These simple pumpkin pie bars with a shortbread crust are the best quick homemade pumpkin dessert! They’re filled with fall flavor and are so easy to make.
This post is sponsored by BUBBL’R.
Pumpkin Pie Bars
If you’re anything like me, you love pumpkin pie, and really love homemade pumpkin desserts, but don’t necessarily love making pie dough. For me, it’s one of those things that I just don’t enjoy making because it doesn’t always turn out quite the way I want it to.
That’s why I’m obsessed with this recipe. The shortbread crust comes together in seconds in the food processor and the filling doesn’t take much longer than that. It’s basically a “dump everything in a bowl, mix it together, and put it in the oven” level of easy.
I’ve partnered up with BUBBL’R to bring you this incredibly easy Thanksgiving dessert recipe.
I think it tastes amazing with their passion fruit wond’r flavor. It’s the perfect energizing drink to enjoy while you’re prepping the big feast! You can find out where to buy BUBBL’R here.
If you love all things pumpkin, we have an entire category full of pumpkin recipes that I think you’ll love! Be sure to check it out.
Some reader favorites are:
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting
- Pumpkin Gnocchi
- Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles
Pumpkin Pie Bars with Shortbread Crust
The crust makes all the difference in this recipe actually being easy to pull off. I love making the crust in my food processor because it’s ready to go into the pan in literally seconds, but you don’t need one.
If you’re not using a food processor, I’d recommend using a pastry cutter to cut the butter into pea sized pieces.
If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you could use a fork or even your hands.
When using your hands, move your fingers in a snapping motion to break up the butter (just be sure to move quickly so that the butter doesn’t heat up too much).
The only critical thing is to make sure the butter is very cold. It’s even helpful to put it in the freezer for 15 minutes before using it if you have the time. Other than that, it’s very straightforward – it doesn’t even need to be pre-baked or blind baked first!
I think a graham cracker crust would also work beautifully here! I’d recommend using this graham cracker crust recipe from my pumpkin pie cheesecake bars or using my gluten free graham cracker crust recipe.
Easy Pumpkin Pie Filling
This filling doesn’t need any fancy equipment and doesn’t require room temperature eggs, so it really comes together in a flash.
All you have to do is mix together the pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, and pumpkin pie spices using a whisk. I like to use a whisk because it really breaks up the eggs and mixes them well.
Next, you’ll add in the evaporated milk and stir it in using a spatula. I don’t like to use a whisk for this step because it incorporates too much air which will show up as bubbles at the top of your bars while they bake.
Two quick notes.
- 1) Pumpkin puree is not the same thing as pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling is already sweetened and flavored, whereas pumpkin puree is just the puree of pumpkin and occasionally a bit of salt. So, if you use pumpkin pie filling instead of pumpkin puree, this recipe will not turn out well.
- 2) The quality of the pumpkin puree really matters in this recipe. I’ve had the best results with Libby’s brand for all of my canned pumpkin recipes. Store brands tend to be much more watery and just don’t seem to taste as good or turn out as well.
Why Use Evaporated Milk?
Making this recipe with evaporated milk lends a lot of creaminess to it without having to rely on the heaviness of cream.
You could make this without evaporated milk and use cream instead, but the results would definitely be a lot heavier. You could also use Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, but since it’s already sweetened you’ll have to omit most (or all) of the granulated sugar.
How to Tell When these Pumpkin Dessert Squares are Done Baking
One of the keys to remember is that pumpkin pie is actually a custard, even though it’s always referred to as pie. The combination of eggs, sugar, and dairy makes it a custard, while adding the pumpkin puree adds additional stability once it comes to room temperature.
Since this is a custard, there has to be a bit of jiggle when it comes out of the oven. If there isn’t any jiggle, it means you’ve overbaked the filling. I normally see recipes indicate that there should be a bit of a jiggle in the center, but I normally see some jiggle past the center going towards the edges, too.
You can also tell that this recipe is finished baking by the puffiness. Pumpkin pie puffs up when it’s finished and only deflates once it’s cooled down.
Can I Make This Recipe Gluten Free?
Absolutely! This recipe works very well gluten free. I made it using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour and the results were amazing.
I think this recipe would also work well with an almond flour crust, but I haven’t tested that variation to be sure yet.
Does Pumpkin Pie Need to be Refrigerated?
Yes. Since this recipe contains both eggs and milk, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator to remain safe to eat.
Making This Recipe for a Crowd
Are you serving this dessert for a lot of people? The great news is that this recipe doubles beautifully and can be made in a 13 x 9 pan!
How to Serve Pumpkin Pie
You can serve these bars warm, room temperature, or cold. To serve them warm, heat them in a 300 F (148 C) oven for 15 minutes. To serve them at room temperature, pull them out of the fridge 15 minutes before you plan on serving them. I personally prefer them cold or room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.
Can You Freeze Pumpkin Pie?
Definitely! You can freeze these pumpkin slab pie bars for up to a month. To freeze, allow the bars to cool completely, then cover in several layers of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil.
To thaw pumpkin pie, place the frozen bars in the fridge overnight and allow to completely thaw (this will take about 12 hours). Once it’s completely thawed you can pull it out and allow it to come to room temperature. You may have to dab a little condensation off with a paper towel, but that’s totally normal.
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- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (96 g, or certified gluten free flour blend*)
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (30 g)
- 1/4 cup butter (cold, cut into 1/4” cubes, 57 g)
- 1 (15) ounce can pumpkin puree (this is not the same as pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar (230 g)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch ground allspice
- 1 (12) ounce can evaporated milk
- Preheat the oven to 425 F (218 C).
- To a large bowl or a food processor, add the crust ingredients (flour, sugar, butter). Cut butter into the dough with a pastry cutter or pulse in a food processor until it has a sandy texture.
- Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper and press the shortbread crust into place.
- To a large bowl, add the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. Use a whisk to fully mix it together. Pour in the evaporated milk and use a silicone spatula to fold it in (if you use a whisk for this step, you’ll get too many bubbles which will remain during baking).
- Bake the bars at 425 F for 20 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 F (176 C) and bake for an additional 45 minutes (or until the bars look mostly set with just a little jiggle and look a bit puffed up).
- Remove bars from the oven and allow them to completely cool on a cooling rack. After they’ve reached room temperature, move them to the fridge to allow them to set for a minimum of 2 hours (but preferably overnight).
*If you make this recipe gluten free, I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour. In my experience, this blend is a little heavier on the starches than other blends, so it really holds together well and supports the weight of the pumpkin filling.
If you’re making this recipe for a crowd, it doubles beautifully! Just use a 13 x 9 pan.
You can substitute the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice in the filling with 1 teaspoon of my homemade pumpkin pie spice blend.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160Total Fat: 5.3gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.2gCarbohydrates: 25.3gNet Carbohydrates: 24.4gFiber: 0.9gSugar: 19.5gProtein: 3.1g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
The next time you’re looking for the perfect easy pumpkin recipe for a crowd, try making these pumpkin pie bars!