With an easy crust and a creamy pumpkin layer topped with sweet pecans, these pumpkin pecan bars combine two of the best fall desserts into one delicious treat.
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About Pumpkin Pecan Bars
If you’ve ever wished you could have both a slice of pumpkin pie and pecan pie, then these pumpkin pecan bars are exactly what you’re looking for.
You get all the delicious flavors of classic pumpkin pie topped with the sweet appeal of crunchy pecans. Plus, you don’t even need silverware (or a plate!) to enjoy this dessert – just grab a bar and enjoy!
Pumpkin Puree vs Pumpkin Pie Filling
When it comes to holiday treats, you’re going to be faced with two types of canned pumpkin in the baking aisle:
Pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling.
And while these types might seem interchangeable, there is a slight (yet significant) difference.
With pumpkin puree, the only contents are cooked and mashed pumpkin (or a variety of winter gourds), with no added flavors or spices. Pumpkin pie filling is made with cooked and mashed pumpkin, too, but it is also has flavored added, typically with pumpkin pie spice.
The key difference here is convenience. If you don’t have (or don’t want to buy) pumpkin pie spice, using pumpkin pie puree can save you some time and effort; you simply add it to the recipe and skip measuring the spices. However, it does limit your ability to control the taste, and if you’re using the pumpkin pie puree with other flavors, there’s no way to guarantee how they’ll interact.
This is why you’ll see many homemade recipes use pumpkin puree (which, again, is just the gourds, no added flavor) and season and spice the recipe by hand as needed. It is a tad more work but it also gives you more control over the flavor of your fall treats.
Can you use pumpkin pie puree?
If you only have pumpkin pie puree on hand – and trust me, I’ve been there, having grabbed the wrong thing at the store – then yes, you could substitute it in this recipe for the pumpkin puree. Just make sure to omit the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves from the recipe so that the bars don’t come out with “too much” fall flavor.
How long do pumpkin pecan bars last?
Once prepared and cooled, pumpkin pecan pie bars can be stored in a sealed container on the counter for one day or in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Can you freeze pumpkin pecan bars?
Yes, you totally can!
Once prepared and cooled, place the bars on a tray and freeze. Once frozen, wrap each individual bar with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then store in a sealed container or freezer bag. Pumpkin pecan bars can be frozen for up to three months.
More recipes with pumpkin
How to make pumpkin pecan bars
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – Prepare the crust by thoroughly mixing the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, and butter (I recommend using a stand mixer or hand mixer). Pack and press the crust into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Step 2 – Bake!
Step 3 – While the crust cools, whip the filling by thoroughly mixing the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Pour the filling on top of the crust in the baking dish.
Step 4 – Bake!
Step 5 – While the filling layer cools, thoroughly mix the brown sugar and pecans. Sprinkle them on top of the pumpkin layer.
Step 6 – Bake again!
Step 7 – Allow the prepared baking dish to cool completely, then cut the bars (typically 2×2 inches in size.)
Step 8 – Serve and enjoy!
Pumpkin Pecan Bars
For the Crust
- Pour crust mixture into prepared baking dish, pressing down to create a firm, even layer.
- Bake crust for 15 minutes, then set aside to cool.
For the Pumpkin Filling
- While crust cooks, prepare filling. Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), mix together the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt until thoroughly mixed and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Pour filling mixture into prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then set aside to cool.
For the Pecan Topping
- While filling cools, prepare the topping. In a small bowl, mix together pecans and brown sugar, tossing until pecans are coated. Sprinkle prepared topping on top of baked filling.
- Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. If you’d like the pecans to be toasted, set oven to medium broil and bake for another 3-4 minutes.
Putting it all together
- Allow pan to cool completely, then cut into bars (typically 2×2 inches in size.)
- Serve pumpkin pecan bars immediately with whipped cream or a dusting of cinnamon (both optional.)
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.