These Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars are an easy, must make dessert to serve this Thanksgiving! A dreamy cross between pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake and a great alternative to pie!
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Just a little over two weeks away until Thanksgiving and that means it’s time to start getting serious about the menu. Making a pumpkin or apple pie for dessert tends to be the go-to for most people. However, this year I thought I’d stray from the traditional and share the recipe for these Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars with you.
There’s a few reasons why you should make these bars instead of or at least to go along with your pies.
- They taste like a cross between pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake.
- Minimal dishes will get dirty while making them.
- You don’t have to deal with pie crust.
- They can easily be adapted to be gluten-free in case you or your guests have to follow a gluten-free diet.
What Do I Need To Make the Bars?
- Graham crackers
- Brown sugar
- Pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and ginger
- Canned pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- Full fat plain Greek yogurt
- Vanilla extract
There’s two ways you can make these creamy pumpkin pie bars. If you have a food processor this is the method I used and recommend. You can make both the crust and the filling in it. If you don’t have a food processor, no problem. Crush the graham crackers in a freezer bag using a rolling pin them put them in a mixing bowl with the rest of the crust ingredients. For the filling, simply whisk it all together in a large mixing bowl.
Let’s talk about what makes these creamy pumpkin pie bars so creamy. It’s one of my favorite ingredients to use in baking, plain Greek yogurt. I have lots of desserts on my blog that use Greek yogurt as a healthier replacement to oil, heavy cream and cream cheese. This Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cake or these Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cannoli Cups would be a wonderful accompaniment to the pumpkin bars!
I love using Greek yogurt as a replacement to heavier ingredients because it’s nearly undetectable in many recipes. Unless you say something most people won’t know the difference. Greek yogurt if full of protein (1 cup has 20 grams), which keeps you full longer. If you’re like me and love dessert, having one that makes me full and not crave seconds and thirds is a must.
Greek yogurt adds the same creaminess and tang that both sour cream and cream cheese do making it a great alternative to use in both sweet and savory dishes. It also contains a unique package of 9 essential nutrients found in dairy. If you’ve never tried using Greek yogurt as a substitute in recipes check out some ideas for doing so here.
Can I Use Non-Fat Greek Yogurt in the Recipe?
For this particular recipe I highly recommend that you stick to using full fat plain Greek yogurt. I tested the recipe with non-fat and wasn’t pleased with the texture of the bars. They had a spongy, slightly curdled texture. The full fat will give you that ultra creamy texture similar to cheesecake.
If you’re still not sure what to make for dessert this Thanksgiving or want to try something other than traditional pumpkin pie, I highly recommend giving these Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars a try!
Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars
- 9 graham crackers (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 1 3/4 cups full fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup canned pumpkin purée
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 325° F. and spray an 8x8 square baking pan with cooking spray.
- In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Add in the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt and pulse until combined. Pour in the melted butter and pulse until combined. Dump the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to firmly press the crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool for several minutes before pouring in the pumpkin filling.
- While the crust bakes, wipe out the bowl of the food processor then add in the Greek yogurt, pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Purée until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add in the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt and cornstarch. Purée again until everything is incorporated and smooth. Pour the filling over the baked graham cracker crust and tap the pan a couple times on the counter to get out any air bubbles. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35-45 minutes or until the center jiggles just slightly when you shake the pan.
- Cool the bars to room temperature before refrigerating for at least 2 hours. Serve the bars topped with whipped cream and cinnamon.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 228Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 224mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 18gProtein: 7g
What do you think about making this as a pie in a pie crust?
I haven’t tried making it this way, but if you do I’d love to hear the results.
Suppose these would freeze okay? What if I used sour cream rather than yogurt?
If like to get a jump on my holiday.
Could I make this with a pre-made graham cracker crust from the store?
I haven’t tried making them this way, but I think it will work. The baking time may be different so be sure to check them a couple times during the baking process.
Making these for Thanksgiving! If I want to make a full, rectangle pan (9×12?), would I make the recipe times 1.5, do you think?
Hi Angela. I would just double the recipe for ease. Your bars will be a little thicker and the baking time will probably be longer, but that should be the only differences.
Perfect; thank you!!!
How would you make these gluten free?
The only substitution you’ll need to make is to use gluten-free graham crackers. I believe the brands Pamelas and Schar are available at many grocery stores.