Crazy for Crust

Pumpkin Pie Bars with pecan crumble

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Major confession: I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie. I love pumpkin but sometimes pumpkin pie can be just too…much. Can you forgive me?

However, I think I finally figured out a way that I love pumpkin pie: in bar form! These Pumpkin Pie Bars with pecan crumble have the perfect amount of crust to filling ratio. Anti-Pumpkin Pie people everywhere will change their tune…I promise!

Pumpkin Pie Bars - these have a shortbread crust and a pecan crumble on top!

Growing up, my mom was famous for her pies. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, she always brought dessert and dessert was always a pecan pie and a pumpkin pie. There was never any discussion about if she would bring pie. It was how many she would bring.

The travesty in all that was that, as a kid, I didn’t really like either pumpkin or pecan pie. This meant I spent many Thanksgiving evenings with a plate of whipped cream.

{And now look at me.}

My problem with pumpkin pie was not in the flavor, but the texture. That is precisely why these bars are perfect for me – and those like me.

The crust:filling:topping ratio makes the texture of the filling perfect. Which is why I needed to immediately freeze these after I ate the one in the photos.

These Pumpkin Pie Bars are perfect for any party - much easier to serve than pie!

The other thing that these bars have going for them? That they’re bars.

I love pie (a lot, obvi) but you have to admit: pie bars just easier than a whole pie. One, they’re easier to cut. Two, they’re easier to serve. And three, they’re easier to give away.

Plus, pie bars have more crust and crumble together than filling.

Um, that’s my kind of pie.

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Okay, so let’s break down this recipe.

The crust is a shortbread one, made with butter, sugar, and flour. It’s very crumbly when it’s mixed, but it presses together well in the bottom of your pan.

The filling is a variation on my mom’s pumpkin pie. I’ve been trying to figure out how to make the filling in her a little smoother (to satisfy my texture issues). Instead of using whole milk and 3 eggs, I used evaporated milk and 2 eggs. The result? The texture is perfect.

And if shortbread crust + pumpkin filling wasn’t enough, these bars needed a crumble. I’ve often said, give me a pie with crust and crumble and I’m good – no filling needed.

This crumble is made with butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon and pecans. It’s chunky and since the pumpkin is very liquidy, you just sprinkle it over the top. The crumble adds some sweetness and a satisfying crunch from the pecans.

These are, in a word, perfect. Perfect Pumpkin Pie Bars. I’m totally making these again for Thanksgivng. Because those ones in the freezer?

Pumpkin Pie Bars with pecan crumble - these have the perfect crust to filling to topping ratio!

I know they’re there. They won’t be there long…

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Servings: 24 bars

Pumpkin Pie Bars with pecan crumble

Like a pumpkin pie...but in bar form! The pumpkin is smooth and rich on top the shortbread crust and the topping is sweet and crunchy from pecans!


  • For the Crust
  • 1/2 cup butter — softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt — optional
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • For the Filling
  • 1 can — 15 ounces canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can — 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • For the Topping
  • 1/2 cup butter — softened
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt — optional
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9x13” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Make the crust: add butter, flour, and sugar to a large bowl. Mix with a stand or a hand mixer until it becomes crumbly. (You may need to use your fingers to break up any larger chunks of butter.) Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling and topping. 
  4. Make the filling: Whisk pumpkin, evaporated milk, salt, and eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in brown sugar and spices. Set aside.
  5. Make the topping: add all topping ingredients except pecans to the large bowl you used for the crust and mix with a hand mixer until crumbly, (again you may need to use your fingers to break up any large chunks of butter). The mixture will be crumbly/chunky. Stir in pecans. Set aside.
  6. After 15 minutes, remove crust from the oven. Whisk the filling once more, then pour over crust carefully and slowly. Sprinkle topping evenly on top of filling. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, until topping looks set (mine took 30 minutes).Cool at room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight before cutting into squares. Store covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze in airtight bags for up to 1 month.

If you love pie bars, you’ll love these too:

Almond Chocolate Chip Cherry Pie Bars

Almond Chocolate Cherry Pie Bars (2 of 4)w

Apple Butter Pie Bars

apple butter pie bars

Blueberry Slab Pie

Blueberry Slab Pie

Sweets from friends:
Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars {Low Carb} by All Day I Dream About Food
Shoofly Pie Bars by Cupcake Project
Peppermint Crumble Bars by Something Swanky

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  1. This is so happening on Thanksgiving, Dorothy!
    Kinda ironic that Crazy for Crust didn’t eat pie as a kid…we all change!

  2. I am super elated because I have all these ingredients in my cupboard, now all I need is an excuse to make them! They look like a dream come true!

  3. I love the idea of pecan crumble on pumpkin pie. These looks so perfect for Thanksgiving!

  4. I love that you made bars, rather than the actual pie. And with the pecan crumbles…yes! All the layers of textures and flavors are the best. And I’m with you, of all things pumpkin-ey, the last one I would seek out would be actual pumpkin pie. But give me a bar, donut, cookie, bread, cake,  etc and I cannot say no! Pinned, love em!

  5. I am a lover of pumpkin pies of all types.  This one looks very satisfying.  I especially love the pecan crumble on the top!  🙂

  6. Mmm…these look fantastic! I too am not a huge pumpkin pie fan – for me, it’s about the texture, or rather, the fact that pumpkin pie has very little texture. The pecan crumble will certainly fix that, though! Looking forward to trying these 🙂

  7. I love the flavour of pumpkin pie and this pecan crumble looks amazing – the perfect contrast between a smooth and creamy filling, crumbly shortbread crust and crunchy crumbs. Love it how these are bars as well; bars are much more fun than pies! Pinned 😀 x 

  8. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite pies! Love the crumble on top of these, such a fun way to change it up.

  9. I am not a fan of pumpkin pie either. I try it every year but still not my favorite. I can totally get behind these bars though! They look incredible!

  10. I am totally with you on the whole pumpkin pie texture thing! I have been debating on making pumpkin pie bars for forever now, so I think I may just have to try these out! 

  11. Wow, save one of those frozen ones for me (they look incredible).


  12. You never cease to amaze me with your creativity!  I never liked pumpkin pie as a kid, either (although I loved mincemeat pie at Thanksgiving, and I never eat that now).  These bars look sooooo good! And great for a potluck or bake sale!

  13. My thing with PUMPKIN is the “spices” – very much dislike – leave them out of anything I make with pumpkin.

    When I was growing up, my family knew to have a pumpkin pie without spices, just for me – so I actually did better than the others as I got a whole pie to myself.  

    After all, it is called PUMPKIN, not spices whatever we are making – isn’t that what we really want to taste?

  14. Love this recipe! I am like you in that I love pretty much all things pumpkin and I have a sick obsession with pie….but not so much pumpkin pie! My dad hates pumpkin pie so every year at our house we would have sweet potato pie instead. But I agree…something was just lacking with it plain. I make a sweet potatoes cream cheese pie with pecan praline topping…this reminds me of that. Can’t wait to give these a try!

  15. I love this! I only like a little bit of pumpkin most of the time. The crumble on this sounds perfect!

  16. As much as I love pumpkin pie, I would totally rather make bars instead too for all your same reasons.  These bars look amazing and I love the pecan crumble on top!

  17. Lots of crumble and lots of crush? Heck yea! 

  18. I want to dive head first into these bars!! They are total awesomesauce!!! 😉 

  19. Even though it’s not fall and pumpkin season here in Australia I can totally see myself making these pumpkin bars. They look too delicious not to make the recipe! Pinned!

  20. These look amazing. I’d love a tasty right now!

  21. Pinned 🙂  Thanks for the recipe!

  22. oh yum!! these look amazing! pinning!

  23. Okay so I am going to make these!  I love pumpkin!  But I love all of your other bars listed too!!!!  I want to try those cherry chocolate ones!  I can’t wait for your cookbook!  But then I haven’t not loved anything you have made!  You are a dangerous friend to know and love!

  24. I agree with you about pumpkin pie! I love all other things pumpkin though! I don’t like pumpkin pie because of the texture though, not the flavor.

  25. Oh my goodness – while I love pumpkin pie, I think I’ll have a side of these bars with my pie! They look amazing! That topping is calling my name!!

  26. Love the Pumpkin Pie Bars with Pecan Crumble!!  Delicious!  They are easy to make and freeze.  I just have to take out a bar or 2 out of the freezer each day to have with my coffee!  Fall of the year and this is the perfect treat!!

  27. Mine came out just like the photo, and I was so excited!  But overall it’s not sweet enough for me.  I think I need to add more brown and white sugar to the topping, and definitely more salt, because I used unsalted butter.  The spices are mild, which is ok, but I might increase the amounts, more like the old Libby pumpkin can label recipe. The bottom crust is very easy, I used an old fashioned pastry blender and had no lumps.  Also used cold butter and it made a nice crumb.  

    • Salt and spices are definitely things everyone has preferences for! If you’re someone who loves a spicier pumpkin spice flavor, by all means add more! I was going off how my mom has made our pumpkin pie for years. 🙂 And sugar, well. Add ice cream! Ha!

    • Hi – just wanted to let you know that I used your pie crust recipe again for the base of a pumpkin pie with a different filling (no evaporated milk, which turns out to be really bad for us with lactose intolerance.  Anyway, the crust works really well in a pie pan – I just dumped the crumbled mix into the plate after lightly buttering it, then used the back of a big spoon to press the dough down and up the sides of the pan.  with practice I can probably get it more even.  DELICIOUS CRUST!  Makes the pie perfect!

  28. Dorothy – these are amazing, especially to those of us in my family who are not big fans of traditional pumpkin pie.  I used my food processor for the crust (cold butter) and it came together in about 10 pulses.  I did the same for the crumble before adding the pecans.  Quick prep!

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