Healthy Pumpkin Bars are made without flour or refined sugar, and are surprisingly light and fluffy! They are one of my favorite grain-free desserts for the Fall, and once you taste them, I think you’ll fall in love with them, too.
Inspired by my Paleo Banana Snack Cake, this recipe uses almond butter instead of flour. It’s amazing how when you pair it with eggs and a little honey, it becomes quite cake-like!
Ingredients You’ll Need
What’s in healthy pumpkin bars?
- Almond butter
- Pumpkin puree
- Pumpkin pie spice
If you don’t have almond butter on hand, cashew butter also makes a similar substitute. I’ve tested this recipe using peanut butter, and the results aren’t quite as delicious, because the peanut flavor competes with the pumpkin flavor too much.
For best results, I recommend using a “raw” or non-roasted nut butter, for the most mild flavor.
How to Make Pumpkin Bars
1. Mix. Combine the almond butter, pumpkin, honey, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in a large bowl, and stir until very smooth.
Once the batter is mixed, add in the vinegar and stir again. You’ll notice that lighter swirls will start to appear as you mix, and that is the reaction between the baking soda and vinegar.
This will help the bars rise even better, and will help to avoid an aftertaste from the baking soda.
2. Bake. Pour the mixture into a lined or greased 8-inch pan, and bake at 350ºF for 35 to 40 minutes.
When the pumpkin bars are done, the center should rise, without jiggling in the middle when you shake the pan.
3. Slice. Let the bars cool completely in the pan, then slice into squares and serve right away.
These pumpkin bars are lightly sweet on their own, but I like topping them with a quick maple pecan glaze for an extra-special dessert. To make it, you just need to blend a few ingredients together!
This glaze is naturally sweetened and will NOT set like one made with powdered sugar, so it’s best to drizzle it over the bars right as you serve them, with a few chopped pecans on top.
They taste so impressive this way!
Pro Tip: For an even deeper flavor, swap the water in the Maple Pecan Glaze for black coffee. The maple coffee flavor is also excellent on these healthy pumpkin bars.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I swap the sweetener? This recipe should work well with a 1/2 cup of maple syrup to replace the honey. II’ve also tested it with 2/3 cup of coconut sugar, but the texture changes slightly when you swap a liquid sweetener for a granulated one.
I don’t work with zero calorie sweeteners, so I don’t know how this will work with a sweetener like stevia.
Can I make this vegan? Try my Vegan & Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars recipe, for an egg-free recipe that is already tested for you.
Or try my Vegan Pumpkin Muffins, if you prefer to work with oat flour.
Can I make pumpkin puree from scratch? Check out my how to cook pumpkin tutorial, for the easiest way to make pumpkin puree at home!
More Pumpkin Recipes
Looking for more pumpkin inspiration? Try these!
- Pumpkin Ice Cream
- Vegan Pumpkin Donuts
- Oat Flour Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Overnight Oats
- Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Spice Latte
Healthy Pumpkin Bars
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Maple Pecan Glaze
- 3/4 cup pecans , plus extra chopped for serving
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup water (or coffee)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, almond butter, honey, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda, and stir until very smooth.
- Add the vinegar into the batter, and stir again. The batter will have lighter swirls in it, from the baking soda reacting to the vinegar. This will help the bars rise and remove any baking soda flavor in the final bars, so keep stirring until the batter looks uniform. Pour into a greased 8-inch baking dish, lined with parchment paper for easy removal later.
- Bake at 350ºF for about 35 minutes, until the bars rise in the center and don't jiggle when you shake the pan. Cool completely, then slice and serve.
- To make the optional Maple Pecan Glaze, combine the pecans, maple syrup, coconut oil, water, vanilla, and salt. Blend until very smooth, scraping down the blender as needed. You can add a tablespoon of water, as needed, to help it blend. Pour the glaze over the bars, and serve right away with chopped pecans on top.
If you try these healthy pumpkin bars soon, please leave a star rating and comment below letting me know how you like them!
Reader Feedback: Which Fall dessert would you like to see next?
Questions and Reviews
I love this recipe! They sound amazing and are very different anything I’ve tried before! Can’t wait to try this recipe out!
These sound absolutely fantastic. Bookmarked in my folder of recipes I’ll be making now the temperatures are dropping…. Thank you!
Looks yummy. Thank you for posting this!
those look amaaazing. just wondering though.. why are all your baked goodies so heavy on the nut butters?
Hi Tanya! I prefer to keep my baking grain-free lately, so almonds make a great nutrient-dense substitute for flours, without sacrificing the texture of traditional baked goods. Almond flour can be a bit pricey, so I’ve been leaning towards using almond butter for convenience and accessibility.
Even if you cut these bars into 9 large squares, each one will contain less than a tablespoon of almond butter, which I don’t think is unreasonably heavy.
I’m allergic to all kinds of nuts. Is there a substitute that I can use?
The Gluten Free Girl
Maybe Sun butter would work:). ( from sunflower seeds)
You are absolutely correct. I love your recipes as I am strictly SCD for celiac. I found that the nut flours, particularly almond flour (even the blanched) is difficult to digest, whereas the butters are a piece of cake! Please keep on with the nut butter recipes…and ditto on properly combining them..it does make a fantastic difference!
Have you tried doing your own almond flour using soaked almonds? Nuts, seeds, legumes and grains all are difficult to digest because of thy phytic acid and phytates. I suspect that is even more difficult for someone whose gut is compromised (as most of ours are!) I soak my almonds in salt water and then dehydrate them. Then you can turn them into anything…flour, butter, or just eat them!! Sadly, I have yet to find a soaked almond flour on the market…and if you did it would likely be very expensive. Just an idea!!
Can you use almond flour instead of butter if that’s what you have on hand?
We love these bars!! I haven’t had the glaze because I’m allergic to pecans, but they’re great plain!
If I wanted to try a glaze, could I use almonds in the mixture instead of pecans?
Looks delicious! Can you give us your tips for cooking the pumpkin in order to get the puree? Thanks!
I’ll work on a post about that, Anne!
Just cut a sugar pumpkin (best for making puree) in half, scoop out the seeds and roast, cut side down, on a greased baking sheet for about 45-55 minutes in a 375F oven. Scoop out the pumpkin with a large spoon and puree in a food processor or blender. Voila, pumpkin puree.
Yum. These look so awesome!
I think I could eat that glaze all by itself! These are such a decadent treat….I’ll definitely have to try these out! I’m so happy to have found your blog and your delicious recipes. I’ve looked forward to reading it each day. I was wondering if you have a particular diet you follow (i.e. paleo, vegan, etc.). I noticed you don’t use grains in your cooking… Have a great day!
I think I have eaten that glaze all by myself. 😉
In regards to diet, I don’t follow any particular plan. I’ve experimented with LOTS of stuff over the years (Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, Candida-cleansing, etc.) and prefer to simply focus on eating whole foods that make me feel good. I’ve learned that I feel my best when I keep my meals fairly simple and properly combined, though that doesn’t always happen at EVERY meal.
Since cutting out grains earlier this year, I haven’t had much desire to add them back in. That’s not to say I’ll never have them again, but for now, I’m enjoying the grain-free baking!
I love anything pumpkin and usually make a lot of traditional pumpkin bread…can’t wait to try this version! Going to add chopped pecans into the batter and skip the glaze, although it looks yummy, trying to cut a few calories HA!
Mmmm… love the added pecans!
OOOOH, yum! I am so glad it’s pumpkin season! I could eat pumpkin every day. And, thank goodness it’s almost past zucchini season. Love it, but overdid it.
this makes me so excited for fall 🙂
pumpkin cravings already!
Can you replace the eggs with chia egg?
I haven’t tried that yet. Let me know if you do!
I can’t wait to try these – thank you for posting the recipe!
These look amazing, I can’t wait to make!! I may have to wait until the weather cools down to turn on the oven…it’s supposed to be 105 today, where is fall?!?
I’m anxiously awaiting Fall weather here, too! It was over 100 yesterday… ugh.
Oh! Thank you, thank you! I was hoping you would do a pumpkin bar recipe. Can’t wait to try them.
Just made this with banana instead of pumpkin and it was DELISH. Can’t wait to try it with actual pumpkin next time :]
The banana version sounds fantastic, too!
Great idea! I’m going to try that (can cut down on the honey then, too!)
I just made these Megan- they turned out so delicious!!! I just subbed stevia for the honey since I had none in the house- they turned out perfect!
I’m so glad you enjoyed them. Thanks for letting me know! 🙂
How much stevia (and which brand) did you use? I’m trying to use Stevia more and I’m not sure how to sub it in for recipes. Thanks!
These are absolutely amazing!
These look delicious….can’t wait to give them a try!! I love all things pumpkin and have been indulging in pumpkin pancakes for a week now. 😉
These bars look SO good! I’m a pumpkin fanatic. I actually stock up on pumpkin butter in the fall, so it will last me all year! I love anything with pumpkin, but my favorite dish is probably pumpkin bread pudding! I made one with a caramel sauce for Thanksgiving last year and it was SOOOO good!
BTW, I just stumbled upon your blog and I love it! All of your recipes look so good. I can’t wait to read more!
I absolutely love your site! I have made these bars ( they are cooling in. Y kitchen as I type this response ) and the almond butter freezer fudge (twice !) the frozen banana peanut butter bites, and the macadamia freezer fudge! Can u tell I love sweets! I love all the recipes and my favorite part is ” What I ate” Wednesday . I love seeing what other eat in a day, it inspires me to eat healthy and gives me ideas!
Thanks, Jennifer! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipes. I obviously love sweets, as well. 😉
I just made these, and it never solidified. It is like a gelatinous pudding – tasty, but far from bars. Maybe it’s because I used flax as an egg replacer?
Yes, flax eggs have a tendency to have that effect in recipes calling for more than one egg. Glad they taste good, at least!
Holy Cow! We had these this weekend and they were absolutely amazing! I can’t believe how moist and delicious. I’m not a huge “crust” fan and I would easily substitute these for pumpkin pie any time…..
What type of almond butter did you use? Raw? Roasted?
I usually use the raw version from Trader Joe’s, but I think roasted would work fine, too!
I tried these using roasted, salted almond butter from Trader Joe’s (what I had) and they were good, but I think they’d be better with the raw version as the almond butter flavor took over and you couldn’t taste much of the pumpkin flavor (the best part!) Megan, do you add salt because your almond butter is unsalted?
Yes, my almond butter is unsalted. Hope you get to try the raw almond butter version next time! 🙂
I am about a year into being gluten free, and only a few months into being grain free, and this was one of my first grain free baking experiments (and the first one that was successful…). I made them with banana like the commenter above, and I can’t believe how good they are–I thought I had given up eating things like this! I can’t wait to try with pumpkin, and your other recipes too! Thanks 🙂
I just made these! They are awesome, and so easy. You are a genius! Now we are going to make your peanut butter cookies. Charlotte and I are on a roll.
Hi Megan. I made these today but used a 6-count donut pan instead of an 8×8 pan and there were absolutely delicious! Surprisingly light and so dang, tasty, even without the yummy-looking topping. Thanks for an awesome recipe!
I made this on Sunday and it was gone by Monday morning! I didn’t have almond butter so I used cashew butter instead and it turned out really well. I skipped the glaze and added dark chocolate chips instead 🙂 It was similar to your Peanut Butter Blondies only more cake-like and less “fudgy”. Both are my new favorite baked goods! Thank you!
Are these bars good for freezing? I would like to make them ahead and freeze.
I finally got around to making this (I never keep almond butter at home — don’t really like the taste on its own), using chunky almond butter, which actually added a nice crunch to the final product. I didn’t make any topping and just cut them into small squares for “freezer snacks.”
Hi Megan! I’m also a big fan of your website – I have a lot of food sensitivities so your recipes are a welcome change to the boring old stuff I’m used to. I was wondering if you’ve ever tried using white beans instead of almond butter for this recipe? I love it so much(and want to make it all the time) I was thinking using white beans might work similarly and be cheaper than the almond butter?
I don’t eat many beans, as they don’t seem to digest as easily in my system, but I’d love to hear if you have any success with trying them out! They’d definitely be an affordable alternative. 😉
These look awesome! I was just wondering if you could use regular salt instead of sea salt 8)
Yes, I’m sure you can! Sea salt has slightly more “bang for its buck”– meaning less sodium and more flavor– but, I think regular salt will work just fine.
I made these bars a few days ago and they were awesome! We all totally loved them. Such a nice pumpkin treat for those of us who are grain free (and even those that aren’t!). Thanks for an awesome recipe!
Megan, thanks for this recipe. It’s the first one that led me to your site and now I want to make almost everything! 😉
I made these and they were so good with the topping. I think I might triple or quadruple the recipe and make it into a layer cake! I think it would totally work! And I bet that would be sooo good with the banana version, too.
Keep posting; you’re my new recipe hero! 😉
Thanks, Jen! I bet these would make an AMAZING layer cake!! YUM. 🙂
Mouthwatering recipes 🙂 Love your website!
Since almond butter is not a commonly used product here in the Netherlands and therefore hard to find/very expensive, I was wondering if it’s possible to replace it for regular (of course organic) butter?
No, butter will not work as a substitute for almond butter. Any other nut butters available to you? Peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, etc. would all work for creating a fluffy texture, though the flavor may vary depending on which you use.
Thank you for your reply and suggestions! Using peanutbutter sounds promising too 🙂 Though I have a softer spot for almonds, taste wise and health benefits and luckily in the meantime I came across your recipe for making your own almondbutter…. What a helpfull, delightfull and lovely website this is <3! Two big thumbs UP
Smelled fantastic baking, can’t believe there is no traditional flour. Awesome! I added chia to give it a little fluff and fiber. I made vanilla bean banana ice cream was delish! Great day in the kitchen with you, thanks for inspiration.
I just made these, and they are absolutely amazing. I had to sub baking powder for baking soda (just tripled the amount), and they were still fabulous.
Delicious! Thanks Megan for this recipe! It’s amazing 🙂 Although I wonder if I should refrigerate these? Hmm
Did you refrigerate the left overs? Or leave on the counter covered? Leave in dish? Or cut all of them and put in storage container? I wonder what the best way is to store these without the icing?
I refrigerate the pumpkin bars in an airtight container for the best shelf life!
Thank you for the quick reply!
I just made these with the leftover pumpkin puree I used for the pumpkin spice latte. They are AMAZING!!! I made the maple pecan glaze to go on top too. Yum!
Just had to say that I made these last night and they are TO DIE FOR! I will make them again and again. This is officially my new favourite site 🙂
I have multiple food allergies and am loving your sight! These bars were delicious! I took them to work and they were gobbled up while the lowly, gluten filled cinnamon buns were completely ignored lol. Question: I made the maple pecan glaze but it came out quite grainy and was more like icing. Still delicious but not beautiful glaze you managed to achieve. I’m still saving up for a Vita-Mix so I used a high-speed food processor. Would adding more coconut oil smooth it out a bit ?
Hmm… I’ve never tried making it in my food processor. I assume adding a little more liquid would help it blend better. Hope it works!
Is pumpkin pie spice the same thing as 5 spice? Thanks!
No, I think 5 spice has more pepper to it. Pumpkin pie spice is typically a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves (or allspice, depending on the brand).
These looks SO yummy…If I wanted to use almond flour instead of butter, would you recommend using more, less or leaving it at 1/2 cup?
I would double it! 1 cup almond flour = 1/2 cup almond butter.
Ok great, thank you! Going to make them now 🙂
Am counting calories, down 20 lbs, but would love to make this. How many calories in an 8×8 pan?
I recommend using a free calorie counting website, like FitDay.com, to calculate the calories in my recipes. Add in all of the ingredients, and you should be able to calculate the calories per serving from there!
AMAZING ! just made these my family loves them 🙂
Made these today and they turned out great! I made a few adjustments… didn’t have almond butter so I used pumpkin seed butter which worked quite well, I am allergic to eggs so I used 6 quail eggs instead, and then used raw agave syrup in place of the honey.
I’m allergic to eggs too Jenni and was looking for a substitute for eggs. But I never tried quail eggs but definitely will try it.
thank you for a wonderful web site with amazing recipes, and details.
We made several of your grain free muffins and they were delightful.
These are amazing! I think these are my new favorite grain free treat! I couldn’t wait to wake up this morning and have a pumpkin bar with maple pecan glaze and my cup of coffee…perfect fall morning! Thanks for a keeper recipe.
I have made these and the pumpkin muffins using cashew butter and sun butter (my son has a nut allergy) and they both work just as good. I LOVE all your grain free treats!!!!!!
How much liquid stevia would you use to replace the honey/do you need to increase the liquid in the recipe? Can you use chia egg replacer? Thanks?
The stevia amount is totally up to you– I usually add it by the dropperful, and taste the batter as I go. Make it a little sweeter than you think it should be, because some of the sweetness is reduced when baking stevia.
In my experience, chia and flax eggs don’t work well with brownies and bars. The result is gooey! I’d recommend trying Ener-G egg replacer instead. (I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve heard good things.)
I use Ener-G egg replacer and it works great. Definitely recommend it
I made these yesterday and they were gone within 24 hours. I ate the whole batch! Then I felt guilty but did not beat myself up too badly for doing so. Proceed with caution, highly addictive!
Hi! I made these and they tasted great but then this happened… We put the leftovers (about half the batch) in the fridge and the next afternoon the entire thing was dark green. Do we think I did something wrong here? I used sunflower butter instead of almond and did the spices individually but those were the only changes. I can’t think of what would cause that. Bad pumpkin? is that a thing?
It’s the sunflower seed butter! Sunflower seeds react to baking soda, making baked goods turn green. I’ve heard that it’s safe to eat, though! I was actually planning on using sunflower butter to make some green St. Patty’s Day treats next year. 😉
Okay, that’s a kind of awesome fact to learn! I was tempted to taste it because nothing about it seemed “off” – it was just green (a perfect St. Patty’s shade btw) I always forget that baking, is much more scientific than cooking- much more possibility for reactions in stuff. Thank you so much for getting back to me!
I love sun butter and use it on bread,as a substitute for nut butters,anything. Got one question though , can i use soy butter as a substitute for almond butter?
Thanks for this recipe,
The Gluten Free Girl