Healthy Pumpkin Bars made with pumpkin puree, maple syrup, nut butter, and chocolate chips. Oil-free and easy to make, these gluten free pumpkin bars will be a snacking staple!
Why You'll Love these Healthy Pumpkin Bars
Nothing beats a good-for-you fall treat.
These gluten free pumpkin bars are brimming with heart-healthy fats from almond flour and nut butter. They're also naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and infused with nutrient-rich pumpkin puree. Pumpkin pie spice adds quintessential fall flavor, and chocolate chips add a layer of sweet decadence.
These bars only take 10 minutes to prepare, and 30 minutes to bake. You truly can't get easier for homemade baked goods.
Enjoy these bars as a mid-day snack or to satisfy a sweet tooth. Both kids and adults will love their moist texture and pumpkin-y flavor. They have quickly become a fall favorite over here!
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pumpkin Puree: You can use either homemade or canned pumpkin puree for these bars. My favorite brand of canned pumpkin is Libby's, which is consistently vibrant, smooth, and flavorful. Pumpkin is a great source of beta-carotene, which supports immune function. It's also rich in important minerals like iron, zinc, and selenium.
- Nut Butter: The nut butter options are endless here. You can use cashew, peanut, or almond butter, or a mix of any of the three. My go-to nut butters for baking are Trader Joe's or Whole Food's 365 brand because they're a tad runnier than most, and great for whisking into batters. Alternatively, you can use a seed butter such as sunflower or pumpkin seed butter.
- Almond Flour: To keep these pumpkin bars gluten free, almond flour adds moisture and heart-healthy fats. I suggest using blanched almond flour, which is ground more finely than almond meal.
- Maple Syrup: These bars are naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup, which adds warm notes of caramel and vanilla. Maple syrup is also a great source of important minerals such as zinc and manganese.
- Eggs: You need two eggs to bind these pumpkin bars. Unfortunately, I have not thoroughly tested these bars with a vegan alternative, such as flax or chia eggs.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: For warm, spicy goodness, pumpkin pie spice adds all the fall flavor you need. If you don't have pumpkin pie spice on hand, use this mix instead: 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves.
- Chocolate Chips: Pumpkin and chocolate are just a match made in heaven. However if you're chocolate adverse, you can use butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, or even peanut butter chips instead. For a lower sugar alternative, stir in some chopped pecans or walnuts in lieu of the chips!
Step 1: Combine the Wet Ingredients
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, maple syrup, nut butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk ingredients until smooth.
Step 2: Combine the Dry Ingredients
In a separate, smaller bowl, combine almond flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt. Whisk ingredients until well-combined.
Step 3: Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients
Pour dry ingredients into bowl with wet ingredients, and mix until JUST combined.
Step 4: Fold in Chocolate Chips
Use a spatula to fold in chocolate chips, making sure they are evenly distributed in the batter.
Step 5: Transfer to Baking Dish and Bake
Transfer mixture to an 8x8-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper and lightly greased. Use a rubber spatula to smooth out the top. If desired, sprinkle additional chocolate chips overtop.
Next, place pan in the oven and bake for 30 to 33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
Step 6: Let Pumpkin Bars Cool Completely
Transfer pumpkin bars to a cooling rack and let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Next, use the parchment paper to remove bars from pan, and let cool completely (at least 1 hour) before slicing into.
How to Store and Freeze Pumpkin Bars:
- STORE: These healthy pumpkin bars are best stored at room temperature for the first 1 to 2 days, though should be refrigerated after. Because of their high healthy fat content, they're not as stable at room temperature as bars made with wheat-based flour.
- After being refrigerated, they will last up to 4 extra days.
- For all storage, wrap bars in plastic cling wrap, or store in an air-tight storage container.
- FREEZE: You can freeze these gluten free pumpkin bars for up to 2 months. Transfer sliced bars to a gallon-sized, freezer-safe storage bag, and remove as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 2 months. For best results, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Recommended Tools to Make Healthy Pumpkin Bars
- Mixing bowls: I love that this set comes in different sizes for all your mixing needs. They’re also dishwasher- and microwave-safe.
- Whisk: I love this 3-piece wire whisk set, which includes three different sizes for every whisking job. They're also sturdy and comfortable to hold.
- Rubber spatula: My go-to rubber spatula for all baking needs that's under $3.00!
- 8x8-inch baking dish: For something sturdy with will last you ages, this is my go-to ceramic baking dish. For a more affordable pan that will also get the job done, you can't go wrong with this aluminum pan.
More Favorite Pumpkin Desserts
Brown Butter Pumpkin Tahini Bars -- personal fav!
If you give this recipe a try, I’d love for you to come back and give it a rating and review. Also, be sure snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations.
Healthy Pumpkin Bars (Gluten Free)
- Mixing bowls
- 8x8-inch Baking Dish
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup natural creamy nut butter of choice (cashew, peanut, or almond)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup blanched almond flour
- 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt (if using unsalted nut butter, increase to ½ tsp. salt)
- ½ cup chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling overtop
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with a sheet of parchment paper, and lightly grease with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, maple syrup, nut butter, eggs, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.
- In a separate smaller bowl, combine almond flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt; stir with a whisk.
- Combine dry ingredients into bowl with wet ingredients; stir until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in chocolate chips. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish, and sprinkle extra chocolate chips overtop, if desired.
- Place pan in the oven and bake for 30 to 33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Use the overhangs of parchment paper to remove bars from pan and let cool completely before slicing into 12 squares.