Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
These Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are packed full of the best Fall flavors for a fabulous dessert or sweet coffee treat. So good there’s no need for whipped cream!Jump to Recipe
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This might be considered some kind of blasphemy, but I’m not the biggest fan of Pumpkin Pie. It’s just OK. Even though my grandma made the absolute BEST pumpkin pie ever I still had to smother it in so much whipped cream you couldn’t even see the pie. The flavors are usually great, but I think the texture just isn’t my thing.
These pumpkin bars have all the best pumpkin pie flavors, but are taken up a notch with cream cheese, which also helps to solve my texture issue.
How To Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
The first thing you need to do is prepare the crust. Traditional pumpkin pie uses a pastry crust, which can at times be somewhat flavorless and dry. These bars have more of a cake-like crust, which adds so much to the flavor of the bars!
Dump the cake mix into a mixing bowl and add two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice. You can use store bought or make your own; Whitney Bond has a great recipe you can find here. Start mixing with a hand mixer and add an egg and two tablespoons of melted butter. Mix on medium speed until crumbs begin to form.
Pour the crust mixture into a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish. Spread it out evenly and lightly pack it down with your fingers.
In a separate bowl (or just rinse out the first one to save on cleanup) add the softened cream cheese and the sweetened condensed milk. You definitely want to allow the cream cheese to soften first; cold cream cheese will not mix as well and you’ll end up with a bunch of white clumps in your bars.
I use a hand mixer, but you could also use a stand mixer if that’s what you have. Mix the cheese and milk on medium to high speed until the batter is smooth. You don’t want any clumps left, remember they’ll show up! If you have a few stubborn lumps, use a fork to press them against the side of the bowl to break them up and smooth them out.
Once the cheese is smooth, begin adding the remaining ingredients. Continuously mixing on medium speed, I start with the pumpkin, then the eggs, then the pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Keep mixing until everything is blended nicely.
Pour the batter onto your prepared crust. Use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
If you’re adding walnuts, this is the time to sprinkle them evenly on top. Usually I’m a purist and don’t like nuts in my baked goods, but for some reason these bars are the exception. It just adds the right ‘something’ to the flavor and texture.
Place your bars in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven and bake for 35 minutes. Carefully check to see if they’re done by inserting a toothpick into the center and pulling it back out. If the toothpick doesn’t have a bunch of batter on it, they’re done! Otherwise, continue to bake in 5 minute increments until the toothpick comes out clean.
When your bars are done, let them cool in the baking dish. Once they’ve cooled you can slice them into bars. I usually cut 24, but you can make more or less depending on how big you cut them. For a smooth slice, wipe your knife with a clean towel between each cut.
Do I Have To Refrigerate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars?
Yes. Both pumpkin pie and cheesecake need to be refrigerated, so these bars do too. You can refrigerate them directly in the baking dish by covering the dish with foil or plastic wrap. Or, transfer the cut bars to an airtight container for storage.
The bars can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. I actually enjoy them cold, but if you’d like you can take them out of the fridge up to an hour before serving to bring them closer to room temperature.
What Drinks Pair With Pumpkin?
I highly suggest enjoying your Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with a hot cup of coffee, either for a sweet breakfast or for a special afternoon snack!
After 5 pm, your options open up. Following the coffee theme, a coffee stout would be magical alongside your bars. If a stout is not your style, lighten it up a bit with a hefeweizen. You can also be super basic and crack open a pumpkin ale, but I won’t judge you!
For wine, you’ll want one that’s more sweet than dry. I enjoy a sparkling wine if I’m having the bars for dessert. White wine drinkers will love the way a crisp Chardonnay or Gewürztraminer pairs with the pumpkin and spices. For a bolder pairing, a rich dessert wine such as a Tawny Port would be amazing.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- 1 Box Pound Cake Mix
- 1 Egg
- 2 t Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 2 T Melted Butter
- 8 oz Cream Cheese (Softened)
- 1 14oz Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 16oz Can Pumpkin
- 2 Eggs
- 2 t Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 t Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Cup Crushed Walnuts (optional)
For the crust:
- In a medium bowl, combine cake mix, egg, pumpkin pie spice, and melted butter with a mixer on high speed until crumbs form.
- Evenly spread the mix in the bottom of a 9"x13" glass baking dish, set aside
For the filling:
- In a medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk on medium/high speed until the cream cheese is smooth and all lumps are gone.
- Add in the pumpkin, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon while mixing on medium speed. Continue to mix until all ingredients are fully combined.
- Pour the mixture onto the crust and spread out evenly.
- Top with crushed walnuts (optional)
- Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 35 minutes.
- Carefully check to see if it's done by inserting a toothpick in the center, if it comes out clean it's done. If it's not, continue to bake in 5 minute increments until the toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool in dish before slicing into 24 bars.
- For smooth slicing, wipe your knife clean between each cut with a clean damp towel.
- Bars can be refrigerated for 5 days.