It’s officially autumn when you see an orange pumpkin for the first time. It was 95 degrees in Seattle one day and then it was raining the next. I love sweatshirt weather.
Why Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are a Must
These pumpkin bars are filled with a cheesecake-like filling, and have a crispy streusel topping. These pumpkin bars can be made anytime, not just Thanksgiving. They are a wonderful dessert any time of the year!
When I can, I add a streusel topping on my dessert bars. The streusel adds texture and flavor to the creamy pumpkin and cream cheese filling.
How to make the best pumpkin cheesecake bars
Your cream cheese should be allowed to soften at room temperature. This will allow it to blend easily with the other ingredients. If you find that the cream cheese is still cool, or if you have any lumps in your filling, you can strain the mixture using a mesh strainer.
These bars can be topped with caramel sauce if you want to make them extra rich. These bars are delicious on their own but the caramel elevates them to a whole new level. Enjoy!
This recipe calls for the best cream cheese
You can use any brand of cream cheese in these recipes. But make sure it is full fat. Otherwise, you will lose that creamy texture. Don’t forget to bring the cream cheese up to room temperature. This is crucial to avoid lumps in your filling.
Which type of pumpkin do you use?
Pumpkin puree can be purchased in cans during the autumn in seasonal sections. Sometimes they are also stocked with canned fruits and canned vegetables. They are usually available in cans of 15 to 29 ounces. Make sure you read the label to ensure that you get pure pumpkin filling and not pumpkin pie filling, which is already sweetened.
You can also make your own pumpkin puree. Cut a pie or sugar pumpkin in half. Then, remove the seeds. The halves should be roasted cut side down on a baking sheet at 400°F for 40 minutes or until you can easily poke the skin with a knife. The flesh can be scooped out and put in a food processor or blender. The pumpkin puree can be stored for later.
We have compiled a list with recipes for leftover pumpkin puree, even if it is a smaller can.
How to store pumpkin cheesecake bars
These pumpkin cheesecake bars can be made a day in advance and left on the counter for up to 24 hours. You can store them in an airtight container for up to three days.
These bars can also freeze well. First, cool them. Once they are firm, wrap them in plastic wrap, and then freeze them in an airtight container. You can also cut them into bars and wrap each one separately for easier defrosting.
Let the cheesecake bars cool at room temperature to thaw.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars With Streusel Topping
PREP TIME 20 minutes
COOK TIME – 45 minutes
COOLING – 60 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 2 hrs 5 minutes
SERVINGS – 15-18 bars
To avoid lumps, let the cream cheese cool to room temperature before you start to mix the filling. Make the graham cracker crumbs in a food processor or by placing the crackers into a zip-top bag. Roll the crackers with a rolling pin.
Graham cracker crust:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (See recipe note)
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 6 teaspoons regular salt butter, melt and cool slightly to stop it from getting too hot
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 4 tablespoons regular salted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- Caramel sauce homemade or store-bought.
- Whipped cream, optional
- Prepare the pan and heat the oven.
- Turn the oven on to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Line the pan with parchment paper. Allow the edges to hang over sides. This will allow you to remove the bars that are used for cutting and preserve the crust.
- Make the graham cracker crust
- Combine all ingredients for the graham cracker dough in a large bowl. Mix the ingredients together until it looks wet sand. Add another tablespoon of butter to make it look more moist. To form an even crust, transfer to a lined baking pan.
- Add the streusel topping
- Combine the ingredients for the streusel topping in the same bowl you used to prepare the graham cracker mix. To ensure that the mixture is evenly mixed, use your hands to combine the ingredients. The mixture should look like large crumbles. Set aside.
- Fill the pumpkin with:
- Use a paddle attachment to a stand mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Turn off the mixer and scrape the bowl. Mix the eggs one by one, stirring for 30 seconds between each. The bowl should be scraped down once more. Mix in the pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice.
- Assemble the bars
- Place the pumpkin filling in a pan and top with the graham cracker crust. Use a silicon spatula to smoothen the mixture evenly. Sprinkle the streusel topping on top of the pumpkin filling.
- Bake the bars for 45-50 minutes
- To check how fast they bake, take a look at the bars after 40 minutes. A toothpick should be inserted into the middle of the bars to ensure that they come out cleanly.
- Allow the bars to cool completely before refrigerating.
- Allow the bars to cool on a wire rack. Place the bars in the refrigerator to cool completely.
- Serve the slices with caramel sauce drizzled on top. The bars will keep for approximately a week if refrigerated.