Friends, they’re here! Your new favorite fall dessert has arrived. After the success of our Apple Butter Cheesecake Bars and Strawberry Cheesecake Bars, we knew what we had to do: Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars! All the best parts of creamy cheesecake and sweet and spicy pumpkin pie combine in a glorious, decadent, and surprisingly easy dessert. Not only that, but they’re gluten-free and plant-based too!
Whether you’re making them for the holiday table or whipping up a batch for yourself when the pumpkin spice craving strikes, we’re sure you’ll love them! With simple ingredients and just 1 blender required, let’s make pumpkin cheesecake!
How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
These pumpkin cheesecake bars start with a simple 6-ingredient oat-almond crust that tastes much like a graham cracker crust! Oats and almonds blend with salt, coconut sugar, and pumpkin pie spice for a naturally sweetened and wholesome base with major fall vibes.
The dough comes together with the help of coconut oil, which ensures it’s the perfect texture for pressing into a pan. Our favorite hack for preventing a crumbly crust is to pack it using a drinking glass over parchment paper. Then it’s ready to go in the oven to par-bake before adding the filling!
While the crust is baking, we transition to the pumpkin swirl filling. In the same (rinsed out) blender* you used for making the crust, cashews blend with coconut cream and vegan cream cheese for a rich and creamy filling with the same classic tanginess of real cheesecake! Maple syrup provides sweetness, arrowroot or cornstarch thickens it, and salt and (optional) vanilla infuse even more flavor!
*Note: Using a high-speed blender is a game-changer for creamy smoothies, sauces, desserts, and more! Find our blender recommendations in our unbiased blender review. Or for a lower cost option, a Nutribullet also does a great job of getting cashews creamy!
Pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice bring the pumpkin pie element, with more of them going into part of the filling to create two colors that get swirled together using a toothpick or knife.
After baking, all that’s left to do is let it cool in the fridge where the gorgeous swirls will emerge in full force. Then slice into bars and enjoy!
We hope you LOVE these pumpkin cheesecake bars! They’re:
& Perfect for fall!
They’re the perfect make-ahead dessert for Thanksgiving, fall birthdays, or any time the pumpkin or cheesecake craving strikes!
More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Servings 16 (Slices)
- 3/4 cup rolled oats* (certified gluten-free as needed)
- 3/4 cup raw almonds*
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp coconut sugar (plus more to taste)
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 4-5 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup coconut cream*
- 8 ounces vegan cream cheese* (Toffuti is best, or Kite Hill brand)
- 1 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup pumpkin purée (DIVIDED)
- 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (DIVIDED)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C) and line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
CRUST: Add oats, almonds, salt, coconut sugar, and pumpkin pie spice to a high-speed blender and blend on high until the mixture resembles a fine meal.
Add the lesser amount of coconut oil to the blender and pulse or blend until well combined (we find that using the tamper on our Vitamix helps this process a lot)! The mixture should hold together when squeezed in your hand. If too dry, add the extra coconut oil. Transfer the mixture to the lined 8×8 dish and spread evenly. Place parchment paper on top and press the dough into your pan using a flat-bottomed object, such as a drinking glass, to firmly and evenly distribute the crust.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the corners are golden and the center of the crust is lighter in color and dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
CHEESECAKE FILLING: While the crust is cooling, rinse your blender and make your cheesecake batter. Add raw cashews, coconut cream, vegan cream cheese, arrowroot or cornstarch, maple syrup, 1/2 cup (100 g) pumpkin purée, 1 tsp pumpkin spice blend, salt, and vanilla (optional), to the blender (if altering batch size, adjust amounts accordingly). Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Set aside 1/2 cup of the cheesecake batter you just blended, then pour the remaining cheesecake batter on top of the slightly cooled crust. To the now empty blender, add your reserved 1/2 cup (120 ml) cheesecake batter, your remaining 1/2 cup (100 g) pumpkin purée, and your remaining 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (if altering batch size, adjust amounts accordingly). Blend until smooth and creamy.
Gently tap the 8×8 dish on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles from the cheesecake layer, then dollop ~1/4 cup-sized scoops of the darker pumpkin cheesecake mixture you’ve just blended to the top of the filling and use the back of a knife or a toothpick to swirl.
Bake for 50-60 minutes — until the edges are slightly brown and the center is still slightly jiggly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Cover the pan loosely with a kitchen towel or parchment paper and place in the refrigerator to chill for 6-8 hours or (preferably) overnight. After chilling, the top should have a glossy texture and the swirls will appear distinct.
To serve, gently lift the cheesecake out of the pan and cut into 16 equal squares. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
*We would not recommend trying to substitute anything in place of the vegan cream cheese. It’s essential to get that creamy, cheesy texture in this recipe.
*For all other substitution questions (including oats and almonds), see our Recipe FAQ.
*Prep time includes cooling for 6 hours.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of coconut oil and without optional ingredients.
Serving: 1 bar Calories: 222 Carbohydrates: 19.7 g Protein: 3.9 g Fat: 14.7 g Saturated Fat: 7 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 3.8 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 99 mg Potassium: 135 mg Fiber: 1.8 g Sugar: 10.9 g Vitamin A: 1563 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 37.1 mg Iron: 1.1 mg