Skip to Content

Pumpkin Bars {gluten free}

Gluten free pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are likely to be your most requested pumpkin dessert. These dense pumpkin bars studded with mini chocolate chips are the perfect gluten free dessert for your Thanksgiving table.

Gluten free pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting on gold wire baking rack

This post is sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market. I appreciate the opportunity to share recipes made with ingredients from brands I trust and support. All opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sprouts Farmers Market. #sponsored

It’s pumpkin season!

Baking with pumpkin is popular at this time of year. There is always a pumpkin pie on the Thanksgiving menu and I love pumpkin muffins for breakfast. Do you have a favorite pumpkin dessert?

Pumpkin bars are a lot like pumpkin blondies– the non chocolate version of a brownie. You’ll mix the batter in one large bowl and pour it into a prepared square baking pan just like you would if you were baking brownies. 

This recipe for pumpkin squares is gluten free. The base is oat flour which you can buy prepackaged or pulse gluten free oats in the food processor like I did. Of course if you don’t require gluten free pumpkin bars you can use traditional flour but the oats are a good option for gluten and gluten free dessert lovers. 

Let’s start with what makes these pumpkin bars one of the best pumpkin desserts you’ll make all year. First, you’ll need pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling), then you’ll use a pumpkin spice mix, and finally you’ll frost these bars with a smooth cream cheese frosting.

Do you bake with whole pumpkins or use canned pumpkin? 

I choose to use canned pumpkin nearly all of the time and buy my organic pumpkin from Sprouts Farmers Market. The only ingredient in Sprouts’ organic canned pumpkin is organic pumpkin. No additives, no words you can’t pronounce, and nothing more and nothing less than pumpkin. 

Sprouts Farmers Market Canned Organic Pumpkin with black background

What’s in pumpkin spice? 

Coffee shops have popularized all things pumpkin spice and for good reason! Pumpkin pie spice gives you that warm and cozy feeling whether it is in a coffee or in a baked good. Have you been making pumpkin spice recipes lately?

Sprouts has an organic pumpkin pie spice that includes organic cinnamon, organic ginger, organic cloves and organic nutmeg. Fall flavors are aromatic and homey. You likely have most of these spices in your pantry already and can easily make your own combination of pumpkin spice. 

Start with cinnamon as your primary spice, then add a smaller amount of ginger, cloves and nutmeg.

Ginger, cloves and nutmeg can be overwhelming in large quantities so use a small amount at first when making your own spice mix and add more if you’d like. 

Here’s a quick ratio I use to make pumpkin spice: two teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cloves and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. This mixture is heavy on cinnamon; feel free to adjust as you’d like.

A general reminder for my friends with celiac disease, make sure you check that your spices and each individual recipe ingredient are gluten free. 

How to make pumpkin bars?

  1. Combine the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the wet ingredients. Stir to blend.
  3. Add chocolate chips if you wish.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.
  5. Cool completely then top with a cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Let’s take a quick minute to talk about this cream cheese frosting. It’s the perfect pairing with classic pumpkin bars. Of course, you could serve the pumpkin squares plain, without any icing or glaze at all, but why would you do that when there is the option of cream cheese frosting?

Try not to lick this frosting right off the spoon. 

The trick to a smooth frosting is to let the cream cheese and butter come to room temperature before you begin. When the butter and cream cheese are softened they blend together so easily. If you start with cold ingredients you will find small chunks in your frosting which is not idea.

Pumpkin pie spice makes an appearance in this frosting — just a little bit goes a long way– but even the hint of pumpkin spice elevates this creamy frosting. 

Use the paddle beater on your stand mixer to let this frosting come together. Are you curious if your mixer is working its best? Check out this post on how to adjust the height of your paddle on the stand mixer.

Cream cheese frosted pumpkin bars on wire baking rack

How to store pumpkin bars

If you serve these pumpkin treats plain, you can store them at room temperature in an air tight container for 3 to 5 days (if they last that long!)

Any dessert with cream cheese frosting needs to be refrigerated. 

You may bake gluten free pumpkin bars ahead of time and freeze them. While you can freeze the bars with the frosting, I prefer to freeze them plain then add the spiced cream cheese frosting once the bars have defrosted.

Yield: 16

Pumpkin Bars {gluten free}

Gluten free pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting on gold wire baking rack

Gluten free pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are likely to be your most requested pumpkin dessert. These dense pumpkin bars studded with mini chocolate chips are the perfect gluten free dessert.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

For the pumpkin bars

  • 2 ½ cups Gluten Free Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 2 tsps. Sprouts Organic pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder (gluten free)
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsp. Sprouts unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup Sprouts dark brown sugar
  • 1 Sprouts Organic egg
  • ½ cup Sprouts Organic pumpkin puree
  • {optional} 1 cup mini chocolate chips {gluten free}

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 4 oz Sprouts organic cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 cups Sprouts powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • ¼ tsp. Sprouts Organic pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

Spray an 8 by 8 square pan with baking spray then line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pulse the gluten free oats in a food processor until a fine oat flour is made.

In a large bowl or stand mixer combine the oat flour, 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp. baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 4 Tbsp. melted butter, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 egg, and ½ cup pumpkin puree. Blend well.

Add in the mini chocolate chips if using and stir gently to combine.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 24 – 27 minutes. 

Let the pumpkin bars cool completely.

Prepare the cream cheese frosting. Beat the softened cream cheese and softened butter until well blended. Add the powdered sugar, milk, and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until smooth and fluffy.

Spread the cream cheese frosting over the cooled pumpkin bars. Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy. Let the bars come to room temperature to serve.

Notes

1.       Pumpkin pie spice is a combination of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Make your own if you don’t have the store-bought pumpkin pie spice.

2.       If you don’t need a gluten free cake, use 2 ½ cups traditional oats instead.

3.       You may omit the cream cheese frosting and serve these chocolate chip pumpkin bars without frosting.

4.       The bars are easier to cut straight out of the refrigerator, especially if you have already frosted the bars. Wipe the knife in between each slice for a clean cut.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 155Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 141mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 14gProtein: 3g

This data is provided by Nutritionix and is an estimate only.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Gluten free recipes

Are you looking for more gluten free pumpkin recipes? While I am sure these flourless pumpkin bars will delight your family, you may want to try other pumpkin recipes like this pumpkin fruit leatherpumpkin smoothie bowl, or pumpkin macarons.

Pin with me!

Pinterest two images for pumpkin bars gluten free option
Upside down apple cake on a red kitchen towel with white plates and gold forks
Previous
Upside Down Apple Cake {gluten free}
Pear ginger jam in a mason jar with white spoon
Next
Pear Ginger Jam

[email protected] is How I Cook

Tuesday 12th of November 2019

Holly these were so good that I am planning to make these for Thanksgiving. Maybe I will even make some before!

Ashley

Monday 11th of November 2019

Oh, how delicious!!! Can't wait to make these this week, while we get some snow. I love baking in the snow.

Holly Baker

Monday 11th of November 2019

Yes! Baking with snowy weather outside is so cozy and fun. We had a dusting this morning and a warm kitchen with tempting aromas baking in the oven make for a good day.

Anita

Monday 11th of November 2019

I love these. I even added some chopped pecans instead of chocolate chips, I think pumpkin and pecans go well together. And they turned out so good. :)

Holly Baker

Monday 11th of November 2019

I love the sounds of chopped pecans in these pumpkin bars-- perfect!

Krissy Allori

Monday 11th of November 2019

I love these pumpkin bars. I made them for my family and they said I have to keep the recipe and make sure I make it on a regular basis.

Holly Baker

Monday 11th of November 2019

So glad you enjoyed them!

Jacqueline Debono

Monday 11th of November 2019

These pumpkin bars look awesome. I love that they are gluten free too!

Holly Baker

Monday 11th of November 2019

Thanks so much!