Jillian’s Pumpkin Bars


My daughter, Lindsey, turned 24 last week (which I find amazing enough) but she didn’t want a birthday cake because – get this – she doesn’t like sweets very much. I’m not sure how she’s my daughter, really.

She did, however, say that maybe I could make something pumpkin, since she does like pumpkin. After thinking about it she asked for “those pumpkin bars you made recently.”

She’s talking about the pumpkin bars that a reader named Jillian left the recipe for in the comments of my banana pudding post. Jillian called them Killer Pumpkin Bars and the first time I made them (for a tailgate) I knew that she hadn’t exaggerated. They are killer, meaning delicious.

Since then I’ve made them for another tailgate, a family get-together, and Lindsey’s birthday, and they’ve gotten rave reviews each time, so I wanted to share Jillian’s recipe in a post.


2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
2 cups canned pumpkin (one 15-ounce can)
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon each cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 15″ x 10 1/2″ x 1″ sheet pan*. Sift flour, baking soda, spices, and salt together; set aside. Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched, or a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before icing.

Cream Cheese Icing:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), softened**
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Combine and beat together until smooth.

* If desired, the recipe can be halved using a 9″ x 13″ x 1″ sheet pan. The baking time will be about the same; start checking at 20 minutes.

**Jillian’s recipe calls for 1/2 cup butter but I found I liked it better with less. It might be because I doubled the icing recipe because I divided the pumpkin mixture between 2 pans and seemed to need a little more icing to cover all the bars.

Thank you for sharing, Jillian. This recipe is a keeper. Lindsey thanks you too.

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  1. OMG! Would I ever LOVE to one of those this morning with my coffee! Have a great week.

  2. Julie, what a nice surprise to see this! I’m so pleased to hear Lindsey requested them for her birthday. I’m actually making some today. Thanks for sharing the recipe here…I love your photo! ~Jillian ‘

    1. Thank you for sharing, Jillian. 🙂

  3. I’m with Lindsey on not being huge on sweets. My sweet Mother bakes me a cake, but she also gets me a bag of chips to go with it! This looks like something my family would love. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Lindsey would like those chips too, Leslie Anne. I wish I didn’t like sweets. I really do.

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