Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

**POST EDIT: Recipe below calls for 15 ounce small can of pumpkin**

It’s about time for a recipe – the Fall season puts me in a baking mood.

Oh I know what you’re thinking…

You think I mean I get PhilBillPaul to bake. Which is partially true. But you know I had to have some serious skill to teach him to cook. And during this season I love to bake.

Stop snickering.

I’m going to be sharing some of our favorite recipes in the coming weeks and I think you will be mildly impressed.

Except that I don’t have impressive pictures of the finished products. I’ll try from time to time but I’m not promising. What I can promise is that if you’ll trust me, the recipes I’ll share will not be complicated and will be kid-tested by my very picky crew and they will be delicious!

So many of our favorite recipes have stories that go with them as I’m sure yours do too. Family and friends connecting through food is really universal.

I don’t think there has been a year that we haven’t had pumpkin bars several times during the holidays. If you ask my kids what their favorite food is in the Fall, these are at the top of their list.

In fact, when the kids attended a small Christian school they had a Thanksgiving feast each year and I volunteered to make these as the dessert for the whole school.

Mom tip: Volunteer in a BIG way and it can sometimes carry you through the whole year or at least a semester.

I did this for 4 or 5 years and the girls loved to help me make them the week before the feast. Assembly line style, we made between 10 and 20 jellyroll pans of pumpkin bars and froze them. The day before the feast, we mixed up the frosting and slathered the bars with the most delicious frosting!

Yes, that is a hand mixer you see Roger Leroy using.

Yes, it is true that I got through 19 years of marriage and 4 children and did not own a KitchenAid mixer until Christmas two years ago when PhilBillPaul found that the hand mixer was too strenuous for him. So he bought *me* a KitchenAid. Go figure.

In his defense, I was really fine without one.


Mr. Handy PhilBillPaul even made a special tray for me to slide the disposable foil pans on to and carry into the school three pans at a time. Sometimes he scares me with his handy creations.

One year my former next door neighbor offered to help and she made half the bars and I made the other half and then we loaded up our vehicles and delivered them to the school.


Her two youngest children were obviously assigned the important job of guarding the pumpkin bars until we were ready to head to the school.

These pumpkin bars began with one neighbor bringing one pumpkin bar over on a little dessert plate to share with me.

A small gesture that she may not even remember but I loved the pumpkin bar so much that I asked her for the recipe. She sent it over handwritten on a recipe card.

**POST EDIT: Recipe below calls for 15 ounce small can of pumpkin**


Here is the original card she gave me about 15 years ago. Thanks Suzanne.

Side note: The only thing I changed is that I use a full 8 oz. block of cream cheese. That and I missed the “keep refrigerated” for about eight years with no adverse side effects.

I have since re-typed it on my computer and have lost count of how many people I have shared the recipe with. In the final year at their school, I printed the recipe on card stock so the school would have a stack to pass out when moms asked for it. They are that good!!

I can’t wait to try the pumpkin apple muffins featured on iLash Girls yesterday. YUM!

Do you have a favorite recipe that has become a tradition in your family? Let’s swap some recipes in the comments so we can all add a new recipe or two to our menu this year!



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  1. 1
    Heidi says:

    Would you please clarify the size of the can of pumpkin? The big honking can or the smallish can? I guess a little extra pumpkin never hurt anyone :), but I’d rather have them not come out so moist I can’t get them out of the pan…

  2. 2
    Sherra says:

    Great question! The smallish can for sure. Thinking it’s 15 ounce or so. The “big honking can” would ruin their texture for sure. 😉

  3. 3
    Mollie says:

    These are SOOOO good! Certainly a recipe I will use over and over. My teenage boys even suggested I make a pan without the frosting, I’m sure they will still be excellent. Thanks for your great site, I love your down to earth stories and humor.

  4. 4
    Sherra says:

    @Mollie: So glad you like them. My kids want a pan of just the frosting! LOL

  5. 5

    These look wonderflu- I had done a pumpkin bar recipe, so for whatever reason I was thinking thinking you had used my recipe (it’s too early here in Calif. to be thinking this AM!) These recipe cards from friends and family are indeed treasures to be kept forever! I’ll bet this is a good one.

  6. 6
    Zeenat says:

    Loove these bars!! I didn’t use the cream cheese frosting but instead sprinkled top with a tablespoon of brown sugar , tablespoon of flax seed and a handful of chopped walnuts.. turned out amazing! Thanks soo much for sharing these!


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