Recipe Review

5-Ingredient Pumpkin Pie Bars Are Pure Magic

published Nov 19, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman

A can of pie filling, a log of cookie dough, a cup of oats, and a few spoonfuls each of butter and sugar — these ingredients sound like the main characters in one of my chaotic late-night baking sessions, where I’ll haphazardly mix together a random handful of ingredients and (very falsely) expect a showstopping layer cake. But the combination of these particular ingredients is actually pure magic — something that I couldn’t mess up, even if I tried.

This recipe takes the best parts of my favorite desserts and layers them into the one perfect Thanksgiving Franken-recipe (and yes, I’m quite aware of the turducken). But unlike the rest of the holiday spread, these bars don’t take hours to achieve flavor — and no one will be the wiser. In other words, this splendid, undeniably simple recipe is what I bust out when I want to impress without really trying.

Why I Love These Pumpkin Pie Bars

Three desserts walk into a bar, and make my greatest dreams come true. Generally, I love when a recipe calls for the thoughtful mash-up of two or more foods. Coffee brownies, pizza beans, rabokki (ramen and tteokbokki), and cheesy kimchi rolls are some personal favorites, along with these bars. In one slice, I get the buttery crunchy oat boulders and a totally hands-off pumpkin spice pie filling, all reinforced by a sturdy (and sweet!) sugar cookie base. This anatomy is a revelation.

There’s also my very real indifference to pie (except for its filling), and my instinct to pick off the crunchy streusel topping of a beautiful fall fruit crumble or a lofty coffee cake. With a cookie crust, buttery oat topping, and just the pie filling, this recipe checks all the boxes for me. Not to mention, it smells like you’ve lit the best fall candle while the bars are in the oven.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How to Make 5-Ingredient Pumpkin Pie Bars

These bars could not be easier to make. Simply pop open a tube of store-bought cookie dough and press into one even layer in a lined baking sheet. Swoosh a whole can of pumpkin pie filling (not pumpkin purée!) on top, bejewel it with a butter-oat-brown sugar mixture, and bake.

Cleanup on these bars will be quick. Not just because they disappear quickly, but also because they come together in one small mixing bowl and one pan.

If You’re Going to Make These Pumpkin Pie Bars, Here Are a Couple of Tips

  • Switch up the sugar cookie base. Sugar cookie dough is great, but gingerbread is what makes you go “whoa.”
  • Chill the bars. It’s a small extra step I always take. Once the baked bars are at room temperature, let them hang out in the refrigerator for a bit. I find this helps with giving the pumpkin pie filling a tad more structure.

Get the recipe: Pumpkin Pie Bars