Pumpkin Pie Bars
Made with a crumbly pecan and oat crust, homemade pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup, these healthy pumpkin pie bars are a fall-inspired treat that is full of flavor. Plus, they are naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian for everyone to enjoy!
Pumpkin flavor can be a little controversial; you either love it or you hate it and there is nothing in between. I myself am I big fan of pumpkin, I love using it in both savory and sweet dishes, such as soups, pancakes, oatmeal, cookies, and chia puddings, but nothing beats the classic flavor of pumpkin pie. So, I’ve decided to turn my favorite dessert into a healthy handheld treat, because why the heck not?
Ingredients for Healthy Pumpkin Pie Bars
Made with similar ingredients to a classic pumpkin pie, here’s what you’ll need to make these gluten-free pumpkin pie bars:
- Pumpkin Puree: The key ingredient in this recipe. While I used canned pumpkin puree, you can certainly make your own pumpkin puree if you like. Note: Canned pumpkin puree is NOT the same as pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin puree is cooked and pureed winter pumpkin (or squash), while pumpkin pie filling has added spices.
- Spices: By combining cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves you can easily make a homemade pumpkin pie spice blend to flavor the bars. You can also make a little extra and store it in the pantry to use for other pumpkin-flavored recipes.
- Rolled Oats: Using rolled oats instead of traditional pie crust helps to increase the fiber content and makes the bars gluten-free. By blending rolled oats in a food processor you can easily create oat flour to make the crust. Plus, the oat crust tastes like an oatmeal cookie, so what’s not to like?
- Pecans: To add some healthy fats, flavor, and crunch to the oat crush.
- Coconut Oil: To add some more healthy fats. Although I used coconut oil in this recipe, to make it dairy-free so that it works for everyone, you could replace the coconut oil with unsalted butter if preferred.
- Coconut Milk: Some full-fat coconut milk to keep the bars dairy-free. If you’re not a fan of coconut milk, you could use whole milk or half-and-half instead.
- Eggs: To help bind the bars.
- Vanilla Extract: To enhance the sweetness.
- Maple Syrup: Some natural sweetener to really bring out all of the fall favors.
A classic pumpkin pie recipe calls for a lot of added sugar, so I opted to use maple syrup to provide just enough sweetness and added a ton of spices to help add flavor and enhance the pumpkin pie taste.
How to Make Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Bars
- Make oat flour. In a food processor, blitz the rolled oats into a fine meal to make oat flour, and then blitz in the chopped pecans.
- Make the crust. In a large bowl, combine the oat mixture with the spices, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and maple syrup and mix until a crumbly texture forms, then press the oat crust into the base of a lined baking pan.
- Bake the crust. Bake the oat crust in the oven on its own until golden brown before baking it with the pumpkin pie filling to ensure it’s firm and doesn’t end up soggy.
- Make the pumpkin filling. While the crust is baking, make the filling. Whisk together the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie mix, salt, eggs, vanilla, coconut milk, and maple syrup.
- Bake the bars. Once the crust is pre-baked, top it with the pumpkin filling and then return the bars to the oven to bake completely.
- Allow to cool. Once the bars are baked, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool slightly. Be patient, cutting the bars too soon may ruin the texture of the filling.
- Slice and serve! Once cooled, slice the bars into even squares and enjoy as is, with a dollop of whipped cream, and/or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Honestly, these bars can be enjoyed as a dessert, snack, or even a healthy breakfast. Call me crazy, but you can top your bars with a generous dollop of Greek yogurt for additional protein to create a well-balanced, nutritious, and delicious meal.
To Make them Gluten-Free: While the recipe is technically gluten-free, you must use certified gluten-free oats to ensure the bars in fact gluten-free, as some oats can become cross-contaminated during processing in packaging facilities.
To Make them Vegan: Omit both eggs and replace them with 2 “flax eggs” instead. To make one flax egg, mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water and allow to sit for 5 minutes until thick (you’ll need to make 2), and then add the mixture to the recipe following the same instructions for the eggs.
Don’t like coconut oil? You can swap the coconut oil for the same amount of butter, just be sure to use unsalted.
Don’t like coconut milk? You can swap the coconut milk for whole milk or use half-and-half if you want them extra rich and tasty.
Storage & Thawing
To Store: The cooled bars can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To Freeze: Once baked and cooled, cover the bars in the pan with plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer-safe bag or slice them, remove them from the pan, and transfer them to an airtight container (separating layers with parchment paper), and freeze for up to one month. While they won’t go bad if left longer, their taste and texture will start to suffer.
To Thaw: Remove the bars from the freezer and allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight or for at least 12 hours. Do not thaw the bars in the microwave or oven.
Trust me, if you are a fan of pumpkin pie, you are going to love these pumpkin pie bars! Not only are they a great dessert idea for a crowd, but they are a simple and healthy treat that you can whip up and use for afternoon snacks for the week, and they pair perfectly with a warm cup of coffee or tea.
More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes:
These healthy pumpkin pie bars are perfectly spiced, naturally sweetened, vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free, making them a delicious treat everyone can enjoy!
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup pecans, raw
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, plus more for greasing
- 15oz can pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8×8 baking dish with coconut oil and line it with parchment paper.
- Begin by preparing the crust. In a food processor, combine rolled oats and pecans and blend on high until both oatmeal and pecans are ground into a flour-like meal.
- Once blended, transfer the oatmeal and pecan mixture to a large mixing bowl, add ginger, cinnamon, and sea salt, and stir to combine.
- Pour in vanilla extract, maple syrup, and coconut oil, and stir to combine with oats until a thick mixture forms.
- Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and, using your hands, press into the bottom of the baking dish packing it down firmly and pressing it evenly to cover all corners of the baking dish. Once complete, prick the bottom of the crust in several places with a fork and transfer the baking dish to the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes until the crust is just golden around the edges of the pan.
- Once the crust has baked, remove it from the oven and allow to cool slightly for about 5 minutes.
- While the crust is cooling, prepare the filling. Combine all the filling ingredients into a large mixing bowl, whisk until well combine and set aside.
- Once the crust has cooled, pour the filling mixture on top of the crust, spreading it out evenly with a spatula, and then return the baking dish to the oven to bake for 45-50 minutes until the center is set.
- Once complete, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into 9 squares.
- Pumpkin pie bars can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Serving Size: 1 bar
- Calories: 306 calories
- Sugar: 18 grams
- Fat: 17 grams
- Carbohydrates: 33 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Protein: 5 grams
Keywords: healthy pumpkin pie bars, gluten-free pumpkin pie bars, pumpkin pie bars with oat crust, pumpkin pie bars with oatmeal crust