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These No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Bars are an absolute must-make! They're super creamy, perfectly spiced, and entirely no-bake!
This post is sponsored by Karo® Corn Syrup. All opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for continuing to support the brands that help make ‘Mike Bakes NYC’ possible!
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No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Bars
I know that no-bake desserts are usually more popular during the summer months, but I actually love to make them year-round; especially during the holidays, because let’s be real, your oven is already working overtime this time of year... am I right?! That's why I partnered with my friends over at Karo® Corn Syrup to bring you these delicious no-bake pumpkin pie bars.
These pumpkin pie bars are creamy, not too sweet, and perfectly spiced. And because they're chilled and not baked, they're a great treat to make for when you have a random pumpkin craving in the middle of the summer.
My secret ingredient? Karo® Light Corn Syrup! I use it in the graham cracker crust and in the pumpkin pie filling. I absolutely love Karo® Corn Syrup because it’s not overpoweringly sweet, but it provides sweetness AND moisture in your baked (or unbaked) goods. For these no-bake pumpkin pie bars, it provides a sweetness and smooth texture to the filling and it adds a subtle sweetness that helps bind the graham cracker crust together; you really just can't go wrong here!
Ingredients Needed for No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Bars
These no-bake pumpkin pie bars are surprisingly simple to make; here's what you'll need:
- Graham crackers: It is a graham cracker crust, after all... Replace with an equal amount of digestive biscuits if you can't get your hands on graham crackers!
- Karo® Light Corn Syrup: You'll use it for the graham cracker crust and pumpkin filling!
- Unsalted butter: For the graham cracker crust.
- Light brown sugar: Again, for the crust!
- Cream cheese: This adds a bit of tang and also helps our no-bake bars to set properly. Make sure it's properly softened so you don't have any lumps in your bars.
- Powdered sugar: You'll need just a bit of powdered sugar for the filling.
- Powdered gelatin: This is what we'll use to help set our no-bake bars.
- Water: To bloom the gelatin in!
- Fine sea salt: Desserts made without salt can sometimes taste a little plain, so don't forget it!
- Pumpkin puree: Make sure it's pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.
- Pumpkin pie spice: If you don't have pumpkin pie spice on hand, replace with: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger, and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves.
How to Make No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Bars
I adore easy desserts, and this is one that deserves to be made over and over again. There are two main components to these no-bake pumpkin pie bars: 1) the graham cracker crust and 2) the pumpkin filling.
1. The Graham Cracker Crust
To make the buttery graham cracker crust, start by grinding up your graham crackers, light brown sugar, and salt using either a food processor or blender. You need 18 full sheets of graham crackers; 18 full sheets = about 3 cups of graham cracker crumbs. Don’t have graham crackers where you live? (I’m looking at you, UK readers!) Use 300 grams of crushed digestive biscuits instead.
Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the brown sugar, melted butter, and the Karo® Light Corn Syrup, and stir it all together. I like to use a little bit of Karo® Corn Syrup in my graham cracker crust because it’s the perfect sweetener to help bind together a buttery graham cracker crust. Corn syrup isn’t overly sticky and the flavor is mild, perfectly complementing the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter!
Once you mix the crust ingredients all up, the mixture will be thick, sandy, and coarse and you're ready to press it into your prepared pan! Once firmly pressed in, you'll refrigerate the crust while you prepare the pumpkin filling; this ensures a stable bottom rather than a crust that is crumbly and will absorb the filling before it sets.
2. The Pumpkin Filling
They wouldn’t be pumpkin pie bars without a perfectly spiced pumpkin filling! What I love is that you can make these completely by hand or use a hand/stand mixer if you have one; whatever you prefer! To make the pumpkin filling, you'll start by combining some powdered gelatin and water in a small saucepan over low heat until the gelatin is melted, then set it aside. Next, you'll beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice, Karo® Light Corn Syrup, and pumpkin puree until smooth. Normal pumpkin pie usually calls for granulated sugar and/or brown sugar, which will dissolve as it bakes. But in no-bake pumpkin pie bars, those granules can leave you with a gritty texture. Using a combination of powdered sugar and Karo® Light Corn Syrup makes for a silky smooth texture and the perfect amount of sweetness!
After you've combined all of the ingredients together, you'll beat in the gelatin mixture and pour the filling on top of the slightly chilled crust. The hardest part of making this recipe is waiting for the pumpkin pie bars to chill and set, honestly! But oh, is it worth it!
Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
Can I bake the graham cracker crust and chill it before adding the filling?
Unfortunately, no! No-bake truly means you do not have to bake the dessert. Trying to bake the graham cracker crust will make for a soggy crust, as this crust has more fat than a traditional baked crust would. Trying to use a baked crust (even one with less butter) means your filling will ooze into the crust and make it soggy.
Can I make these no-bake pumpkin pie bars ahead of time?
Of course! In fact, you kinda have to! While these pumpkin pie bars don’t require any time in the oven, they do need some time in the fridge. Your bars will need at least 3 hours to set before you can slice and serve them up (though overnight is best), so you’ll probably want to make it the day before you plan on serving it! You can even make it up to 3 days before... just make sure you cover it tightly with plastic wrap or tin foil to prevent the cheesecake from drying out or developing a weird film on top.
How long will these no-bake pumpkin pie bars last?
As long as you keep them covered tightly, they will last 5-7 days in the fridge. They are perfect for making ahead of time for parties and events. Or you can just enjoy them all week long!
Help! My pumpkin pie bars are soft and not holding their shape when sliced! What did I do wrong?
These no-bake pumpkin pie bars need proper chilling, a minimum of three hours but preferably overnight, to set into sliceable sections. Don't attempt to rush the chill process either; freezing the bars results in a too-hard-to-enjoy crust and filling!
No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Bars
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- 300 g graham cracker crumbs approximately 18 full-sheet graham crackers
- 110 g light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 115 g unsalted butter melted
- 42 g Karo® Light Corn Syrup
For the Pumpkin Filling:
- 8 g powdered gelatin (1 packet)
- 80 g water
- 226 g cream cheese softened
- 120 g powdered sugar
- 1½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 85 g Karo® Light Corn Syrup
- 425 g pumpkin puree
- whipped cream for serving
To Make the Graham Cracker Crust:
- Line a 9 x 9–inch (22 x 22–cm) pan with parchment paper, extending the parchment paper over the sides to form a sling. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham crackers, light brown sugar, and salt until the crackers resemble fine crumbs. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and Karo® Light Corn Syrup and mix to combine; it should have the consistency of wet sand.
- Pour the crust into the prepared pan and pat it down until smooth using the bottom of a flat glass or a measuring cup, ensuring that it is an even thickness. Place the crust in the fridge while you prepare the pumpkin filling.
To Make the Pumpkin Filling:
- In a small saucepan over low heat, dissolve the gelatin in ⅓ cup (80 g) of water. Set it aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and Karo® Light Corn Syrup, and beat to incorporate, then add the pumpkin puree and gelatin mixture and mix well.
- Pour the filling over the prepared crust, tapping the pan on the counter to remove any bubbles.
- Refrigerate the pumpkin pie filling for at least 3 hours or until set. Using the parchment paper as a sling, remove the dessert from the pan. Cut into squares using a knife that has been run through hot water and then dried before cutting. Top with whipped cream before serving. Cover and store leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.
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Hi! I made these, and they are super tasty! However, I am having a problem...I let them chill for about 6 hours and cut a small slice off. The pumpkin pie part wanted to slide right off the crust and the sides starting getting oozy/mushy basically instantly. I let the rest chill over night, but the same thing happened the next day when I tried to cut them into slices. They taste great, but is there a way to stop them from getting so runny, esp so fast?
Oh no! I'm glad you like the taste but sorry to hear they're not holding up properly! It sounds like there could be two potential issues causing this. It could be that the brand of pumpkin puree you're using has a higher moisture content; I tested this recipe with both the Libby's and Farmer's Market (organic) brands so I would recommend using one of those! If it's not the pumpkin, then it's your gelatin! Make sure your gelatin hasn't expired and also make sure that it's completely dissolved in the water before proceeding with mixing the rest of the filling. If there are any visible gelatin clumps, it won't bind the pumpkin filling together properly which would cause what you're describing. I hope this helps!