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Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars sweetened mostly with coconut sugar and topped with an irresistible, lightly sweet cream cheese frosting are perfect for Halloween.

Gluten-free pumpkin bars

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars Recipes

It might sound like an exaggeration to say that I can’t stop eating these gluten-free pumpkin bars but the truth is: I can’t stop eating these gluten-free pumpkin bars! Warmly spiced, loaded with pumpkin flavor, and topped with a just-sweet-enough cream cheese frosting, these are my new favorite fall treats,

In this recipe I chose a simple combination of oat and tapioca flours. I love oat flour for its soft and fluffy texture in bakes, but final results can be gummy if used as the only gluten-free flour. Here, the right amount of starch balances it out and creates a sturdy crumb perfect to hold up the frosting. (See the recipe notes for substitutions but if you don’t do oat flour, sorghum flour is a great replacement.)

Resting the batter to let the flours absorb the liquid is key (full disclosure: my batter rested for over an hour because I was doing school pickups; try for at least 15 minutes). The bars bake up nice and dense and taste great straight from the fridge, even better after they’ve come to room temperature a bit. Unlike a cake, you can eat these without a fork, especially handy when serving to kids or at a fall gathering (or both?). Coconut sugar and maple syrup are the natural sweeteners, and they play beautifully with the oat and pumpkin flavors.

I cram a lot of pumpkin recipes into my kitchen between October-December because I truly love pumpkin. Of course I could bake with it during the spring and summer months but somehow it just doesn’t feel right! So October/November are my big pumpkin months and I will be sharing a few more recipes before the end of the year, with hopes that we haven’t all been pumpkin-ed out by then. These gluten-free pumpkin bars would make a perfect Halloween dessert, or you could bring them to a Thanksgiving potluck. But who am I kidding — don’t wait to make these. You can eat them anytime you want, just like me.

Small white pumpkin

What You’ll Need for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars

See the recipe card at the end of this post for the full ingredient amounts and instructions.

  • Oat flour: My favorite gluten-free flour for baking, oat flour is a whole grain, delicious flour made from ground oats
  • Tapioca flour: Great in gluten-free baking for its binding capability
  • Coconut sugar: A wonderful unrefined sugar option with a deep caramel flavor
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Ground spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves
  • Oil: You could use coconut oil or a neutral vegetable oil
  • Eggs
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Pumpkin puree: Pure pumpkin works best in this recipe
  • Maple syrup
  • Cream cheese

How to Make Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars

Make Bars

  • Prepare the pan. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with oil and line it with parchment paper, leaving some to go up the sides.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat and tapioca flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • Mix together the wet ingredients and combine with the dry. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, coconut sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together until combined. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk and stir until completely combined.
  • Rest the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Let rest for at least 15 minutes so the flours can hydrate. Then preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Bake the bars. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, checking at 50 minutes. A tester inserted in the middle should come out clean, the top should feel slightly firm when lightly pressed, and the edges should be coming away from the sides of the pan.
  • Let cool. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about an hour. Place in the fridge to chill further while you make the frosting.

Make Frosting

  • Make the frosting. Place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, whip the ingredients together until well blended and slightly fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the salt and then sift in the powdered sugar (to avoid lumps). Mix very well until a thick frosting forms. Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake and place in the fridge.
  • Chill the bars. Pumpkin bars may be served cold from the fridge or at room temperature. You can slice them all up at once or as needed. Bars will keep, well covered in the fridge, for up to 5 days.

Tips for Success

  • Rest the batter: Let the batter rest for at least 15 minutes before baking. Oat flour really benefits from a rest to let it absorb liquids.
  • Use room temperature ingredients: Bring ingredients to room temperature before using.

Substitution Suggestions

  • For the homemade coconut powdered sugar recipe: Click here for my homemade recipe. Swap traditional powdered sugar if you wish.
  • Flour substitute: Use sorghum flour in place of the oat flour. Use arrowroot instead of tapioca.
  • Oil substitute: You could do a straight swap with butter or olive oil, or do a combination of melted butter and olive oil. Note that olive oil may affect the flavor.
  • Coconut sugar substitute: Use brown sugar in place of coconut sugar.
  • Maple syrup substitute: Use honey or brown sugar instead of the maple syrup.
  • To make vegan: Substitute three flax eggs for the eggs. Use your preferred vegan butter substitute and cream cheese substitute in the frosting.

How to Store

Store gluten-free pumpkin bars in an air-tight container or well covered in the pan in the fridge for 5 days. Bars may be served cold from the fridge or at room temperature. You can slice them all up at once or as needed.

Gluten-free pumpkin bars

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars

Nicole Spiridakis
Gluten-free pumpkin bars sweetened mostly with coconut sugar and topped with an irresistible, lightly sweet cream cheese frosting are perfect for Halloween.
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Batter resting time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24
Calories 235 kcal

Ingredients
  

Pumpkin Bars

  • 2 cups/200 g gluten-free oat flour
  • ½ cup/70 g tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup coconut oil melted, or vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs large
  • 1 ¼ cups coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch salt

Instructions
 

Make Bars

  • Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan with oil and line with parchment paper, leaving some to go up the sides.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat and tapioca flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, coconut sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together until combined. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk and stir until completely combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Let rest for at least 15 minutes so the flours can hydrate. Then preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, checking at 50 minutes. A tester inserted in the middle should come out clean, the top should feel slightly firm when lightly pressed, and the edges should be coming away from the sides of the pan.
  • Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about an hour. Place in the fridge to chill further while you make the frosting.

Make Frosting

  • Place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, whip the ingredients together until well blended and slightly fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the salt and then sift in the powdered sugar (to avoid lumps). Mix very well until a thick frosting forms. Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake and place in the fridge.
  • Pumpkin bars may be served cold from the fridge or at room temperature. You can slice them all up at once or as needed. Bars will keep, well covered in the fridge, for up to 5 days.

Notes

For homemade coconut powdered sugar recipe, click here. Swap traditional powdered sugar if you wish.
Flour substitutes use sorghum flour in place of the oat flour. Use arrowroot instead of the tapioca.
Oil substitute – you could do a straight swap with butter or olive oil, or do a combination of melted butter and olive oil. Note that olive oil may affect the flavor.
Coconut sugar substitute  use brown sugar in place of the coconut sugar.
Maple syrup substitute  use honey or brown sugar instead of the maple syrup.
To make vegan – substitute three flax eggs for the eggs. Use your preferred vegan butter substitute and cream cheese substitute in the frosting.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 barCalories: 235kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 2gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 201mgPotassium: 60mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 159IUVitamin C: 0.01mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know in the comments how it went!

One Comment

  1. Wow. So thorough and so many options. Clear directions and a scrumptious result. Keep on baking. Thank you.

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