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Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Frosting Recipe

Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Frosting Recipe

I based this recipe on one my grandmother used to make—so sweet memories are baked into every bar. When making the frosting, carefully watch the butter and remove it from the heat as soon as it starts to brown. Do not use margarine.—Mary Wilhelm, Sparta, Wisconsin
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling YIELD:24 servings


  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, cubed
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons 2% milk


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. In a large bowl, beat the first six ingredients until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, pie spice, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture.
  • 2. Transfer to prepared pan. Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  • 3. In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Heat 5-7 minutes or until golden brown, stirring constantly. Transfer to a large bowl. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Spread over bars; let stand until set. Yield: 2 dozen.

Reviews for Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Frosting

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Reviewed Sep. 29, 2015

"This is a good recipe however, I can never leave well enough alone...

so instead of all white sugar, I used 1/2 c, then slightly less than 1/2 c. brown and a little honey for taste. I thought it was too much sugar.
I added some fresh grated nutmeg...
Also I put the craisins in the micro w a little rum to soften them...more flavor...
In the oven now so I really can't give a fair review but I do think they will be wonderful!"

Reviewed Sep. 9, 2015

"Very good and moist. Made it for company and got lots of raves. I used a cream cheese icing with orange juice instead of the browned butter one in recipe. Will definitely make it again."

Reviewed Nov. 13, 2014

"These were the best pumpkin bars I've ever made. Loved the hint of orange in the bars and the browned butter frosting is amazing. I let my husand lick the beaters and he suggested i use the frosting instead of cream cheese filling in my pumpkin cake rolls."

Reviewed Oct. 8, 2014

"Moist and delish! Made these for a bake sale and they were a hit - sold out. Real salted butter gave the frosting a salted caramel flavor. I sprinkled the top with nutmeg before serving."

Reviewed Oct. 8, 2014

"I didn't have the correct size pan so I made in a 13 x 9 which made it more like cake. Awesome tasting and very moist! I used some leftover homemade cream cheese frosting which only added to the taste instead of being too sweet like one reviewer stated. Family wanted to eat the whole pan, but I like to get two times from a dessert, so I had to restrain them."

Reviewed Oct. 2, 2014

"The cake turned out moist and delicious, however, the frosting was way too sweet and rich, which overpowered the flavor of the cake. I definitely agree with one of the posters, cream cheese frosting would be perfect on it!"

Reviewed Oct. 2, 2014

"These are really moist pumpkin bars and the brown butter icing is really delicious, although the sweet icing overwhelmed the pumpkin taste. All in all it is an easy and tasty treat . I think next time I'll try plain without the icing and maybe add some chopped pecans. I also used a 9x13 pan and left out the Orange peel because I didn't have any on hand."

Reviewed Sep. 30, 2014

"Also good with cream cheese frosting! Tastes like Fall."

Reviewed Sep. 29, 2014

"This is a wonderful moist snack-type cake. I didn't make the icing, we just ate it un-iced. I put it in a 9x13 so it was a little thicker. I omitted the orange zest and juice and used 2/3c. honey in place of the sugar and added a 1/2 cup of milk. My kids and husband had the cake gone the first night.

Definitely a keeper."

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