These grain-free and gluten-free paleo pumpkin bars offer a moist crumb and the perfect amount of pumpkin spice blend. They’re super simple to make with easy-to-find ingredients and taste like autumn!
If you’re looking for a healthier fall dessert, make these easy pumpkin bars—the flavor is out of this world and no one will suspect that this pumpkin spice-infused snack cake is refined sugar free and low carb. Slather on my dairy-free cream cheese frosting, and I guarantee you won’t have any leftovers!
Table of Contents
Ingredients for the pumpkin bars
- Finely ground almond flour: I use almond flour in place of all-purpose flour this recipe—not just to make these bars gluten-free, but because it gives the resulting bars a tender texture and nuttiness. In fact, by using almond flour, there’s no need for extra fat in the form of butter or vegetable oil in this recipe! (Need a nut-free version of this recipe? You can substitute Otto’s cassava flour or tiger nut flour in place of almond flour.)
- Canned pumpkin purée: My favorite brand is Libby’s organic pumpkin purée. I don’t use up the whole can in this recipe, so save the leftover purée to whip up some Pumpkin Mug Cakes.
- Eggs: The eggs are essential to the structure of the pumpkin bars. (And before you ask: I haven’t tried using an egg substitute in this recipe and I’m doubtful it’ll work. But if you’re brave enough to try, be sure to share the results in the comments!)
- Honey: I prefer to sweeten these pumpkin bars with honey, but maple syrup also works. You can make low carb and keto-friendly pumpkin bars by using liquid allulose (increase amount to ⅔ cup).
- Pumpkin spice blend: If you don’t want to use store-bought pumpkin spice blend, you can make your own pumpkin pie spices by combining: 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon + ½ teaspoon ground ginger + ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg + ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves.
- Vanilla extract
- Baking soda
- Cream of tartar: Reacts with baking soda to work as a leavening agent in place of baking powder. You can use 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice in place of cream of tartar (add it to the wet ingredients).
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- Dairy-free Cream Cheese Frosting
Can you substitute other ingredients?
Not to sound like a broken record player or anything, but once again: IF A SUBSTITUTION ISN’T MENTIONED IN THIS RECIPE, IT MEANS I HAVEN’T TRIED IT AND DON’T KNOW IF IT’LL WORK. If you have success with any ingredient substitutions, please let us all know in the comments section below!
Tips for the perfect paleo pumpkin bars
- Line the pan with parchment paper! This makes it waaaaaay easier to remove the baked pumpkin cake out of the pan so it can cool completely. You’ll end up with prettier pumpkin bars if you take the cake out of the pan before slathering on the cream cheese frosting.
- Measure the dry ingredients with a scale! The quickest, cleanest, and most accurate way to measure dry ingredients for baking recipes is to use a trusty kitchen scale. My printable recipe card on the bottom of this page always includes metric measurements so you can weigh out your ingredients.
- Don’t dawdle after you combine the wet and dry ingredients! The baking soda and cream of tartar will start reacting immediately—so the sooner the pumpkin bars are in the oven, the better rise you’ll get out of the bars!
How to make paleo and gluten-free pumpkin bars
Heat the oven to 350ºF with the rack in the middle position. Line a 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or grease it well with ghee or coconut oil.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl: almond flour, pumpkin spice blend, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Whisk it all together.
In a separate large bowl, add the pumpkin purée, eggs, honey, and vanilla. Use a hand mixer on medium speed or hand-whisk to stir the pumpkin mixture together until uniform.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients…
…and use a hand mixer on low speed to blend until well combined.
Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish.
Next, quickly smooth the top with an offset spatula. Work quickly because the baking soda has already been activated at this point and the pumpkin bars need to get in the oven!
Bake the pumpkin bars in the oven at 350°F for about 30 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway mark.
The bars are done cooking when the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. If desired, slather on some paleo and vegan Cream Cheese Frosting.
Cut into squares and enjoy!
How to store paleo pumpkin bars
You can store the baked paleo pumpkin bars in a sealed airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze the baked bars in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Thaw the pumpkin bars in the fridge overnight before serving. (You can freeze the bars with or without frosting—both versions freeze and thaw perfectly.)
More paleo pumpkin recipes
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022).
PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD
Pumpkin Bars (Paleo, Gluten Free, Low Carb)
- 2½ cups finely ground almond flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice blend
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice (add with wet ingredients)
- ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 cup canned pumpkin purée
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Heat oven to 350ºF with the rack in the middle. Line a 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or grease it well with ghee or coconut oil.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl: almond flour, pumpkin spice blend, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Whisk it all together.
- In a separate large bowl, add the pumpkin purée, eggs, honey, and vanilla. Use a hand mixer on medium speed or whisk to stir the pumpkin mixture together until uniform.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and use a hand mixer on low speed to blend until well combined
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Quickly smooth the top with an offset spatula. Don’t dawdle because the baking soda has already been activated at this point and the pumpkin bars need to get in the oven!
- Bake the pumpkin bars in the oven at 350°F for about 30 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway mark. The bars are done cooking when the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. If desired, slather on some paleo and vegan Cream Cheese Frosting and enjoy!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.