These Pumpkin Pie Bars With Pecan Crumble have a crust made with pecans and a delicious crumble on top. The pumpkin filling is made with sweetened condensed milk for a smooth texture.
What are Pumpkin Pie Bars, and why should you make them?
Pumpkin Pie Bars are a dessert version of the classic pumpkin pie. The bars were created with the idea that you can have smaller portions of this delicious and decadent dessert without the guilt of overeating.
Pumpkin symbolizes harvest time and is consumed in the Fall and early winter. In the US, pumpkin pie is the classic dessert for the Thanksgiving meal, but many other pies are served during this holiday. (see my Cranberry Custard Pie with Cream Cheese Crust or Apple and Berries Pie.)
The pumpkin pie bars are perfect for feeding a crowd. Therefore they make it into the category of best recipes for holidays and parties.
What ingredients go into this recipe?
For the crust:
All-Purpose Flour– This is regular flour that most people have in their pantry. I have never tried to make these bars with other types of flour, so I would not be able to advise you on what to use instead. Gluten-free flours might be good if you know how to bake with them, so please come back and tell me if they taste the same.
Pecans– These are my choice of nuts in this recipe. However, when I go to Europe and want to bake something, pecans are a luxury, so walnuts are a great replacement. Almonds might be a good option, but I never tried them in this recipe. Nuts bring crunch and texture to the recipe. If you need to skip them, you might need to increase the amount of flour to get the right balance between crust and filling.
Granulated Sugar and Dark Brown Sugar– We use both types of sugar as they bring different flavors to the recipe.
Cinnamon– What is a recipe for Fall without cinnamon? It is a warm spice and perfectly friendly with pumpkin.
Unsalted Butter: I like to use unsalted butter in my recipes unless the formula requires salted butter.
For the pumpkin filling:
Canned pumpkin– I love the recipe that uses an entire can of pumpkin, so I don’t feel like I am wasting food.
Sweetened condensed milk– Make sure you buy sweetened condensed milk in a can and NOT evaporated milk. They are two different things. One cannot be used instead of the other.
Eggs– most recipes in the US are designed to use large eggs, which is what you need.
Ground allspice and cinnamon– again, these are warm spices that are very friendly with the fall flavors. If you only have pumpkin spice in the house, use that, no biggie.
Salt– salt is an essential ingredient in baking, and it should not be skipped, as it balances the flavors of the entire dish.
How do you make pumpkin pie bars?
Step 1. Start preheating the oven
If you are new in the kitchen and have never baked before, preheating the oven before you start working on a recipe is the best thing you can do.
Step 2. Make the crust.
Grab a mixing bowl and place flour, nuts, sugars, and cinnamon together. Cut the cold butter in the dry mixture until you obtain a crumbly, sandy mixture.
Make sure you reserve some of this mixture to use later as crumbs over the filling.
Pat the remaining mixture on the bottom of an ungreased 13/9 inch baking dish and set it aside.
Step 3. Make the pumpkin filling
Place the pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, beaten eggs, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Mix them well.
Pour the mixture over the crust and bake it for about 15 minutes.
Step 4. Add the crumbs
Remember the crumbs we set aside for later use? While the pan is in the oven, mix the crumbs with some flour. When the 15 minutes are up, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the crumbs over the pumpkin mixture.
The idea is to ensure that the crumbs do not fall to the bottom of the bars, as the filling is very liquid at the beginning.
You will notice that the filling started to set a little bit, so the crumbs will not sink any more. Very cool, right?
Step 5. Bake
Place the pan back in the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until set. Allow them to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.
Note: How do you know if the bars are baked?
Good question, and thank you for asking. The bars should jiggle slightly in the center, but they should not be liquid. If you have ever made a pumpkin pie, you know how it should be. The bars are designed with the same idea in mind.
Also, pumpkin pie bars need to set, so don’t cut them right away. Obviously, if you cannot wait and like a warm treat, go ahead and cut them still warm. However, they set better if you allow them to rest in the fridge overnight or for 24 hours.
These bars can be served warm or cold, based on your preferences.
Yes, these bars need refrigeration. They are homemade, have dairy, and are also preservative free. In an airtight container, these bars will last about 3 to 5 days.
Yes, the bars can be frozen. They last for about 1-2 months. Wrap them in foil and then in a freezer container. Try to place them in one layer or put some parchment paper in between to avoid the bars getting wet and sticky. When ready to eat them, just defrost them in the refrigerator for about 24 hours.
Yes, they are perfect for potlucks, parties, and everything else in between. They travel well. As the bars need to set for a while before you serve them, a good 24-48 hours in advance is an excellent way to go if you prepare for a party.
You might find this funny, but I think these types of desserts resembling classic pies are perfect for the holidays. There is so much food involved on Thanksgiving day that pumpkin bars might be a good solution if you want dessert but are too full to eat an entire piece of the pie. Small portions are better, in my opinion.
A dollop of whipped cream goes really well with the bars. Also, some ice cream is awesome. Think about how you like pumpkin pie, and this is the way to go with these bars.
This is the perfect time to bake with pumpkin puree, but sometimes I feel like the pumpkin season is too short. For this reason, I try to buy as many pumpkin cans as I can get my hands on and continue to bake with them even after the holidays.
A few words about my favorite tool used in this recipe:
The famous Danish dough whisk. You, guys, I used a regular whisk all my life and never knew this one existed. My life is forever changed.
It is easy to use, clean, and perfect for all kinds of dough. It has an interesting shape, but this is what makes it crazy easy to work with. If you have never had one, you need to try it. (This is an affiliate link, by the way)
The stiff coils cut through the dough and make mixing the ingredients a breeze. If you have ever tried using a balloon whisk to mix any kind of dough, you are in for a sticky mess, so you know what I am talking about.
I used this Danish whisk to make the crust and also to make the filling. Less mess, fewer tools, and fewer dishes to wash! Score!
More recipes to love:
Best Pumpkin Pie Bars With Pecan Crumble
Crust and Top Crumble
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup nuts finely chopped (pecans or walnuts)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup dark brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup unsalted butter cold
- 15 ounces pumpkin puree 1 can
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk 1 can
- 2 large eggs beaten
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the top crumble
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, nuts, sugars, and cinnamon.
- Add the cold butter, cut in small cubes, and mix until you obtain a crumbly, sandy texture.
- NOTE: RESERVE 1 1/4 cups of the mixture and set it aside.
- Pat the remaining mixture on the bottom of an ungreased 13/9-inch baking dish. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, beaten eggs, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Mix well.
- Pour the mixture over the crust. Place the pan in the oven and bake it for 15 minutes.
- While the pan is in the oven, mix reserved crumbs with one tablespoon of flour.
- After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the crumbs over the pumpkin mixture.
- Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until set.
- Cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator.