Delightfully cozy pumpkin cheesecake bars feature a crunchy gingersnap cookie crust and a spiced pumpkin cheesecake filling. They come together with classic cheesecake ingredients, but are made as bars instead of in a spring-form pan.
Fall is here which means it’s pumpkin spice season! We’re enjoying plenty of seasonal recipes like these pumpkin muffins and pumpkin ginger molasses cookies, as well as these perfectly spiced pumpkin cheesecake bars. They’re everything we love about classic cheesecake in a nice handheld bar form!
Baked to creamy perfection in the oven, the pumpkin cheesecake filling is made with canned pumpkin, cream cheese, and a little flour. They’re sweetened with coconut sugar and maple syrup for a more nutritious option.
“These were a delicious dessert for our thanksgiving dinner this year! That gingersnap crust is just the best!” – Jenna
What You Need for Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Made with basic fall baking ingredients, these pumpkin cheesecake bars come together quickly and easily. You’ll need:
- Gingersnap Cookies: Make sure to use crunchy gingersnap cookies for the crust, not soft gingersnap cookies. We tested this recipe with Nabisco’s Ginger Snaps which were the perfect crunchy texture for gingersnap cookie crumbs. They held up great in crust-form!
- Butter + Coconut Oil: Room temperature butter and coconut oil add moisture and flavor to the crust, as well as hold it together while it bakes. Take out the butter from the refrigerator about 30 minutes-1 hour before you plan to make the bars so it’s softened and ready to go.
- Pumpkin: We use 1 standard can (15 ounces) of pumpkin purée for these cheesecake bars. Any brand works!
- Cream Cheese: Can’t have cheesecake bars without cream cheese! Full-fat block-style cream cheese is best.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: Adds warm and cozy pumpkin pie flavor to these bars. Our homemade pumpkin pie spice is a great option, or use your favorite store-bought mix.
- Sweeteners: We use a combination of pure maple syrup and coconut sugar to sweeten the bars. Maple pairs wonderfully with the other fall flavors!
- Flour: A little flour thickens the filling and helps it stay intact as the bars bake.
- Eggs: Bind the filling together. When you take out the butter for the crust, take out the eggs, too. Room temperature eggs combine more easily with the filling ingredients and help to prevent any over-mixing.
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Substitutions for Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
With only 10 ingredients, these pumpkin cheesecake bars are already made with pretty simple ingredients. Here are a couple variations to try:
Crust: Use a traditional graham cracker crust or a shortbread-style crust instead of a gingersnap cookie crust. For a graham cracker crust, follow the crust instructions in our chocolate chai Greek yogurt cheesecake bars recipe (omit the cocoa powder). For a shortbread crust, follow the crust instructions in our apple pie bars recipe.
Pumpkin: Instead of pumpkin, use the same amount of sweet potato purée for sweet potato cheesecake bars.
Sugar: If you don’t have coconut sugar on hand, the same amount of brown sugar works in a pinch.
How many gingersnap cookies do you need?
We used about 20 gingersnap cookies for 1.5 cups of gingersnap cookie crumbs. You may need more/less depending on what brand/kind/size of gingersnap cookies you use
Can you make these bars with a graham cracker crust?
Yes, use the graham cracker crust recipe from our chocolate chai Greek yogurt cheesecake bars.
These are such a great make-ahead holiday recipe! After cooling completely, tightly cover the pan of bars with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days before slicing and serving. Store any leftover cheesecake bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freezing Cheesecake Bars
Pumpkin cheesecake bars freeze beautifully! Once fully cooled, cut the pan of bars into squares, place in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze until fully frozen. Remove the bars from the freezer, wrap individually in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn, and place into freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months.
While delicious without toppings, jazz up these pumpkin cheesecake bars with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream, a sprinkle of chopped walnuts or pecans, a drizzle of salted caramel, or a dusting of gingersnap crumbs. They’re a cozy way to end any fall meal!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF and grease an 8-inch x 8-inch baking dish with coconut oil. Set aside.
- Make the gingersnap cookie crumbs. Place the gingersnap cookies in a food processor and process for about 1 minute until they turn into crumbs.
- Add the cookie crumbs, butter, and coconut to a large bowl. Use a spatula (or your hands) to mix the ingredients together until the crust mixture holds its form.
- Transfer the crust mixture to the prepared baking dish. Use a spatula to flatten the crust mixture evenly into the pan. The more tightly packed the mixture, the better.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before adding the cheesecake filling. Keep the oven on while you make the filling.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- Place all ingredients (except for the eggs) into a large bowl. Use a handheld mixture set on low/medium speed to mix together until smooth.
- Add the eggs into the bowl with the pumpkin filling. Mix to incorporate the eggs into the filling on the lowest speed. Only mix until the eggs are *just* combined (careful not to over mix).
- Pour the pumpkin filling over the crust. Make sure it's evenly spread out.
- Bake until the center of the bars are gelatin-like, about 38-40 minutes.
- Remove bars from the oven and let cool completely at room temperature. Once cool, transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours before cutting into bars.
- Top with your favorite whipped cream and a dusting of gingersnap crumbs.
Tips & Notes
- Storage: Store any leftover cheesecake bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezing Instructions: Once fully cooled, cut the pan of bars into squares, place in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze until fully frozen. Remove the bars from the freezer, wrap individually in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and place into freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Gingersnap Cookies: Make sure the gingersnap cookies you use are hard and crunchy. The soft kind will not work for this recipe. HERE is the product we tested this recipe with.
- Recipe Update: We updated the recipe on 11/27/19. We had a typo in the recipe saying 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice. We’ve decreased it to 2 teaspoons, which is the correct amount!