Fudgy Pumpkin Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze


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Fudgy Pumpkin Spice Bars — Moist pumpkin bars so soft they’re like biting into pumpkin fudge!! The glaze is ahh-mazing!!!

Fudgy Pumpkin Spice Bars — Moist pumpkin bars so soft they're like biting into pumpkin fudge!! The glaze is ahh-mazing!!!

Ultra Fudgy Pumpkin Bars

First I made these bars using lemons, then bananas, now pumpkin. Why not? Everything is better after it’s been pumpkin-ified.

Fudgy is the only word that describes the pumpkin bars. They’re like biting into a piece of super soft pumpkin fudge that’s crossed with the pumpkin equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies.

They’re rich, soft, supremely moist, and tooth-sinkingly dense and satisfying. If you’re looking for a fluffy slice of pumpkin cake, they’re not that. They’re closer in texture to Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars, minus the chocolate chips, yet have an even fudgier texture. Funny how that works.

The bars are packed with rich pumpkin flavor and the glaze makes the bars go from really good to life-changing. 

Lately I’ve been topping everything I can with the glaze because it’s just that good. The secrets are browned butter and glorious vanilla bean seeds. They’re such powerfully flavored ingredients, and flavor just explodes from the glaze.

Between the warming spices of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon, coupled with the glaze, I was in fall comfort food heaven. I loved the bars, hoarded them, and was sad to see the last one go.

Fudgy Pumpkin Spice Bars — Moist pumpkin bars so soft they're like biting into pumpkin fudge!! The glaze is ahh-mazing!!!

Ingredients for Pumpkin Spice Bars

To make these moist pumpkin bars, you’ll need: 

  • White chocolate chips 
  • Unsalted butter
  • Egg
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Pumpkin puree 
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Cinnamon
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Vanilla bean paste 
  • Cream or milk 

Can I Use Pumpkin Pie Filling Instead of Puree? 

You could possibly use pumpkin pie filling rather than pumpkin puree if you were to re-adjust the sugar ratios and experiment with things. However, the two aren’t interchangeable as written. 

Fudgy Pumpkin Spice Bars — Moist pumpkin bars so soft they're like biting into pumpkin fudge!! The glaze is ahh-mazing!!!

How to Make Glazed Pumpkin Spice Bars 

These really are the BEST pumpkin bars I’ve ever eaten. Here’s an overview of how they’re made: 

  1. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave, then stir in the egg, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Add the pumpkin and spices, followed by the dry ingredients. 
  3. Turn the batter into a greased and foil-lined 8×8-inch baking dish. B
  4. ake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. 
  5. In the last 10 minutes of baking, make the vanilla browned butter glaze. The glaze can be poured onto the bars while they’re still warm.

After pouring the glaze over the warm bars, it seeps down and soaks in, and makes the bars even moister, softer, and fudgier. As a bonus, they taste even better on the second and third day, if they last that long! 

Fudgy Pumpkin Spice Bars — Moist pumpkin bars so soft they're like biting into pumpkin fudge!! The glaze is ahh-mazing!!!

Can I Double This Recipe? 

Very easily! Simply double the ingredients and use a 9×13-inch baking dish. 

Can I Substitute the Glaze? 

A few readers have commented saying they swapped out the brown butter glaze for more traditional cream cheese frosting. While I love the glaze as is, you’re more than welcome to top the pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting if preferred. 

I recommend making this cream cheese frosting recipe, if you want to go the homemade route. (You’ll need to halve the recipe!). 

How to Store Pumpkin Bars 

Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Fudgy Pumpkin Spice Bars — Moist pumpkin bars so soft they're like biting into pumpkin fudge!! The glaze is ahh-mazing!!!

Recipe Variations to Try

  • Sub the glaze: Try frosting the pumpkin spice bars with cream cheese frosting instead of the browned butter glaze. 
  • Adjust the spices: I wasn’t shy with the pumpkin pie spice in this recipe, so feel free to add less (or more!) as you see fit. 
  • Use homemade pumpkin puree: Just note that homemade puree is sometimes thicker than the canned stuff, so you may need to tweak the ingredients slightly if the batter is too thick. 
  • Add mix-ins: These spiced pumpkin bars are perfect as is, but I imagine mini chocolate chips or finely chopped nuts could be stirred into the batter if desired. 

Fudgy Pumpkin Spice Bars — Moist pumpkin bars so soft they're like biting into pumpkin fudge!! The glaze is ahh-mazing!!!

Tips for Making Fudgy Pumpkin Bars

Browning the butter: If you’ve never browned butter, read this tutorial. The 5 minutes it takes to do is the best 5 minutes you’ll spend all month. I used vanilla bean paste but scraping the seeds of a vanilla bean works.

Vanilla: Vanilla extract is okay, but won’t be as flavorfully intense as paste or seeds.

White chocolate: Be very careful when melting the white chocolate in the microwave. It’s very prone to scorching and seizing up, so watch it carefully and don’t overheat. 

Fudgy Pumpkin Spice Bars — Moist pumpkin bars so soft they're like biting into pumpkin fudge!! The glaze is ahh-mazing!!!

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Yield: 12

Fudgy Pumpkin Spice Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze

Fudgy Pumpkin Spice Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze

Dense pumpkin bars so soft they're like biting into pumpkin fudge!! These bars are made from scratch and are topped with a vanilla glaze!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours



  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste



Make the bars:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl add the white chocolate, butter, and heat to melt, about 2 minutes on high power. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute, and then heat in 20-second bursts, stopping to stir after each burst, until mixture can be stirred smooth. White chocolate is very prone to scorching and seizing up, so watch it carefully and don’t overheat.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, sugar, vanilla, and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and whisk until combined.
  5. Add the flour, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don’t overmix.
  6. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. In the last 10 minutes of baking, make the glaze.

Make the Glaze:

  1. Brown the butter (click for tutorial). Cook butter over medium-high heat in a small saucepan until it’s amber to brown in color, about 5 minutes depending on pan size, but watch it closely so you don’t burn it. I swirl the pan in the last minute or so to make sure I can really see the color changes. Butter will go through stages of hissing, sputtering, and making noise until the water cooks off at which point the browning occurs. Butter will smell nutty and aromatic.
  2. Transfer butter, including brown bits at the bottom of the pan (they’re flavor powerhouses, keep them) from pan to large mixing bowl which stops any carryover cooking.
  3. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean paste, optional salt, and slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth or beat with a handheld electric mixer. As necessary, add additional cream (or confectioners’ sugar) to reach desired glaze consistency. Glaze should be of medium thickness and easily pourable.
  4. Evenly pour glaze over bars (they don’t have to be cooled first), smoothing it lightly with a spatula if necessary, but glaze will likely just slide into place.
  5. Allow bars to cool in pan uncovered for at least 2 to 3 hours, (or overnight and cover with a sheet of foil) before slicing and serving so glaze can set up. 


To store: Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Adapted from Fudgy Banana Bread Bars and Lemon Lemonies.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 60mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 1gSugar: 25gProtein: 4g

More Pumpkin Spice Desserts:


If you haven’t already pre-ordered it, Cooking With Pumpkin: Recipes That Go Beyond the Pie is my second cookbook. There are over 50 pumpkin recipes including sweets, savory, drinks, and a photo for nearly every recipe. I’d be super grateful if you headed over to Amazon.

Cooking With Pumpkin: Recipes That Go Beyond the Pie by Averie Sunshine

Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars — Super soft and are like biting into a piece of rich pumpkin fudge! Loaded with chocolate and crazy good!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache –  The softest, moistest and best pumpkin cake! Easy & everyone loves it!

 Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Bread — Pumpkin bread that’s like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!

Soft Pumpkin Praline Bars – SUPER soft pumpkin bars studded with chocolate chips, candied pecans, and plenty of pumpkin pie spice!! A FAST and EASY dessert that feeds a crowd for your fall and winter celebrations!!

Soft Pumpkin Praline Bars - SUPER soft pumpkin bars studded with chocolate chips, candied pecans, and plenty of pumpkin pie spice!! A FAST and EASY dessert that feeds a crowd for your fall and winter celebrations!!

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – Soft, fluffy and so much better than another loaf of plain banana bread!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies — Between the molasses, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin pie spice extract that I used, these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies beautifully showcase the flavors of fall! 

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — Moist pumpkin cake is topped with a creamy homemade cream cheese frosting. This easy fall dessert is perfect for Thanksgiving, Halloween, and more!

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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  1. Silly question…I see we are to line the pan with aluminum foil, is this for a specific reason? I tend to use parchment in my baking processes & want to make sure my pumpkin treats turn out as wonderfully fudgy as yours!

    1. Only because it helps with cleanup, as does parchment, neither are 100% necessary and can be skipped if you desire.

  2. It’s so crazy to me that I’m the first person to rate this recipe. (I see that there’s a lot of comments, but no actual ratings yet.) It is AMAZING. I’m, like, *known* for these bars; I’ve made them for years. The texture is so dense and fudgy. I do top them with a traditional cream cheese frosting instead of the glaze.

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad that you think the recipe is amazing and thanks for being the first person to leave some stars!

    1. If you double it, you can make in a 9×13. There are baking conversion websites for the volume equivalent of an 8-inch square pan and what other sizes/shapes are approximately the same.

  3. I am anxious to try the stuffing recipe. My family has always liked my stuffing which sounds alot like yours but I always made it with half cornbread and half bread cubes. Do you see a problem with my way?

    1. I think half and half would be fine. I have never done it that way though so I can’t say for sure, but probably fine.

    1. Possibly you could if you were to re-adjust the sugar ratios and experiment with things, but as written, no the two aren’t interchangeable.

  4. The glaze on these is too sickly sweet for me with the whole cup of confectioners sugar. The bars themselves were all right and easy to make but I probably would not make again, especially not without changing the glaze. I’ll probably just throw them away. 

    1. I’m sorry you found the glaze too sweet. We all have different tastes. Thanks for trying the recipe.

  5. I used vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean (on-hand, and cheaper!) so my glaze came out brown instead of white, which is okay with me! My concern is that the glaze was pretty thin/runny, so if I let these set to cool, will the glaze thicken up?  I don’t want it to stay sticky! 

    1. The extract (liquid) probably thinned out the glaze. You could have added more powdered sugar to thicken it up. It will harden/set-up in time but not necessarily as thick or stiff as you want, hard to say. Just a touch more powdered sugar would do the trick until it’s comfortably thick enough, for your tastes.

  6. I love these bars! My daughter made the recipe for Thanksgiving and I love that they are so moist and dense. Taste fabulous, too. My guy does not so much like pumpkin or pumpkin pie, so when I made these today I made a couple substitutions. I used sweet potato instead of pumpkin, and I used cardamom instead of pumpkin pie spice. Different flavor but still had the wonderful texture that I love so much. I’ll definitely be getting your cookbook soon. I am positive I will be liking your recipes!

    1. Thanks for trying this recipe and great tweaks with sweet potato and cardamom. And thanks in advance for picking up my book – please LMK what you make from it!

  7. Thank you so much for this recipe! I made them today as a test for one of my Thanksgiving desserts. They are ahhmazing! That glaze is to die for. The vanilla bean paste was worth every penny. I cannot wait to make the other versions as well. I’m not sure i want to share them.

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe, Maryann, and glad the glaze is to die for and that you felt the paste was worth it$$. I totally agree and so glad you’re happy and that you can check one Thanksgiving dessert off your list now :)

  8. Hello! I am in the process of making the pumpkin fudgy bars and I just have a quick question. I see that you wrote to leave these out overnight, but since there is milk in the glaze does this create a problem? Please let me know, thank you!

    1. I personally don’t have an issue storing glazed items at room temp (think of all the glazed donuts that sit out!!…for days in some places!) but if you do, you can put them in the fridge. They will dry out more and lose softness, but do what you prefer.

  9. Since I found your site yesterday and printed out the lemon bar recipe, then came across the punkin bar recipe today, I have officially declared your website lethal to my waist line!

    Luckily, my baking challenge this year (1000 cookies in memory of my late mother and my cat) will see 99.8% of all baked goods leaving our home *whew*!

    However, being a fiend for lemon and pumpkin, I cannot wait to make these and incorporate them into this years Holiday baking extravaganza.

    Must check out your cookbook too and of course pin this :)

    1. Thanks for pinning, finding me, wanting to get my book, and for wanting to make so many of my recipes!

      I totally understand about making things and then making sure that 99% leaves the house! I would say 70% leaves our house just because we don’t need 5 cakes/5pans of bars/5 batches of cookies etc on any given week :)

      LMK what you make & how it goes!

  10. I made these and subbed egg nog for the milk in the glaze recipe – a tasty substitution! In my oven, I should have cooked them even less than the recommended time to make them fudgier, but they were still delicious!

  11. I just made these and I am trying my best to let them cool! My glaze turned out a bit darker than yours. But I snuck some off the spoon and it was a beautiful thing. Can’t wait to try these :-)

    1. You know what, in photos with all the lights, things can look very reflective and light so I wouldn’t be surprised if in real life ours was the same color. And if yours is darker, that just means you got your butter even browner than I did…good job!! :)

  12. Amazing! These pumpkin bars were SO delish and were a huge hit in my family. So happy I found your recipes.

    1. Thanks so much for the great compliment and glad you found me too – and glad your whole family enjoyed these!

  13. I made your fudge banana bars with vanilla bean browned butter glaze last week. It is hands down, the best recipe I’ve ever made using banana’s. I will definitely try your pumpkin version. Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for trying that recipe and for the super high compliments and praise! It’s absolutely one of my most favorite banana recipes too and I love the pumpkin version! If you try this one, let me know which you prefer or how they compare. I truly love them both!

  14. This is a great way for me to use up the leftover can of odds & ends-amount pumpkin I have in my fridge. And of course, another great excuse to eat fudgy pumpkin bars. I LOVE that these are those stick-to-your-teeth fudgy textured bars because those are the bomb diggity!

    1. They are so stick-to-your-teeth in the best possible way. And I have the perpetual odd-n-ends of pumpkin too!

  15. “Everything is better after it’s been pumpkin-ified.” <– SO SO true!!! It's all I want to bake with these days, and I'm afraid my readers might be getting tired of it… But I don't want to stop! I was actually thinking about making pumpkin "brownies" too, just like how I made banana "brownies" right around the same time you did, but you beat me to it! And I just can't beat that gorgeous glaze… Darn! ;)

    1. I actually looked at my recent recipes widget on my sidebar and ummm, like 9 out of 10 I think are pumpkin. Whoops!! :)

  16. Im a bit concerned about the fudgy pumpin bars with brown butter glaze recipe, it says good for up to 1 week at room temp. Was that a misprint? Cause even cake with pumpkin or any kind of fruit cannot sit out long or it goes bad.

    1. If it’s been baked, I’ve never had anything go bad. Granted most things don’t last a week for me, but they have, and I’ve never had issues. Do what you feel comfortable doing.

  17. “pumpkin-ified” That’s totally going to be my word for the week. These bars are looking crazy good and that vanilla bean glaze is just begging to be licked right off the top of these ridiculously fudgy bars. Pinned. Of course :)

  18. IT’S PUMPKIN SEASON AND I’M LOVING IT. Vanilla paste is the best, I need to get some! It’s great in ice creams too! Love this recipe.

  19. I gotta say, you are freaking AMAZING! You are the BEST blogger I have EVER come across. You update ALL the time and everything you post looks SO freaking delicious.

    Congratulations, you have a hardcore fan :P

    Keep up the great work! :)

  20. Averie, these look super delicious and so so fudgy!! Congrats on your book girl!!Looking forward to ordering it soon!

  21. I thought the lemon and banana versions looked amazing….and now pumpkin! What a versatile recipe!! I’m having a hard time keeping up with all these fabulous bars. Jon is a little lukewarm about pumpkin when it comes to dessert (I think he’s had mediocre pie so has never been thrilled) but I have a feeling these could change his mind. The texture is right for his taste.

    1. I didn’t know that about Jon and pumpkin. Scott was the same way when I was writing the cookbook but I honestly think he really came around. Maybe some of the recipes will sort of twist Jon’s arm. But these bars are definitely one I wish I had thought of two years ago when I was writing the book. Totally belong in it, IMO! :) They are so fudgy, dense. Like a fudgy pumpkin brownie, minus the chocolate fudge part!

  22. I’m making these ASAP! I have leftover pumpkin from your pumpkin coffee cake that I made this weekend – my father-in-law said it was the best coffee cake he’s ever had! I’m loving your new book :)

    1. Oh that is so awesome that you’re baking from my cookbook AND that it’s the best coffeecake your FIL has ever had! Thank you for LMK!

  23. Is it Oct6 yet? I’m sure your cookbook is going to fly off shelves and out of amazon!! Perfect timing for a perfect cookbook. And these “fudgy” bars look awesome! Wish I could sink my teeth into one right now.

    1. Aimee I hoarded these things :) I loved them, wish I had put them in my book!

      Amazon actually shipped my book to people already b/c Dorothy, Roxana, Chung-Ah and other friends have written to say they already have my book, which is pretty crazy that there’s that much difference in the in-store date vs. the Amazon shipping date!

  24. You have taken fudgy to the max!!! I can’t get enough of these bars! And that glaze looks fabulous.

  25. Autumn recipes are the best. This looks like another winner. I’ve said it before … I can’t keep up with the number of great recipes you put out! Plus the ones I want to repeat because they are so good …

    1. I can’t keep up with the number of great recipes you put out! Plus the ones I want to repeat because they are so good … <--- I kind of feel the same way. LOL I sometimes wish I could just re-make things, and re-post them, because I loved them that much. But that wouldn't exactly be super interesting for my readers :)

  26. Everything is definitely better when it’s been pumpkin-ified!! These look like pure heaven, oh so fudgey and with a browned butter glaze – yea I wish I could reach into the screen right now!

  27. What the what?! I have to try this asap!! I’ve never baked with vanilla bean seeds, and you have me now running to the store to find them so I can make these. YUM!

  28. Lemon, banana, pumpkin… keep ’em coming! These look phenomenal. And I can’t get over that glaze. I will be trying these soon. Thank you!

  29. Amazing! I was surprised to see white chocolate in the batter, but I supposed that is what makes them fudgey :) Also, I love the little vanilla bean specks in the glaze. Gorgeous.

    1. The white chocolate yes makes them fudgy and also gives them some sweetness that you can’t get from using sugar…both a texture thing for density and a taste thing!

  30. You and I are kindred spirits with wanting things fudgey/chewy rather than cakey and for me this is especially true with pumpkin bars and cookies. Thank goodness for you coming up with all these wonderful treats that I can make!

  31. I want to bathe in that glaze.

    So, I got pumpkin powder the other day because I was curious about it and now I think I need to make some kind of pumpkin-y fudge-y dessert. With white chocolate, obviously, because you’ve turned me on to it and now it is far above milk chocolate in my chocolate ranking. Still behind dark, but barely.

    1. I didn’t even know pumpkin powder existed! Buttermilk powder about 3 years ago for me was the last new powder I discovered that I didn’t even know about. I wrote a cookbook about pumpkin and didn’t know about pumpkin powder..crazy! I can see you making something Katie-ish with it, with white choc, some sort of smoothie-ish bowl of something!

  32. if yo can make these bars with lemon then bananas and now pumpkin then they truly must be the perfect bar! So versatile. I love the hints of vanilla bean with the pumpkin flavor throughout! Yum

  33. These look stunning – almost like straight fudge! And the thicker and fudgier bars are – the better!! Love that the glaze has browned butter and vanilla bean – yum! Pinned :)

  34. I’m all about fudgy bars, Averie! Your description sounds fabulous! And the browned butter glaze looks irresistible. Pinned!

  35. They definitely look like something I could sink my teeth into. Vanilla bean adds such a pop of flavor. I love it!
    Beautiful. Pinned.
    Have a sweet day!

  36. You should be a motivational speaker! Reading this post, you had me convinced that if there was one thing I had to do today, it was make/eat these–of course, I guess that would be the logical thing to do anyway right? Anyway, these look to die for! I’ll have to squeeze them into my fall baking somehow!

    1. Well that’s awesome and I did my job then! Truth be told, I used to sell timeshare. I could sell snow to eskimos pretty convincingly but seriously, these are one of my personal favorites!!

  37. Your banana fudgy bars were just sinfully good, but now I’m going to have to try these ones! You’re so right about the vanilla bean glaze! I could pour it over just about anything…

  38. Just stumbled across your blog – i think I just found my new favorite blog!! Really love the goodies you bake, I’m so happy I found you!

  39. I think these pumpkin bars look the best of the three! So chewy and delicious looking, girl. Yum!

  40. Ok you just have to stop….these looks so yummy…my list of your recipes is growing especially now that I have the pumpkin cookbook…I’m going to need time off from work just to bake everything I want to!!!! I also need a larger family to eat it all….these bars look so moist and I love that vanilla bean icing.

    1. Now THESE SHOULD HAVE been in the pumpkin cookbook. It’s so hard because I keep coming up with things that I wish were in the book but that was ‘closed’ for new recipes almost 18 mos ago and there were no where in my head back then!

      Trust me, I have to donate 95% of what I make. But these, I kept for myself :)