Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are a combination of pumpkin pie and cheesecake baked into easy-to-serve bars. Creamy and flavored with pumpkin puree and warm spices, these are a fun addition to any holiday meal.
These delicious bars are a great option for a fall dessert if you’re not a big fan of pie or just don’t want to go to the trouble of making pie crust. The cheesecake layer has great pumpkin flavor and rich, creamy texture. It’s all served over a buttery graham cracker crust. These are also incredibly easy to serve because you can make them ahead and can even freeze them. (Looking for another pumpkin dessert that can be made ahead? Check out this Pumpkin Spice Trifle.)
Here’s everything you need to make this dessert that is guaranteed to be a huge hit at your next holiday gathering.
What are Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars?
This is the dessert you get when you combine pumpkin pie and cheesecake. (I also have a caramel apple version that is a mix between apple pie and cheesecake.) They have a creamy, rich texture that is even more smooth than pumpkin pie with all of those warm spices and classic Thanksgiving and Christmas desserts. Instead of pie crust, pumpkin bars have a buttery graham cracker crust.
How to Make Them
This is a relatively easy recipe with just two layers.
- Make the crust. Combine crushed graham crackers, butter, and a small amount of sugar. Using a greased 9x13 pan, press the crust into the bottom of the pan.
- Make the cheesecake layer. Beat the cream cheese until very smooth (this will prevent any lumps in the finished filling). Add white sugar, brown sugar, and flour and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and pure vanilla extract. Add in the eggs one at a time and then heavy cream. Pour filling over the crust.
- Bake. Bake the bars, uncovered at 350°F for 35 minutes.
- Slice and chill. Let the bars cool completely and then slice.
- Top with whipped cream and serve!
Parchment Paper is a Must
When making cheesecake bars, it’s important to line the baking dish with parchment paper. The bars shouldn’t stick to the pan, but the parchment is a must-have for removing the bars in one cohesive piece so that you can slice them cleanly. Simply cut one piece of parchment paper so that it can run along the short side of the pan with a small piece overhanging each side.
- Graham Cracker Crumbs - I buy Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crumbs to use in my cheesecake recipes. These are easy to measure and save a lot of time over crushing your own graham crackers. If you prefer to crush them yourself, you can do it in the bowl of a food processor or crush them in a well-sealed bag using a rolling pin. They should form fine crumbs and resemble dry sand.
- Unsalted Butter - Helps to hold the crust together as it bakes.
- Pumpkin Puree - For the best flavor buy pumpkin puree which is just pure pumpkin that has been cooked and blended. Do not use pumpkin pie filling which has the spices already added.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice - Don’t use the pumpkin pie spice from last year (or, let’s be real, probably from five years ago). For the best flavor, buy a fresh small container of this signature spice blend that gives these bars the flavor of pumpkin pie.
- Cream Cheese - Use block cream cheese that has been softened to room temperature. I always use Philadelphia Cream Cheese to make cheesecake - I think it has the best texture and flavor.
- Light Brown Sugar and Granulated (White) Sugar - For texture and flavor, use both types of sugar. You’ll need a small amount of sugar for the graham cracker crust too.
- Flour - Just a small amount is needed to help the filling come together.
- Eggs - Use large eggs that have come to room temperature. As with traditional cheesecake, room temperature eggs will cook the most evenly and keep your cheesecake bars from developing cracks.
- Heavy / Whipping Cream - These give the cheesecake bars an extra smooth texture. If you’re making your own whipped cream to top them, be sure to get some extra.
- Pure Vanilla Extract - For that great vanilla flavor.
How to Store Cheesecake Bars
Store these bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Take them out of the refrigerator 30 minutes to an hour before serving so that the cheesecake filling softens slightly. Add whipped cream right before serving.
These can also be frozen for up to 2 months in a well-sealed container. I like to slice them first and let them freeze until solid on a sheet pan to protect their smooth surfaces.
- Add flavored whipped cream - Make homemade whipped cream with cinnamon and / or vanilla added. Or add a flavored liquor to the whipped cream like in the Bailey’s Irish Cream whipped cream I use in this chocolate cake recipe.
- Add pecans - I love chopped toasted pecans or candied pecans as a topping like I use on No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake.
- Add decorative pie crust - Use store-bought pie crust and mini cookie stamps to make fall leaf decorations to add to each bar.
- Add caramel sauce - A drizzle of caramel sauce added to each bar right before serving is another decorative, delicious addition.
Yes. They freeze well for up to 2 months. Once they have cooled completely, slice them into bars. Freeze them on a sheet pan, uncovered until solid, 4 to 6 hours (this will protect the smooth surface of the bars). Then transfer to a tightly sealed freezer bag. Let the bars defrost in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving.
Try using my No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake filling in a 9x13 pan for a no-bake version of this recipe. The filling included in the recipe card below must be baked before serving.
Yes. These include perishable ingredients and need to be refrigerated. For the best texture, take them out of the refrigerator 30 minutes to an hour before serving so they are at a cool room temperature to serve.
Yes. Buy gluten-free graham crackers and make the crumbs yourself. Substitute your favorite 1:1 gluten-free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour.
More Pumpkin Desserts
- Pumpkin Spice Trifle
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Snack Cake
- Pumpkin Bread Truffles
- Chewy Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies
- One-Bowl Pumpkin Cider Bread
- Glass Mixing Bowls
- Half Sheet Pans
- OXO Silicon Spatula Set
- Parchment Paper
- Stand Mixer
- Wire Cooling Rack
- Set of Cookie Scoops (1 Tbsp, 2 Tbsp, 3 Tbsp)
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Mixing Bowls
- Stand Mixer
- 9x13 Baking Pan
- Parchment Paper
- 2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs (see note)
- ¾ cup + 3 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
- 8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
- 4 8 ounce packages Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
- ¾ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 15 ounce can Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 5 large Eggs, at room temperature (see note)
- ¼ cup Heavy / Whipping Cream
- Whipped Cream, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C.
- Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by spraying it lightly with nonstick cooking spray and lining it with parchment paper (this will make the bars really easy to remove).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs and 3 Tablespoons of granulated sugar. Pour melted butter over top and stir until evenly combined. Pour the crumbs out into the prepared pan and press the crumbs firmly down until solid and even. (Note: I like to use the back of a measuring cup to help press the crumbs down in an even layer.)
- In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, or using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth. Add in ¾ cups of granulated sugar, all of the brown sugar, and the flour and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add in pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Mix on low speed until even.
- Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed just until each egg is incorporated.
- Add the heavy cream and mix on low just until the entire mixture is smooth and even.
- Pour filling over the crust. Tap the pan lightly on the counter to release any air bubbles.
- Bake until the center is just set, and looks shiny and still slightly wobbly, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Let the cheesecake bars cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve, up to 3 days. Slice and top with whipped cream just before serving.
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