These pumpkin shortbread bars are just like your classic pumpkin pie, but a whole lot easier! No pie crust to roll out, just a buttery shortbread with a creamy pumpkin filling baked right on top.
These pumpkin pie bars are the fifth and final recipe from my pumpkin baking series and are probably my favorite to share with you!
Unlike traditional pumpkin pie, these bars have a shortbread crust that is pushed down into the bottom of the pan. The pumpkin layer is filled with cinnamon and pumpkin spice to create the perfect bite. These pie squares definitely need to be on your Fall and holiday baking list this year!
Why You'll Love These Pie Bars
- The filling is smooth and creamy.
- The shortbread crust is slightly sweet and buttery
- They're beyond easy to make.
- They'd be perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas dessert.
- Top them off with homemade whipped cream for the ultimate Fall bite!
Just like with pumpkin pie, these bars become over-the-top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Of course you don't have to add them, but why wouldn't you?!
If you're in charge of Thanksgiving dessert this year, I highly recommend you bring these pumpkin bars. You'll be getting all the flavors of a classic pumpkin filling, without any extra effort.
Let's take a look at some of the ingredients we'll need:
- All-Purpose Flour: Unless otherwise stated, I like to use all-purpose flour for my recipes.
- Butter: For the shortbread, unsalted melted butter is what gives us a very flavorful crust.
- Sugars: I use powdered and granulated sugars. If you don't have powdered sugar, you can use regular sugar in the crust.
- Pumpkin Puree: Do not confuse with pumpkin pie filling. They are not interchangeable.
- Corn Starch: I like to add just a tablespoon of corn starch to help thicken the filling.
- Spices: To get that classic pumpkin flavor, we will add a mixture of both pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.
- Evaporated Milk: This helps to make the pumpkin pie creamy and smooth. Do NOT substitute for sweetened condensed milk or your filling will be too sweet.
Here are the step by step instructions on how to make this recipe:
- Shortbread Crust: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the flour, melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Press the dough into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or just until the outside starts to turn a light brown.
- Pumpkin Filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, corn starch, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix in the evaporated milk. Pour the pumpkin filling over the crust and bake for 60-65 minutes.
- Cooling: Allow the bars to cool at room temperature for 1 hour before placing them into the refrigerator for another 2-3 hours.
Expert Baking Tips
- Baking Pan: Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with non-stick spray, line with foil, and then more non-stick spray. This helps to remove the bars once they've cooled.
- Shortbread Crust: The crust needs to bake for 16-20 minutes before adding the pumpkin filling.
- Pumpkin Puree: Make sure to use pumpkin puree and NOT pumpkin pie filling. They are not the same thing. I like to use Libby's.
- Cooling Method: The pumpkin bars need to cool for one hour at room temperature before placing in the refrigerator for another 2-3 hours. Chill completely before cutting and serving.
- Whipped Cream: Homemade whipped cream is awesome with this dessert and here's how you can make your own very easily: beat together ½ cup of heavy cream, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract on high speed until thick.
The edges will be completely set and the center will jiggle just slightly when shaken. During the cooling process, the center will firm up completely.
Store the pumpkin bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will last up to 4 days.
Yes, you do. The evaporated milk provides creaminess for the filling. Do not substitute it with sweetened condensed milk, for they are NOT the same thing.
Yes they do. Keep pumpkin bars refrigerated for up to 4 days.
It brings me so much joy to see you make my recipes. 🙂
More Pie Recipes
Pumpkin Shortbread Bars
- 8x8 inch baking pan
- Mixing Bowls
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (one can)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 ounce can evaporated milk (one can)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8x8-inch pan with non-stick spray, line with foil, and then spray with more non-stick. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the flour, melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Press the dough into the prepared baking pan and bake for 16-20 minutes, just until the outside starts to turn a light brown.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, corn starch, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract. Then mix in the evaporated milk using a silicone spatula.
- When the crust is done, reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and allow the crust to cool for 5 minutes.
- Pour the pumpkin filling over the crust and bake for 60-65 minutes. To determine if the bars are done, the center should only slightly jiggle when shaken and the edges are completely set.
- Allow the bars to cool at room temperature for 1 hour before placing them into the refrigerator for another 2-3 hours (I recommend 3 hours). Once completely cooled, slice into bars and then serve with whipped cream.
- Keep any leftover pumpkin bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.