Easy Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Bars

Turns out, pumpkin and snickerdoodles were meant to be friends! These easy pumpkin snickerdoodle bars are soft and scrumptious!

two pumpkin snickerdoodle bars stacked on white tray with bite taken out of top bar

One bowl pumpkin snickerdoodle bars? Oh yes, I’m all in.

Snickerdoodles are rarely my cookie of choice, but apparently when you throw in a little pumpkin, they become irresistible to this snobby snickerdoodle palate. 

These bars are so soft with an almost melt-in-your mouth perfect texture.

And thanks to a few little tweaks, they defy the ultra cakey vibe that almost always accompanies pumpkin baked goods.

two pumpkin snickerdoodle bars stacked on top of cinnamon and sugar canister

Modeled after perfection

When I decided to go after a pumpkin snickerdoodle bar recipe, I had no idea it would be so hard to get just right. 

I was a little embarrassed and irritated at myself when after the 5th fail, I remembered these amazing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Why hadn’t I started there in the first place?

(Clearly I don’t learn lessons very quickly – same thing happened with this Instant Pot recipe). 

Those pumpkin cookies are best-ever because they are soft and chewy instead of cakey and fluffy, which is rare for a pumpkin baked good.

I wanted the same vibe for these pumpkin snickerdoodle bars. 

adding dry ingredients to pumpkin snickerdoodle batter

No Eggs

What’s the secret? Well, the reason these bars are different from most other pumpkin bar recipes out there is because there are no eggs. 

Using canned pumpkin PLUS eggs magnifies the cakey factor. Which is great when you want pumpkin cake. But not so great when you want a slightly firmer, less cakey bar cookie

Leaving out the eggs doesn’t ruin the recipe like you might think. It actually helps us out a lot here.

And trust me, I’m grateful for this epiphany because I did not want to make these bars ten more times. 

No offense, little miss pumpkin snickerdoodle bars. You’re amazing. But even amazing things can get old after a while. 

cinnamon and sugar sprinkled over pumpkin snickerdoodle bars

Cinnamon and sugar for the win

The delectable cinnamon +sugar topping gives these bars a signature snickerdoodle vibe AND provides the most delicious, crunchy, top crust.

It definitely becomes one of the most delightful parts of these bars.  

I’m a chocolate loving girl through and through, but I cannot be left alone with a pan of these bars. Simple but tasty, they tempt me beyond reason. 

two pumpkin snickerdoodle bars stacked on white tray with bite taken out of top bar

We managed to discover, in making these bars a million and a half times, that they are also crazy, crazy, crazy good just ever so slightly warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and butterscotch sauce. 

So yes, these easy pumpkin snickerdoodle bars are perfect for making and eating out of hand, just like you would a brownie or a cookie. 

But they are also moonlighting as possibly one of the best decadent fall desserts ever. 

While they are fantastic basically straight from the oven, the flavor actually gets better with time, and they taste even better the next day. 

fork taking bite out of easy pumpkin snickerdoodle bar with vanilla ice cream and butterscotch sauce on white plate

FAQ’S FOR THESE PUMPKIN SNICKERDOODLE BARS:

Can these be made gluten free?
I haven’t tried that myself, but several people have used a gluten free flour blend in the cookie recipe these bars were based off of with good results.

Can I halve the recipe?
Yes, this recipe can be cut in half and baked in an 8X8-inch pan. Watch the baking time closely and check after about 17 minutes.

It bothers me the recipe doesn’t call for a full 15-ounce can of pumpkin, what can I do about this?
I’m sorry you feel this way – I hope we can still be friends! This is the best ratio I could find for the perfect texture. I suggest freezing the rest of the pumpkin in the can. It can quickly be defrosted when you need to use it and it won’t go bad languishing in the back of your refrigerator.

Can I sub applesauce for the butter?
I haven’t tried that but you could experiment – I’d suggest only subbing in applesauce for half of the butter. I’m 99% sure it will change the texture of the bars and make them either more cakey or more dense or both.

How do you store these pumpkin snickerdoodle bars?
Store them well-covered in a tight container or bag. I like to keep them in the refrigerator, but they can be stored at room temperature as well.

One Year Ago: Easy One Pot Beef and Broccoli Ramen Noodles 
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Three Years Ago: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
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Five Years Ago: Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecake Bars
Six Years Ago: Blueberry and Almond Baked Steel Cut Oats 
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Eight Years Ago: Cheesecake Rice Pudding {Plus a Chocolate Version!} 

Easy Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Bars

Yield: 9X13-inch pan of bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
two pumpkin snickerdoodle bars stacked on white tray with bite taken out of top bar

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 ounces, 16 tablespoons) butter, softened (I use salted)
  • 1 cup (7.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (9 ounces) canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons water (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a metal 9X13-inch pan with foil or parchment and lightly grease with cooking spray. (Glass, ceramic or dark-coated pans may not bake as evenly, consider reducing temperature to 325 degrees.)
  2. In an electric mixer (handheld or stand), add the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar, and mix until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the pumpkin, water, and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the flour, cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice and mix until just combined and no dry streaks remain.
  5. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping and sprinkle evenly across the top of the bars.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until set around the edges and still soft (but not raw) in the center. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Serve at room temp or chilled (also delicious lightly warmed with a scoop of ice cream).

Notes

Pumpkin Puree: homemade or storebought pumpkin puree works fine in this recipe with this caveat: the recipe was written using Libby's brand since it's probably the most widely available overall. If using homemade pumpkin puree, which tends to be a little more liquid-y, omit the water. Same goes for the Trader Joe's brand of pumpkin puree and other canned brands that are super soft/watery.

Flavor: the flavor of these bars improves with time. They are delicious on day one but REALLY good on day two. Keep them well-covered and they will stay fresh for next day eating.

Eggs: there are no eggs in this recipe (this helps keep the bars less cakey than other pumpkin recipes with eggs).

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (adapted from this best-ever pumpkin cookie recipe)