Pumpkin Bars with Old-Fashioned Caramel Frosting Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Pumpkin Bars with Old-Fashioned Caramel Frosting

7 reviews / 4.9 average

Once upon a time, I made a caramel frosting using a recipe from 1980.

This is a true story, by the way. I only tell true stories.

After I poured the frosting all over my face freshly baked pumpkin bars, I went in for the first taste test. That's not counting the taste test(s) that happened while the butter and sugar were melting in the saucepan.

Frosting + pumpkin bar -> mouth.

Be still my beating heart.

Pumpkin bar topped with this old-fashioned caramel frosting.

I'm not trying to ignore the goodness of the pumpkin bars, but there is nothing quite like melted butter and brown sugar frosting that is somehow both creamy and glazey at the same time. It was made to go with pumpkiny cinnamony goodness. W-o-w.

Maybe pumpkin bars aren't your thing. Which makes me wonder, who the heck are you? That's a sad story.

Maybe you're in love with cream cheese frosting. Get.over.it.

This old-fashioned caramel frosting? I won't take no for an answer.

You need to make it, like, yesterday.

Pumpkin bar topped with this old-fashioned caramel frosting on a plate with a fork.
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A picture of <span class="fn">Pumpkin Bars with Old-Fashioned Caramel Frosting

Pumpkin Bars with Old-Fashioned Caramel Frosting

  • Author: Skillful Cook
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 20 1x


These pumpkin bars are moist and so addicting when topped with this old-fashioned caramel frosting. Always a crowd-pleaser!


  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup firm butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar


  1. Mix together bar ingredients (brown sugar through melted butter), adding melted butter last. Pour into a 10 1/2 by 16 inch pan. Bake at 350 until the cake springs back when lightly touched, about 40 minutes.
  2. For the frosting, boil the butter and brown sugar for two minutes. Add the milk. Bring it to a boil again and add powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth and pour over cooled cake immediately. Frosting will set very fast, so just pour it over the cake evenly to avoid having to spread with a spatula.


I halved the recipe and made it in a smaller pan - still works beautifully! But it was gone way too fast.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: pumpkin bars, caramel glaze, pumpkin dessert

Sorry for posting back-to-back sweet baked recipes.

But not really.

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Aaaah I had a cake just like this at a brunch (what?! You can totally have a cake at a brunch!) last weekend. I would like to eat that frosting out of the bowl, with a spoon, meditating on the blissfulness of brown sugary caramel goodness. Nom.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    WOW!! I was able to wait 15 min. Before cutting into them! This is a winner!! I love caramel everything…..I will be taking these bars with me to all my Thanksgiving stops this year. Thanks for the great recipe and I love your blog!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    oh my – I think I need to go into the kitchen and make pumpkin bars. I’ve had a HUGE sweet tooth lately, it must be the cooler air and the warm spices everywhere that make me crave sweets and comfort foods! The caramel frosting looks thick and divine…

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I must be doing my job right if I can get the healthy girl to crave frosting. 🙂

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Making these right now and they smell amazing. I’m a cream cheese frosting girl, but I’m taking your advice andjust getting over it. Because I’m a caramel girl too… Quick question – do you pour the frosting on these while the cake is still warm or is it necessary to cool it first. Or can I just live one the wild side and do it however I want??

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just made some pumpkin bars on Sunday but now I want to make these asap!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Bought an oven yesterday and made these pumpkin bars today as the firstfruits! Wow, SO MOIST! Unbelievable. Everyone loved them. 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I’m flattered that they were the first baked goods to come out of your new oven! What a great way to break it in. 😉

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      What do you mean by cup of pumpkin, I have a pumpkin do I just cut it up into little chunks or am I misunderstanding the recipe?

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Okay thanks I’ll find out how to turn my pumpkin into puree, can’t wait to try these, I think the topping would be great on top of gingerbread too, thanks for the recipe.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Do you have a food processor or blender? If you cook the raw pumpkin and then purée it in the food processor, that usually works. I have done that with squash many times. 🙂 and you will love the frosting. Great idea about the gingerbread!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    i just want to say thank you! i never bake, but these looked SO good and i really wanted to try. i figured i would fail, but they turned out so wonderfully and i’m so happy 🙂 thanks for an amazing recipe!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve been eyeing this recipe since I found it after making the Raisin Bran muffins (also AMAZING) and finally did tonight. These will not last long. I just told my husband I didn’t trust him to be alone with them while I am at work tomorrow!!!