The first glimpse of an orange pumpkin means it's officially fall. In Seattle, we hit 95 degrees one day, and then the next, it was sweatshirt weather! And I am all for sweatshirt weather.
Let’s just keep this train rolling, shall we?
Why You Should Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
These pumpkin bars have a cheesecake-like filling and a crunchy streusel topping. Don't wait for Thanksgiving to make them. They're a great dessert all season long!
I love adding a streusel topping to my dessert bars whenever I have the opportunity. This streusel is so simple and adds another layer of texture to the smooth pumpkin and cream cheese filling.
How to Make the Best Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Make sure to let your cream cheese soften to room temperature. This helps it blend smoothly with the other ingredients. If your cream cheese was still a little cool and you notice some lumps in the filling, push the mixture through a mesh strainer before you pour the mix over the graham cracker crust.
For more information on graham cracker crusts, see this post!
If you are feeling extra decadent, top these with caramel sauce. The bars are great on their own, but the caramel takes them up a notch. Enjoy!
The Best Cream Cheese to Use for This Recipe
Any brand of cream cheese will work in the recipes, but be sure that it's full fat block cream cheese or you'll miss that luscious, creamy texture. And don't skip the part about getting the cream cheese to room temperature. That's super important to prevent any lumps in the filling.
What Type of Pumpkin Do You Use?
Pumpkin purée is sold in cans in seasonal sections during the fall. Be sure to read the label and get 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling (which is already sweetened and seasoned).
You an also make your own homemade pumpkin purée. Start by cutting a pie or sugar pumpkin (the cute small ones, not your large Halloween carving kind) in half and remove the seeds. Roast the halves (cut side down) on a baking sheet in a 400°F oven for about 40 minutes, until you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork. Scoop out the flesh and process in a blender or food processor. You can store the pumpkin purée for later.
You'll end up with leftover pumpkin, but don't fret. We have recipes to use up leftover pumpkin purée.
How to Store Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
You can make these pumpkin cheesecake bars a day ahead and leave out on the counter overnight. For longer storage, put them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
These bars can also be frozen. Refrigerate them first. Then, once they have firmed up, you can wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them in an airtight container. Alternately, you can cut them into bars, and wrap them individually for easier defrosting later. To thaw, let the cheesecake bars sit at room temperature.
More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes to Try
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Cookies
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Pie Bars With Candied Ginger Whipped Cream
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Make sure to let your cream cheese soften to room temperature before mixing the filling to avoid lumps. Prepare the graham cracker crumbs by pulsing the crackers in a food processor, or placing the crackers in a zip-top bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin.
For the crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (See recipe note)
1/4 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled slightly so no longer hot
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
For the streusel topping
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
For the pumpkin filling
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought, optional
Whipped cream, optional
- Stand mixer
Preheat the oven and prep the pan:
Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper, allowing the edges to hang over the sides of the pan. This will help remove the bars for slicing and keep the crust intact.
Make the graham cracker crust:
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the graham cracker crust. Stir the mixture together until it looks like wet sand. If it still looks dry, add another tablespoon of melted butter. Transfer to the lined baking pan and press with your hand or the bottom of a drinking glass to form an even crust.
Make the streusel topping:
In the same bowl used to make the graham cracker mixture, combine the ingredients for the streusel topping. Mix the ingredients together, using your hands to work in the butter, and ensure the mixture comes together evenly. The mixture should resemble large crumbles. Set aside.
Make the pumpkin filling:
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds in between. Scrape the bowl down again. Add in the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, and mix until completely combined.
Assemble the bars:
Pour the pumpkin filling into the pan on top of the graham cracker crust. Smooth out evenly with a silicon spatula. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the pumpkin filling.
Bake the bars for 45 to 50 minutes:
Check the bars at 40 minutes to see how quickly they are baking. When done, a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out cleanly.
Cool the bars completely and refrigerate:
Let the bars cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Once cool, place in the fridge to chill completely.
Slice and serve with caramel sauce drizzled over the top and whipped cream, if desired. Bars will keep, refrigerated, for about a week.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 15 to 18|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 17g||21%|
|Saturated Fat 9g||47%|
|Total Carbohydrate 26g||10%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 18g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||2%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|