These Gluten-Free beauties are a perfect Fall dessert! They're a gluten-free graham cracker base + creamy & luscious cheesecake layer + lightly spiced pumpkin swirl. EASY enough for an everyday dessert, festive enough for a holiday!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Easy, Festive, Fun & Delish!
So excited for you to try these Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars!
They are a gluten-free graham cracker base + a luscious and creamy cheesecake layer + a lightly spiced pumpkin swirl which falls into the cheesecake layer at times and is sooooo delicious!
And they make a perfect holiday dessert because you get the taste of cheesecake but in a smaller bar size. And they taste indulgent and special, and look festive, without having to make an entire cake!
And while they look and taste super special, they are remarkably EASY to make!
Before I get to the ingredients…
I have a cooking video on this page, and as with all our recipes, there is a printable recipe with exact measurements at the bottom of this page.
So let’s make them!
Here’s what you’ll need … it looks like a lot because of the spices in the pumpkin layer but you probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry!
gluten-free graham crackers
butter or dairy free butter
cream cheese or dairy free cream cheese
milk or dairy free milk
They come together quickly, starting with the graham cracker crumbs and graham cracker base.
We made our graham cracker crumbs using Schar Honeygrams which we like because they are certified gluten-free, non-gmo and so tasty.
And the graham cracker base is mostly graham cracker crumbs plus a touch of melted butter, some cinnamon and a pinch of ginger for some warmth.
Just mix together and press into the baking pan evenly.
For this recipe, especially, I like to place parchment paper on the base of the pan. That way when the bars are cooked and cooled, you can just lift the parchment paper and the bars right out of the pan and cut/ serve them easier.
While the graham cracker layer bakes for just 8 minutes, we whip up the cheesecake filling which is a luscious and creamy blend of:
cream cheese or dairy- free cream cheese
a touch of milk or dairy free milk
All you do is cream the cream cheese and sugar .
Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well for 1-2 minutes until super creamy and luscious looking.
While the graham cracker crusts bakes, also prepare the pumpkin swirl because when it comes out of the oven, all that’s left to do it pour the cheesecake layer right into the hot pan and add the pumpkin swirl!
So let’s make the pumpkin swirl!
The swirl is a blend of pumpkin puree and lots of yummy Fall spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger plus some salt and a touch of gluten-free four.
The combination is this perfectly, lightly spiced pumpkin that adds burst of pumpkin and warmth to the cheesecake bars that is so yummy.
All you do is mix it all together with a spoon or spatula.
With the cheesecake layer poured into the pan, we’re ready to add our pumpkin swirl!
If you’ve made the raspberry swirl, the pumpkin is “heavier” and a little thicker, so I like to add it to the cheesecake layer a few small spoonfuls at a time, and using a toothpick make swirls.
Since it’s thicker and heavier than the raspberry swirl, it will sink into the cheesecake layer a little which gives extra bursts of pumpkin throughout and which is super yummy!
And suddenly a basic cheesecake bar is transformed into something festive, fun and beyond delicious with bursts of spiced pumpkin!
Then all you do it bake, cool, then lift the parchment straight out of the pan and cut into bars. It couldn’t be easier!
If you want less pumpkin throughout the cheesecake layer you can use less of the pumpkin mixand swirl immediately after adding a spoonful to the cheesecake layer so it doesn’t “sink”. With less pumpkin, it will look more like this.
Whether you use all the pumpkin swirl or less of it, these gluten-free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars will be a hit!
They are creamy, perfectly balanced with bursts of pumpkin and so delicious!
These can be made ahead and stay well in the refrigerator for several days.
Obviously, if serving to guests or for a special occasion, it’s best to make only the day before serving. Then slice it into squares, on the day of serving.
Store extra bars (if there are any!) in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
These gluten-free beauties are a perfect Fall dessert! They're a gluten-free graham cracker base + creamy & luscious cheesecake layer + lightly spiced pumpkin swirl. EASY enough for an everyday dessert, festive enough for a holiday!
Author: Healthy Gluten-Free Family
Recipe type: Dessert, Bar Cookies
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Nut-Free
Serves: 16 squares
Graham Cracker Crust
a scant 1½ cups gluten-free graham cracker crumbs ( I used one (1) 5.6oz box Schar Gluten-Free Honeygrams, finely ground into crumbs using a food processor)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter, melted
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ginger
2 8oz bars cream cheese or dairy free cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
⅓ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon gluten-free all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper
Graham Cracker Crust
Add ingredients in a small bowl and mix until well combined and "moist". Add mixture to lined baking pan and gently press into pan.
Bake 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Place cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, blend until very smooth. Add eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix until well combined and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
Pour mixture onto warm and baked crust in pan. Use a spatula to smooth the top or put on oven mitts and gently rock the pan from side to side. (remember the pan will still be HOT!)
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl using a spoon or spatula.
Using a small spoon, spoon pumpkin on to cheesecake filling a few spoonfuls at a time. Then using a toothpick, gently swirling the pumpkin into the top of the cheesecake. The toothpick should just barely grab the cheesecake filling. A few notes: The pumpkin is "heavy" relative to the cheesecake, so it will sink a little into the cheesecake giving you that wonderful pumpkin flavor throughout. So that you get the pumpkin swirl on top, just add a few spoonfuls at a time so that it doesn't sink too much before you can swirl it. And if you don't want much pumpkin in the middle of the cheesecake layer, just use less of the pumpkin mixture AND swirl as soon as you spoon it onto the cheesecake layer so it doesn't have time to sink. Finally, there is no right or wrong here, have fun with it and add more pumpkin and swirls as needed or desired.
Bake 30 minutes, then cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until set (filling should jiggle only slightly when pan is gently shaken).
Cool completely in pan. Cover pan loosely with wax paper and chill in the refrigerator until firm --about 2 hours.
Gently lift the parchment paper and squares from the pan. Gently pull parchment paper away from sides. Cut into 16 squares.
Make ahead: Store in the refrigerator, covered until you cut into squares.
Once cut, store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
Hi! My name is Karen, and I’m the mom in our Healthy Gluten-Free Family. My posts and pictures here and on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter are labors of love that allow me to share a very personal journey with you, one our family has taken together — learning, experimenting and sharing how to raise a healthy happy gluten-free family. Read more ...