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Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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The absolute best gluten free pumpkin bars!  This easy small batch recipe is made with a tasty oat flour blend, lots of pumpkin and spice, and topped with smooth cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  The bars are incredibly soft – almost gooey – and celebrate everything we love about fall baking!

Single slice of super moist gluten free pumpkin bar on a wood table and covered in sprinkles.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

These bars … so incredibly delicious.  Think of your favorite pumpkin cupcake and combine it with a soft and gooey blondie.  That is these bars.  But, they do get better.  You top the bars with a super creamy spice cream cheese frosting.

So, what exactly is a pumpkin bar?  While it may look like your average slice of pumpkin cake, pumpkin bars are thicker with more moisture – thanks to a higher ratio of dark brown sugar.  The sturdy bars are a great vehicle to deliver the smooth frosting.

Why You’ll Love These Bars Too

  • Pumpkin, spice, and everything nice – The little bars pack an abundance of flavor.  Everything to love about a delicious pumpkin pie filling packed into these bars.
  • Amazing texture – We definitely have the best texture to go with the flavor in these bars, soft, chewy, moist, sturdy (these are hand-held goodies!), and they keep their texture beyond the first day! 
  • You’d never know they’re gluten free – My flavorful flour blend guarantees your taste-testers will surprised to know the bars are gluten free!
  • Easy to make – This is a simple dessert recipe.  Prep time is minimal and they bake – and are served – in the same pan!
  • Easier to customize – Cream cheese pairs lovely with pumpkin, but whipped ganache or marshmallow meringue would be equally delish!  I use a combo of both in my traditional pumpkin cupcakes!
Sweet slices of pumpkin bars with frosting and fall sprinkles.

Key Ingredients for gluten free pumpkin bars

  • Pumpkin Puree – The same pumpkin we use in pumpkin muffins, and all my pumpkin recipes.  It is canned pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling – where the only ingredient is pumpkin.
  • Oat Flour – Oat flour is wonderfully flavored and provides structure to the bars.  
  • Almond Flour – Almond flour also adds flavor, structure, and protein.  My preference is blanched almond flour – without the skins and is ground finer.
  • Sweet Rice Flour – Not to be confused with rice flour.  Sweet rice flour has glutinous properties which are a great substitute for gluten in gluten free baking.  It provides soft texture and chew.
  • Tapioca Flour – Tapioca flour also aids in the super soft texture and chew in the bars.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice – I’m a big fan and ready-made pumpkin pie spice – especially during the holidays!  You can also use just ground cinnamon.
  • Dark Brown Sugar – I prefer dark brown sugar in the pumpkin bars to give them their moisture, flavor, and chew.  You can swap in light brown sugar.
  • Cane Sugar – I like organic cane sugar for its rich flavor, and it isn’t as processed.  Granulated white sugar will also work.
  • Coconut Oil – We use coconut oil vs. butter in the bars to keep them moist.

Baking Equipment

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese and pumpkin may just be the perfect pair.  Pumpkin swirl cheesecake anyone?!  The frosting on the pumpkin bars is the same frosting we use to stuff inside of the gluten free pumpkin whoopie pies.  It is sturdy as a filling and frosting!

A simple combination of cream cheese, heavy cream, and maple syrup whip to a dreamy delight.  And to keep the flavors of fall in every layer of the bars, there is cinnamon in the frosting.  This frosting is the lick-the-bowl-clean type of frosting!

Cream cheese frosting on top of freshly baked fall treats in a baking pan.

Tips For Success

  • Whisk the dry ingredients together first – Especially with my gluten free flour blends, I like to make sure all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Add the sugars to the melted oil first – I like to fully saturate the sugars with the melted oil before I add the remainder of the ingredients.  I find it helps to break up any brown sugar lumps.
  • Let the batter rest before baking – Almost all gluten free baking desserts benefit from time to rest.  This gives the flours time to hydrate and flavors develop.  Without the rest, the bars may come out crumbly.
  • Serve out of the pan – Frost, cut, and serve directly from the pan to keep things easy!  
Close up of a slice of moist pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting.

How To Make Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line your little baking pan with a piece of parchment.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together first.
  3. Mix the sugars with the melted oil, then add the remaining wet ingredients.
  4. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet, and mix until no dry streaks remain.
  5. Let the batter rest for at least 5 minutes – very important!
  6. Bake for about 23 minutes – or until the bars are springy to the touch and the edges are golden.
  7. Cool, frost, cut, and serve in the pan!
Pretty stack of gluten free pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting set on a table.

FAQ

I don’t have the eighth size baking sheet. What other pan can I use?

A 9×5 loaf pan will work. The bars will be slightly thicker, so you may want to increase the bake time 2 to 3 minutes.

Will a gluten free cup4cup flour blend work instead?

I don’t recommend the cup4cup flours for this recipe. I find they are drier than my flour blend and likely, other ingredients and ratios would need to change.

Do the pumpkin bars need to be refrigerated?

If you frost them with the cream cheese frosting, I do recommend storing them in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature when ready to serve.

Can I freeze the pumpkin bars?

You can freeze un-frosted pumpkin bars for up to 3 months. Wrap – whole or slices – tightly in plastic and slip into a freezer bag. Thaw at room temperature. I don’t recommend freezing frosted bars because the texture of the frosting may change when frozen.

What can I make with the leftover pumpkin puree?

Try the popular cinnamon swirl pumpkin bread. Or, check out my other pumpkin recipes.

A pretty gluten free pumpkin bar square with frosting and fall sprinkles.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 12 Bars
GF
The absolute best small batch gluten free pumpkin bars!  This easy recipe is made with a tasty oat flour blend, lots of pumpkin and spice, and topped with smooth cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  The bars are incredibly soft – almost gooey – and celebrate everything we love about fall baking!
Prep15 minutes
Cook23 minutes
Total38 minutes

Ingredients
 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

Instructions

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line the small baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Lightly grease the sides of the pan not covered by parchment.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the oat flour, almond flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
    ¼ cup gluten free oat flour, ¼ cup blanched almond flour, ¼ cup sweet rice flour, 2 tablespoons tapioca flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ⅛ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ¼ teaspoon salt
  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the melted coconut oil and sugars. Stir together with a fork to thoroughly moisten the sugars.
    ¼ cup cold pressed refined coconut oil, melted, ⅓ cup dark brown sugar, 3 tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • Add the egg to the sugar mix and mix well to incorporate the egg. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and mix.
    ½ cup pure canned pumpkin, 1 large egg, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet and stir with a fork until no dry streaks remain. Let the batter rest for at least 5 minutes to allow the flours to hydrate and flavors develop.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet and use a spatula to spread evenly into all corners and sides. Bake the pumpkin bars for 23 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the bars are springy to the touch.
  • Cool the bars completely in the pan set on a wire cooling rack. While the bars are cooling, make the frosting per the recipe instructions.
  • Frost the cooled bars and cut into desired slices. Note – I like to keep the bars in the pan to make frosting, slicing, and serving easy.
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RECIPE NOTES

  • Serving Size – I have not tested a larger batch, and can’t say for certain how the bars will turn out if the ingredients are doubled.
  • Yield – The number of bars will depend on how big you cut the slices.  I cut mine into about 2-inch squares.
  • Baking Pan – If you do not have an eighth size baking sheet, you can use a 9×5 loaf pan.  The bars will be thicker and you may need to increase the bake time by 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pumpkin Puree – Make sure it is pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Leftover Pumpkin – You will have leftover pumpkin, regardless of the size can you use.  Check out my pumpkin recipes to make more tasty treats.
  • Storing Leftovers – Store leftover bars in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
  • Freezing – Unfrosted bars – cut or whole – can be frozen for up to 3 months.  Wrap in plastic and seal in a freezer bag.  Thaw at room temperature.
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich

NUTRITION ESTIMATES

Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 86mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1612IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is calculated by a third-party and should only be considered an estimate and not a guarantee.
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about the author ...

I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!

I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch gluten free and traditional desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you!

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