Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

If you haven’t tried the combination of peanut butter and pumpkin, you need to.

It’s a match made in thick, gooey heaven.

I’ve been eating these bars like there’s no tomorrow.

Or like there’s no pumpkin shortage.  Did you know about that?

But there’s no shortage of full-on pumpkin flavor in these.

Between the homemade pumpkin spice lattes and these bars, I’ve been converted to the other side the pumpkin side.

These were so easy to make.

No need to slave away on these bars.   Or slave away in the kitchen, ever.

For me, cooking and baking should be fun and not a chore, and I highly doubt you’ll find these bars to be a chore.

I love it when I don’t dirty every dish in the house and don’t have a total mess going on.  That’s actually been known to happen from time to time.  Shocker, I know.

The good thing about the peanut butter pumpkin bars is that your kitchen won’t look like a cyclone hit it when you’re done.

One bowl + One spoon + Oven = Bars in about a half hour

They’re vegan and gluten free (see this post about Oats near the bottom for a discussion on oats and gluten)

And they make me just wanna chomp

The pumpkin flavor really shines through.  Between the pumpkin puree and the pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin lovers can rejoice.

The peanut butter is nicely balanced with the pumpkin and the flavors complement each other, but these are definitely pumpkin-peanut butter bars, not peanut butter-pumpkin bars.

Thanks to my relationship with FoodBuzz as a Featured Publisher, I received this Planters Peanut Butter and put it to use in these bars.

The peanut butter eaten by the spoonful on it’s own is also great.

Doesn’t everyone eat PB by the spoonful at midnight standing in your kitchen in front of the refrigerator when you’re too lazy to make anything but you’re feeling snacky?

Well now I’ve got these to snack on.

You not only get both peanut butter and pumpkin in these bars (and I love a good two-for-one deal), but the brown sugar caramelizes when baking and makes these bars slightly chewy and caramely.

If you underbake them by a touch like I prefer to do with my baked goods, it’s the perfect marriage of barely crispy on the outside with a caramelized, moist inside.

If I was in charge of writing The Rules You Must Bake By, I think that all cookies, brownies, and bars all should have a slightly crispy edge with soft centers.

And never be dry.  Dry = not worth my chew

And the pumpkin peanut butter oat bars deliver if held up to my self-created Rules You Must Bake By.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

1/2 c peanut butter

1 c pumpkin puree (i.e. Libby’s in a can and if you don’t have pumpkin puree in your market, use sweet potato puree either canned or sweet potatoes that you boil/puree yourself)

2 c oats (whole rolled, not quick cook; use certified gluten-free if necessary)

1 c light brown sugar, packed

1/2 c granulated sugar

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (reduce/increase to taste)

1 tsp cinnamon (reduce/increase to taste)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Optional: Add raisins, nuts, chocolate/white/peanut butter chips to the mixture.  I’d suggest starting with 1/3 to 1/2 c and going from there based on taste preference.

Optional frosting ideas (they really don’t need frosting, but I love frosting and wish I would have added some but was too in a hurry to just eat them):

Cream Cheese Frosting; add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice + cinnamon if you’d like

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

Caramel Sauce, either jarred or homemade Dark Rum Caramel Sauce

Directions: Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir by hand.  Spread batter (it will be pretty moist) into a foil-lined and spayed 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan.  Bake at 350F for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  The bars may still look underdone, but that’s ok because they will continue to set up as they cool.  Allow to cool very well before slicing.  Store extras on the countertop, refrigerator, or in the freezer for long term storage.

Notes: All measurements are approximate and if you love peanut butter or pumpkin puree, add a bit more of either.

Reduce the sugar amounts if you wish or even attempt a sugar-free version by making with stevia, stevia “baking blends” such as NuNaturals Baking Blend (enter code AVE630 to save $5 at checkout) or try other powdered forms of nonsugar sweeteners.

Adjust baking time as necessary based on your own recipe substitutions.

If you don’t enjoy pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, or vanilla extract as much as I do, scale them back.  However, both pumpkin puree and peanut butter are very strong flavors and I find can stand up to lots of spices and vanilla extract and are complemented well by them.

A Visual Guide

Gather your ingredients

Combine all Ingredients & Mix

Press into the foil-lined and sprayed pan

Bake, Cool, Slice & Serve

Frost them if you desire.  Or have patience and can refrain from immediately chomping down the minute they are cool enough to devour.

I had no such patience and just dug in.

These bars made a pumpkin liar outta me

But I promise not to hoard Libby’s

Need other Pumpkin Recipes?

Check my Pumpkin Recipes Compilation Post

Or try No Bake Pumpkin Pie Donut Holes (Vegan, GF)

No Bake Pumpkin Pie (Vegan, GF)

Pumpkin Spice Latte (Vegan, GF)

My last bar recipe, Caramel Apple Bars, don’t have pumpkin in them but are an easy, seasonal recipe for the apple lovers in case you’re more into apples than pumpkins.  It’s okay, I used to be like you and not “that into” pumpkin.


Do you like pumpkin?  In what forms?  Pie, Coffee/Lattes, Breads, Donuts, Smoothies, Other Forms?

Do tell!

I’d love to hear what your fave ways to use and enjoy pumpkin are.

And if you don’t like pumpkin or are just meh about it, that’s ok.

I like it, and these bars did make me eat some pumpkin crow with my words.

I love Christmas baking and the flavors of Christmas even more though. I think.  i.e. Barks, Brittles, Cookies, and Holiday Candies.  <– Those things really excite me

P.S. Reminder to enter the Bella Bars Giveaway.  Winner announced next post.

Have a great start to your week!


  1. wow those look great! i really want to go pick up some pumpkins to decorate & to eat!

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  3. I love pumpkin and I am excited to try both the bars and the homemade latte. My daughter has a peanut allergy, so I will substitute Sunbutter for the peanut butter. Thanks for the recipes!

    • Yes, I was going to mention that in the recipe, to try SFSButter or another nut butter. LMK if you make them. I’d use a tad less SFSB than the recipe calls for PB b/c PB is more solid/less runny….and/or just use more oats to compensate and/or bake longer…it will all work out. Very forgiving recipe :)

  4. These look incredible! I so wish Australia had canned pumpkin! I know I could puree my own but that means so many more dishes to wash… :P

    • You could probably use pureed sweet potatoes, just microwave or boil to make a sweet tater and mash it well. Add a little extra cinnamon and/or pumpkin pie spice if you have that. Much easier than making pureed pumpkin :)

  5. HELLOOOO PUMPKIN BEAUTIFULNESS (yes I just made that word up!) haha this post is epic and so full of goodies! perfect to kick off october and so many easy delicious simple recipes with REAL ingredients, that is why I love your recipes, Averie!

    have you ever played around making pumpkin protein bars?! I would love to see that one up there! either way…keep doing what you are doing and making us happy readers and eaters! xoxo

    • I am sure that you could probably remove the 1 c of flour and add 1 c of protein powder and bake them off the same way. It would add more protein…I mean, you never know how things are going to bake w/ PP added, but pretty sure it would work just fine :)

    • sorry I am speed typing and meant to say, you could probably replace 1 c of oats w/ 1 c of protein powder OR just add 1 c of protein powder and a smidge more PB or pumpkin puree as needed to get it to combine properly and bake it up

  6. Bummer, these look amazing and I’m on the other side of the world where pumpkin is out of season and PRICEY! When there is ample supply, my favourite baked goods are cinnamon spiced pumpkin and dark chocolate chunk muffins (note the CHUNK not chip. bigger is better).

  7. These turned out AMAZING!! Made them last night and me and my kids did NOT want to stop eating them. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Love these and the smell it left in my house……totally FALL <3 <3

  8. Alexandria Lewis Reply

    Pumpkin my all time favorite squash! Just started making oatbran with pumpkin, apples, pecans, and dried cranberries for breakfast and YUMMY :-) and tried my hand at a pumpkin apple butter which was also delicious. I will have a pumpkin smoothie ever once in a while too!

  9. Fantastic recipe!!! These pumpkin bars are SO easy to make, and great for a pumpkin craving! I can’t stop eating them. Truly delicious. Thanks for the recipe!! :)

  10. What a great flavor combination!! These look absolutely delicious. So glad to have found you and this recipe via Jane Deere’s Fusion Fridays!

    • thanks for finding me and saying hi and I just popped over to your site…you are living my DREAM job and life
      “internationally published food and travel writer and photographer who contributes regularly to publications on three continents.”— sign me up! your photography is beautiful and keep in touch :)

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  12. love your recipes! Just found your site today and can’t wait to try some of them. Just a quick question though…could I use agave instead of the white sugar in the pumpkin peanut butter bars?
    LMK what you think and thanks for all the great recipes and photos you share :)

    • yes, or just omit it entirely. All sweetener amounts are to taste and it really won’t make too much difference I am thinking if you omit it. The only concern with using agave would be that it would make the batter more liquid-ey/runny so you may have to bake it a bit longer. Will depend on your oven and taste preferences. Just go for it and it will all turn out fine, just watch them in the oven and taste the batter before baking.

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  14. Usually if you sweeten with a liquid (my choice is honey and I’m going to try it), you need to reduce another wet ingredient or increase a dry ingredient. Since this recipe doesn’t have flour in it, I am going to try adding about 2 Tbs more oats.

    I also think that you need to note on these “vegan” recipes that they are no longer vegan once they have chocolate chips in them or Cream Cheese Frosting on them or are dipped in your lovely Rum Caramel Sauce. In trying to make several vegan recipes for certain Thanksgiving guests, I was really excited to find this, but the way I would want to serve it, it’s no longer vegan. :( Guess they won’t get frosting.

    • Depending on the kind of chocolate chips used, i.e. semi sweet, milk chocolate, specialty brand, it may or may not be vegan.

      And it’s possible to make cream cheese frosting with Tofutti or another type of cream cheeze such as cashew based cream cheese.

      I would assume that folks know the difference which is why I don’t spell.it.out. for people but then again, people surprise me all the time :)

      As for the oats/dry ingredients, adding a liquid…also the type of pumpkin puree you use, how much water is in the puree in that brand, the type of PB used, ‘natural’ which is oilier than other types…it’s all a judgment call. Use common sense and bake til they look done. Take out of oven. Eat. Not hard :)

  15. I just made these (but left out the white sugar and sprinkled chocolate chips on top), and they are amazing! I can’t even wait for them to cool…just.keep.going.back.for.more.

    Also about the peanut butter spoons. I have a jar of peanut butter in my cube at work and will randomly eat spoonfuls when I’m hungry. I’m pretty sure my coworkers think I’m weird!

    • thanks for the field report. Glad you love them.

      if they’re still warm you can kind of smoosh some white chocolate chips or other chocolate chips into the top layer while they’re cooling. I use that trick on some of my bars b/c I love added chips :)

  16. Pumpkin and peanut butter?! I can’t wait to try these!

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  18. would steel cut oats work? I’ve never cooked with oats before

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  20. I made these yesterday and they are scrumptious! Very easy. I had to stop myself from eating the batter. Thanks Averie!

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  25. Ummm, YUM. These are simply perfect. Love ’em! And super easy for my kids to help me make. I completely omitted the brown & white sugar, and used about 1/3 cup pure maple syrup instead. I’ll try making them next time with my meal replacement shake powder and/or protein powder to up the protein factor. Thanks for the delish recipe!

    • Thanks for the report back. I love hearing things like this…thank you! And what substitutions/omissions you made and yes, I bet that protein powder, etc would be just fine in them. The peanut butter and pumpkin will “soak up” tons…and are very forgiving. Really can’t go wrong :)

  26. I made these, added chocolate chips, and posted it on my blog. They were a huge hit and so easy to make!

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  28. I just made these and they are sooo good!! I forgot to throw in chocolate chips though, so I am shoveling them in my mouth with every bite! :) Before I made these I read the comment above about omitting sugars and adding 1/3 cup maple syrup…which I did. I also decided to play with it further and add 1 cup PB2 (powdered peanut butter) and the entire can of pumpkin in place of the 1/2 cup peanut butter. It did work!!! I wanted to be able to use the whole can of pumpkin since I figured the other half of the can would have a good shot at rotting in my fridge. ;) Now I have to go make a batch of the Chocolate Chip Dough Balls…and maybe not eat all the batter before it makes it into ball form…

  29. that’s a lot of sugar.
    I made them this way

    1/2 cup natural peanut butter
    1 can pumpkin puree
    2 cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten free Oats
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    1/8 cup agave
    1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 TBSP vanilla

    1/3 cup dried fruit, chocolate chips, nuts, etc. if desired (I used dried cranberries)

    Heat oven to 350 degrees
    Grease 9×9 pan
    Combine ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Smooth into greased pan and bake for 22-25 minutes and allow to cool thoroughly before serving.

    • This sounds really yummy, although I agree with “endless”. I felt there was way too much sugar. Love the changes. I will make them with the changes endless suggested. Thanks!

  30. I found this recipe (and your blog of course) while searching for oatmeal bars. I made these yesterday. Only change I made was to throw in some leftover dark chocolate chips. I had just shy of 1/2 C. Anyway, I really liked these yesterday. After sitting in the refrigerator overnight, I LOVE them. They are so good. You are right, the pb and pumpkin really can stand up to the spices. Next time, I’m trying butterscotch chips. Thanks.

    • Oh I am so glad you made them and let them sit a day in the fridge. Pumpkin is like spaghetti sauce, it seems to get better over time. These freeze excellently..Just make them, cut them into squares, and freeze…for a very long time I’ve successfully frozen them. Months :) And yes butterscotch, choc, or PB chips even..YUM!

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  32. These look incredible. I could use one as an after dinner snack right now!
    I never thought to add pumpkin and PB but I love them both. Great recipe!

  33. Just made these! AMAZING thank you again for another amazing recipe :)

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  38. Just stumbled on your beautiful blog. The pumpkin bars look fantastic, but be careful with your labeling. Oatmeal is not gluten-free unless it’s certified gluten free (Quaker Oats DO contain gluten due to cross contamination). Also, they are vegetarian…but not vegan if you add the baking chips. And baking chips always need to be checked to make sure they are gluten free (Nestle butterscotch chips are not gluten free…but Hershey’s brand are). These small details matter to those of us who suffer from Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. I’m looking forward to making this recipe (with my Bob’s Red Mill Oats).

    • Of course everyone needs to read labels, always, based on their particular needs and dietary path. Oats are inherently a gluten-free grain but are cross-contaminated frequently in processing and you’re right, unless they are certifed GF, you cannot be certain they are truly GF.

      I lived 5+ years of my life as *strictly* GF and understand what it means to read every single label and if you have Celiac, I’m obviously not telling you anything new. I wish you strength on your health path as I know how hard it can be! But enjoy the bars with your Bob’s!

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  40. I just came across this recipe on Pinterest and CANNOT wait to whip it up! Just a few questions…what size can of pumpkin purée should I use? And also do I use light brown sugar or dark?!? I’m very new to baking and didn’t know there were types of brown sugar!! Thanks for your help and the recipe!!

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  43. Mmm and I’ll be adding these to the list too! These look like the perfect afternoon snack with a cup of tea in this cooler weather. I’m a fan of chewy too. I haven’t made a pumpkin recipe yet this season, I must get on it soon.

  44. I just made the Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars….they’re currently on a cooling rack in my kitchen, but I’m sure they are going to be awesome as I couldn’t keep myself from grabbing a spoon and just eating the uncooked “batter”. Thanks for the recipe; I was searching everywhere for a recipe to use some leftover pumpkin puree….delish!

  45. Thanks for this easy, fantastic recipe! I’m cooking them right now and can’t wait to eat one. I used what I had on hand (almond butter, I mixed a little leftover pumpkin with half of an extra baked sweet potato, and used the brown sugar/Splenda blend, along with a spice blend I made because I did not have pumpkin pie spice. The raw batter is yummy, and I’m debating on the chocolate frosting.

    While I wait for the timer to ding, I’m drinking a smoothie adapted from your pumpkin smoothie recipe. I used fat-free milk, the other half of the sweet potato, a frozen banana, vanilla extract, a pinch of spice blend and about 1/2 tsp. of maple-flavored agave syrup. It tastes really good!

    • Glad you enjoyed the recipe and decided to use what you had on hand…AB, your own spice and sugar blends, that’s always the best way to cook!

      And glad you adapted the pumpkin smoothie recipe, too! Your creation sounds delish!

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  47. I reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup of muscovado sugar to make it healthier. It turned out very spicy. I’m not sure if the spices are extremely strong to begin with, 1tbs does sound like a lot to me or if reducing the sugar is what made it seem so strong. Maybe it is a combination. I also was expecting it to be a bit firmer or crispier but the squares were chewy. I may try this recipe again and reduce the pumpkin pie spice to 1tsp.

    • Yes if you start reducing certain ratios and not others…you’re not going to get the same results that I did…from spiciness level to chewiness level; and on top of that you used a different type of sugar than I called for. So you changed many things – therefore you cannot expect to get the same results with this recipe as I wrote it (or with any recipe if you start changing 3+ things in it). They are a chewy bars, but they hold their shape. If you retry the recipe, make it as written; they are a favorite bar and as written, I’ve had so many people write to say they love these and I do too!

  48. Thanks Averie for writing back. I have reduced the sugar and subbed for muscovado sugar in recipes before and have not had a problem, I guess this one is an exception. I love the idea of pumpkin peanut butter oat bars! They look so yummy so I’ll have to try it again sticking closer to your recipe. Cheers!

    • The issue here is that there’s no flour to bind ingredients and the muscovado sugar is going to liquify when melted possibly more than other sugar; and there’s nothing to bind the bars and sop up that sugar. So although you may have reduced it, it still may pose a problem for this particular recipe. Baking can be so finnicky and this is a recipe I know isn’t broken, so I never change anything to try to fix it :)

  49. I didn’t have any peanut butter, so I used almond butter. So good! So easy too! Love it!

  50. I was really impatient to eat these, too, so I took them out of the oven, waited only about 5-8 min (they were still warm), and spooned some out. I’m very conscious of my sugar intake, so rather than making the frosting, I put plain, creamy neufchatel cheese on top and it melted a little bit. It was perfect with tea!

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