Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars

Total Time
Prep: 15 min. Bake: 40 min.
Yes, it's possible to make gluten-free pumpkin bars with a soft, moist crumb. This recipe is finished with a silky maple cream cheese frosting for maximum fall flavor.

Updated: May 09, 2024

I love fall baking. I love it even more when I can share treats with everyone I know—including friends with food allergies. These gluten-free pumpkin bars are similar to pumpkin cake but have a more dense consistency. The texture is a perfect balance between a fluffy cake and a fudgy brownie.

The maple cream cheese frosting pairs perfectly with the texture and spiced pumpkin flavor of the bars. Serve this gluten-free dessert during the holidays at a potluck or for any celebration, small or large.

Ingredients for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars

  • Butter: Start with unsalted butter softened to room temperature. Butter enriches the gluten-free pumpkin bars with fat for a moist crumb.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar is creamed with the softened butter to add sweetness and make these bars light and fluffy.
  • Eggs: Three large eggs are used in this recipe to add moisture, help the bars rise and bind everything together. It’s best to let eggs come to room temperature before cracking them into the batter.
  • Canned pumpkin: Use canned pumpkin rather than fresh pumpkin for all your fall baking needs. It saves time and effort, delivers consistent results and often tastes better. Find all the reasons we love canned pumpkin, and see our Test Kitchen’s top canned pumpkin brands.
  • Maple syrup: In addition to the sugar (and chocolate chips), maple syrup contributes to the sweetness of this decadent dessert. The best maple syrup to use is golden or amber for a light maple flavor, or opt for dark if you prefer a stronger flavor.
  • Vanilla extract: Just a touch of vanilla enhances the overall flavor.
  • Gluten-free all-purpose baking flour: Plenty of gluten-free flour options are available in stores and online. If you’re new to gluten-free baking, learn about our preferred gluten-free flour blends. And be precise when you measure flour. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup, then scrape off the excess with a butter knife to level it.
  • Almond flour: This flour adds flavor, moisture and richness to the pumpkin bars. Make sure the almond flour is certified gluten-free, as nuts are often processed in the same facility as wheat flour.
  • Pumpkin pie spice: This mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger is what gives pumpkin bars their amazing flavor. Use store-bought from the spice aisle or make your own homemade pumpkin pie spice.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: Both are crucial ingredients to help the gluten-free pumpkin bars rise while baking. Be sure to check the expiration dates to ensure freshness. Here’s how to test baking powder and baking soda to see if they’re expired.
  • Salt: Just a pinch enhances the flavors of ingredients like chocolate and vanilla.
  • Semisweet chocolate chips: Try using the best chocolate chips according to our Test Kitchen’s taste test. A finely chopped chocolate bar would work too. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a good-quality chocolate.
  • Frosting: Softened butter and softened cream cheese serve as the base of the frosting. Confectioners’ sugar is added for sweetness and to give structure. Maple syrup lends even more sweetness, plus flavor.


Step 1: Cream the butter and sugar together

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, five to seven minutes.

Editor’s Tip: Here’s how to cream butter and sugar together for light, tender baked goods.

Step 2: Add the wet ingredients to the creamed mixture

overhead shot of creamed butter and egg in a large bowl and hand mixer on the right on wooden surfaceTMB Studio

Add eggs, one at a time, to the creamed mixture. Beat well after each addition.

overhead shot of creamed butter, pumpkin puree, maple syrup and vanilla in a large bowl on wooden surfaceTMB Studio

Add the pumpkin, maple syrup and vanilla.

Step 3: Add the dry ingredients

overhead shot of gluten-free flour, almond flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl on wooden surfaceTMB Studio

In a separate bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, almond flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

overhead shot of mixing Pumpkin Bars batter using hand mixer in a large bowl on wooden surfaceTMB Studio

Gradually beat the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture.

overhead shot of Pumpkin Bars batter, chocolate chips and spatula in a large bowl on wooden surfaceTMB Studio

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Step 4: Transfer the batter to a baking dish

overhead shot of Pumpkin Bars batter in a baking dish on wooden surfaceTMB Studio

Using a spatula, spread the batter evenly in a greased 13×9-inch baking pan.

Step 5: Bake the pumpkin bars

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Once the bars are baked through, cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Editor’s Tip: To test the doneness of the bars, do the toothpick test: Stick a toothpick in the center of the pan. If it has any batter on it, the bars need more time in the oven. Start with an additional five minutes and test again. When the toothpick comes out clean, the bars are done.

Step 6: Make the frosting

overhead shot of creamed cheese-butter, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt in a large glass bowl on wooden surfaceTMB Studio

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt. Beat until smooth, then spread the frosting over the top of the cooled bars. Cut into slices and serve.

overhead shot of Pumpkin Bars in a baking dish on wooden surfaceTMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Cut the sugar: Reduce the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup and use dried cranberries instead of chocolate chips.
  • Add nuts: Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the frosting for a toasty crunch.
  • Top with whipped cream: Instead of using cream cheese frosting, add a dollop of whipped cream to each slice.

How to Store Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars

These gluten-free pumpkin bars can be baked ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bar Tips

Close shot of pumpkin bar served on a small plate with fork on wooden surfaceTMB Studio

Can you use pumpkin pie filling instead of canned pumpkin for pumpkin bars?

We don’t recommend using pumpkin pie filling in these bars because it has added ingredients that can overpower your recipe. If pie filling is all you have on hand, reduce the amount of sugar and pumpkin pie spice used in this recipe.

Can you make these pumpkin bars dairy-free?

Yes! You can make dairy-free and gluten-free pumpkin bars with a few simple substitutions. Swap in coconut oil, plant-based butter or vegetable shortening for the butter, sprinkle in dairy-free chocolate chips and drizzle the top with this maple glaze (substituting oat milk for the dairy milk).

If you want more gluten-free fall desserts, don’t miss out on a seasonal classic: gluten-free pumpkin pie. It’s easy to bake with a flaky, buttery crust and silky smooth filling. These gluten-free pumpkin cookies are a wonderful way to use up any leftover frosting, and this gluten-free pumpkin bread makes for a cozy afternoon snack.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars

Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 40 min
Yield 20 servings.


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin, maple syrup and vanilla. Combine flours, pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
  2. Spread into a greased 13x9-in. baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  3. For frosting, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt; beat until smooth. Spread over top. Refrigerate leftovers.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 405 calories, 19g fat (10g saturated fat), 64mg cholesterol, 308mg sodium, 58g carbohydrate (49g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

These gluten-free bars are a perfect way to satisfy your fall food cravings. Whether you take them to a party or make them for your family, it's hard to stop at just one. The hint of maple really makes them special compared to plain pumpkin bars. —Christina Blick, Houston, Texas