We Made The Pioneer Woman’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars and Discovered a Dreamy Fall Dessert

The Pioneer Woman's pumpkin cream cheese bars are made with a graham cracker crust and rich, creamy pumpkin filling. Grab a fork!

When autumn hits, it’s all about cozying up with soft blankets and the best-smelling candles. Another fall essential? All things pumpkin! And while we often look to baked treats such pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread for dessert, there’s certainly room for cold and creamy pumpkin desserts too. Enter: Pioneer Woman pumpkin cheesecake bars.

With a graham cracker crust, a spiced pumpkin filling and a cream cheese whipped topping, what could go wrong? We knew we had to put these dreamy bars to the test. And while they require more than a few steps to make, they’re absolutely worth it. Each forkful is a big bite out of fall!

How to Make Pioneer Woman Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

pioneer woman pumpkin cream cheese bars ingredients overviewMolly Allen for Taste of Home

These bars require quite a few steps, and the ingredient list may look intimidating. Luckily, they come together by using easy-to-find ingredients and simple prep.

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1-3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crushed crackers)
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

For the filling:

  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin powder
  • 4 ounces (1/2 block) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

For the topping:

  • 4 ounces (1/2 block) cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup toasted pecans, chopped

Tools You’ll Need

Directions

Step 1: Prep the graham cracker crust

graham cracker crust in pan for pioneer woman pumpkin cream cheese barsMolly Allen for Taste of Home

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a square baking pan with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar and melted butter. Mix with a large fork until well combined. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared baking pan.

Step 2: Bake the graham cracker crust

Place the prepared crust in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until just lightly golden brown. Remove the crust from the oven and set it aside to fully cool.

Step 3: Bloom the gelatin

In a small saucepan, add the water and sprinkle the gelatin powder over top. Set the saucepan aside for 10 minutes while you prep the filling.

Step 4: Make the pumpkin filling

mixing pumpkin filling for pioneer woman pumpkin cream cheese barsMolly Allen for Taste of Home

Beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add in the pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove and salt and mix until combined.

Step 5: Finish the pumpkin filling

Transfer the bloomed gelatin to the stovetop and warm on low. Whisk constantly until the powder has completely dissolved. Pour the gelatin into the pumpkin filling mixture and beat well to combine.

Step 6: Make the whipped cream

In a chilled bowl, add the heavy whipping cream. Beat with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Once the whipped cream has come together, fold it into the pumpkin mixture in three additions.

Step 7: Spread the pumpkin filling

Once the crust is completely cooled, spread the pumpkin filling evenly over top. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge while you make the topping.

Step 8: Make the cream cheese topping

Beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. Next, add in the heavy whipping cream and beat until stiff peaks form.

Spread the cream cheese topping over the pumpkin filling layer. Use an offset spatula to spread an even layer. Once finished, cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill the pumpkin bars in the fridge for at least four hours until set.

Step 9: Cut and serve

finished pumpkin cream cheese bar on plateMolly Allen for Taste of Home

Once the bars are set, hold the edges of the parchment paper to remove them from the pan. Sprinkle the top with toasted, crushed pecans before cutting and serving.

Here’s What I Thought

Say hello to fall with this dessert! My favorite way to enjoy pumpkin pie is to have a cold slice with plenty of whipped cream, and this treat resembles that perfectly. The crunchy graham cracker crust adds texture to the fluffy, creamy pumpkin filling and tangy cream cheese topping.

While the filling was great as-is, I did choose to add an extra tablespoon of sugar, along with another teaspoon of cinnamon, for even more flavor. Other than that, it came together perfectly following Ree Drummond’s recipe. The hardest part was waiting multiple hours for the bars to finally set, but trust me, it was so worth it! I’m going to be making these dreamy pumpkin cream cheese bars on repeat this fall.

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Molly Allen
Molly Allen is a previous bakery owner and former event planner. Now, a freelance writer and editor focused on food and beverage, lifestyle, travel and parties, she brings her years of experience and industry knowledge to readers across a variety of platforms.