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Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Frosting

It wouldn't be fall without pumpkin bars, and I think everyone has a favorite version. I based this recipe on one of my grandmother's, so sweet memories are baked into every batch. —Mary Wilhelm, Sparta, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    2 dozen


  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 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


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. In a large bowl, beat the first 6 ingredients until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, pie spice, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
1 bar: 265 calories, 10g fat (4g saturated fat), 29mg cholesterol, 166mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate (33g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Lynne
    Nov 5, 2019

    Oh, my! After licking the beaters - even before they were baked, I knew this was a winner. The orange juice and orange zest tipped the scales on this to a huge 5!

  • thekitty
    Nov 14, 2016

    These were awesome. I too, omitted the sugar & orange juice & used honey instead. I made them to try & everyone loved them. Now I am going to make them for our Thanksgiving dessert!

  • ploughmud
    Sep 29, 2015

    This is a good recipe however, I can never leave well enough 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!

  • janupnorth
    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.

    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.

  • homemadewithlove
    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.

  • sevenkids4me
    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.

  • SMoncz
    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!

  • Cklee1403
    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.

  • joannerooks
    Sep 30, 2014

    Also good with cream cheese frosting! Tastes like Fall.