October 1, 2022

Brown Butter Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

These Brown Butter Pumpkin Bars are filled with pumpkin flavor and topped with a fluffy layer of cream cheese frosting. They’re easy to make and the perfect pumpkin treat!

Why You’ll Love These Delicious Brown Butter Pumpkin Bars

  • They’re filled with brown butter flavor. I love a good brown butter moment, and these brown butter pumpkin bar are filled with that rich, nutty, caramel-like flavor.
  • Simple to make. I know baking can be intimidating but these bars are really quite simple to make. They’re perfect for a quick weekend baking project!
  • The BEST cream cheese frosting. Who doesn’t love a batch of thick, fluffy cream cheese frosting?! These fudge bars are topped with the perfect layer of sweet frosting for the perfect bite.

pumpkin bar ingredients

Ingredients

Unsalted Butter: we’re browning this butter to give the bars the most delicious brown butter flavor. Don’t wan’t to brown the butter? just use melted butter instead.

All-Purpose Flour: you’ll need two cups all-purpose flour for these pumpkin bars.

Pumpkin Pie Spice: you can make your own homemade pumpkin pie spice or buy your favorite brand.

Applesauce: to cut back on the amount of butter in this recipe, while still keeping the bars moist, we’re using unsweetened apple sauce.

Pumpkin Puree: this is the perfect recipe because it uses one whole can of pumpkin puree.

Dark Brown Sugar: to give the bars the best sweet flavor.

Eggs: these help to give the bars the perfect fudge texture.

Vanilla Extract: you’ll need plenty of this for both the batter and the cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese: speaking of cream cheese frosting, you’ll need eight ounces of cream cheese for this recipe.

Confectioner’s Sugar: this helps sweeten up that cream cheese frosting.

Orange Juice: I know it’s a little unconventional, but a little fresh orange juice in the cream cheese frosting works so well! you can always leave it out, if you prefer, but just trust me on this one!

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Butter – if you prefer you can use you favorite vegan butter for this recipe or swap the butter entirely for a neutral oil instead.
  • Flour – swap the all-purpose flour for your favorite gluten free all-purpose flour to keep these bars gluten free. I love using this gluten free flour when I need it.
  • Applesauce – you replace the apple sauce with equal parts butter.
  • Cream Cheese – use your favorite vegan cream cheese if needed!

batter in mixing bowl

Helpful Kitchen Tools

small skillet – this is my favorite skillet to use for browning butter.

MEASURING CUPS / MEASURING SPOONS – to be sure you get those accurate measurements for perfect pumpkin bars.
mixing bowls – you’ll need two mixing bowls for this recipe; one for the wet ingredients and another for dry.

whisk – I like to use a large balloon whisk to mix together the wet ingredients in the batter.
silicone spatula – this is my favorite thing to use for combining the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and creating the batter.

parchment paper – it’s not a requirement but I like to line my pan with parchment paper to make removing the bars from the pan even easier. It also helps with clean up!

10×15 jelly roll pan – to get that signature pumpkin bar shape, we’re using a 10×15 inch baking pan, commonly referred to a jelly roll pan.

wooden skewers – I like to use these to check the doneness of my bars. When the skewer comes out “clean” without any batter attached to it, then you know the bars are done baking.

offset spatula – I love using this to evenly spread the cream cheese frosting over the bars.

batter being spread in baking pan

How to Make Pumpkin Bars

Step One: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then grease a 10×15 inch rimmed baking pan with avocado oil or non-stick spray.

Step Two: Add the diced butter to a small skillet or pot. Heat the skillet to medium heat. The butter will start to melt as the skillet heats up. Allow the butter to bubble and “cook” until it begins to change from a bright yellow color to a golden brown color. Continually stir the butter as you see the foam start to dissipate and brown bits begin to form in the bottom of the pan. Cook and stir the butter until it is a golden brown color and has a nutty aroma. Remove the butter from the heat and transfer to a heat safe dish to let cool slightly.

Step Three: Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice to a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until well combined and set aside.

Step Four: To another large mixing bowl add the apple sauce, pumpkin puree, dark brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until well combined and then add the brown butter. Whisk again until all of the wet ingredients have been well combined.

Step Five: Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just mixed. Then, pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan, using an offset spatula to spread the batter into an even layer in the pan.

Step Six: Bake the bars at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the bars completely on a wire rack. Be sure that bars are completely cooled and not warm before adding the frosting or slicing.

Step Seven: Add the cream cheese and butter to a large mixing bowl. Cream the butter and cream cheese together then add the confectioner’s sugar and mix until well incorporated without any lumps. Next, add in the vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and fresh orange juice. Mix on high again until well combined and fluffy.

Step Eight: Once the pumpkin bars have completely cooled, cover them with the cream cheese frosting. Then, place them in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to help the frosting set before slicing and serving. Garnish with a bit a of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice if you like. Enjoy!

cream cheese being bread on bars

Can I Bake These Bars in a Different Sized Pan?

Yes! I’ve also tried baking these bars in a 9×13 inch pan and they have turned out well. If baking them in a smaller pan, you’ll need to bake the bars a bit longer.

How to Store

Store the bars in an air-tight container or tightly wrapped in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the bars!

More Reader Favorite Pumpkin Recipes

pumpkin bar on plate

I hope you give these Brown Butter Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting a try! f you do give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. 

You can also snap a photo & tag @allthehealthythings on INSTAGRAM. Your reviews and ratings help support All the Healthy Things and make it possible for me to continue to create the recipes you trust and love.

Print

Brown Butter Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 24 1x
  • Category: Baking
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
/
Scale:
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 24 1x
  • Category: Baking
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 115oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10×15 inch rimmed jelly roll pan with avocado oil or non-stick spray.
  2. Make the brown butter: Add the diced butter to a small skillet or pot. Heat the skillet to medium heat. The butter will start to melt as the skillet heats up. Allow the butter to bubble and “cook” until it begins to change from a bright yellow color to a golden brown color. Continually stir the butter as you see the foam start to dissipate and brown bits begin to form in the bottom of the pan. Cook and stir the butter until it is a golden brown color and has a nutty aroma. Remove the butter from the heat and transfer to a heat safe dish to let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice to a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until well combined and set aside.
  4. To another large mixing bowl add the apple sauce, pumpkin puree, dark brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until well combined and then add the brown butter. Whisk again until all of the wet ingredients have been well combined.
  5. Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just mixed. Then, pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan, using an offset spatula to spread the batter into an even layer in the pan.
  6. Bake the bars at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the bars completely on a wire rack. Be sure that bars are completely cooled and not warm before adding the frosting or slicing.
  7. Make the Cream Cheese Frosting: Add the cream cheese and butter to a large mixing bowl. Cream the butter and cream cheese together then add the confectioner’s sugar and mix until well incorporated without any lumps. Next, add in the vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and fresh orange juice. Mix on high again until well combined and fluffy.
  8. Once the pumpkin bars have completely cooled, cover them with the cream cheese frosting. Then, place them in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to help the frosting set before slicing and serving. Garnish with a bit a of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice if you like. Enjoy!

Keywords: pumpkin bars, pumpkin bars recipe, pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, recipe for pumpkin bars, how to make pumpkin bars

Recipe by: Ashlea Carver / All the Healthy Things | Photography by: Eat Love Eat

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