Pumpkin Pie Bars
Pumpkin Pie Bars with Graham Cracker Crust – take everyone’s favorite pie and serve a crowd with these sheet pan pumpkin pie squares! Perfect for Thanksgiving, this recipe is from Sheet Pan Sweets: Simple, Streamlined Dessert Recipes by Molly Gilbert.
Pumpkin Pie Bars with Graham Cracker Crust – take everyone’s favorite pie and serve a crowd with these sheet pan pumpkin pie squares! This recipe is from Sheet Pan Sweets: Simple, Streamlined Dessert Recipes by Molly Gilbert. Perfect for Thanksgiving!
There is one non-negotiable every Thanksgiving at our house. And it’s not even the turkey. Can you guess what it might be?
It’s the pumpkin pie. And it must have a graham cracker crust.
With an upcoming season of holiday baking in mind, I was happy to welcome Molly Gilbert on the podcast to discuss her newly released cookbook. Sheet Pan Sweets: Simple, Streamlined Dessert Recipes (affiliate link) takes her expertise in sheet pan cooking and translates it into baking! She shares so many favorites, from classic sheet cakes to her Nana’s Gingerbread recipe.
It turns out that pumpkin pie bars are also one of the stars of her Thanksgiving dessert table. So naturally, I had to make them!
The Benefits of Sheet Pan Baking
The beauty of sheet pan baking is that you can bake a large volume (and feed a crowd!) and have faster baking and cooling times (thanks to more surface area)! So, whether you’ve got a lot of guests for the holidays, need to bring a dessert to a potluck, or have a bake sale, these pumpkin pie bars are a great way to deliver those nostalgic pumpkin pie flavors.
For this recipe, you will need a half sheet pan, measuring 18 x 13 inches, with a 1-inch rim; also known as a rimmed baked sheet.
You can also divide it up into two quarter sheet pans measuring 13 x 9 inches, or divide the recipe in half and bake it in one quarter sheet pan.
How to Make Pumpkin Pie Bars
I am a big fan of a pumpkin pie with a graham cracker crust, and this crust recipe has one more special ingredient: pecans. It adds a nutty flavor and extra texture to the pie!
A food processor makes quick work of crumbling the crackers and nuts. Pressing the mixture into the sheet pan couldn’t be simpler. Use a measuring cup and your fingers to press the crust into the sheet pan, packing it into an even layer and up the rim of the pan.
The filling couldn’t be easier. Whisk together the pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, and the spices, followed by the eggs, milk and cream. This creamy custard gets poured into the crust and it’s off to bake!
Perhaps the hardest part about making pumpkin pie is patiently waiting for the bars to cool and chill. But the good news is you can make it the night before, which is perfect for the holidays when oven space is in big demand.
Listen to the Podcast with Molly Gilbert
For more sheet pan inspiration and to learn more about sheet pan baking, be sure to check out my interview with Molly Gilbert in Episode 57 of the Kitchen Confidante Podcast!
More Pumpkin Recipes
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Sheet Pan Sweets to review for the Kitchen Confidante Podcast Episode 57 with Molly Gilbert. All opinions are, of course, my own. There may be affiliate links in the post, see my Disclosure page to learn more.
Pumpkin Pie Bars
Graham Cracker Crust
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 cups graham cracker crumbs from about 24 whole crackers
- 1 cup whole pecans or skinned hazelnuts heaping cup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 15-ounce cans pure pumpkin puree preferably Libby’s
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon heaping
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
1 1/2cups heavy cream
Whipped Cream (optional, for serving)
- 1 to 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Make the graham cracker crust: Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the center position. Grease a sheet pan with nonstick spray.
- In a food processor, grind together the graham cracker crumbs and nuts until coarsely ground and well combined. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, melted butter, and salt and pulse to com- bine until the mixture resembles wet sand.
- Pour the graham mixture evenly into the prepared pan and use your hands or a flat-bottomed measuring cup to press the crumbs firmly against the bottom and up the sides of the pan, making sure there are no holes or extra-thin spots anywhere.
- Make the pumpkin filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg until smooth. Whisk in the eggs until smooth, then add the milk and cream and whisk until homogeneous.
- Pour the pumpkin custard over the prepared crust and very carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Bake the bars for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the custard is mostly set— the center should just barely jiggle. Allow the pumpkin bars to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator, uncovered, to cool completely, at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
- Meanwhile, make the whipped cream, if desired: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, whip the cream and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.
- Slice the pumpkin bars into squares or triangles and serve topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream. The bars will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.