There is just something about pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting during the fall. My grandma’s sheet pan sized recipe is perfect for parties, family gatherings and more.
Sheet pan pumpkin bars are the perfect fall dessert. This recipe makes a nice big batch of cakey pumpkin bars topped with tangy cream cheese frosting that is a perfect way to end an autumn party.
This pumpkin bar recipe has been in our family for as long as I can remember. It just wouldn’t feel right to go through the month of October without making a batch.
I originally shared this recipe the recipe back in 2015 on my grandma’s birthday. It is her recipe after all, so it seemed like a great way to celebrate her.
That picture is one of her as a young woman by a pier in Lake Michigan. Isn’t she a beauty?
My family put together a book of favorite recipes when I was a kid. This recipe made the book as grandma’s frosted pumpkin squares.
I changed the name to pumpkin bars because that is what most people in our area call them. But the recipe is still the one straight from grandma, so you know it has to be good.
What Makes This Recipe Special
First I love the size of the recipe. We aren’t making a little 9×13″ pan, no we are going for the full 13×18″ half sheet pan full of goodness so there is plenty to share.
That is good when you come from a large family of dessert lovers. It also makes them perfect for potlucks, parties and more.
Even better, the recipe is super simple to make. All you need is a couple of bowls and whisk.
Grandma’s recipe relies on just cinnamon to let the pumpkin shine. This also makes the ingredient list easy and uses something you are likely to have on hand.
If you like your pumpkin recipes with more spice, feel free to use your favorites. A little bit of nutmeg or ginger would be tasty.
Or use pumpkin pie spice instead of the cinnamon to give it a more complex flavor without having to empty out your cabinets. You can even double the spices if you really like that kick with your pumpkin.
We like to keep them just the way grandma makes them though. A bit of cinnamon and lots of pumpkin and a tangy cream cheese frosting.
You can whip up the batter in just a few minutes. It bakes into a sturdy but cakey bar that is hard to beat.
The soft frosting makes them creamy and irresistible. Pumpkin bars are the perfect autumnal treat!
I had a very good helper for this recipe. He loves to dump things in the bowl and help stir. I love having him help, even if it does mean a bit of extra mess!
More Recipes from Grandma:
Party Ryes - Mini Pizza Bread Appetizers
Whip up a batch of party ryes for a fun pizza inspired appetizer later. Once batch makes a ton of flatbreads and they freeze great to bake later.
Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake
Texas sheet cake is the perfect dessert for a get together. It comes together so quick and easily and is perfect for a crowd. Make one for your next party and everyone is sure to be happy!
This vintage favorite is frugal but delicious. Sometimes the best recipes are born out of necessity and this one is a really quick and comforting dinner. SOS is on the table in less than 15 minutes!
Grandma's Slushy Peach Punch
This fun slushy punch is family friendly and perfect for a party. It is refreshing, fun and easy to make Break out that punch bowl, it’s party time!
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I don’t have a half sheet pan?
Don’t worry, you can still make delicious pumpkin bars. Just grease two 9×13″ pans and put half of the batter in each. Check them for doneness a couple of minutes early. They are done when the tops spring back after being lightly touched with your finger.
Can I half this recipe?
You sure can! Cut all of the ingredient measurements in half and then put them in a greased 9×13″ pan. Check the bars for doneness after about 20 minutes.
Can I add nuts to this recipe?
Sure! Toss in some chopped walnuts or even some chocolate chips if you want. My family prefers them plain, but that doesn’t mean you can’t jazz them up.
Can I add more spice?
Of course. A little bit of ground cloves, ginger or nutmeg would be delicious in these bars if you like pumpkin spice. But we tend to stick to just cinnamon like my grandma makes them.
If you like pumpkin bars, there is a good chance you are going to love applesauce bars as well. They are similar in a lot of ways, but filled with apple goodness instead of pumpkin.
Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!
Grandma's Frosted Pumpkin Bars
These sheet pan pumpkin bars are topped with cream cheese frosting for a combination that is hard to beat. They are a perfect dessert for a crowd. You can whip up the batter in just a few minutes. The cream cheese frosting adds a little tang and makes them irresistible. My grandma's frosted pumpkin square recipe is the perfect fall treat!
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup vegetable oil (or other neutral cooking oil)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup nuts (optional)
- 3 oz cream cheese, softened
- 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon milk (or more, as needed)
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a half sheet pan (13x18x1-inch).
- Mix together eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin in a large mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, stir together flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder.
- Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.
- Cool completely, then make frosting.
- To make frosting, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
- Add the vanilla, milk and powdered sugar. Stir until combined and then beat for a minute or two to make fluffy. You can add more milk a few drops at a time if you’d like to thin it out. You want a nice spreadable consistency.
- Spread over cooled bars and enjoy!
Pumpkin bars should be stored in the refrigerator due to the cream cheese frosting. Use a sheet pan with a lid for easy storage or cover with plastic wrap to keep any exposed pumpkin bar from drying out. You can also freeze individual slices in airtight containers. Just defrost and enjoy when you need a treat.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 325Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 284mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 1gSugar: 31gProtein: 4g
All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.
Thursday 2nd of December 2021
Do not follow this cream cheese frosting recipe!! It is way too sweet! Like diabetes in your Kitchen Aid mixer.
Friday 3rd of December 2021
You could certainly increase the cream cheese a bit to tone it down if you like. But we like it just the way it is on the pumpkin bars.
Sunday 4th of September 2016
I love Grandma recipes - well you can tell because I make a couple of these! I'm keeping that punch in mind, too, for a future summer party! This cake sounds divine!!
Saturday 27th of August 2016
These look absolutely divine Carlee. I am loving some pumpkin spice and cream cheese! I will have to try this very soon! I am sharing and saving this recipe. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I hope to be getting around like your Grandma at 80! Such a blessing. Thank you for sharing and may God bless you and yours in all your endeavors!
Sunday 28th of August 2016
We are very lucky that all 4 of my grandparents are octogenarians and still getting around and doing most everything they love on their own. They might play fewer rounds of golf than they used to or accept help mowing the lawn, but they really haven't slowed down much! Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope you love the pumpkin squares!
Friday 10th of July 2015
This looks so delish! Thanks for linking up and sharing with us at Funtastic Friday. Please join us again this week.
Friday 10th of July 2015
Thank you! They are a family favorite, that is for sure!
Tuesday 7th of July 2015
Happy birthday to your sweet Grandma! She looks amazing, and this recipe does too! It's almost fall and time for all things pumpkin - I'll definitely be giving these a try!
Tuesday 7th of July 2015
Thank you! She really is the best. Always up to something. Between the coffee girls, book club, the band and drum circles she keeps pretty busy. These really are amazing, I will certainly be making more in the fall!