cake topped with an incredible brown butter frosting.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 218kcal


Pumpkin bars:

  • 1-¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1-½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2-½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • One 15-oz can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Brown butter frosting:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 3 cups powdered sugar plus more, if needed
  • 3 tablespoons half and half plus more, if needed
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Pumpkin bars:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10x15x1 baking pan, set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl whisk melted butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla and whisk until well combined.
  • Pour the wet ingredient into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Don't whisk too vigorously or for too long (you don't want to add too much air into the batter).
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Note: The cake will reach the top of the pan while baking.

Brown butter frosting:

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat (see tips for browning butter in the notes section). Swirl the pan occasionally to be sure the butter is cooking evenly. As the butter melts, it will begin to foam. Watch the butter closely, continuing to swirl the pan occasionally. It will eventually turn golden brown with brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Immediately pour the butter (and brown bits) into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Using a stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the cooled butter with 2 cups of powdered sugar. Add the half and half, vanilla, and additional cup of powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Add more half and half if you need to thin the frosting or more powdered sugar to thicken it. Once you get it to your desired consistency beat it on high speed for about 20-30 seconds. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake.


Tip for browning butter:
  • Use a light-colored saucepan so that you can watch the color of the butter closely.
  • Swirl the pan occasionally to be sure the butter is cooking evenly.
  • The butter will take a while to turn brown, but once it is brown it can burn quickly, so make sure you're watching it closely.
  • As soon as the butter has browned move it out of the hot pan and into a bowl to cool.


Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 393IU | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg