Soft and tender pumpkin bars topped with cream cheese frosting that is filled with salted caramel are a must make fall treat! These Pumpkin Bars with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting are always a crowd favorite.
Every single fall when the weather turns cooler, I crave pumpkin bars (and beef chili, of course). Not just any pumpkin bars, but THESE pumpkin bars with salted caramel cream cheese frosting! I've been making them for years and years and they truly are the perfect pumpkin bars.
These pumpkin bars are super tender, moist, and fluffy and are the perfect complement to a rich and creamy cream cheese frosting with salted caramel in it. If you're looking for a bar with a pumpkin pie texture, be sure to check out my Pumpkin Pie Bars with Maple Whipped Cream.
Pumpkin Puree - of course pumpkin bars need pumpkin in them! Note - be sure not to use pumpkin pie filling. Use unsweetened pure pumpkin puree.
Granulated Sugar - the sweetener in this pumpkin bar recipe.
Vegetable Oil - a flavorless oil adds tenderness to the bars.
Unsweetened Applesauce - this lightens these bars up a little bit but there is definitely no lacking in flavor!
Spices - cinnamon and nutmeg are the main spices in the bars.
All Purpose Flour - I have only made these using unbleached all-purpose flour.
Cream Cheese - full fat cream cheese for the frosting.
Butter - butter is combined with cream cheese in the frosting.
Caramel Sauce - I use jarred or bottled caramel sauce, but you could certainly make your own. I have even seen salted caramel sauce at my local grocery store, which I've used in this recipe.
Powdered Sugar - the sweetener in the cream cheese frosting.
Sea Salt - essential for the salted caramel frosting.
Please see recipe card for complete list of ingredients.
Use a different squash puree. You can certainly make your own pumpkin puree to use in this recipe, as well as butternut squash (like I do in my Butternut Squash Muffins!), acorn squash, Kabocha squash, or buttercup squash puree.
Different oil. You could use canola, coconut, or grapeseed oil in this recipe, if preferred.
Pumpkin pie spice. If you have pumpkin pie spice, you can definitely use that instead of the combination of cinnamon and nutmeg. I would add 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.
3. Add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
4. Mix together with a rubber spatula until just combined.
5. Spread the batter into a greased 9x13" baking dish.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 28-32 minutes. The top will be slightly golden and a toothpick should come out clean from the middle. Watch it carefully for the last 5 minutes to ensure the bars are not over baked. Cool completely.
7. To make the frosting, add room temperature cream cheese and butter.
8. Beat until creamy, about 2 minutes.
9. Add the powdered sugar, caramel, and sea salt and beat until combined.
10. Spread the frosting over the cooled bars. Cut and enjoy!
Yes, they can! You can freeze the entire pan or individual bars.
These bars will stay fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge. Be sure to cover the pan with plastic wrap or a lid.
Cinnamon is delicious on its own in this recipe, or feel free to substitute pumpkin pie spice!
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #greensnchocolate.