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This BEST Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars recipe has a delicious cookie crust with a creamy layer of swirled pumpkin cheesecake. These cheesecake bars are delicious, light, creamy, buttery, and loaded with pumpkin pie spice flavor. This recipe can quickly become your new favorite fall dessert.
I was looking for a new way to serve a pumpkin dessert this year. It’s super easy to go to my old faithful pumpkin pie recipe.
However, I like to switch things up to keep the joy and fun in cooking for my family for the holiday gatherings. So, making a pumpkin cheesecake seemed like more work than I wanted.
Plus, slicing and serving cheesecake can be tricky when you’re serving a large crowd. Then it hit me to make pumpkin cheesecake bars! This
I hope you and your family love this new recipe addition to your holiday table because they’re easy to make, tasty, and superb.
To make these excellent pumpkin cheesecake bars, you will need the following key ingredients:
You can use your favorite cookies for the crust for these pumpkin bars. If you use any with a crème filling, scrape it out the crème filling and mix it when you make the cream cheese base.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
All pumpkin pie spices aren’t made the same. That’s why I added a little more nutmeg to this recipe.
Canned Pumpkin Puree
Pay attention when you’re making this purchase not to buy “pumpkin pie mix” we only need canned pumpkin puree because we’re going to add sugar and spices.
Dark Brown Sugar
Pumpkin and molasses work well together. This is why I choose to go with dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar has a richer molasses flavor than light brown sugar.
Full Fat Cream Cheese
We want the best ingredients for these pumpkin cheesecake bars, so go with the full-fat cream cheese. The full-fat flavor will yield a rich and creamy cheesecake.
This is that extra flavor that's subtle but plays a big part in balancing the dish.
How to make the best pumpkin cheesecake bars
To make the best pumpkin cheesecake bars, you need a recipe that’s tested and proven to produce deliciousness. Here’s how you make these decadent pumpkin bars.
- Cookies crumbs
- Melted unsalted butter
- Canned pumpkin puree
- All-purpose flour
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Kosher salt
- Full fat cream cheese at room temperature
- Dark brown sugar
- Pure Vanilla Extract
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor, add cookies and nutmeg. Pulse 5 times until cookies are a medium crumb. Turn the food processor on to low and slowly drizzle in melted butter until well blended. Cookies should stay together when squeezed in your hand.
Step 2: Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper, add cookie mixture, and evenly press flat into the pan. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden brown.
Step 3: While crust bakes make pumpkin base, in a medium bowl with a hand mixer on low speed, combine pumpkin puree, flour, melted butter, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon salt, until smooth.
Step 4: Make cheesecake base. In a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy and smooth for about 2-3 minutes. Add brown sugar, remaining pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and salt, until combined. Add eggs one at a time until blended. Then add the bourbon with the last egg.
Step 5: Stir ½ cup of the cream cheese into the pumpkin base. Pour the rest of the cream cheese evenly over the cookie crust. Take large spoonfuls of the pumpkin base and drop over cream cheese. Use a butter knife to swirl the pumpkin base, avoid going too deep, and scrape the cookie crust.
Step 6: Bake for 25-30 minutes until the center is set with a bit of wiggle. Cool until completely cool. Cover and pop in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight before cutting into bars.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars Recipe Tips & Tricks:
Here are some of my top tips and tricks to help you make this dessert:
- If you realize you didn’t get your cream cheese at room temperature. Fill a bowl with warm tap water. Place sealed cream cheese in water for 5-8 minutes. Cream cheese is soft when you can easily leave a finger indention.
- Using room temperature cream cheese allows you to create a creamier and airy base.
- Feel free to make any design with your cheesecake swirl.
- Mixing the cream cheese base on low will keep us from adding too much air in this cheesecake, yielding a creamier end product.
- You can cut the bars smaller to yield 36 small bars for a larger group.
- Oven temperatures can vary, so each oven bakes differently. If your bars seem underbaked, cook longer until the center is set with a bit of wiggle.
- If your bars are overbaked, the center will look puffed up and cracked when you take them out of the oven.
Common One to One Substitutions:
Don’t have everything you need? No worries. Here are some of the most common substitutions for this dish:
- If you want to make these gluten-free, use gluten-free cookies and gluten free-flour as a swap for the cookies and unbleached flour.
- Feel free to swap out the full-fat cream cheese for low-fat cream cheese to make these healthier. You can also swap it out for a vegan cream cheese.
- If you don’t consume alcohol, you can use pure vanilla extract to swap the bourbon.
- Feel free to use fresh pureed pumpkin as a swap for the canned pumpkin.
- You can use graham crackers, Oreos, or any other cookie to make the cookie crust.
Can I make it ahead?
If you want to make this dish ahead of time, here’s how to do it:
Cookie Crust – The cookie crust can be made hours in advance and kept in an airtight container on the counter.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars – You can make the bars one day in advance and stored them in an airtight container in the fridge. Bars will be good for 5 days. You can freeze the cut bars in the freezer by keeping them in a freezer-safe container for 3 months. Thaw 24 hours before eating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about pumpkin cheesecake bars.
Yes. After the pumpkin cheesecake bars cool completely after baking. It needs to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight to yield the best pumpkin bars.
Absolutely. I like to wrap the cut bars individually in wax paper and then place them in a freezer storage bag. Wrapping in wax paper keeps the bars from freezing together, plus it’s easier to grab the amounts of bars you want. Bars will be good for 3 months.
You certainly can. To make a gingerbread crust, all you have to do is use 2 cups of crushed ginger snap cookies for the crust recipe.
Latest Recipe Video:
What kind of cream cheese is best in the pumpkin cheesecake bars recipe?
I like to use full-fat room temperature cream cheese when making my pumpkin cheesecake bars recipe because it creates a richer, more decadent end product. Try not to use lower-fat versions of cream cheese because it tends not to yield the same results.
What toppings can I serve with pumpkin cheesecake bars?
There are serval things you can top of these incredible pumpkin cheesecake bars with; here are some of my go-to.
More Delicious Pumpkin Recipes
If you’re looking for more pumpkin dishes to add to your dinner table. Here’s a list of a few great recipes.
I hope you all have a great holiday season and enjoy these Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars this year! If you make them, please leave me a 5-star review on the blog post below or comment with your thoughts. Have fun celebrating with friends and family this holiday season.
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Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- 2 cups vanilla wafers crumbs 227g
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg 2g
- 1 stick melted unsalted butter
- ½ cup canned pumpkin puree 121 g
- 4 ½ teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour 11g
- ½ stick melted unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice 4g
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg 2g
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt 3g
- 24 oz. full fat cream cheese room temperature
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar 165g
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 11g
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor, add vanilla wafers and nutmeg. Pulse 5 times until cookies are a medium crumb. Turn the food processor on to low and slowly drizzle in melted butter until well blended. Cookies should stay together when squeezed in your hand.
- Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper, add cookie mixture, and evenly press flat into the pan. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden brown.
- While crust bakes make pumpkin base, in a medium bowl with a hand mixer on low speed, combine pumpkin puree, flour, melted butter, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon salt, until smooth.
- Make cheesecake base. In a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy and smooth for about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar, remaining pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and salt, until combined. Add eggs one at a time until blended. Then add the vanilla with the last egg. Stir ½ cup of the cream cheese into the pumpkin base. Pour the rest of the cream cheese evenly over the cookie crust. Take large spoonfuls of the pumpkin base and drop over cream cheese. Use a butter knife to swirl the pumpkin base, avoid going too deep, and scrape the cookie crust.
- Bake for 26-30 minutes until the center is set with a bit of wiggle. Cool for 1 hour or until completely cooled off. Cover and pop in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight before cutting into bars.