These pumpkin bars are the perfect ode to fall. Full of pumpkin spice, a touch of maple syrup, and topped with a vegan cream cheese frosting, these secretly vegan pumpkin bars are fluffy, soft, moist, and a delight to enjoy!

best vegan pumpkin bars

Why you should try these pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting

Whether or not you’re vegan (or gluten free!), you will fall in love with these easy vegan pumpkin bars. Topped with a creamy dairy free cream cheese frosting, there is truly no match for these autumn-inspired cake bars.

Here’s the deets: we have an ultra fluffy, moist, and flavorful pumpkin cake-like base. It’s full of flavor and wonderfully balanced with a touch of maple syrup and sweetness to round out the flavor profile. Next, we have a from-scratch vegan cream cheese frosting that could quite honestly be eaten with a spoon.

Both kids and adults love this recipe, and it’s easy to eat a whole slice in a sitting. You’ll definitely want to share!

These easy vegan pumpkin bars are perfect for Thanksgiving dessert, Halloween (decorate them with fun vegan Halloween sprinkles!)

sliced pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting

What’s the difference between pumpkin bars and pumpkin cake?

If you’ve been a Banana Diaries reader for a while, then you’re probably familiar with this vegan pumpkin cake. It’s absolutely delicious and the fall cake to make this season.

However, pumpkin cake is definitely different from pumpkin bars…which are still different from a brownie or even sheet cake!

These vegan pumpkin bars are like an in-between of a sheet cake and a brownie. Not super fudgy and dense, but also not quite so tender that it will easily crumb, like cake. They’re super fluffy and light while also being packed with flavor. I think it’s most similar to a snack cake!

All in all, these pumpkin spice bars are just delicious!

sliced pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting

Ingredients & Substitutions

Here are the few and simply ingredients you need to make this super easy vegan pumpkin bar recipe:

  • Flour: you can use gluten free 1:1 baking flour or regular all purpose flour here.
  • Sugar: I’ve tested this recipe with both coconut sugar and granulated sugar- both work! If you’re using regular sugar, be sure that it’s vegan. The one thing I will note is that the coconut sugar definitely lends a more caramel taste- much like when using brown sugar – that is really nice with the pumpkin spice flavor!
  • Pumpkin spice: This is typically a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. However, sometimes, I mix in some cardamom as well! You can make this homemade if you’d like or purchase in stores.
  • Cinnamon: for extra warming spices 🙂
  • Pumpkin puree: you can’t have pumpkin bars without pumpkin puree! I haven’t tested this recipe using homemade pumpkin puree, so I can’t speak to the results.
  • Vegan butter: I recommend Flora Plant Butter or Miyoko’s here for the best result!
  • Vegan buttermilk: I combined dairy free milk with a little apple cider vinegar to yield a dairy free buttermilk that acts just like traditional. It’s super easy! I recommend Forager Project Oat Milk or oat milk in general, as it tends to be creamier and yields a fluffier cake.
  • Vegan cream cheese frosting: this is a combination of vegan cream cheese (recommendations in the recipe card below!), vegan butter, and powdered sugar!
pumpkin bar ingredients

How to make vegan pumpkin bars (overview)

For the full written instructions and ingredient measurements, see the bottom of this post in the recipe card. You can also hit the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post! Here, we’ll go over a brief overview of the steps, along with providing visuals for a better understanding of the recipe.

Let’s go over just how quick and simple these pumpkin bars are to make!

To make vegan pumpkin bars, you’ll first:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients.

    This is your flour, spices, and leavening agents. Then set this bowl aside.

  2. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients.

    You can use a hand mixer or simply whisk by hand. You’ll mix together the pumpkin puree, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vegan butter, and vanilla.

  3. Next, add in the dry ingredients and vegan buttermilk.

    Gently fold everything together with a rubber spatula, and mix until there are just no more dry clumps. Be careful not to over mix the batter!

  4. Pour the batter into your baking pan, and bake!

    These vegan pumpkin bars will take about 27-32 minutes to bake, depending upon your oven. Then remove from the oven and allow to fully cool before frosting.

how to make pumpkin bars

These pumpkin bars are:

  • Full of pumpkin spice and tastes like fall in a bite!
  • Light and fluffy, yet tender and moist
  • Perfectly sweet with a slight tang (thanks to the cream cheese frosting!)
  • Undetectably vegan, eggless, dairy free, and gluten free (perfectly vegetarian friendly as well!)
  • Great for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any fall celebration!
  • Approved by picky eaters and non-vegans
stacked vegan pumpkin bars

More Vegan Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love:

Vegan Pumpkin Pasta

Amazing Vegan Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes

BEST EVER Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Nut-Free Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Easy Vegan Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

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Easy Vegan Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting


Description

These pumpkin bars are the perfect ode to fall. Full of pumpkin spice, a touch of maple syrup, and topped with a vegan cream cheese frosting, these secretly vegan pumpkin bars are fluffy, soft, moist, and a delight to enjoy!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 100 grams unsweetened dairy free milk with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 250 grams all purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 375 grams pumpkin puree
  • 150 grams coconut sugar
  • 50 grams vegan butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 115 grams vegan cream cheese, room temperature
  • 115 grams vegan butter, room temperature
  • 500 grams powdered sugar, sifted

Instructions

  1. Please read through all instructions before beginning.
  2. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper, and grease the edges. Measure out all ingredients for the pumpkin bars specifically. Mix together the dairy free milk and apple cider vinegar, then set aside to curdle for 5-10 minutes. This will be referred to as vegan buttermilk. 
  3. Make the batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, coconut sugar, melted vegan butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Add in the dry ingredients, along with the vegan buttermilk, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there are just no more dry clumps (be careful not to over-mix the batter). 
  4. Bake the pumpkin bars: Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and place the pumpkin bars pan into the oven to bake for 27-32 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, and allow the bars to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely before making the cream cheese frosting.
  5. Make the vegan cream cheese frosting: Once the pumpkin bars are completely cool, you can begin to make the vegan cream cheese frosting. Start by creaming together the vegan cream cheese and vegan butter in a large bowl, using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Add in the powdered sugar in 1 cup increments, mixing as you go. Once the powdered sugar is fully incorporated, mix until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. You can use a tablespoon of dairy free milk if necessary to help incorporate the powdered sugar.
  6. Frost the pumpkin bars: Spoon the frosting onto the tops of the pumpkin bars. Spread it evenly until it reaches the edges of the bars. Slice and serve. If needed, you can allow the pumpkin bars to set in the fridge for 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
  7. Storage: Store any leftover slices in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Notes

Gluten free flour: I recommend using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour here for the best results. 

Vegan buttermilk: the creamier the milk, the better. I recommend Forager Project Oat Milk or Cashew Milk if you’re using store bought. Those are my personal preferences.

Vegan Cream Cheese: the brand of vegan cream cheese you purchase is super important. Not all brands are made equal and act differently in different recipes. For frosting, I prefer to use Violife. I’ve had the most success with that brand in terms of taste and stability of frosting.