The BEST vegan pumpkin bars with brown sugar frosting. Amazing pumpkin flavor, filled with spices and molasses. Dairy + egg free!
Pumpkin bars are unique. They aren’t quite a cookie, not really a cake, and are almost like a brownie. That makes these bars thick and chewy but still super soft and with a creamy brown sugar frosting all on top.
If you love pumpkin and you love cinnamon, you will LOVE these vegan pumpkin bars!
Free from: Dairy, casein, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, celery, corn, sesame, mustard, lupin, sulfites, and more
Other recipes for pumpkin bars are more like cake. Which is great but if I want a pumpkin cake, I’ll make a pumpkin cake. These bars are a little more sturdy like a cookie. But they still pack in a ton of flavor.
For other pumpkin ideas, check out my gluten free and vegan pumpkin muffins, vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls, or vegan pumpkin clover rolls!
Why You’ll Love these Vegan Pumpkin Bars
- Bakes in an 8x8 pan - no weird pan size needed
- Filled with cinnamon and pumpkin pie spices
- Topped with brown sugar frosting
- Soft like a chewy cookie but sturdy
- Perfect for a unique Thanksgiving dessert
Thankfully all the ingredients required are easy to find at local grocery stores. Here is a quick rundown of what you’ll need.
- Pumpkin: The main ingredient! Use pure pumpkin for this recipe, not one that is premixed for pumpkin pie. That way you can totally control the amount of spices used.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is both in the pumpkin bars and in the frosting. The bit of molasses pairs beautifully with the pumpkin spices and helps to keep things soft and chewy.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: I love to use heaping spoonfuls of this in this recipe. If you don’t have a pumpkin pie spice you love, use cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and a pinch of black pepper to make your own.
- Molasses: This is a secret ingredient for making these bars soft and chewy but with a depth of flavor. Plus, it’s full of B vitamins and iron.
- Other ingredients you’ll need: Vegan butter, white sugar, vanilla extract, all purpose flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, cream of tartar, and powdered sugar for the frosting
If you are avoiding corn, use tapioca starch or arrowroot powder in place of the cornstarch. Make sure that you are using corn free vanilla, powdered sugar, and baking powder. See my shop page for my favorite corn free products!
This is just a quick overview of the instructions. For the full recipe, complete with ingredient measurements, please see the recipe card below.
Mix the dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. I typically just use a whisk for this to really mix it together.
Whisk the wet ingredients together. In a slightly larger bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients.
Combine and bake. Now combine the wet and dry ingredients. This dough is more dough like than a cake batter. When it comes together you will need to use your hands or a spatula to pat it into place in the greased 8x8 pan. Bake it for only 25 minutes.
Cool then frost! The pumpkin bars are done when a toothpick pulls out clean. Let it cool and then top with the brown sugar frosting (instructions on how to make that below!).
You can slice these bars into 9, 12, or 16 bites, depending on how many you are serving.
Brown Sugar Frosting
In a small saucepan on the stove, melt together the brown sugar and vegan butter. Let it simmer for a minute on the stove.
Remove it from the heat and add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Depending on how thick you want your frosting, you may need to add a spoonful of dairy free milk.
Let it cool slightly and then spread on top of the pumpkin bars. Enjoy!
Other Icings to Try
- Vegan Vanilla Frosting
- Vegan Marshmallow Frosting
- Sprinkled with chocolate chips
Not these vegan pumpkin bars! They bake up in a normal 8x8 square pan. I really don’t like having weird pan sizes in my kitchen taking up valuable space so I made this recipe smaller and perfect for a typical pan size.
Since there is vegan butter in the frosting, if you have frosted these bars, you should store them in the fridge for best results.
Fridge: Keep pumpkin bars covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezer: You can freeze fully baked and cooled but unfrosted pumpkin bars for up to 2 months in a freezer safe container. Allow the bars to thaw before frosting and serving.
More Pumpkin Recipes to Love
If you try these out, please leave a comment below! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. And if you want more delicious, dietary friendly recipes you can subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- mixing bowls
- mixing spoons
- hand mixer or stand mixer
- Knife, spoon, or offset spatula
- Wire rack
- ½ cup vegan butter softened
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup pumpkin
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
Brown Sugar Frosting
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Spoonful of milk if needed
- Preheat the oven to 350F (177C) and grease and line an 8x8 baking pan. Leave a little extra parchment paper on the sides to make the removal of the pumpkin bars easier. Set this aside.
- Mix the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, cream of tartar, and all the spices.
- Mix the wet ingredients. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or with your stand mixer and the paddle attachment, cream together the softened vegan butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and pumpkin. Then add the vanilla extract and molasses.
- Combine ingredients. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix. The batter will be a soft dough like consistency. Spread this into the prepared pan, using a spatula or spoon to help gently press the dough into the corners.
- Bake. Bake this for about 25 minutes. The bars will be done when a toothpick inserted into the center pulls out clean. Remove the bars from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the frosting. When the pumpkin bars are cool, it’s time to make the frosting. In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, combine the vegan butter with brown sugar. Stir until it is melted completely. Let this simmer for 1 minute before removing from the heat. Add the vanilla extract and stir. Now add in the powdered sugar and salt. Mix until it is a good consistency. You may need to add a splash of dairy free milk to get the right viscosity. Spread the frosting on top and enjoy!
- How to Store
- Since there is vegan butter in the frosting, if you have frosted these bars, you should store them in the fridge for best results.
- Fridge: Keep pumpkin bars covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: You can freeze fully baked and cooled but unfrosted pumpkin bars for up to 2 months in a freezer safe container. Allow the bars to thaw before frosting and serving.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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