These moist pumpkin cake mix bars with cream cheese frosting are soft and fluffy and the perfect treat for fall and sharing at Thanksgiving. You will need a few simple ingredients to make these pumpkin bars, and the recipe only requires five easy steps. If you have pumpkin fever, you’ll have to also try our 3 ingredient pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting. They’re similar and just as big a hit at Thanksgiving as these bars!
We made these ooey gooey pumpkin bars super easy for you so you can spend less time baking and more time indulging in these delicious bars. You will be wowed by how incredibly tasty these pumpkin bars are with just a handful of basic ingredients. Each bite fills your mouth with pumpkin spice from the cake mix and a complementing flavor of a rich and tangy cream cheese frosting that you won’t be able to get enough of!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- FALL FLAVORS: If you’re in full fall mode and your mind is totally set on pumpkin spice everything, then you will fall in love with the pumpkin flavor in these ultimate pumpkin bars!
- EASY: This is a quick and easy dessert recipe that uses simple ingredients and will wow your friends and family all through the fall season.
- TEXTURE: A bite of these moist pumpkin bars starts with a soft and fluffy pumpkin spice cake and finishes with a velvety smooth cream cheese frosting that’ll make your taste buds so happy!
- PUMPKIN PUREE: Pumpkin puree gives the bars all their pumpkin flavor and color. Make sure you grab puree, not filling! They look the same but they’re quite different.
- SPICE CAKE MIX: Spice cake mix is used as the base of the bars and adds spice to the pumpkin to create a pumpkin spice flavor. We use a box of Betty Crocker Spice Cake Mix.
- MILK: 2% milk is used in this recipe, adding moisture to the fluffy bars and helps make it super fluffy and soft.
- BUTTER: The butter is used to make the cream cheese frosting.
- CREAM CHEESE: Philadelphia cream cheese is to make the frosting a cream cheese flavor, which adds a delightful tangy flavor that pairs well with these yummy pumpkin bars.
- CONFECTIONERS/POWDERED SUGAR: The sugar sweetens up the cream cheese frosting.
See the recipe card below for the ingredient measurements.
- CAN OPENER: For opening the pumpkin puree can.
- MIXING BOWLS: You will need one bowl for making the pumpkin bars and one for making the cream cheese frosting.
- ELECTRIC HAND MIXER: For making the pumpkin bar batter and the frosting.
- 9X13 BAKING DISH: for baking the pumpkin bars.
- TOOTHPICKS: For testing the readiness of the baked pumpkin bars.
- MEASURING SPOONS AND CUPS: For measuring the ingredients.
1: Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350°F, and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
2: Mix: In a bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, cake mix, and mix. Mix until smooth.
3: Bake: Pour the pumpkin bar mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth it out with a rubber spatula. Bake it uncovered for 20-25 minutes. Check the readiness of the bars by poking them with a toothpick. If it comes out clean with a few crumbs, it’s ready. Transfer to a cooling rack and wait to frost until the bars reach room temperature.
4: Prep: In a bowl, mix the cream cheese and butter on high until combined. Add the powdered sugar, and mix on the lowest setting until smooth. Don’t over-mix.
5: Frost: Once the pumpkin bars have come to room temperature, you can keep them in the dish or transfer them to a cake tray before frosting. Frost them by plopping a few dollops of frosting on the bars and smoothing it out with the back of a spoon. Cut into squares, whipping the knife clean before each slice. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Storage and Leftovers
These pumpkin bars should be covered with plastic wrap or transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you have leftover frosting, this should be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Poke the bars with a toothpick. After baking for 20 minutes, check the readiness of the bars by poking them with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean with a few crumbs, they’re ready! If it comes out with wet batter, continue to bake for a couple of minutes and then check again.
- Wait to frost the pumpkin bars. If you frost the pumpkin bars too soon (before they’re room temperature), it will be difficult to frost them, as the frosting will start to melt and be runny.
- Use store-bought frosting. In a hurry? It doesn't take long to make your own frosting, but feel free to use store-bought cream cheese frosting if preferred!
- Don’t overmix the frosting. One of the biggest mistakes in making homemade frosting is overmixing the frosting. If it’s overmixed, you’ll whip too much air into the mix, causing it to have the wrong texture. To avoid this, mix the frosting on the lowest setting, just until it's incorporated and do not over-mix!
Frequently Asked Questions
The bars should be refrigerated either covered with plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Pumpkin bars can be frozen for up to 3 months, however, it is best to frost them afterwards; otherwise, the frosting will likely not have a silky smooth texture to it after being defrosted.
Yes homemade frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months for future use.
Ensure you have used the correct ratios of cake mix, pumpkin puree, and milk. If there is not enough of the later two, it may turn out dry.
- Nuts: Consider adding in some chopped pecans or walnuts to give the pumpkin bars a crunchy element and nutty flavor that will pair well with both the pumpkin flavor and cream cheese frosting.
- Chocolate Chips: Throw in a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips for a chocolatey addition that goes well with pumpkin. You may want to omit the cream cheese frosting in this case, as the pumpkin and chocolate flavors are a delicious combination on their own!
- Spices: Enhance the pumpkin bars with more spice like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice!
The alternative ingredients are just suggestions and have not been tested.Print