Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Bars

Gluten-free Pumpkin Bars Recipe
Gluten-free pumpkin spice bars- yummalicious.

Pumpkin bars aren't as sexy as say, a fresh raspberry tart or a chocolate mousse. In fact, they're rather bake-sale pragmatic. They don't exactly inspire passionate prose. But at the end of October, as daylight dwindles and afternoon shadows creep like spiders across the burnished rustle of windswept streets (yes, Darling Babycakes, this is my ode to Hallow's Eve), nothing warms the cockles of a pilgrim soul like the autumnal flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar and pumpkin.

And so, I offer you a new recipe for this deliciously spooky time of year. Bake a batch of these spicy fallish treats, pour yourself a mug of hot apple cider, and watch Tim Burton's classic Halloween movie, Sleepy Hollow, snuggled beneath a cozy throw with someone you love.

Pumpkin season!

Karina's Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Bars Recipe

Originally published October 2006.

These flavorful bars are moist and tender. Not to mention, they make the house smell like pumpkin pie. Add some raisins or dried cranberries, if you like.

2 large free-range organic eggs or Ener-G Egg replacer
1/3 cup extra light olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup organic canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract
1 and 3/4 cups Pamela's Ultimate Baking Mix (or gluten-free flour mix with 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum added)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon GF Pumpkin Pie Spice- or a blend of nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment.

Beat the eggs till blended; add the oil and beat to combine. Add the brown sugar and beat until smooth. Add the pumpkin, beat till smooth; add the vanilla, beat to combine. Add the baking mix and spices; and beat just until the batter is smooth. Add in the nuts and stir by hand to combine.

Dump the batter into the baking pan and spread the evenly. Bake in the center of a preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the bars are firm, and a wooden pick inserted into the center emerges clean.

Cool on a wire rack. Frost when cool.

Brown Sugar and Spice Frosting

4 tablespoons butter or buttery non-dairy spread such as Smart Balance
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider or orange juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, as needed

Spoon the butter, brown sugar and cider into a small saucepan; and heat through on medium heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture is smooth and hot, and begins to bubble, remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool a bit.

Pour the brown sugar mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and spices, and beat. Begin adding the powdered sugar, a little at a time and beat until smooth; add more sugar as needed to thicken the frosting.

Frost the bars.

Makes 18 bars.

Karina's Notes:

I like to briefly freeze the frosted bars (for about 20 to 30 minutes) before cutting and wrapping in foil for freezer storage. This helps keep the frosting from sticking to the foil.

I wrap and freeze gluten-free baked goods right away for the best flavor and texture; thaw them at room temperature or in the fridge (remove wrapping from frosting first).

Enjoy sugary treats in moderation. 
Gluten-Free Goddess® advises consuming 
no more than 2 tablespoons of sugar a day.


Garrett said...

Hey darlin', I think pumpkin isn't so much sexy, as it is svelt and seductive. Totally different.
Still trying to figure out a gluten free cupcake!

Mike Eberhart said...

Those sound, and look, really good. I just tried a pumpkin-roll recently, and the bar idea sounds like a good one to try next.

Anonymous said...

I've been hankering for something pumpkin flavored, and this recipe hits the mark. The bars will be in the oven is a jiffy, as I have all the ingredients And that frosting!
Yum! DDS

ByTheBay said...

Oh, yum! I may try this using a different flour mix and will let you know how it goes

sher said...

Ahh--beautiful. I think people would speak their own prose as they ate one of those bars. It would sound like little moans of pleasure. :):)

aTxVegn said...

You just made pumpkin bars as sexy as they'll ever be! I can't wait to give these a try.

Foodie's Hope said...

That looks delicious, Karina! Wish I could grab a slice. I made pie.
love pumpkin goodies..

Happy Halloween!

the fanny said...

Thanks for another fantastic recipe! I made these last night and brought some in for my wheat eating friends at the office today and got rave reviews!

Gaile said...

These are awesome. i made them last night. They were much lighter than I expected them to be, which was a good thing in our world. I will not be sharing these with coworkers - they're waaay too yummy. I'm going to freeze half of them just to make sure we don't eat them all at once!

Ivonne said...

Be still my beating heart! They look pretty sexy to me!

Michelle said...

These sound wonderful. Thank-you.

John said...


A recipe for you:

Two bags Tinkyada Elbows or Ziti (if you can find it)

1 pound bacon (Cooked and Crumbled)

1 sweet onion (Diced)

1 Green Pepper (Diced)

2 Cans Chopped Pimentos (6 oz or similar)

1 16oz package of Velveeta (horrors!)

1 16oz box or Organico or Pacifico Brand (Gluten Free Tomato Soup)

Saute the onion and peppers in some EV olive oil to make them soft. Boil the pasta according to the directions but leave it one or one and a half minutes al-dente. While the pasta is cooking and the veggies are sauteing, melt the Velveeta together with the tomato soup. Add the pimentos and the cooked bacon to the onions and peppers when they are soft and let them all warm together for a few minutes. Add the Velveeta and tomato soup mix to the onions, peppers, pimentos, etc....

Mix it all and pour over the cooked pasta. Toss like you have never tossed before and enjoy the mac and cheese that has been passed down through the family for as long as Velveeta has existed! This recipe tastes better after a day or two in the fridge, which is why i tend to triple or quadruple it. You will definitely agree if you go for it....


Karina said...

Hey Garrett! Svelt? Seductive? Cool. [And you know where to find me if you need me, re: GF cupcake conversion.]

Hi Mike~ They are a big hit around here - even with non-GF folks!

DDS~ Hope you like them - we sure did.

By the Bay~ Please do! Readers always appreciate tips on substituting.

Hey Sher! Wow. You know how to score points. ;-)

ATxVegn~ Thanks, Darlin'!

Foodie's Hope! Oh, a pie - yum. Yes. Thanks, and you, too!

Hey Fanny! Nice to see you again. Excellent. I love those big-hit-at-the-office stories.


Hi Gaile! Great! Yay. I'm tickled pink. Or is it orange?

Ivonne! You are too kind. I cannot produce a cake like you can. Yours are works of art!

Hey Michelle! [Nice pic!]

Hey John! Um. Thanks for the recipe [to be honest, I don't do bacon or Velveeta; but some readers might]! Take care!


rowena said...

Sexy maybe not, reassuring and cozy yes! BTW, we loved the Garlicky Shrimp and Spinach Bake. Pretty soon I'll be doing a control+F for the phrases "rooting in the fridge" or "sustenance". You always whip up a winner!

GrewUpRural said...

I will definitely try these. I made your Maui Wowee Bars for some of my co-workers this week. They loved them. They were asking if I could bring more of them in. Thanks!

Karina said...

Mahalo, Rowena! I'm so glad! Yay. And guess what I'm posting next? Another "rooting in the fridge" recipe. ;-)

Hola, GrewUpRural~ Excellent! Those Maui Wowee Bars are my personal favorite. Chocolate + coconut? What's not to love?

Shannon said...

While it may not be sexy, all things pumpkin are heaven to me! I need to go buy some of the Pamela's baking Mix and then I am gonna be a-bakin'. Yum!

Shannon said...

I had to post again to tell you...I LOVE YOU! ehem... I made the Pumpkin Bars today and they were fantastic. This was my first foray into GF baking and it was a smashing success thanks to your recipe. One of my all time favorite fall treats was a recipe for pumpkin bread that I can no longer eat. (Will definiely have to try to modify it!) These bars just may ba able to replace them. And the frosting? Mym mom and I were eating the leftovers with a spoon! (Even my picky uncles who were over watching the Bears game liked the bars!)

Karina said...

Hey Shannon! I'm SO glad the bars turned out yummy. It's encouraging when the first GF baking attempt is a hit, yeah? Woo hoo!

Michelle said...

Hi, My daughter and I made this recipe this morning. It too was our first time baking GF. We used mini tins with little liners and they are delicious. We have not frosted them yet and I am relucant to because they are just so great the way they are. But my daughter is insiting that I frost a few. So I will let her do the honors. Thanks so much.

Karina said...

Hi Michelle! Cool. Did you use mini muffin tins? How long did you bake them? [I ask for our readers.]

This recipe is fab without frosting, I agree [I usually scrape mine off, much to my husband's horror!].


Michelle said...


Yes, we used mini muffin tins. I think I cooked them for about 15 minutes. until they were firm to the touch. I always eyeball things when I bake it's one of my downfalls. But not in this case. They are scrumptious!

Karina said...

Thanks, Michelle!

Stephanie said...

I made a batch of these bars last weekend, egg & dairy free too. I gave them out to friends and classmates and everyone that tried them LOVED them. I've been asked by many to make another batch for a bake sale this Friday! Thanks for the great recipe!

Karina said...

Hi Stephanie! Thanks- and I'm so glad they were a hit! Yay.


Anonymous said...


These are deeeee-licious! I just made some this afternoon, and have been sharing them all over the neighborhood. I needed a trial run before I made them for Thanksgiving, I'm delighted with the recipe.

Thanks to your recommendations, I am a Pamela's baking mix convert (especially if I'm feeling lazy).


Karina said...

Hi Katie!

Thanks for stopping back to post- I'm so glad these were a hit. ;)

And I'm glad you like using the Pamela's mix- though, in my mind, it's not lazy.

After all, regular bakers get to use just one flour- why shouldn't we enjoy the same convenience? ;)

Take care- and Happy Holidays!


Katrina said...

Hi Karina! I love your blog!! I am dying to make the Brown Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Bars but I would like to know if I can use an egg substitute. I read on your blog where you add olive oil to the egg replacer mix - why do you add oil? I'm new to gluten-free/dairy-free/egg-free baking and so far I have only been cooking recipes that have either 1 egg or none.....any suggestions on GF/CF/EF cooking??

Thank you so much!


Karina said...

Hi Katrina!

Thanks! You don't have to use oil in an egg replacer if you don't want to. Sometimes I do that to replace the fat in the yolk. I also have used just plain rice milk with the Ener-G egg replacer.

I haven't tried the pumpkin bars with egg replacers yet- but I imagine they'd convert just fine. A reader recently said she converted a pumpkin muffin recipe (with 4 eggs) to egg-free- successfully. [I'm not sure I'd replace 4 eggs with replacer in a recipe- I usually use/replace 2 eggs.]

For the pumpkin bars I'd use Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs.

Good luck with the egg-free baking- I'm relatively new at it, too. :)


Katrina said...

Karina, So I can use the Ener-G egg replacer and water to replace the 2 eggs? Is it better to add oil in an egg replacer to help bind the rest of the ingredients together? When you add rice milk to the egg replacer do you also use water or is the rice milk in place of water? Does the rice milk also replace the fat found in the yolk? Where did you learn all of this?? I have never heard of adding oil/rice milk to the egg replacer!! But it actually makes sense now that I think about it!!!


Karina said...

Hi Katrina!

I just figured intuitively that eggs contain = protein, fat and leavening. So, if the egg replacer replaces the leavening, why not add a little fat and protein by using rice milk and light olive oil?

I use the combo in place of the water. To me- the water has no nutritional value, so I'd rather, at the very least, use fortified rice milk.

If you're replacing 2 eggs with the Ener-G egg replacer, use 1 tablespoon powdered egg replacer and add either 4 tablespoons rice milk, or 3 tablespoons rice milk plus a tablespoon oil.

I've also tried using sparkling water, for when I need more rise. It seems to work about the same as regular water. Maybe a bit better.

For binding, I use xanthan gum- about a teaspoon in an average recipe, up to a teaspoon and a half. (For more than three cups flour, I'd add a little more.)

Some folks use applesauce to help bind; replace a small part of the oil/shortening in a recipe with applesauce---but-- not for a recipe that already has fruit puree- like pumpkin- the pumpkin itself will help bind the batter. Some cooks like 1/2 cup apple sauce in egg-free brownies. I'm still working on a good egg-free brownie recipe. Stay tuned.

Cookies are easy to make egg-free- check my recipes for those. And cakes aren't too difficult, either. The egg replacer seems to work pretty darn well. ;)

Have a great weekend!


CDM said...

These were moist and delicious! You'd never guess they were wheat free, at least none of my guests did. Karina, another fabulous recipe! This is the 5th one I've tried in 2 weeks and tey have all been wonderful. My husband says the blueberry sour cream muffins are the best muffins (wheat or GF) he's ever had and he's not GF.

Rockaroo said...

I love anything and everything pumpkin! These looks great and such a nice touch for the holidays!

Anonymous said...

I used this recipe to make pumpkin muffins for my son's Halloween party. I've got a question. I made them today for his party tomorrow. Do I refrigerate them or just keep at room temp? Thanks so much for your help.

Karina Allrich said...

CDM- Thank you! I'm glad you- and your husband!- are enjoying the recipes. xox

Rockaroo- Thanks- they're a perfect treat for the fall and winter holidays. :)

Paula- Good question! I always wrap and freeze cake slices/muffins the day I bake them. Gluten-free cakes and muffins dry out quickly. If it's a full 24 hours? I'd wrap and freeze them, to be safe.

I think the flavor will be best that way. Thaw at room temp (remove wrapping from frosting so it doesn't stick, if they are frosted).

Have a fab party!


M said...

I just made a batch using Bob's Red Mill All Purpose flour. I realized I forgot the cinnamon, and it just doesn't have any flavor. I haven't made any icing yet, but I'm afraid that won't do much to help. Any suggestions on how I can fix the lack of flavor problem?

Karina Allrich said...

M- Well, cinnamon brings a lot to a recipe.

And if I am to be totally honest, Bob's Red Mill mix doesn't have the sweetish flavor of Pamela's (with buttermilk and almond flour); in fact, Bob's has bean or chick pea flour- which, to me is awful).

You could make a maple frosting- is that what you're asking?


Angie said...


I absolutely love this blog, these recipes and your sense of humor! You really crack me up!!

I've only just begun my gluten-free journey and am encouraged by all the info and recipes you share!


Ginger said...

Delicious. Yummy. Oh my goodness my pregnant belly does not need a 9x13 pan of these things sitting around. I don't think they'll be any leftover to freeze but I'm going to try!!!

Anonymous said...

Excellent recipe! I just made a double batch two days ago and had to make another double batch today..Everyone is gobbling these treats up.

Bethany Hubbard said...

I made these today and they were absolutely delicious! My co-workers could not believe that they are gluten/dairy-free. It was nice to be able to indulge in my own baked treats as well:). Thanks for the recipe!


Spring said...

Just made these and they are absolutely amazingly... delicious just isn't the right word. To die for. :) No one would EVER guess these were gluten free. I will probably scrape some of the frosting off as I am not a huge frosting fan (too sweet for me) but the flavor was wonderful. I am coming up on two years of gluten and corn free eating, and somehow had reached a "feeling deprived and poor me"phase again. It's over now. :) I have been singing your praises in my kitchen all afternoon! :)

Megan @ MAID in Alaska said...

Karina!! I just made this recipe and it is SO YUMMY!!! I didn't use the Pamela's mix, but used 1/2 cup fine brown rice flour, 1/2 cup fine sorghum flour, 1/4 cup fine sweet rice flour (all Authentic Foods), and 1/2 cup arrowroot. It's fabulous. Thank you so much for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day recipe!

Anonymous said...

can i use something else other than pumpkin? this seems like a really good recipe but some are allergic

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